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posted August 19, 2001 10:43 PM UIN: 16262997
By Dave Cook
Thorold, Ontario, ( Aug. 18); Rick Wilson of Joyceville, Ontario loves his nickname The Joyceville Jet. His fans get a first hand view of the name stencilled on the leading edge of his sprint car’s wing, but his fellow competitors in the Southern Ontario Sprints (SOS) only got to view the wing from behind Saturday night.

Wilson, making only his fifth start of the season in the VSM Abrasives 2001 Tour, wasted no time establishing his dominance at the Thorold, Ontario Merrittville Speedway. Wilson started the 20-lap event from the inside second row and by the end of the first lap of the 3/8 mile slightly banked clay oval, he was holding a solid lead. But he wasn’t taking anything for granted.

“I was really worried about the Six Car (Ryan Coniam). He has been running well all night. We made a few changes and they proved to be the right ones. I can’t thank my crew enough. Charlie Price hit it right on tonight with the set up,” said Wilson following his green-to checkered flag win.

The battle behind Wilson started to take shape very quickly as Tim Phillips of Grand Island, N.Y., Curt Sherwood of Sanborn, N.Y., John Riegling of Chatham, Ontario and Warren Mahoney of Lefroy, Ontario were running in a tightly packed group while Keith Dempster of Alton, Ontario and Coniam, of Burlington, Ontario were close behind.

Unfortunately a caution flag was thrown on lap five when Mahoney coasted to a stop on the front straight with a blown engine. At the restart, Wilson again took off with Phillips second and Coniam now leading Sherwood and Dempster in a battle for third place.

At the half distance Wilson and Coniam had a grip on their respective positions while Phillips, who was running third, was delighting the packed crowd with wheelies down the front straight. By lap 18 Wilson opened a five second lead over Coniam with Phillips third, Sherwood fourth and Dempster fifth.

Riegling, **** Mahoney of Newmarket, Ontario and Mike Galajda of Delaware, Ontario were grouped together at the line while Dave MacLeod of Kenmore, N.Y and Brad Knabs of Delevan, N.Y rounded out the top 10 positions.

The event marked the first appearance of the Southern Ontario Sprints at Merrittville, which is unlike most other tracks the SOS visit on the VSM Abrasives Tour. Merrittville is a smooth, very quick ‘D-shaped’ facility and of the 21 drivers on hand for the race, only Wilson, Coniam, Dempster and Sherwood had previously competed there. Sherwood, a rookie in the SOS, was making his first-ever sprint car start at Merrittville.

Their knowledge of the circuit showed as Wilson and Sherwood, who ran one-two in the Signet Tools first heat, advanced to the Indy Racing Northern Lights Road to Indy Dash. Coniam and Warren Mahoney, who finished in that order in the second Signet Tools heat, rounded out the Dash field. Coniam won the Dash with Wilson, Sherwood and Mahoney finishing in that order.

Results: VSM Abrasives Feature Race-20 Laps: 1. Rick Wilson, Joyceville, Ont.; 2.Ryan Coniam, Burlington, Ont.; 3. Tim Phillips, Grand Island, N.Y.; 4. Curt Sherwood, Sanborn, N.Y.; 5. Keith Dempster, Alton, Ont..; 6. John Riegling, Chatham, Ont.; 7. **** Mahoney, Newmarket, Ont.; 8. Mike Galajda, Delaware, Ont.; 9. Dave MacLeod, Kenmore, N.Y.; 10. Brad Knab, Delevan, N.Y.; 11. Charles McCann, London,Ont.; 12. Adam West, Ridgetown, Ont.; 13. Jim Porter, Grand Island, N.Y.; 14. Bruce Waddell, Canfield, Ont.; 15. Vinnie Christiano Jr., Tonawanda, N.Y.; 16. Mark Christiano, Tonawanda, N.Y.; 17. Dean St. Denis, Windsor, Ont; 18. Warren Mahoney, Lefroy, Ont.; 19. Bob Mesmer, Grand Island, N.Y..; DNS- Jon Banas, Burford, Ont.; Peter J. Ucci, Lancaster, N.Y.:

Indianapolis Racing Northern Lights Series: Road To Indy Dash:

1. Coniam; 2. Wilson; 3. Sherwood; 4.W. Mahoney

Signet Tools Heat One- 10 Laps -1. Wilson; 2. Sherwood; 3. Dempster; 4. Riegling; 5.Mesmer; 6. MacLeod; 7. Waddell; 8. M. Christiano; 9. Porter; 10 St. Denis:

Signet Tools Heat Two-10 Laps-1. Coniam; 2. W. Mahoney; 3. Phillips; 4. Galajda; 5.Knab; 6. D. Mahoney; 7. West; 8.McCann; 9. Banas: dns Peter J. Ucci,

Extreme Raceware Contingency Awards- Wilson, Coniam, Phillips, Knab, W. Mahoney

Fram Sure Grip Award- Curt Sherwood
VSM Abrasives 2001 Tour Championship Standings:

(1) W. Mahoney 1749; (2) Dempster 1712; (3) Phillips 1578; (4) Riegling 1525; (5) D. Mahoney 1492; (6) McCann 1466; (7) Galajda 1394; (8) Mesmer 1342; (9) West 1293; (02x) Sherwood 1236; (22) Porter 1198; (12) V. Christiano Jr. 827; (13) Wilson 800; (14) Waddell 660; (15) M. Christiano 621; (16) Coniam 592; (17) Shawn Felt 457; (18) Ryan Hunsinger 269; (19) MacMillan 250; (20) Banas 180; (21) George Ely 172; (22) Jerry Whitney 146; (23) MacLeod 127; (24) Knab 123; (25) Danny Johnson 104; (26) St. Denis 98; (27) Ucci 60;

IRNLS Road To Indy Dash Championsh

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