Story By: STEVE PETTY – THOROLD, ONTARIO – Defending S&W Service Centre 358 Modified track champion Mat Williamson scored his second straight Jerry Winger Memorial as Cotton Inc. Auto FX, and CAA Niagara presented the racing action at Merrittville Speedway on Saturday night. For Williamson, it was his fifth win on the season in his title defense. Brad Rouse from St. Catharines, Ontario won his third David Chevrolet DIRTcar Sportsman feature of the season. Port Colborne, Ontario’s Andy Imbeault scored the win in the Vintage Car feature. Tyler Lafantaisie from Welland, Ontario scored his second Central Fabricating 4 Cylinder feature of the season. John Couture would win his third Dave’s Auto and Speed Centre V6 feature of the season.
Mike Bowman and Gary Lindberg were on the front row for the Jerry Winger Memorial 50 for the S&W Service Centre Modifieds with Lindberg jumping into the lead. Lindberg and Bowman would take off from the field as Rob Knapp, Tyler Willard, and Todd Gordon raced in the top five as Ryan Susice ran sixth after starting 12th on the grid. Mat Williamson started his progress early as well as he ran eighth and challenged Scott Wood for seventh on lap eight. Susice would enter the top five after passing Tyler Willard and would challenge Knapp for third on lap 12, just as the leaders encountered lap traffic. Dalton Slack spun in turn three to bring out the races first caution on lap 17. On the restart, Lindberg and Bowman continued to battle for the lead as Ryan Susice took third away from Knapp as Williamson took over fifth from Willard. Lindberg would continue to lead at the halfway mark over Bowman, Susice, Williamson, and Knapp with Tim Jones running in sixth place. Williamson and Susice would battle for third place with Williamson moving into the third position on lap 29 and would start to go after Bowman and Lindberg up front. Freddie Carleton spun in turn four to set up a 7-lap shootout. Bowman would race hard with Lindberg to take the lead on lap 44, just before a Tom Neale spin would bunch the field back up. On the restart, Mat Williamson would take the lead and would pull away to score the feature win.
Ryan Ferri took the lead from his outside front row starting spot in the 25-lap feature for the David Chevrolet DIRTcar Sportsman. After a Robbie Johnston spin on lap six that brought out the caution, Ferri would once again jump into the lead over Dave DiPietro. Ferri would lead as Paul Gaboury would take second away following a lap 10 restart. Brad Rouse and Brent Begolo moved up through the field and both would enter the top five and would challenge the leaders. Gaboury and Rouse would battle with race leader Ryan Ferri with seven laps remaining. Rouse would use the inside lane to take the lead away from Ferri with four laps remaining and would pull away to score his third win of the season.
Conrad Baker would jump into the lead in the Vintage Car feature. Jeff Larmet would take the lead on lap two as Roy Rinne took second away. Andy Imbeault and Rick St. Pierre moved up through the field as Imbeault took the lead prior to the halfway mark and would pull away from the field. Imbeault would hold off St. Pierre and Mark Shadwell to score the Vintage Car feature. Vintage Car heats were won by Rick St. Pierre and Andy Imbeault.
Anthony Kelly and Jeremy Cooper brought the Central Fabricating 4 Cylinders to the green flag for their 15-lap feature with Kelly showing the way. Fourth place starter Kyle Rothwell would take the lead away and would start to pull away from Kelly as Cooper was battling with Tyler Lafantaisie, Austyn Werstroh, Cole Hardy, Kyle Haynes, Tony Kelly, and Jay Moulton. Rothwell’s lead would come to an end on lap 12 with the right rear tire falling off the car. On the restart, Anthony Kelly would inherit the lead as Tyler Lafantaisie would pressure Kelly for the lead. Lafantaisie would take the lead on the final lap to score the win. Kyle Haynes, Tony Kelly, and Jay Moulton would complete the top five.
Kyle Irving and JJ MacDonald were on the front row for the Dave’s Auto and Speed Centre V6’s with Irving leading the opening lap. John Couture would take the lead away from Colton Lane on lap three and would pull away from the field. After a mid-race caution bunched the field back up, Kevin Conley started to apply the pressure to Couture, but it was Couture being able to pick up his third win of the season.
NEWS AND NOTES: 83 cars signed in pitside for the racing program. Over 200 alumni and guests were treated to the pre-race catered dinner before the Wall of Fame induction ceremony. Co-Announcer Jonathan Howe served as Master of Ceremonies. The class of 2019 include Late Model pilot Bob Webster, media member Bruce Bonham, long time racing supporters The Semenuk family and longtime scorer and current head scorer at New Humberstone Speedway Colleen Curvin.
Racing action continues Saturday, July 20 as the Seaway Mall presents race #2 of the David Chevrolet King of the Crates for DIRTcar Sportsman plus 358 Modifieds, Hoosier Stocks, Mod Lites, 4 Cylinders plus the Tim Hortons Enduro qualifier number 3 accelerated by JC Auto. It is also Minor Sports Team night with all minors in uniform admitted FREE! Pit gates will open at 5 pm and grandstands will open at 5:30 pm. Fans will have the opportunity to take Fan Tram Rides during intermission on the Bellinger Electric Inc. BEI Lightning Series Fan Tram.
RACE RESULTS – COTTON INC.AUTO FX, CAA NIAGARA NIGHT
S&W Service Centre 358 Modifieds: MAT WILLIAMSON, Mike Bowman, Ryan Susice, Gary Lindberg, Todd Gordon, Scott Wood, Pete Bicknell, Tyler Willard, Tim Jones, Rick Richner, Rob Knapp, Fred Carleton, Shayne Pierce, Tom Neale, Dalton Slack, Bill Podwinski, Tanner Podwinski, Brandon Gruhl
Qualifying Winners: Shayne Pierce, Tim Jones, Rick Richner
David Chevrolet DIRTcar Sportsman: BRAD ROUSE, Ryan Ferri, Paul Gaboury, Brent Begolo, Dave DiPietro, James Michael Friesen, Chad Chevalier, Jay Mallory, Jordan Cosco, Darrell Farraway, Vince Fargnoli, Justin Sharp, Robbie Johnston, Brian Bellinger, Derek VanMil, Jason VanMil
Qualifying Winners: Ryan Ferri, Justin Sharp, Jordan Cosco
Central Fabricating 4 Cylinders: TYLER LAFANTAISIE, Anthony Kelly, Kyle Haynes, Tony Kelly, Jay Moulton, Austyn Werstroh, Cole Hardy, Trevor Want, Garnet Wilson, Cameron Lane, Dan McKay, Mike Giberson, Kyle Rothwell, Jeremy Cooper, Kenny Hair
Qualifying Winners: Kyle Rothwell, Anthony Kelly
Dave’s Auto and Speed Centre V6’s: JOHN COUTURE, Kevin Conley, Colton Lane, Kyle Irving, Jason Irving, Josh Dmyrtow, Rob Walton, Tina Ronning, Jayda Gruhl, JJ MacDonald
Qualifying Winners: Kevin Conley, John Couture