AKWESASNE -- Jeff Sykes of Edwards captured his first win of the season in the Frenchie's Chevrolet DIRTcar 358 Modifieds on Friday night at Mohawk International Raceway.
In other action on Parkway Country Polaris night, Chris Raabe (Napanee, ONT) won his lucky 13th DIRTcar Sportsman feature, Ricky Thompson scored his fourth DIRTcar Pro Stock feature win and Owen White held off Derek Colbert to win his first career Bandit feature.
Sykes has two MIR 358 Modified championships on his resume, one for car owner Paul Dyke and the other for car owner Jeff Marshall. When he hooked up with Junior David and the David Motorsports team just a few weeks ago, everyone in the pit area knew they would be a threat to win.
Sykes fulfilled that expectation on Friday night, leading every lap of the 358 Modified feature and holding off two-time MIR champion Pat "Flyin'" O'Brien (Kingston, ONT) as they worked through heavy lapped traffic, brining bring home the checkered flag for Junior and Tracy David.
The win was especially poignant for the David team as Sykes took over the ride formerly driven by Mitch Jock, who passed away due to illness earlier this season -- Sykes dedicated the win to Mitch and the David family and received a loud ovation from the fans in the grandstands.
Sykes took the lead at the drop of the green flag, with Gardner Stone (Middlebury, VT) and Pat O'Brien close behind.
A series of early cautions kept the field tightly bunched, as O'Brien moved past Stone for second on a lap six restart. On lap seven, current 358 Modified point leader Carey Terrance (Akwesasne) dove low to the inside of Stone while battling for third spot and slammed into one of the uke tires in the infield, heavily damaging his car and ending his night.
Sykes easily kept the top spot during an extended green flag period, with O'Brien four car lengths behind as the leaders started working lapped traffic just before lap 20.
Todd Stewart (Kingston, Ont.) worked to the high side of Stone to take third spot on lap 19, while Perry Francis (Akwesasne) followed that line a lap later to take fourth.
O'Brien pulled alongside Sykes in the final two laps as they wove through lapped traffic, but Sykes was able to shoot forward and cross the finish line by a two car length margin over O'Brien. Stewart finished third, Francis fourth and Stone rounded out the top five for his best finish of the season.
Jody Swamp (Akwesasne) put his new car in the top spot at the drop of the green flag for the Pro Stocks and looked like he was headed for his first win of the season, but Ricky Thompson (Akwesasne) dove to the low line on lap 17 and got Swamp loosened up enough to slip by and charge on for his fourth Pro Stock win of the season.
Swamp was forced to settle for second, with Dion Oakes (Akwesasne) third, Claudia Tarbell (Akwesasne) with her best finish of the season in fourth, and Rod Tarbell (Akwesasne) fifth.
The race was stopped on lap 12 for a major pile-up: Dave Bissonnette (Alexandria) was battling for a top-five spot when his car suddenly slowed going into turn three, right in the middle of the track.
Before he could take evasive action, the three cars engaged in a three-wide battle for sixth position immediately behind him slammed into the rear of Bissonnette's car, sending him spinning wildly up over the turn three banking and ripping the entire right side sheet metal off the car.
Dave Papineau, Corey Wheeler and Louie Jackson were the other cars involved in the spectacular pile-up, with only Papineau returning to action; there were no injuries in the melee.
In the DIRTcar Sportsman, Kristian Smoke (Akwesasne) continued his great rookie season, leading the first five laps of the feature, but Chris Raabe powered low to the lead on lap nine and charged on for his 13th win of the season at MIR.
Smoke held second until lap 13, when the right rear tire came off the car while entering turn three, sending Smoke spinning around and backing into the turn three retaining wall -- the incident ended Smoke's night. Dylan Evoy (Brockville, Ont.) inherited the runner-up spot and while he was able to power to the high side and pull even with Raabe on a couple of occasions, Raabe was able to use the lower, shorter line to pick up the win.
Evoy finished second with Travis Back (Akwesasne) emerging from a great side-by-side battle with Rob Winters (Lisbon) to finish third.
Derek Colbert (Norwood) grabbed the early race lead in the Bandit division and worked to hold off Bennett White (Akwesasne) but a lap seven restart gave Owen White (Akwesasne) the opening he needed to power to the low side of the speedway and get past Colbert.
With Colbert hounding him to the finish line, Owen White, a former Enduro champion, charged on to capture his first career Bandit win.
Colbert finished second with Peter Cename (Plattsburgh) sneaking into third in the final laps.
A doubleheader is on tap for this coming week at Mohawk International Raceway and the final weekend of racing is just three weeks away. Wednesday, Sept. 1 is the rescheduled "Battle at Eastern Door 100" for the World of Outlaws Late Models, with a $20,000 first prize to the winner out of a total purse of $120,000.
Wednesday night's racing will kick off with the last chance B-Main for the Outlaw Late Models and then the 100 lap feature event.
Also on the card will be the Mr. DIRTcar Pro Stock tour with a 50 lap feature and a full program of racing for the Bandits. Racing starts at 7 PM.
On Friday, September 3rd, Frenchie's Chevrolet presents the Labor Day Shoot-out, with the 358 Modifieds featured in a 50-lap main event. This is the third and final round of the Frenchie's Chevrolet American Revolution series.
Friday night will be the final night of points for the 2010 season, with the 358 Modifieds, Sportsman, Pro Stocks and Bandits all in action -- all four 2010 MIR track champions will be crowned. Racing gets underway at 7:45 p.m.
There will be a one week break and then Mohawk International Raceway will wrap-up its season on the weekend of September 17th-19th with its first ever triple-header weekend.
Friday, September 17th, A&M Beverage presents the Mr. DIRTcar 358 Modified tour, with a 75-lap main event, along with the Mr. DIRTcar Sportsman tour 50-lap feature and open competition Bandits.
Saturday, September 18th, SUNY Canton presents the second appearance of the SuperDIRT Big Block Modified tour, with a 100-lap main event; the CRSA 305 winged Sprint cars will also make their first ever appearance at MIR on Saturday night.
The season comes to a close on Sunday, September 19th, with a special noon starting time for the annual IronMan Slick Track Enduro 100, a special race for street-type cars running on a water-slicked surface. FRIDAY, AUGUST 27, 2010:
PARKWAY COUNTRY POLARIS NIGHT FRENCHIE'S CHEVROLET DIRTcar 358 MODIFIEDS (25 laps): Jeff Sykes, Pat O'Brien, Todd Stewart, Perry Francis, Gardner Stone, Clayton Benedict, Tom Jock Jr., John Lazore, Dave Heaslip, Mike Perrotte, Roy Delormier, Del LeGrow, Ryan Jacobs, Roy Tarbell, Billy Cook, Melvin Rush, Todd Stone, Rick Miller, Preston Forbes, Carey Terrance, Casey Swamp, Ryan Helm, Derrick Martin.
DIRTcar SPORTSMAN (20 laps): Chris Raabe, Dylan Evoy, Travis Back, Brad Winters, Brent Kelsey, Dillon Sallows, Jenna David, Robbie Ezard, Josh Jock, Steve Barber, Tom Benedict, Sheldon Hoogwerf, Christine Martin, Kristian Smoke. DNS: Shawn Burke.
DIRTcar PRO STOCKS (20 laps): Ricky Thompson, Jody Swamp, Dion Oakes, Claudia Tarbell, Rod Tarbell, Roch Aubin, Harvey Arquette Jr., Billy Woodward Jr., Allen Peters, William Adams, David Papineau, Dave Bissonnette, David Sawatis, Thunder Anderson, Corey Wheeler, Louie Jackson, Stephane LeBrun, Mikey Blais. DNS: Scott Kocher.
BANDITS (12 laps): Owen White, Derek Colbert, Peter Cename, Bennett White, Scott Mere, John Green, Henry Lamica, Brad Fish, Gary Sharlow, Darryl Mitchell, Tammy Rogers, Joseph Barnes, Jonathan Oliver, Nolan Swamp, Andrew Fish, Trent Benedict, Jason Crites, Thunder Anderson Jr., Joey Foster.
Mohawk International Raceway is located midway between the Seaway International Bridge to Cornwall, ONT and the Akwesasne Mohawk Casino. From Route 37, turn south onto Frogtown Road. Racing is held on Friday nights at 7:45 PM from May through September, featuring the Frenchie's Chevrolet DIRTcar 358 Modifieds, Sportsman and Pro Stocks, as well as the Bandit division.
The website address is www.MohawkInternationalRaceway.com. The MIR office is 518-358-3225 and on race days, the track number is 518-358-9017. The track is owned and operated by Mohawk International Raceway, LLC.