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RUSH at Merrittville Speedway - 5/23 Results (Read 1432 times)
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RUSH at Merrittville Speedway - 5/23 Results
05/25/16 at 12:00am
May 24, 2016

Waters claims RUSH Late Model weekend sweep at Merrittville Speedway

by Mike Leone
THOROLD, ONT (May 24) - After a successful season opening event Sunday night at Humberstone Speedway, the Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC RUSH Dirt Late Model Touring Series powered by Pace Performance wrapped up the two night swing through Ontario, Canada on Monday night at Merrittville Speedway with the second running of the "Victoria Day Celebration".  The second ever visit attracted 28 cars from all over Ontario, Canada along with United States racers from New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia, which eclipsed last year's count of 18 for the first ever Crate Late Model event at the historic speedway in Thorold.  A total of 32 different cars participated between the two events at Humberstone and Merrittville.    

Since joining up with the Sweeney Touring Series late in 2013, Whitesville, New York's John Waters has run 34 Tour events in the United States and yet to find victory lane; however, the 35-year-old has competed in five Tour events in Canada and has now won four of the five races!  After winning for the third straight year at Humberstone on Sunday night, Waters passed Bryce Davis, albeit it with contact, just past the halfway point on Monday night and then drove a masterful race through lapped traffic for a $4,150 two-day Canadian sweep!  Waters sits atop the Sweeney Tour standings in his bid for his first championship and to become the fourth different champion in four years.

"I'm a little disappointed," stated Waters.  "I didn't want to get into Bryce there in lapped traffic.  We were just pushing it hard.  I don't like to drive like that so I guess he owes me one.  I apologize to him and his crew.  This car is phenomenal.  Homework pays off.  We had a rough season last year and we put our heads together and we worked on what we needed to work on and it's showing right now.  All these weeks working and racing and my wife and kids missing me, sending me pictures, and putting up with this.  I want to thank my sponsors, Dale LeBarron the car owner, my guys, and the fans for coming out- this is a great crowd.  I love coming here to win this, and Canada has been great!"

Via his K&N Dash win, Davis raced to the early lead while Waters was able to slip past Phil Potts for second.  Waters caught right up to the leader on lap two.  After a solid fourth place effort on Sunday, Jason Knowles cracked the top five on lap three getting by Mike Pegher, Jr. and one lap later moved by Dennis Lunger, Jr. for the fourth spot.  Action was really heating up through the pack as Will Thomas III made a nice move to slip under both Pegher and Lunger for the fifth spot on lap six.

Davis was in lapped traffic on lap seven, but a spin by Travis Martineau slowed action for the first time and gave Davis a clear track.  Two more cautions occurred in the next three laps.  Jason Knowles suffered a heartbreak as action was set to resume, he slowed with a suspension failure and needed towed from the speedway.  He was awarded the TBM Brakes "Tough Brake of the Night".

Racing returned on lap 10 and a long green flag stretch occurred.  After Davis had stretched out his lead, Waters began to reel him back in on lap 14.  Traffic now loomed ahead on lap 16.  Waters made a move in turn three as it was three-wide with the lapped car of Brian Swank.  Contact was made as Waters came out with the lead.  And like on Sunday night, instantly began to check out.  

Pegher started fourth and after dropping back to a far as seventh, the 2013 Tour champion began to work his way back forward and began to battle Potts for third.  The two caught Davis and it was a three-car race for second on lap 22.  While the battle was taking place behind him, Waters stretched his lead to more than a straightaway as he picked his way through lapped traffic.  Waters though hit heavy lapped traffic on lap 25 as drivers in front of them were having their own battles.  Waters continued to be pinned in by two and three-wide racing in front of him on laps 26 and 27 as Davis, Potts, and Pegher closed in.  

Waters had to make a four-wide move racing off turn four as Davis challenged for the lead.  Jeff Dayman ran out of room, slid off the track and brought out the caution.  One more caution would slow action for a spin by Ledingham setting up a two-lap sprint to the finish.  Waters played defense on the restarts trying to get the line he wanted and at the same time killed Davis' momentum.  Waters went on to lead the final two laps for the $2,000 victory in the Dale LeBarron-owned, Troups Creek Heating/Fox Shocks/Insinger Performance/Sunoco Race Fuel/Fastline Performance/Troups Creek Auto Parks/Renegade Forestry Management/Close Racing Supply/Atkins Appraisal-sponsored #11.

Davis meanwhile couldn't keep enough momentum on the top side of the speedway in the final two laps as both Potts and Pegher slipped by on the bottom to take second and third respectively.  For Potts, it was his second straight $1,000 runner-up finish at Merrittville repeating last year's performance for Stuart Archer's Fowl Mood Race Team.  Potts was also awarded the Maxima Oil "Maximum Performance" award.  

"It was a lot of fun passing cars tonight," expressed the 44-year-old Trenton, Ontario racer.  "I haven't passed a gaggle of cars like that in a long time.  We seemed like we were always passing cars, which for me is the funnest part of the whole race.  Thanks to Stuart and the team- they busted their butt all weekend just so I could play.  Also want to thank the fans.  I appreciate it."

After finishing a hard fought second place on Sunday night, Pegher brought Jerry Haseleu's #RJ1 home in third for a solid two nights in Canada.  "John (Waters) has come a long way since he started," acknowledged the 30-year-old Cranberry Twp., Pa. racer.  "He and I talk on the phone a lot.  I have to give him and his crew kudos for the whooping they put on us, but we'll certainly be back next weekend.  We're working on it.  We made a bunch of changes on the car.  Where we race it doesn't get nowhere near as slick as this, but we're happy with a second and a third.  The car is one piece and we can head back to Pennsylvania.  I have to thank all my crew and the fans for supporting this.  If it wasn't for them we wouldn't be here."

Davis, who led both feature events, had to settle for fourth- one position shy of Sunday's third place effort.  Brian Knowles was fifth for the second straight night.  Completing the top 10 were Thomas, Brandon Mowat, Charlie Sandercock, Randy Hall, and Zack Carley.  It was a good run for Mowat, who advanced five positions in his first ever Sweeney Tour start.  Sandercock, the defending $5,000 Bilstein Bandits Champion, gained seven positions in his first RUSH start of 2016 again on the $135 sealed, spec Bilstein Shocks.  Carley also made his first start of the season as he was driving Sam Pennachio's #311.  

After racing his way into the feature through the last chance B main, Ken Winfield quietly made his way forward from his 23rd starting spot to 11th to earn the $100 Precise Racing Products "Pedal Down" Hard Charger gift card.  Brady Wonderling was the final car on the lead lap at the finish in 12th and received a $25 gift certificate from CrateInsider.com.  

Jason Knowles set fast time in Bobby Lake Motorsports "Shock the Clock" Qualifying with a lap of 16.031 to earn $100 then proceeded to win Bobby Lake Motorsports heat race one for an additional $25.  Potts and Waters also added $25 for their heat race wins, while Andy Mayhew won the last chance B main.  Bryce Davis won the K&N "Cold Air Induction" Dash for a $100 K&N certificate, while Potts garnered a $50 certificate for second, and Waters and Pegher added $25 cash for third and fourth.  

The Memorial Day holiday weekend will be busy one with a pair of $2,000 to-win Sweeney Tour Marquee Events at Wayne County Speedway in Orrville, Ohio on Saturday night and Eriez Speedway in Erie, Pa. on Sunday night.

Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC RUSH Dirt Late Model Touring Series Race #2 (30 laps, $2,000 to-win): 1. JOHN WATERS (LeBarron 11)  2. Phil Potts (Archer 29)  3. Mike Pegher, Jr. (Haseleu RJ1)  4. Bryce Davis (94)  5. Brian Knowles (7)  6. Will Thomas III (9)  7. Brandon Mowat (46)  8. Charlie Sandercock (57)  9. Randy Hall (Suppa 4s)  10. Zack Carley (Pennachio 311)  11. Ken Winfield (82)  12. Brady Wonderling (z1)  13. Paul Grigsby (24)  14. Andy Mayhew (1020XX)  15. Steve Dixon (Wonderling 3J)  16. Colton Ledingham (19JR)  17. Travis Martineau (Schwartz 71L)  18. Mike Greene (8)  19. Brian Swank (12s)  20. Jeff Dayman (44)  21. Tim Gillespie (15)  22. Rob Pietz (69)  23. Eric Wilson (27W)  24. Jason Knowles (4)  25. Dennis Lunger, Jr. (Schwartz 71L).  (Note: Brian Swank took a Series provisional)

DNQ for the feature: John Pinsonneault (0), Brad Simpson (53), Jim Dale, Jr. (00).

Car Count: 28
Margin of Victory: 1.152 seconds
Feature Lap Leaders: Davis (1-15), Waters (16-30)
Precise Racing Products "Pedal Down Hard Charger": Ken Winfield (+12)
Maxima Oil "Maximum Performance": Phil Potts
TBM Brakes "Tough Brake of the Night": Jason Knowles
CrateInsider.com "Last Car on Lead Lap": Brady Wonderling

Bobby Lake Motorsports "Shock the Clock" Qualifying ($100 for fast time, TR 15.734 Max Blair 5/18/15): 1. Jason Knowles 16.031  2. Bryce Davis 16.162  3. John Waters 16.224  4. Dennis Lunger, Jr. 16.282  5. Phil Potts 16.309  6. Mike Pegher, Jr. 16.316  7. Brian Knowles 16.428  8. Randy Hall 16.475  9. Brandon Mowat 16.577  10. Brady Wonderling 16.611  11. Steve Dixon 16.652  12. Will Thomas III 16.672  13. Colton Ledingham 16.780  14. Jeff Dayman 16.812  15. Charlie Sandercock 16.894  16. Zack Carley 17.019  17. Rob Pietz 17.106  18. Tim Gillespie 17.201  19. Ken Winfield 17.241  20. Paul Grigsby 17.305  21. Travis Martineau 17.360  22. Mike Greene 17.363  23. Jim Dale, Jr. 17.574  24. Brian Swank 17.634  25. Eric Wilson 17.700  26. Brad Simpson 17.737  27. Andy Mayhew 17.819  28. John Pinsonneault 17.843.

Bobby Lake Motorsports Heat 1 (10 laps, $25 to-win, Top 6 transfer):1. J. Knowles  2. Lunger  3. B. Knowles  4. Wonderling  5. Carley  6. Ledingham  7. Wilson  8. Greene  9. Winfield  10. Pinsonneault.

Bobby Lake Motorsports Heat 2 (10 laps, $25 to-win, Top 6 transfer):1. Potts  2. Davis  3. Hall  4. Dixon  5. Dayman  6. Pietz  7. Grigsby  8. Simpson  9. Dale.

Bobby Lake Motorsports Heat 3 (10 laps, $25 to-win, Top 6 transfer): 1. Waters  2. Pegher  3. Thomas  4. Mowat  5. Sandercock  6. Martineau  7. Mayhew  8. Gillespie  9. Swank.

Last Chance B Main (10 laps, Top 6 transfer): 1. Mayhew  2. Grigsby  3. Wilson  4. Gillespie  5. Winfield  6. Greene  7. Pinsonneault  8. Swank  9. Simpson  10. Dale-DNS.

K&N "Cold Air Induction" Dash (6 laps): 1. Davis  2. Potts  3. Waters  4. Pegher  5. Lunger  6. J. Knowles.

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