It was a battle among two of Merrittville Speedway’s best Saturday night in the DIRTcar Sportsman Western Region event. Defending DIRTcar Sportsman champ in McPherson and James Michael Friesen battled it out tooth and nail.
The nail biter came right down to the final two corners of the very last lap of the 40 lap, $1,250 to win event.
McPherson drew the outside pole starting spot and immediately took the lead at the drop of the initial green flag. The winner of the first Western Region event at Ransomville was looking to make it two for two. When he’s out front, it’s usually game over.
However, Friesen has taken many a checkered flag at the 1/3rd mile, D-Shaped oval and when a early rain storm made for a tacky surface with an ample cushion he was at home. Each restart, McPherson would take charge but as laps clicked on Friesen would close in.
The two were side by side at the strip on the last yellow that came out on lap 36. On the final restart, Friesen stayed right with McPherson’s #7 and on lap 38 he nosed ahead and looking for the checkered flag.
Coming into turns three and four, it was all Friesen, a few car lengths ahead on his way to victory. But, that same ample cushion that helped Friesen get the lead came out a grabbed his right rear tire. It shot the car above the cushion and sideways. McPherson stayed in his race long low side lane, ducked under and took the checkered flag first in front of a stunned crowd.
“We definitely got lucky there,” dead-panned McPherson. “The restarts were tough to get a good lead. I knew when I didn’t clear James out of turn two he was going to have the momentum.”
McPherson went on about collecting his third win of the season at Merrittville, “I was looking to drop down and follow him. He then hooked that cushion wrong and I got lucky. I just have to thank everyone for all there help. Getting another win on the Sportsman Tour is important.”
While Friesen was dejected, he still took his fate in stride. “It’s frustrating, but it was a good race,” Friesen went on, “I was kind of stalking him, poking under him a few times. Then I would move to the top and roll the top
“I just totally blew it. The last corner when it counted, I just drove it in wrong.,” Friesen said, “It was sponsors night tonight and I should have won it for them, We had such a good car. We will be back”
Billy Bleich Jr. made some late race moves to fill the final part of the podium. “I can’t complain with the finish. It’s a brand new car, only the second race on it,” he continued, “I have to thank Glenn Styres for hooking me up with the ride. It was a good night.”
Rounding out the top 5 were Nelson Mason and 18th place starting Brett Senek. The next five was made up of Taylor Vanderzanden, Adam Leslie, Kyle Richner, Cameron Tuttle and Justin Sharp.
The free Hoosier Tire went to Bill Gill.
Merrittville Speedway/DIRTcar Sportsman West Region Tour – Cody McPherson,, James Friesen, Billy Bleich Jr., Nelson Mason, Brett Senek, Taylor Vanderzanden, Adam Leslie, Kyle Richner, Cameron Tuttle, Justin Sharp, Terry Smith, Jessica Kriegisch, Ryan Ferri, Nathan Peattie, Matteo Panunte, Daniel McKay, Graeme Toth, Noah Mamo, Bill Gill, Jordan Cosco, Rob Pietz, Paul Gaboury, Austin Wood, Jay Mallory, Curtis Friesen, Matt Sharpe, Brent Begolo, Bill Bleich, Rob Knapp, Mitch Dumont. Jason VanMil – DQ