TRACK TALK: Another week, another rainout
Mother Nature, not dear ol’ dad, was in the driver’s seat on Father’s Day at New Humberstone Speedway.
With severe thunderstorms in the forecast, officials at the dirt track in Port Colborne decided in the early afternoon to pull the plug on Sunday night’s program.
General manager Bob Davidson said the speedway didn’t want to run the risk of having to send everyone home after the grandstand and pit area began filling up.
“We cancelled due to the heavy and severe thunderstorms that were in the forecast during the scheduled race time and for the thunderstorms that were in the area throughout the afternoon and early evening,” he said.
Father’s Day also factored into the fourth rainout at a track that so far this season has just had two full nights of action.
“We cancelled early enough to give our drivers, fans and officials a chance to celebrate Father’s Day with their family,” Davidson said. “We also did want to open the gates just to cancel prior to the race.”
“We want to get the races in — no one wants to more than we do – but with the severe weather, we wanted our drivers, crews, officials and fans safe and out of harm’s way when it comes to the weather.”
Weather permitting, racing action returns next Sunday at the 3/8-mile dirt oval on Highway 3 east of Highway 140 in Port Colborne.
J N E Towing and Country 89 present the first visit of the season by the Crate Sprint Cars in a program that gets underway at 6:30 p.m.
Heats and features in the PC Works DIRTcar Sportsman, Maple Leaf Foods RUSH Late Models, Cosco Haulague Mini Stocks and Mike Knapp Ford Pro 4 Trucks also will be taking place as will Round 2 of the Cooper Motorsports Minivans of Mayhem Series. Pits open at 4:30 p.m. and grandstands at 5 p.m.
Fast Friday night company
Two defending Merrittville Speedway track champions began the weekend in victory lane, one of them south of the border.
Pete Bicknell of St. Catharines passed co-pole sitter Scott Kerwin three laps into the 358 Modified feature at Ransomville Speedway and led the field the rest of the way for his first win of the season at his home away from home in western New York.
Bicknell, who has 12 Ransomville track titles to his credit in addition to 24 career points championships at Merrittville, maintained the front-runner position despite losing a 4.8-second lead following a caution on Lap 18.
Rick Richner, Ryan Sucise, Erick Rudolph, Saturday’s winner at Merrittville, and Chad Brachmann rounded out the top five.
Bicknell, known by race fans on both sides of the border as Mr. Small Block, trails Sucise 162 to 146 in the points race at Ransomville. He is fourth behind Brachmann, with 470 points; Mat Williamson, 456; and Gary Lindberg, 448; in the driver standings at Merrittville, with 428 points.
While Bicknell cruised to victory to start his weekend, Merrittville’s reigning Hoosier Stock champion didn’t win his third race of the season at Ohsweken until the final second.
Better make that, 0.005 seconds.
That was the margin of victory for Hagersville’s Dave Bailey over Caledonia’s Ryan Dinning in an 8-cylinder main event that officials at the Brantford-area track described as an “instant classic.”
Despite starting 13th and 19th, respectively, in the field, Dinning and Bailey found themselves first and second following a Lap 11 restart.
With Dinning on the inside and Bailey to his outside, the two battled for the lead over the final nine laps.
Bailey lost momentum behind a lapped car coming to the white flag, but he used the opportunity to take the bottom away from Dinning and take the lead.
Dinning wasn’t done challenging Bailey, though. He fought back through the middle of the track and the two Camaros were door-to-door coming off Turn 4, setting the stage for the photo finish.
Bailey, who also is the defending points champion at New Humberstone and Ohsweken, has only lost three races this season, all of them to Dinning.
Bailey leads Hamilton’s Ken Sargent 336 to 302 in the points race at Ohsweken, Smithville’s Kyle Pelrine 408-332 at Merrittville, and is tied with Dinning and Pelrine, with 106 points each; two races into a soggy, on-again, off-again season at Humberstone.