By Clayton Johns
THOROLD, Ont. – May 21, 2018 – Shone Evans took the lead from Brad Herron on lap 13 and survived a pair of restarts over the final seven laps to earn his first career win with the Action Sprint Tour powered by RaceRivalz.com at Merrittville Speedway on Monday night.
“My team is, wow, without them I’m nothing,” Evans said in Victory Lane. “They get my car going good every night. The boys back in the pits had me setup pretty good. It was a little loose, but it worked out.”
Herron and Ryan Hunsinger drew front row starting positions for the main event after finishing in the top two of heat three. Both drivers had the option to take the Durnin Motors Front Row Challenge. The two front row drivers had the chance to give up their starting spots to drop to the 12th starting position for a chance at a $500 bonus courtesy of Durnin Motors if they could win the main event from the sixth row, however both drivers elected to keep their top spots.
Herron and Hunsinger raced side-by-side for the first three laps until Hunsinger prevailed with an early lead in the outside lane. The top two quickly opened a 10-car length advantage over third-place running Evans. Their advantage was erased, though, on lap three when Davey Boughton spun in turn two.
On the ensuing restart, Hunsinger got an excellent jump in his Transport Sales and Service No.43h. As Hunsinger ran the high side, Herron continued to stay low. Hunsinger continued to search for moisture on the outside and looked a little too far at the exit of turn four on lap nine as he stuck the right-rear tire into Merritville’s infamous front stretch moat, allowing Herron to drive by for the lead.
After Herron had the top spot, Hunsinger tried to recover the lead, but on lap 10 went over the end of turn four and spun to bring out the second yellow of the race. Hunsinger later revealed the left-rear shock had broken on his car. The caution promoted third-starting Shone Evans to second behind Herron and ahead of Holly Porter, 15-year-old pilot Liam Martin and Jesse Costa.
Herron maintained his lead for two laps until Evans got an excellent run down the backstretch on lap 13 and drove to the outside of Herron with a burst of momentum that allowed him to grab the top spot off of turn four.
“I saw how Hunsinger and Brad were running the turns, so I knew I had a little bit more than they did,” Evans explained. “I just waited for my time and finally got around him.”
On the ensuing lap, the caution waved for the third time when Mike Bell parked his No.99 at the exit of turn four. Evans had no issues on the following restart and drove away from Herron to a half straightaway advantage with five laps to go.
Behind the top two, the battle for third raged on between Costa, Martin and Porter. After Evans took the white flag and appeared to have the race sewn up, the caution flag waved for the final time when AJ Lewis spun at the top of turn four, just in front of the leader.
The spin setup a green-checkered finish where Evans made no mistakes on the final lap to seal his first win with the Action Sprint Tour powered by RaceRivalz.com while Herron settled for second. Contact at the finish in the battle for third sent Costa sideways under the flag stand, but he held on to the final podium spot ahead of Aaron Turkey and Porter. Turkey was also the hard-charger of the race, advancing 12 positions from 16th to fourth.
After his third-place finish at Merrittville and a second-place result on Friday night at Ohsweken, Costa takes the early point lead away from the Action Sprint Tour’s opening weekend.
“It’s awesome,” Costa said of his strong opening weekend. “I’ve never led the points in (Sprint Cars) or ever been close. I have to thank Wells Foundry, DNO Towing, Best Safety Training and Magnum Signs for being so supportive of all this.”
Costa, Evans and Hunsinger won qualifying heat races. All 25 cars qualified for the 20-lap main event, which eliminated the need for a B-Main.
The Action Sprint Tour will now take a two week break before returning to action on Saturday, June 9when it makes its debut appearance at South Buxton Raceway in Merlin, Ont. For event information, visitwww.southbuxtonraceway.ca.
Action Sprint Tour powered by RaceRivalz.com Race Report
May 21, 2018
Merrittville Speedway – Merrittville, Ontario, Canada
Total Entries – 25
No. Name – Hometown
08 Steven Beckett – Fonthill, Ont.
1 Holly Porter – Delhi, Ont.
1eh Paul Klager – Beamsville, Ont.
3 Lofton Schuts – Oakland, Ont.
3b Blaine Barrow – Welland, Ont.
4 Hannah Ferrell – Vanessa, Ont.
5d Jacob Dykstra – Port Colborne, Ont.
9c Brian Nanticoke – Ohsweken, Ont.
12 Brad Herron – Waterford, Ont.
18x Davey Boughton – Carlisle, Ont.
19 Brandon Murrell – Gores Landing, Ont.
22jr Al Gilletta Jr. – St. Catharines, Ont.
26 John Verney – Salmon Arm, BC
29 Liam Martin – Binbrook, Ont.
43h Ryan Hunsinger – Stouffville, Ont.
49h Jerry Hill – Hagersville, Ont.
51 Trevor Young – Ancaster, Ont.
52 Jesse Costa – St. Thomas, Ont.
56 Dereck Lemyre – Hamilton, Ont.
68 Aaron Turkey – Ohsweken, Ont.
74 Rob Neely – Rockwood, Ont.
81 AJ Lewis – Stoney Creek, Ont.
87x Shone Evans – Scotland, Ont.
88h Josh Hansen – Beamsville, Ont.
99 Mike Bell – Hagersville, Ont.
A-Feature (20 laps – No Time)
Finish. # Name (Starting Position)
1. 87x Shone Evans (3); 2.12 Brad Herron (1); 3. 52 Jesse Costa (5); 4. 68 Aaron Turkey (16); 5. 1 Holly Porter (6); 6. 5d Jacob Dykstra (13); 7. 29 Liam Martin (8); 8. 1eh Paul Klager (7); 9. 56 Dereck Lemyre (10); 10. 88h Josh Hansen (17); 11. 49h Jerry Hill (11); 12. 43h Ryan Hunsinger (2); 13. 08 Steven Beckett (14); 14. 4 Hannah Ferrell (9); 15. 74 Rob Neely (12); 16. 9c Brian Nanticoke (15); 17. 3 Lofton Schuts (18); 18. 51 Trevor Young (23); 19. 22jr Al Gilletta Jr. (19); 20. DNF 81 AJ Lewis (4); 21. 3b Blaine Barrow (25); 22. DNF 99 Mike Bell (20); 23. DNF 19 Brandon Murrell (21); 24. DNF 18x Davey Boughton (22); 25. DNF 26 John Verney (24)
A-Feature Lap Leaders – Ryan Hunsinger 1-8, Brad Herron 9-12, Shone Evans 13-20
Hard Charger – Aaron Turkey +12 (16th to 4th)
Heat Race No.1 (8 laps – Top 2 Redraw – All Cars Qualify – No Time)
Finish. # Name, (Starting Position)
1. 52 Jesse Costa (4); 2. 81 AJ Lewis (1); 3. 1eh Paul Klager (2); 4. 56 Dereck Lemyre (5); 5. 5d Jacob Dykstra (3); 6. 68 Aaron Turkey (6); 7. 22jr Al Gilletta Jr. (7); 8. 18x Davey Boughton (8); 9. 3b Blaine Barrow (9)
Heat Race No.2 (8 laps – Top 2 Redraw – All Cars Qualify – Time: 2:02.841)
Finish. # Name, (Starting Position)
1. 87x Shone Evans (2); 2. 1 Holly Porter (8); 3. 29 Liam Martin (4); 4. 49h Jerry Hill (5); 5. 08 Steven Beckett (1); 6. 88h Josh Hansen (7); 7. 99 Mike Bell (3); 8. 51 Trevor Young (6)
Heat Race No.3 (8 laps – Top 2 Redraw – All Cars Qualify – No Time)
Finish. # Name, (Starting Position)
1. 43h Ryan Hunsinger (2); 2. 12 Brad Herron (6); 3. 4 Hannah Ferrell (4); 4. 74 Rob Neely (3); 5. 9c Brian Nanticoke (8); 6. 3 Lofton Schuts (5); 7. 19 Brandon Murrell (1); 8. 26 John Verney (7)
2018 Action Sprint Tour powered by RaceRivalz.com Schedule
Fri. May 18 – Ohsweken Speedway – Ohsweken, Ont. – Winner: Aaron Turkey
Mon. May 21 – Merrittville Speedway – Thorold, Ont. – Winner: Shone Evans
Sat. June 9 – South Buxton Raceway – Merlin, Ont.
Sun. June 17 – Humberstone Speedway – Port Colborne, Ont.
Sat. July 28 – Merrittville Speedway – Thorold, Ont.
Fri. Aug. 3 – Ohsweken Speedway – Ohsweken, Ont.
Sun. Aug. 12 – Humberstone Speedway – Port Colborne, Ont.
Sat. Aug. 18 – Brighton Speedway – Brighton, Ont.
Sun. Sept. 2 – Humberstone Speedway – Port Colborne, Ont.
Fri. Sept. 7 – Ohsweken Speedway – Ohsweken, Ont.