AKWESASNE -- Todd Stewart captured his second Frenchie's Chevrolet DIRTcar 358 Modified feature win of the season after a trading the lead with Gage Morin throughout the final ten laps Friday night at Mohawk International Raceway.
In other action, Sheldon Hoogwerf broke into the win column in the DIRTcar Sportsman division, Louie "Action" Jackson got by Stephane LeBrun with a last lap pass to get his third Pro Stock feature win, and Joey Foster won his fifth Bandit feature in a race that was red-flagged on the final lap after a spectacular roll-over by John Green, who was running second at the time of the incident.
The Frenchie's Chevrolet 358 Modified feature was red-flagged before the first lap could be completed: As the field roared out of turn two on the first lap, Dan "Wild Thing" Jalbert hopped over the front tire of Dave Heaslip and slammed into the backstretch Jersey barriers, rolling his car. While the car suffered heavy damage, Jalbert emerged without injury.
When the race restarted, Ryan Jacobs jumped into the early race lead, with Heaslip quickly moving into second and Lee Ladouceur close behind in third. John Lazore quickly moved forward, darting alongside Ladouceur to challenge for third on lap three, before taking the spot. While Jacobs pulled away from the rest of the field, Gage Morin moved into fourth spot by lap six and closed into to challenge Lazore for third.
By the halfway point, Jacobs had opened up a lead of several car lengths, but Heaslip's great second-place run came to an end as the right rear tire flew off the car while working through turn four. Heaslip's car spun to the top side of the track, and the ensuing scramble behind him found John Lazore getting turned around.
Lazore rejoined the field at the rear and Heaslip was also able to get a new tire and return before the race resumed.
The restart put Todd Stewart on Jacobs's back bumper, and Stewart immediately challenged for the lead when the green flag waved. As the leaders came out of turn four on lap 17, Jacobs swung high, Stewart tried the middle lane, but that left the low lane wide open and Gage Morin made a daring three-wide pass to motor into the lead. From there on out, it was Morin and Stewart, pulling away from the rest of the field and swapping the lead several times over the next six laps. Morin had stretched out a lead of about three car lengths as he completed lap 22, but as he
entered turn one, he hopped over the cushion, losing a great deal of momentum, and Stewart motored to the low side to take over the lead. Stewart stayed on the throttle to grab his second checkered flag of the season at MIR, with Morin second, Perry Francis getting by Jacobs in the final laps for third, Jacobs fourth and Lee Ladouceur rallying into fifth spot.
The Sportsman feature was a wide-open affair as Chris Raabe, who'd scored five consecutive wins going into Friday's race, broke on lap one and was done for the evening. The Sportsman drivers, knowing that a new face would be in victory lane, drove very aggressively, with Robert Bublak taking the early race lead, followed by rookie Christian Smoke and Sheldon Hoogwerf. Multiple tangles slowed the pace, but Hoogwerf moved into the runner-up spot and began challenging Bublak for the top spot by lap seven. Patience paid off for Hoogwerf, as he used a low pass coming out of turn four on lap twelve to take the lead. Despite a couple of late race cautions, Hoogwerf would lead the final eight laps to capture his first Sportsman win at MIR.
Rookie driver Brent Kelsey made a great run to get by Bublak for the second spot, while Bublak, Brad Winters and Jeff Phillips rounded out the top five.
The Pro Stock division saw Mike Pecore lead the first three leaps, but Billy Woodward Jr. moved into the top spot. Woodward would leap until the halfway point, fending off the challenges of Ricky Thompson and Stephane LeBrun. The race was red-flagged on lap 10 when Rod Tarbell's car got turned sideways in turn four and did a quick snap-roll; Tarbell walked away uninjured.
The restart saw Ricky Thompson and LeBrun trade the lead several times while Woodward got shuffled back a couple of spots. As Thompson and LeBrun fought for the top spot, Louie Jackson moved in to join the leaders. Thompson and LeBrun battled side-by-side, swapping the lead and driving lanes, but as the white flag waved, Jackson made his move, diving low coming out of turn four to lead lap 19 by a foot.
Jackson took advantage of his low line to power ahead coming out of turn two and he charged on to capture his third Pro Stock feature win of the season at MIR, with LeBrun and Thompson hounding him to the finish line, followed by Woodward and last week's winner Dave Bissonnette.
In the Bandits, John Green took the early race lead and led the first six laps, but Joey Foster dove low going into turn one on lap number seven and took the lead going down the backstretch. Foster would go on to win his fifth feature of the season.
Green put everything he had into trying to run down Foster, but coming out of turn four on the final lap, he slammed into the frontstretch wall and flipped twice, stopping just inches from the finish line and bringing out the red flag. Green emerged from his car shaken but uninjured. As Foster had already crossed the finish line to win the race, the race was declared complete.
A doubleheader is up next for Mohawk International Raceway, with a full racing program on Friday June 18th and a special Wednesday night show on Wednesday, June
23rd, featuring the SuperDIRT Big Block Modified tour.
Friday night, June 18th, is Student Night presented by Swamp's Performance. Student admission (college and high school) with valid ID or report card is just $5, with a full show of racing for the Frenchie's Chevrolet DIRTcar 358 Modifieds, DIRTcar Sportsman, DIRTcar Pro Stocks and Bandits. Racing starts at 7:45 PM.
Then, on Wednesday, June 23rd, Mohawk International Raceway and Jreck Subs proudly welcome the SuperDIRT Big Block Modified tour, with the Big Blocks scheduled for a 100-lap feature event. This will be the first time in 15 years that the SuperDIRT Big Block Modified tour has visited MIR and all of the top names in DIRT Modified racing will be on hand to challenge for the win. Also on the racing card will be the Mr. DIRTcar Sportsman Tour, with a 50-lap feature event for the Sportsman. Advance tickets and reserved seats are available by calling the MIR Track Office at 518-358-322 during normal business hours, Monday-Friday, 10 AM-5PM.
FRIDAY, JUNE 11th -- BRASS HORSE BANQUET HALL & MEETING CENTER NIGHT
FRENCHIE'S CHEVROLET DIRTcar 358 MODIFIEDS (25 laps): Todd Stewart, Gage Morin, Perry Francis, Ryan Jacobs, Lee Ladouceur, Carey Terrance, Todd Stone, Gardner Stone, Roy Delormier, Roy Tarbell, John Lazore, Tom Jock Jr., Clayton Benedict, Casey Swamp, Billy Cook, Dave Heaslip, Ryan Helm, Melvin Rush, Derek Martin, Del LeGrow, Tammy Jalbert. Dan Jalbert.
DIRTcar SPORTSMAN (20 laps): Sheldon Hoogwerf, Brent Kelsey, Robert Bublak, Brad Winters, Jeff Phillips, Cory Winters, Mark Dixon, Jenna David, Mitch Primeau, Christian Smoke, Dylan Evoy, Travis Back, Chris Raabe, Josh Jock.
DIRTcar PRO STOCKS (20 laps): Louie Jackson, Stephane LeBrun, Ricky Thompson, Billy Woodward Jr., Dave Bissonnette, Corey Wheeler, Dion Oakes, Roch Aubin, Ryan Stabler, Dave Papineau, Trevor Arquiett, Jody Swamp, Claudia Tarbell, Marc LaLonde, Moses White, Harvey Arquette Jr., Rod Tarbell, Mike Pecore, Thunder Anderson, Wade Mason.
BANDITS (12 laps): Joey Foster, Peter Cename, Derek Colbert, Scott Mere, Gary Sharlow, Andrew Giroux, Jason Crites, Ron Tyo Jr., Cory Castell, Bennett White, John Green, Andrew Fish, Darryl Mitchell, Jonathan Oliver, Thunder Anderson Jr., Joseph Barnes.
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. Visit us on the web at www.MohawkInternationalRaceway.com. The MIR office is 518-358-3225 and on race days, the track number is 518-358-9017.