By: TIM BALTZ – HOGANSBURG, NY – On a night that saw perfect weather and as full pit area, evening sponsor Tarbell Management Group and the fans were treated to an action-packed night of racing with 6 classes of racing in store.
The Lucas Oil Empire Super Sprints highlighted the night along with the 2nd ever Pete Mitchell Memorial Sportsman qualifier, where the winner would be guaranteed at least 13th starting spot into the 6th annual event in July.
With a tough race track that which saw a narrow groove around the bottom passing was not going to be easy. Someone forgot to tell that to David Franek as he jumped to the high lane at the start of the 25 lap A main for the Lucas Oil Empire Super Sprints. Franek would make the pass for the lead off turn two with a bold three wide move on Matt Tanner and Shawn Donath and begin to pull away from the field. By lap 10 Franek enjoyed a solid straight away lead but behind him everyone was looking to avoid making a mistake as Tanner, Donath, Patrick Vigneault and Kyle Moffit completed the top 5. Traffic became the issue just past the halfway point and Franek was doing a masterful job at picking his spots and working through the slower traffic without any issues but behind him the battle from 2nd on back was intense with positions being traded back and forth between Tanner, Donath, Moffit and Josh Pieniazek began to show his strength as he slipped into the top 5 by lap 17, and the battle was on. It appeared this race was going to go caution free but 2017 series champion Jason Barney changed all that as he broke his front end on lap 22 slowing to a stop in turn 1. On the final restart without any traffic to deal with, “No Panic” Davie Franek was able to pull away from a quality field to record his first win of 2019 with the Empire Super Sprints in his 6 A main starts. Tanner would hold on for 2nd with Kyle Moffit Shawn Donath and Josh Pieniazek completing the top 5.
The Quebec Lightning Sprints were also on hand for a 20-lap contest in round two of the 417 Bus Line Series. Two time series champion Eric Sundborg would march his way into the lead at the start of the event over Sabrina Blanchet and Pascal Desrochers. Much like the Empire Super Sprint feature the track was fast and the bottom was the place to be as Sundborg used clear race track to his advantage as he pulled away in the early laps. By lap 12 Sundborg had started to enter into traffic giving Blanchet a possible chance to try and run down the leader. Sundborg was able to navigate traffic with no problem and pulled away easily with Blanchet still 2nd, but the battle was on for 3rd, 4th and 5th. Pascal Desrochers, Pascal Levesque along with Tomy Moreau traded positions over the remaining laps as they dealt with the slower traffic. At the front, nobody was catching Eric Sundborg as he put the early struggles from events at Drummond and Cornwall behind him to score his first series win of the season. Blanchet overcame mechanical issues at the first race in Drummond to score a 2nd place effort with Pascal Desrochers, Pascal Levesque and Tomy Moreau coming home 5th and regaining the overall series points lead.
The Crossroads Tobacco Sportsman division was set for the 2nd annual 35 lap Pete Mitchell Memorial qualifier, with the winner getting to start at least 13th in the 6th annual event on July 15th. After a small spin in turn 4 on the start by Greg Snyder and Jason Bruno, it was Adams New York native Brian Hudson jumping out to the early lead over Robert Delormier, Andy Howard, Zack Arquiett and Thomas Cook. Once again with the race track tough to pass, everyone was stuck to the bottom lane and waiting for others to make a small mistake. On lap 5 Kevin Fetterly Jr. spun his machine in turn 4 and bring out the 1st yellow of the event. On the restart Hudson saw no problems as he held the top spot with Delormier all over him in the 2nd spot with Howard, Arquiett and Cook completing the top 5. Thomas Cook would see his night end early as he slowed on the back stretch, bringing out the caution flag for a 2nd time. Hudson continued to show his strength as he held the lead and was using the clear race track to his advantage to remain in front but lapped traffic would play a factor as to how this race would shape up. Delormier hounded the leader through the majority of the event but behind him Cedric Gauvreau and Mike Stacey began their charge forward as well, jumping into the top 5 just past halfway. Stacey was strong on this night as he moved by Robert Delormier to grab 2nd on lap 29 with Zack Arquiett, Cedric Gauvreau and Shane Pecore jumping into the fight for the win as well. On lap 32 lapped cars came into play and Hudson remained strong in the lead, but behind him Mike Stacey’s night was about to get worse. In an attempt to get by a slower car, Stacey clipped an infield tire off turn 4 which collected Robert Delormier, 4th place runner Cedric Gauvreau unfortunately caught the tire that Stacey hit causing damage to his ride as well and the yellow would fly. On the final restart Brian Hudson would play it perfect as he pulled away from Zack Arquiett to claim the Pete Mitchell Memorial qualifier leading all 35 laps. Zack Arquiett, Shane Pecore, Ben Wheeler and Anthony Rasmussen would complete the top 5.
The 15 lap Novice Sportsman event was appearing like it was going to be another Gavin Riddell clinic as he dominated the early laps of the event but Nolan Swamp would make a race out of it as he closed in on the leader. Both drivers found the top lane was the fast way an would use it to pull away with Deric Ellsworth, RJ Tressider and Dan Reif. On the final lap Nolan Swamp went to the extreme outside lane and pulled even with Riddell in turn 3. As the top two raced off turn 4 Nolan Swamp would pull off the move that counted taking his first win in the Novice Sportsman class and first since competing in the Bandit division at the speedway many years ago. Riddell would cross in 2nd with former Mod Lite Champions, Deric Ellsworth and Dan Reif, 3rd and 4th, 2018 Bandit Champion RJ Tressider fresh off a win at Plattsburgh last Saturday would complete the top 5.
Brad Reif would be the dominant force in the early laps of the 15 lap Mod Lite feature over Nick Mallette and opening day winner Kevin Foster, Jason Premo and Harley Brown. Reif would lead laps one through eight but a mistake in turn 4 saw Reif spin, and the yellow would fly. On the only restart of the race Nick Mallette, the 2017 champion, would stay glued to the bottom as Kevin Foster used everything including the chrome horn to get by for the lead. Without a 2nd groove Foster would try everything but it was not to be on this night. Nick Mallette would out run the opening day winner, to record his 3rd career Mod Lite win at Mohawk and first of 2019. Kevin Foster would cross in 2nd over Jason Premo, Harley Brown and Ian Bressette.
The Bandit 10 lap event was almost like a re-run of one week ago as Francis White and Matt Zira picked up where they left off by driving away from a quality field and looking to settle the win amongst themselves with CJ Lavair, Terry Green Jr and Justin Pope completing the top 5. Zira tried several moves on the outside lane but White remained in control as they came to the white flag. With 9 straight laps of green flag racing the intensity was about to pick up as the caution would wave for the one and only time for John Martin and Dustin Lipinski, as they spun in turn 4. When the green flew it was White jumping out to the lead, a position he would not let go of as he charged to his 2nd straight win of the season over Matt Zira, CJ Lavair, Terry Green Jr. and Justin Pope.
Next week a special enduo qualifier will be held with the winner getting a guaranteed spot into the Ironman Slick Track Enduro on September 21st. On the card will be the Twin Leaf Stores 358 Modifieds after a week away, Crossroads Tobacco Sportsman, Novice Sportsman, Mod Lite and Bandits. Racing gets underway at 7:30pm. For up to date news, points, results and everything going on at the speedway, visit our website at mohawkintlraceway.com and be sure to follow us on Twitter and Facebook. A reminder to all Canadian fans that Canadian money will be accepted at par at the main gate only and also don’t forget to grab a receipt at the toll booth on the way to the track, it’s redeemable for a free bridge pass on that night.
Lucas Oil Empire Super Sprints (25 laps)
DAVIE FRANEK, Matt Tanner, Kyle Moffit, Shawn Donath, Josh Pieniazek, Steve Poirier, Alex Vigneault, Brett Wright, Paulie Colagiovanni, Scott Holcomb, Jordan Poirier, Chuck Hebing, Billy VanInwegen, Jeff Cook, Denny Peebles, Dale Gosselin, Pete Richardson, Parker Evans, Tyler Cartier, Jason Barney, Chad Miller, Chris Jones, Paul Pekkonen, Matt Hoyt, Dave Axton
Heat Winners: Parker Evans, Davie Franek and Shawn Donath
B-Main: Brett Wright
Quebec Lightning Sprints (20 laps)
ERIC SUNDBORG, Sabrina Blanchet, Pascal Desrochers, Pascal Levesque, Tomy Moreau, Mathieu Bardier, Yves Girard, Yannick Poirier, Stephane St. Laurent, Xavier Lauzon, Terry Ladouceur, Skylar Ladouceur, Francis Laliberte, Jeffrey Weare, Mark Helie
Heat Winners: Yves Girard and Francis Laliberte
Crossroads Tobacco Sportsman- Pete Mitchell Qualifier (35 laps)
BRIAN HUDSON, Zack Arquiett, Shane Pecore, Ben Wheeler, Anthony Rasmussen, Ricky Thompson, Andy Howard, Delbert Legrow Jr., Delbert Legrow, Darryl Mitchell, Kristian Smoke, Dustin Bradley, Brianna Ladouceur, Jason Bruno, Shaun Shaw, Cedric Gauvreau, Richard Thornton, Greg Snyder, Billy Cook, Mike Stacey, Robert Delormier, Jason Rose, Melvin Rush, Eugene Tarbell, Thiomas Cook, Kevin Fetterly Jr., Devin Willis
Heat Winners, Mike Stacey, Dustin Bradley and Shane Pecore
Novice Sportsman (15 laps)
NOLAN SWAMP, Gavin Riddell, Deric Ellsworth, Dan Reif, RJ Tressider, Dan Beachard, Joshua Pete, Jonathan Rush, Cory Castell, Matthew Bourey, Gage Howard
Heat Winners: Gavin Riddell and RJ Tressider
Mod Lite (15 laps)
NICK MALLETTE, Kevin Foster, Jason Premo, Harley Brown, Ian Bressette, Brad Reif, Brendan Villnave, Scott Sharpe, Matt Fregoe, Cameron Reif, (DNS) Styles Arquiett and Tristan Dibble
Heat Winners: Brad Reif and Nick Mallette
Bandit (10 laps)
FRANCIS WHITE, Matt Zira, CJ Lavair, Justin Pope, Terry Green Jr., Jeff Putnam, Gary Sharlow, Nick Perham, Dustin Lipinsky, Anthony Law, Mitchell Regan, John Martin, Dan Snyder
Heat Winners: Francis White and Matt Zira