Great racing at Merritt Speedway
It was two nights of scintillating action at the Merritt Speedway on the August 4-5 weekend as the Merritt Stock Car Association and the Northern Provincial Pipeline Late Model Series teamed up to wow the crowds on hand with some ground-pounding, fender-bending racing thrills and spills.
“A great weekend of racing,” declared Gino Boszko, MSCA president. “Entertaining and fast.”
Asked if the record weekend temperatures had much effect on the racers and their vehicles, Boszko stated, “Some of the cars ran hot. The heat also dried the track out real fast and made it quite slick, especially when the cars started laying down rubber.”
Boszko had nothing but good hings to say about the addition of the NPP Series cars to the racing program on both days.
“They’re very intense and like to put on a show. There was lots of banging and crashing. I’d definitely love to have them back.”
Boszko went on to add, “TheNPP drivers I talked to commented on the fact that ours is a nice smooth, flat track. I think that they kind of figured it would come apart, but it didn’t.”
The top performer in MSCA racing was Pemberton’s Melanie Leblanc in the 4-cylinder Bomber class. She posted the fastest one-lap time in her division each day, and won five of six races over the weekend including both 30-lap main events.
In the 6/8-cylinder Bomber class, Merritt’s Bill Fader won three of six races while his brother, Jim, won once in his first outing behind the wheel of his brand new Chevy S10 pick-up. Amy Parsons, from Merritt, was also a three-time winner in the Street class.
Three-time NPP Series champion Trevor Emond, in his first Series’ race weekend since 2010, was the class of the Late Model field, winning a pair of heats, one of the ‘A’ dashes and both features.
“It’s always good to come back [to the NPP Series],” said the Leduc, Alberta driver who has focusing on pavement racing for the last two years. “I had to knock the rust off though.”
Sunday night’s NPP feature race had a few highlights that left the crowd buzzing. In the early going, five cars were involved in a pile-up on Turn 4. A little later, two-time NPP Series champion Dwight Kennedy and defending Series champion Mike Tom got into a bit of a dust-up while battling for second place. Under the caution flag, Kennedy delibrately tracked down Tom and struck his car, resulting in a black flag (ejection) for his actions.
Current NPP Series leader Chris Beaulieu from Campbell River, B.C. had a tough weekend with only two top-three finishes.