By TIM BALTZ
AKWESASNE - It was a perfect night of racing at Mohawk International Raceway this past Friday night as Twin Leaf Express, Keegan’s Tobacco and Frenchie’s Ford presented a full show.
Their representatives and the fans were treated to some classic battles in all divisions.
The 358 Modifieds took center stage as Billy Dunn took the lead from the pole and looked to have the dominant car in the early going with Carey Terrance, Gage Morin, Ryan Arbuthnot and Chris Raabe making up the top five. By lap 7 Dunn had built up over a five-second advantage as he entered into lapped traffic while Terrance and Moring continued to give chase from second and third. Behind them Chris Raabe and Ryan Arbuthnot had a great battle for the fourth spot which Raabe would take full possession of on lap 9. On lap 11, the first yellow came out for Dexter Stacey who spun in turn 4. On the restart Dunn took the lead but Terrance noticed the outside lane had a lot of grip and used that to charge around Dunn to go up into the lead. Terrance had one of the fastest cars on the track and began to drive away from Dunn building up a half straightaway advantage by lap 17. On lap 20, the yellow flew bunching up the field for another key restart.
When the green flew, three cars tangled on the front stretch bringing the yellow back out. Zach Aubertine received the most damage as he broke the front end on his race car sending him pit side for the night. On the final restart, Dunn tried everything he could to get by Terrance as the top two put on a great show for the fans. On the final lap coming into turn 3 Dunn made one last charge on the high side but Terrance was not to be denied as he held on for his first win of the year over Dunn, Chris Raabe, Gage Morin and Danny O’Brien.
The Frenchie’s Ford “Go Further” Sportsman Series was set to go for 35 laps. Zach Arquiett took advantage of his pole position as he raced out to a quick lead over Brad Winters, Mike Maresca, Mike Arquiett and Darryl Nutting. The lead was short lived for Arquiett as the caution flew for Brad Winters who made contact with Arquiett sending him off turn 2. On the restart, Mike Maresca took the top spot away over Zach and Mike Arquiett, Corey Wheeler and Darryl Nutting. Maresca looked to have the fastest car on the track but the yellow flew again on lap 5 for Winters who broke his front end in turn 2 ending his night. On the restart Maresca continued to stay strong in the top spot as defending track champion held the second spot and remained within striking distance of the leader until the yellow came back out for Justin Lalancette, who slowed in turn 4. When the green came back out Corey Wheeler decided he’d had enough of running 2nd and used the top side of the speedway to get by Maresca on lap 21 with Maresca and Mike Arquiett rounding out the top three. Dylan Evoy noticed how Wheeler got the lead and decided that he would try the top shelf and would make it work as he charged around to take position number 2 away from Maresca and quickly reel in the leader with eight laps to go. On lap 28, Brianna Ladouceur who was running in the top 10 spun coming off turn 2. On the final restart it was a classic battle between Wheeler and Evoy as the top two raced wheel to wheel throughout the final four laps. The defending track champ would not back down as he scored his first ever Frenchie’s Ford Series win over Evoy, Maresca, Ricky Thompson and Mike Arquiett.
The Lightning Sprints from Quebec were also on the card this past Friday night and Charles-David Dumont was making his second ever start and looked fast in the early going as he took over the lead at the drop of the green flag. Tomy Moreau slowed to a stop in turn 2 bringing out the first yellow which brought a very fast Mathieu Bourgoin along side of Dumont for the restart. When the green flew Bourgoin took command of the race. The red flag flew on lap 17 for Jordan Poirier who caught fire in turn 4. Poirier would climb out unhurt. Bourgoin however would pull away on the final restart and cruise to the easy win over Dumont, Eric Sunborg, Guillaume Neiderer and Pierre-Yves Joyal.
In the Bandit division, Matt Zira took the lead from the drop of the green flag in the 10-lap event. Zira was unstoppable on this night as he dominated the caution free race becoming the first two-time winner of the season over last week’s winner Randy Whiting, Corey Castell, Tim Tupia and Darryl Mainville.
This Friday night, the TUSA Mod Lite Series will be in action along with a full show plus the kids tire race. The green flag drops at 7:30 p.m.
For more information, visit the track website at www.MohawkInternationalRaceway.com.