AKWESASNE -- Dan O'Brien of Kingston, Ont. roared from his front row starting spot to lead all 50 laps and win the Chief's Tobacco Outlet 50 for the Frenchie's Chevrolet DIRTcar 358 Modifieds in his first start of the season at Mohawk International Raceway (MIR).
In other racing action, Chris Raabe won his ninth DIRTcar Sportsman feature, Louie Jackson won his fourth DIRTcar Pro Stock feature and Derek Colbert captured his first win of the season in the Bandits.
The O'Brien brothers, Dan and Pat, sat on the front row at the start of the Chief's Tobacco Outlet 50 by virtue of their heat race wins, and from the very start, it was clear that it was going to be a long night for the other Frenchie's Chevrolet DIRTcar 358 Modified racers.
Dan O'Brien dove low going into turn one to take the lead at the drop of the green flag and while a couple of cautions led to early restarts, there was no slowing O'Brien's blistering pace.
Dan and his brother Pat sprinted away from the rest of the field, with Carey Terrance swinging low to move into third on lap two. Behind the leaders, John Lazore and Gage Morin battled for fourth, and from there on back it was a scramble, with drivers running two and three-wide from the beginning of the race and being quite aggressive to get favorable track position.
Dan O'Brien was into lapped traffic by lap ten and a lap later, Pat was on his back bumper. The O'Brien's fought for the lead as they carefully threaded their way around slower cars, but Terrance caught Pat by lap 18 and passed him for the second spot.
A lap-20 caution for the stopped car of Preston Forbes tightened the field back up, and Pat O'Brien used the restart to retake the second spot. Six more quick laps were put in the books, but the caution waved on lap 26 for two separate incidents, as Del LeGrow slammed into an infield uke tire in turn three and Todd Stone hopped over Todd Stewart's right rear tire in turn four and almost slammed into the turn four concrete.
Both drivers returned to the race. On the restart, Dan O'Brien slipped away from Pat and Terrance, who continued their spirited battle for second, with Pat running low and Terrance high as they worked through side-by-side lapped traffic.
Lapped traffic played a key role throughout the final laps of the race, as Terrance and Pat O'Brien caught Dan on lap 40, and while the lapped cars slowed Dan's progress, they also prevented Terrance and Pat from being able to mount a challenge for the lead.
Dan O'Brien broke away from the final group of lapped cars on lap 46 to find a wide-open track and cruised on for the checkered flag, with Terrance outpacing Pat O'Brien at the line for second. Gage Morin survived the battle to capture fourth spot with John Lazore rounding out the top five.
The Pro Stocks again had some fiercely competitive racing but when the checkered flag fell, it was Louie Jackson in victory lane for the fourth time this season. Dave Bissonnette and Dave Papineau traded the lead in the early laps of the event, but Jackson hugged the inside lane of the speedway and moved into the lead on lap 5.
Joey Ladouceur powered alongside Bissonnette for second on the same lap, but Bissonnette held him off for two more laps. Ladouceur finally wrestled second spot away on lap seven but was not fast enough to catch Jackson, who powered on for the win.
Corey Wheeler marched up to third spot on lap 17 and held that position at the checkered flag, with Bissonnette and Papineau completing the top five.
Brent Kelsey led the first two laps of the Sportsman feature but Dylan Evoy used a high, outside pass to take the lead on a lap three restart. Evoy led until Chris Raabe dived low coming out of turn two to capture the lead. Raabe went on to win his ninth Sportsman feature of the season, with Evoy and Kelsey finishing second and third.
The Bandit feature was plagued by numerous cautions, including a lap four scramble when Bennett White and Joey Foster tangled, with nine-time feature winner Foster slamming into an infield uke tire and damaging his racecar, ending his night early. Derek Colbert led the first four laps, but Bob Ray grabbed the lead on a lap five restart.
Scott Mere spun while running third on lap eight and leader Ray was forced to put under caution with a flat tire. This handed the lead back to Colbert, who held off Owen White to capture his first feature win in nearly a year.
White scored second in just his second start of the season with Nolan Swamp on his back bumper for third.
Next Friday night, August 6th, Bailey Ford presents Mohawk Madness featuring the only appearance of the season for the Lucas Oil Empire Super Sprints.
The open-wheeled, alcohol-burning, winged Sprint cars will be competing for a $2,500 first place prize, along with bonus points towards the SUNY Canton New York State mini-series and the Northwood 2 Canadian Sprint car mini-series.
The Frenchie's Chevrolet DIRTcar 358, DIRTcar Sportsman and Bandits will also be on the program, with the first heat race starting at 7:45 PM. (The DIRTcar Pro Stocks will be off so they can compete at the Mohawk Race Parts Pro Stock tour event at Autodrome Granby.)
Upcoming Friday, August 13th, CKON 97.3 presents a full program of racing for the 358 Modifieds, Sportsman, Pro Stocks and Bandits. Friday August 20th and Saturday August 21st will be the first ever appearance of the World of Outlaws Late Models, the nation's premier dirt track touring series.
Qualifying races for the Outlaw Late Models will be held on Friday night (along with a full show of racing for the 358 Modifieds, Sportsman and Bandits).
Saturday night's 100-lap Outlaw Late Model main event will pay $20,000 to win with a $120,000 purse, making it the biggest race ever held in the North Country and the biggest Late Model race ever held in New York State.
The nation's top dirt track drivers will be in attendance, including local stars Tim McCreadie (Watertown) and Tim Fuller (Edwards), who are both in the top 10 in Outlaw Late Model point standings.
The Mr. DIRTcar Pro Stock tour will also have a 50-lap main event and the Bandits will be in action on Saturday, August 21st. MIR is offering a weekend pass for just $50 for general grandstand admission tickets -- World of Outlaws
Late Model weekend passes can be purchased by calling the MIR track office at 518-358-3225.
FRIDAY, JULY 30th -- CHIEF'S TOBACCO OUTLET NIGHT CHIEF'S TOBACCO OUTLET 50 (FRENCHIE'S CHEVROLET DIRTcar 358 MODIFIEDS, 50 laps): Dan O'Brien, Carey Terrance, Pat O'Brien, Gage Morin, John Lazore, Perry Francis, Kyle Jacobs, Brian McDonald, Todd Stone, Dave Heaslip, Todd Stewart, Clayton Benedict, Tom Jock Jr., Roy Delormier, Lee Ladouceur, Mike Perrotte, Roy Tarbell, Ryan Jacobs, Billy Cook, Del LeGrow, Derick Martin, Ryan Helm, Gardner Stone, Brad Shova, Preston Forbes.
DIRTcar SPORTSMAN (20 laps): Chris Raabe, Dylan Evoy, Brent Kelsey, Brad Winters, Travis Back, Kristian Smoke, Shawn Burke, Tom Benedict, Josh Jock, Derek Spellan, Jenna David, Ghislain Lacombe.
DIRTcar PRO STOCKS (20 laps): Louie Jackson, Joey Ladouceur, Corey Wheeler, Dave Bissonnette, David Papineau, Ricky Thompson, PJ Peters, Roch Aubin, Jody Swamp, Stephane LeBrun, Harvey Arquette Jr., Dion Oakes, Billy Woodward Jr., Rod Tarbell, Claudia Tarbell, William Adams, Scott Kocher, Moses White.
BANDITS (12 laps): Derek Colbert, Owen White, Nolan Swamp, Gary Sharlow, John Green, Jason Crites, Jonathan Oliver, Tammy Rogers, Scott Mere, Bennett White, Henry Lamica, Cory Castell, Darryl Mitchell, Joey Foster, Kevin Thompson, Joseph Barnes, Rick Finch, Brad Fish, Peter Cename, Bob Ray.
Mohawk International Raceway is located in Akwesasne, 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 is at 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.