Warren Mahoney Tops Merrittville Field
Sweeps SOS Heat, Dash and Feature Races
By Dave Cook, Media Officer
Grand Island drivers in bold
Thorold, Ontario, August 16, 2003. . . Warren Mahoney of Lefroy, Ontario picked up his second feature win of the season when the Southern Ontario Sprints (SOS) championship tour visited Merrittville Speedway Saturday night.
The victory moved the 2001 series champion to within striking distance of taking the series lead when the action goes to Ohsweken Speedway Friday (August 22) as series points leader Glenn Styers, owner of the Ohsweken Speedway, finished fifth losing valuable ground in his quest for a championship title this season.
Points are paid for finishing positions in the qualifying heats as well as the feature race and Mahoney scored maximum points when he swept the evening, including the Dash for Cash.
Mahoney and Grand Island, N.Y. driver Tim Phillips both shared second row starting positions and between them, staged a race-long duel for the last half of the 20-lap run over Merrittville’s 3-8 mile slightly banked clay oval. Tim Phillips was never more than one car away from Mahoney for the first half of the race.
Rookie driver Kyle Patrick of Tilbury, Ontario, started on the point and led the first five laps with Sanborn, N.Y. driver Curt Sherwood running second for the first three tours before Mahoney passed to take the position. The first five laps, however, were riddled with four restarts due to cautions when Jim Porter of Grand Island, N.Y. and Mark Schulz of Newfane, New York, tangled to bring out the first caution. Joel Lehman of Elora, Ontario, spun at the restart and then again the next restart as he was fighting an ill-handling car. The race got underway but within two laps the yellow flag flew again when Peter Ucci of Lancaster, N.Y. spun.
Finally the 18-car field settled into a race with Mahoney, Patrick, Tim Phillips, Styers, and Keith Dempster of Alton, Ontaio running in close order. Curt Sherwood, who had dropped back to seventh, encountered problems on lap 13 forcing yet another caution flag. At the restart Tim Phillips moved past Patrick and two laps later Dempster moved ahead of Styers. The finishing order at the flag was Mahoney, Tim Phillips, Patrick, Dempster, Styers and newcomer Kevin Loveys of Hamilton, Ontario.
Loveys, who is crew chief for Glenn Styers, was making his racing debut in his boss’s backup car. This was in fact his first ever race in any type of car and obviously acquitted himself well, even to his own surprise.
“ I thought I was lapped. I can’t believe my finish. I don’t think it has sunk in yet,” said the new rookie sensation. Loveys background has been as crew chief, last year for Burlington, Ontario’s Ryan Conium and this year with Styers. Loveys said when Conium started the American World of Outlaw and All Stars tour full time, he decided life on the road wasn’t in his plans. By the sounds of things, maybe being a crew chief for other drivers may not be in his plans for too much longer.
Tim Phillips was elated following the race and said that he might have blown his chance at winning just toward the end when he drove a little hard into one of the corners.
“I over shot the turn. I went in so hard that I just blew any chance at passing Warren. I should have slowed down just a little,” he said.
Mahoney said his car was handling well through turns one and two but not so well in the others. “I think that Phillips had a better car in turns three and four. But I can tell you I wasn’t about to give up. At least not easily,” said Mahoney.
Heat One: 1. Kyle Patrick, Tilbury, Ontario; 2. Keith Dempster, Alton, Ontario; 3. Tim Phillips, Grand Island, N.Y.; 4. Glenn Styers, Ohsweken, Ontario; 5. Bob Crawford, Sutton, Ontario; 6. Kevin Loveys, Hamilton, Ontario; 7. Jim Porter, Grand Island, N.Y.; 8. Mark Schulz, Newfane, N.Y.; 9. Phil Armishaw, Mount Hope, Ontario
Heat Two: 1. Warren Mahoney, Lefroy, Ontario; 2. Paul Ballantyne, Brantford, Ontario; 3. Curt Sherwood, Sanborn, N.Y.; 4. Dave MacLeod, Tonawanda, N.Y.; 5. Joel Lehman, Elora, Ontario; 6. Frank Baranowski, Hamilton, Ontario; 7. Peter Ucci, Lancaster, N.Y.; 8. Dick Mahoney, Newmarket, Ontario. Did not run due to late arrival, Vinnie Christiano Jr., Tonawanda, N.Y.
Dash For Cash: 1. Warren Mahoney; 2. Dempster; 3. Patrick; 4. Ballantyne.
Feature: 1. W. Mahoney; 2. Tim Phillips; 3. Patrick; 4. Dempster; 5. Styers; 6. Loveys; 7. Jim Porter; 8. Schulz; 9. Crawford; 10. Armishaw; 11. Ballantyne; 12. Baranowski; 13. Ucci; 14. Christiano Jr.; 15. Sherwood; 16. MacLeod; 17. Lehman; 18. D. Mahoney.
Next race: Ohsweken Speedway, August 22 (Friday)