Steele Sprints To Merrittville Checkers

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Chris Steele in victory lane at Merrittville Speedway. (Nitroman Media photo)

THOROLD, Ontario – “The Real Deal” Chris Steele won the 360 sprint car A-main at Merrittville Speedway Saturday night, leading a five-division program.

Past S&W Service Centre 358 Modified track champion and reigning Super DIRTcar Series champion Mat Williamson topped the main event for the modifieds, while reigning Hoosier Stock champion Rob Murray won in that class.

Former divisional champion Jeffrey May picked up another win in the RONA/Doidge Builders Mod Lites and Fabio Olivieri scored top honors in the Central Fabricating/Glo & Go Tanning Mini Stocks.

Mat Williamson started on the pole and lead every single lap in the 35-lap feature in the S&W Service Centre 358 Modifieds. Williamson stretched out to an early lead over Pete Bicknell, who at one point was eating into the lead.

Bicknell was never able to get closer than nine-tenths of a second. The race ran caution-free and Williamson notched another victory at his home track with Bicknell finishing in the runner-up position.

Reigning track champion Gary Lindberg finished in third and was followed to the line by Scott and Austin Wood.

The 360 sprints saw action at Merrittville Speedway for the second night in a row. Saturday’s feature started with Steele on pole and Mitch Brown on the outside of the front row.

Steele controlled much of the race, lapping almost half the field. However, Steele would face a challenge late from Jim Huppunen.

As the two sliced and diced through lap traffic, it came down to the last corner where Huppunen made a bold move on the outside to pull alongside Steele in turns three and four.

Off turn four, Steele used the bottom lane to clear Huppunen and take the checkers. Brown, Cory Turner, and Ryan Turner completed the top five finishers.

Steve Shaw and Kyle Wert lead a 22-car field of Hoosier Stocks to green. Shaw took the lead early while Chris Hale, Mike Thorne, Ken Sargent and Rob Murray raced hard in the top five.

Dave Bailey, who started 18th after not finishing his heat race, battled his way up into the top five, taking advantage of multiple yellow flags.

Murray took the lead in the second half of the race and Bailey got as high as second. A late caution set up another classic battle between Murray and Bailey at Merrittville, but on the restart, Murray would drive away from the field to win.

Chris Hale crossed the line in second, with Steve Shaw, Ken Sargent, and Dave Bailey completing the top five.

In Rona Doidge Building Centres Modified Lites action, Josh Sliter and Brent Begolo started from the front row. Sean Iftody spun after starting fifth, which jumbled up the field.

Jeffery May, who started alongside Iftody, quickly worked his way up through the field and into the lead. May captured the win, while Tyler Winger got by Begolo late to finish second.

Begolo would settle for third while RJ Pietz and Josh Sliter rounded out the top five.

Lastly, Fabio Olivieri survived a wreck-filled Central Fabricating/Glo & Go Tanning 4 Cylinder feature. The race saw many of the top contenders involved in incidents, including Austyn Werstroh, who while battling for the lead, started a crash that involved six other cars.

Alex Riley and Leroy Buscomb also came together while battling for the lead, and another multi-car incident occurred when Dylan Llord and Kenny Hair came together while battling in the top three.

When the wrecking finally stopped, it was Olivieri taking the win over Riley, Hair, Buscomb and Matthew Moore.