By TIM BALTZ
AKWESASNE -- It was a big night of racing this past Friday night at Mohawk International Raceway as the second round of the Frenchie's "Chevy Runs Deep" 358 Modified Series was on tap along with great racing action in all divisions kicking off Independence Day weekend.
The 358 Modifieds were set for the second leg of the Chevy series as birthday boy Gage Morin and 5 Mile Point Speedway regular Kevin Bates led the field to the green and Morin quickly jumped into the top spot as Billy Dunn, Larry Welling Jr. Kevin Bates and Danny O'Brien completed the top five in the early going. Morin had a stout race car, but last week's winner Billy Dunn was on the charge and took the lead away from Morin and would jump out to a commanding lead over the next nice laps. On lap 11, Dexter Stacey and Tommy Jock Jr. tangled in the middle of the back stretch, bringing out the first caution flag. On the restart, Morin would get the advantage as Dunn, Welling, Bates and Brian McDonald rounded out the top five. Try as he may, Morin couldn't hold on as Dunn would retake the top spot as McDonald, Welling and Chris Raabe would try to keep pace. Dunn had built up a near four-second lead by the halfway point until the yellow flew again on lap 27 for Matt Woodruff, who clipped an infield tire on the front stretch breaking the front end on his machine. When the green flew again Dunn marched away from the field as McDonald, Raabe, Carey Terrance and Morin continued to round out the top five. Raabe started the event back in the 12th spot and was putting the pressure on McDonald for the runner up spot. On lap 30, Raabe used the low lane to work his way to second and try to close in on the leader as Billy Dunn began to enter into lapped traffic. On lap 31, the yellow flew again as Kevin Bates broke a front end on his car ending a great run. When the green flew Dunn had clear race track and would charge out to the lead over Raabe, McDonald, Terrance and Ryan Arbuthnot. With the race going green the remainder of the event, nobody was catching the two-time track champion as Billy Dunn collected his second win in a row over Chris Raabe, Brian McDonald, Carey Terrance and Ryan Arbuthnot.
The Sportsman division was set to go for their 25-lap feature go and rookie Brianna Ladouceur was looking for redemption as she took the lead at the drop of the green flag over Brad Winters, Billy Cook, Mike Stacey and Bryan Green. Much like the previous week Ladouceur was on cruise control as she opened up a huge lead on the rest of the field by lap four. On lap five, the first yellow flew for Dylan Evoy as he slowed in turn three, but Evoy would return to the field and put on a show from the back of the field. On the restart Ladouceur was quick and opened up another big lead as behind her Corey Wheeler was on his way to the front. After starting 12th, he patiently made his way up to second on lap nine and was in pursuit of Brianna Ladouceur as they approached the halfway point. Ladouceur entered into lapped traffic and this is where Wheeler made his move. On lap 15 Wheeler used a lapped car as a pick to take over the lead but Ladouceur had troubles negotiating the lapped car and would spin off turn two ending another fantastic run and a chance for her first-ever win. On the restart, Wheeler continued to lead, but remember Dylan Evoy who slowed on lap five and had to go to the pits? He was on a mission and was not content to ride in the back of the field as he made his way into the top five getting by Wyatt Mullin and Zach Arquiett and would close in on the leader with four laps to go. On the final lap, Wheeler was in complete control until the caution flew for Ryan Helm who spun on the backstretch. This set up a one-lap dash to the checkered flag as Wheeler stayed low while Evoy charged to the high side when the green flag flew. The top two raced side-by-side into turn three and Corey Wheeler was able to hold off the two-time track champion for his third straight win of the season. Evoy settled for second while Zach Arquiett had his career best finish of third. Mike Maresca came from 25th starting spot to finish up fourth and Wyatt Mullin rounded out the top five.
In the Mod Lite division, Mathieu Robinson looked to have the best car in the early going of the 15 lap feature event but new comer Jesse Hudson had other plans. Hudson a Brockville Speedway karting regular, moved into second just past the halfway point and put pressure on the leader as Harley Brown made his way to third making it a three-car battle for the win. With five laps to go, Harley Brown's great night came to a disappointing end as he spun in turn two, brining out the yellow. On the final restart, Hudson did all he could but Robinson was too strong as he collected his second win of the year over Hudson, Dan Reif, Kevin Foster and Harley Brown, who rallied back for fifth at the checkers.
The Bandit division had an exciting battle for the win as Corey Castell took the lead at the drop of the green but it didn't last long as he spun in turn two. On the same lap, Randy Whiting would also go off the back stretch. This left Matt Zira in the lead with Scott Banker and Shane Ray rounding out the top three. Randy Whiting was on the charge from the back of the field as he quickly made his move to second at the halfway point and would have a spirited battle with Matt Zira through the final five laps. On the white flag lap, Whiting made the winning move taking the lead and would hold it the entire way for his second win in a row over Zira, Shane Ray, Corey Castell and Scott Banker.
Next week. Cedarview Golf Course will be on hand as the Sportsman will have the night off, but, the Mohawk Racing Parts Pro Stock Series will be in town along with the 358 Modifieds, Mod Lites and Bandit divisions.
Frenchie's "Chevy Runs Deep" 358 Modified Series
BILLY DUNN, Chris Raabe, Brian McDonald, Carey Terrance, Ryan Arbuthnot, Danny O'Brien, Tom Conklin, Lance Willix, Gage Morin, Jordan McCreadie, Casey Swamp, Travis Stacey, John Mulder, Joel Doiron, David Papineau, Roy Delormier, Delbert Legrow, Charlie Rice, Larry Welling Jr., Kevin Bates, Matt Woodruff, Dexter Stacey, Tommy Jock Jr., Skip Mackenzie, (DNS) Preston Forbes
COREY WHEELER, Dylan Evoy, Zach Arquiett, Mike Maresca, Wyatt Mullin, Brent Kelsey, Ryan Stabler, Mike Arquiett, Brad Winters, Louie Jackson Jr., Joel Hargrave, Billy Cook, Ricky Thompson, Adam Rozon, Neal Provost, Bryan Green, Mike Stacey, Delbert Legrow Jr., Scott Mere, Scott McGill, Andrew Fish, Jasmine David, Darryl Mitchell, Brianna Ladouceur, Robert Delormier, Greg Snyder, Ryan Helm, Thomas Cook, (DNS) Darryl Nutting
MATHIEU ROBINSON, Jesse Hudson, Dan Reif, Kevin Foster, Harley Brown, Tim Reif, Brad Reif, Nick Mallette, Henry Lamica, Dan Desnoyers, Scott Waldrif
RANDY WHITING, Matt Zira, Shane Ray, Corey Castell, Scott Banker, Darryl Mainville, Tim Tupia