AKWESASNE -- Fans were treated to an action-packed night Friday at the Mohawk International Raceway, which also included a special TUSA Mod Lite Series 20 lap special event.
The 358 Modifieds took center stage for their 25 lap feature event. Gage Morin took advantage of his outside pole position as he led the field into turn 1 over pole sitter Joel Doiron.
Morin had a fast car on this night as he raced out to a quick lead with Doiron, Carey Terrance, Billy Dunn and Ryan Arbuthnot rounding out the top 5. Terrance had one of the fastest cars on the race track as well and was on the charge to the front of the field.
The first yellow flew on lap 9 bunching the field up for a restart. When the green flew Dunn was able to use his favorite line on the race track as he worked the bottom of the speedway to take the lead as Morin tried to hold off Terrance for position #2.
By lap 14 Dunn had built up a sizeable margin on the battle for 2nd which involved Morin and Terrance.
But with those 2 drivers battling hard for the lead this brought opening night winner Danny O'Brien and last year's DirtCar 358 Rookie of the Year Ryan Arbuthnot up to challenge in the top 5.
On lap 15 pole sitter Joel Doiron slowed in turn 3 bringing out the caution flag. On the restart Dunn grabbed the lead with Morin, O'Brien, Terrance and now Chris Raabe rounding out the top 5. Dunn was looking to pull away but O'Brien slowly ran down the leader and was within striking distance until he nearly spun in turn 4 allowing Raabe to charge up to second.
Carey Terrance would round out the top 3. With all the challenges from behind Billy Dunn was able to hold the competition at bay and pick up his first win of the season over Raabe, Terrance, O'Brien and Tom Conklin edged out Ryan Arbuthnot for 5th at the checkers.
In Sportsman action rookie Joel Hargrave raced out to the early lead with Brianna Ladouceur, Mike Stacey, Corey Wheeler and Wyatt Mullin completing the top 5.
Lap 2 was the toughest lap to complete on this night as the yellow flew 3 times for multi car accidents including a 5 car pileup on the front stretch. Dylan Evoy also experienced front end issues under the same caution in turn 3.
When the drivers finally completed lap 2 Brianna Ladouceur was on a mission as she charged to the high side making a bid for the lead.
On lap 5 Ladouceur finally made the pass for the lead over Joel Hargrave and Corey Wheeler.
Ladouceur had battled health issues to start the season off but is back to 100% and it showed as she pulled away building up a 2.5 second advantage as the rest of the field tried to keep pace.
Ladouceur was set to enter into lapped traffic on lap 11 until she lost control of her machine in turn 4 and spun to the infield bringing out the yellow. This left Hargrave back in the lead but on the restart Corey Wheeler was making a serious bid for 2 in a row as he sailed by Hargrave to take the lead away on the high side on lap 14.
Wheeler began to open up a sizeable lead on the field as behind him Mike Maresca, Louie Jackson Jr., Joel Hargrave and Ricky Thompson rounded out the top 5.
Corey Wheeler proved he means business in 2014 as he cruised on for his 2nd win in a row over Mike Maresca who had his best finish of the year in 2nd. Louie Jackson Jr., Ricky Thompson and Adam Rozon completed the top 5 at the finish.
The TUSA Mod Lite Series was on hand for a special 20 lap event.
Mohawk regular Harley Brown showed the invaders he wasn't about to back down as he took the lead at the drop of the green over Jeff May, Jim Bogett, Mathieu Robinson and Paul Klager. Brown would have a fierce battle in the opening 8 laps holding off Jeff May until he spun out in turn 2 bringing out the caution.
This left Jeff May with the lead with Bogett and Klager completing the top 3. The red came out quickly as Brad Reif and Cody Fleming tangled in turn 2 sending Brad Reif off the back stretch.
At the same time in turn 3, Dan Desnoyers flipped his machine. Both Reif and Desnoyers were able to climb out of their cars unhurt while Fleming rejoined at the back of the pack.
On the restart Jim Bogett was able to grab the lead back from Jeff May but Paul Klager was on the move. Klager was looking for yet another TUSA Series victory at Mohawk and was pressuring Bogett in the final laps.
The top 2 raced side by side on the final lap but Bogett held the perfect line and pulled away off turn 4 to secure the big win over Klager., May, Scott Waldrif and Mod Lite rookie and current go kart racer Jesse Hudson who finished up 5th at the checkers.
In the 10 lap Bandit feature Scott Banker grabbed the lead at the start of the event but his time in the lead would not last long as 2 time winner this season Matt Zira, took the top spot away and began to open up a big lead.
On lap 5 a bid for win #3 came to an end as the front end gave away on Zira's machine. From there Randy Whiting took control and never looked back dominating the final 5 laps to score his 2nd win of the year with Darryl Mitchell, Shane Ray, Francis White and Darryl Mainville making up the top 5 spots.
Next week what a better way to kick off your Independence Day weekend than coming to Mohawk International Raceway for round 2 of the Frenchie's Chevy Runs Deep 358 Modified Series 50 lap event, along with a full card of racing in Sportsman, Mod Lite and Bandits.
The green flag drops at 7:30. Akwesasne Mohawk Casino and MIR will end the night with a massive Fireworks display that you will not want to miss.
Mohawk International Raceway is 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 7:30 PM from May through September, featuring the Frenchie's Chevrolet DIRTcar 358 Modifieds, Sportsman, Pro Stocks, Mod Lites as well as the Bandit division.
More info: www.MohawkInternationalRaceway.com. The MIR office is located at the track, and the phone number is 518-358-9017. The track is owned and operated by Mohawk International Raceway, LLC.