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DIRTcar NE Sportsman Modifieds

Cody McPherson Stays Undefeated at Merrittville With Ivan Little Memorial Victory

It’s the St. Catharines, ON driver’s 18th career DIRTcar Sportsman Series win

Cody McPherson at Merrittville

Cody McPherson has been unbeaten in three races this season at Merrittville Speedway.

That didn’t change in Saturday’s DIRTcar Sportsman Series West Region Feature, as the St. Catharines, ON driver passed James Friesen on Lap 29 to win the Ivan Little Memorial—his fourth win at Merrittville in 2024.

It’s a memorable victory for McPherson, who grew up watching Little’s generation race before getting behind the wheel himself.

“This is pretty cool and pretty memorable,” McPherson said. “I grew up with that generation and got into (the sport) with my grandpa. It was my grandpa, Ivan, Terry Edwards, all the older boys. It means a lot when you can win any race remembering those guys, and we were fortunate to get it done.”  

Nigel Pendykowski, the pole sitter, took the early lead in the 40-lap Feature one night after winning the Novice Sportsman Feature at Ransomville Speedway. The Niagara Falls, ON, driver led the first 11 laps until the first caution slowed the field. 

When the race resumed, Pendykowski was locked in a battle with Curtis Friesen, who wrestled the lead away on Lap 14. 

Friesen’s lead was short-lived as McPherson started moving toward the front. The two-time DIRTcar Sportsman Series champion, who started eighth, needed 19 laps to get the lead, passing the No. 68F on the inside. 

However, that wasn’t the last challenge McPherson would receive from a Friesen. James Michael Friesen found momentum on the outside just after halfway, thundering past McPherson for the lead on Lap 24. 

But just as James Friesen seemed destined for Victory, McPherson passed him back on the bottom in traffic. Then, it was heartbreak for Friesen as he tangled with a lap car, ending his chances of winning.

McPherson went unchallenged in the final 11 laps to win the $4,000 (Canadian) prize and his second DIRTcar Sportsman Series West Region win of the weekend.

The win is McPherson’s 18th career Series victory, putting him one win away from tying Brad Rouse at the top of the DIRTcar Sportsman Series all-time wins list.

He said he had to be consistent lap after lap to catch Friesen in traffic.

“Usually, with this place, the bottom is so dominant,” McPherson said. “When I started hitting my marks, I had to hit them perfect. When I did, I was good. I started reeling James in before lap traffic. In lap traffic, I was able to pass him before he wrecked, but I had to hit it perfect.”

Jay Mallory finished second after starting 14th. The St. Catharines, ON driver needed 20 laps to crack the top five and moved into second when James Friesen tangled with a lap car. 

Adam Leslie crossed the line third, earning his second consecutive DIRTcar Sportsman Series West Region podium. 

“It would be nice to beat the seven every once in a while, but he’s very tough,” Leslie said. “The car was a little tight in the beginning. I didn’t think we were going to finish third. But it came back to us. 

“We had a massive vibration at the end of the race, and I was just holding on. We lucked out.”

Curtis Friesen finished fourth, while Brett Senek rounded out the top five.

James Friesen rebounded to finish ninth.

Up Next: The DIRTcar Sportsman Series West Region heads to Land of Legends Raceway in Canandaigua, NY, on Saturday, June 22, in a combined event with the Central Region.

DIRTcar Sportsman Series West Region Ivan Little Memorial (40 Laps): 1. 7-Cody McPherson[8]; 2. 20-Jay Mallory[18]; 3. 15-Adam Leslie[10]; 4. 68F-Curtis Friesen[3]; 5. 111-Brett Senek[7]; 6. 28-Mitch Dumont[2]; 7. 35T-Cameron Tuttle[4]; 8. 78JR-Nigel Pendykowski[1]; 9. 72-James Friesen[9]; 10. 74-Taylor Vanderzanden[13]; 11. 108-Billy Bleich Jr[12]; 12. 22-Terry Smith[16]; 13. 99PJR-Matteo Panunte[14]; 14. 185-Tyler Puchalski[28]; 15. 66P-Jeff Panunte[11]; 16. 1-Jason VanMil[17]; 17. 12-Jacob Chevalier[19]; 18. 3N-Noah Mamo[15]; 19. 91-Kraig Handley[20]; 20. 23N-Nathan Peattie[22]; 21. 3S-Wayne Swinson[21]; 22. TEN-Dave Small[24]; 23. 888-Graeme Toth[25]; 24. 21-Jens Mortensen[26]; 25. 13M-Daniel McKay[23]; 26. 88-Elijah Knutt[30]; 27. (DNF) 68-Dave DiPietro II[5]; 28. (DNF) 19J-Nelson Mason[6]; 29. (DNF) 24-Doug Walsh Jr[27]; 30. (DNS) 5S-Matt Sharpe

Hoosier Racing Tire Award: Curtis Friesen and Billy Bleich Jr.  (Free Tire)

Post-Race Tech: MSD Boxes were taken. Will be shipped to MSD.

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