WESTBROOK CAPS CHAMPIONSHIP WITH WIN AT MERRITTVILLE
By Clayton Johns, with files from Steven Petty
THOROLD, Ont. – September 9, 2016 – The Southern Ontario Sprints concluded their 2016 season at Merrittville Speedway on Friday night and rookie Dylan Westbrook capped a dream championship season with his seventh SOS win of 2016.
“All of the success I had this season is awesome. To get seven wins out of 11 races with the SOS, I never dreamt that would happen,” Westbrook said following the race.
Westbrook (No.47x Bradshaw Fuels) started on the pole for the 25-lap feature following a nine-driver redraw with Cory Turner (No.97 KT Tobacco) on the outside of the front row. The two drivers battled tooth and nail over the opening laps to pull away from the rest of the field. Tenth starting Ryan Susice (No.18 Young Drivers) was an early mover as he drove to sixth.
Turner challenged Westbrook for the lead several times and on lap five was right on the tail tank of the No.47x. Entering turn one on the sixth lap, Turner clipped Westbrook’s right-rear tire with his left front. Turner flipped wildly off the track and over the turn one wall. He was uninjured, but his car was destroyed. A roughly 10-minute red flag slowed the race while safety crews attended to Turner and the wreck.
When the race resumed, Susice was again on the move behind Westbrook. Jamie Turner (No.11 Insta-Panels) chased the race leader after restarting second. The race was slowed again on lap seven when Scott Sherk (No.43 eShine Car Care) spun at the top of Merrittville’s tricky fourth corner.
Westbrook continued to lead Jamie Turner on the restart and the two remained in that order until the halfway mark. Turner started to close on the leader, but Susice challenged him for second shortly thereafter. Susice took second from Turner on lap 16 and had nine laps to try and erase a two-second Westbrook advantage.
Susice got help from a busy group of lapped traffic that left no east escape for Westbrook. Over the final five laps, Susice narrowed the gap to less than a second in search of his second SOS win this season. Both drivers were clear of any traffic on the very slick track with two laps to go. It was clear Susice was closing, but the 25-lap distance didn’t provide him enough time to track down Westbrook.
Westbrook claimed the checkered flag just a half second ahead of Susice, his seventh SOS victory of the season. The 17-year-old Westbrook, an Oakland, Ont. native, entered the night with the Southern Ontario Sprints championship already clinched. A win in the final event solidified one of the most dominant seasons in Southern Ontario Sprints history.
“To know that in my rookie year I’ve won a championship is awesome. It’s a huge confidence booster,” Westbrook said. “I think it will help me out with other races having been to all these tracks. It really makes you feel good.”
The Southern Ontario Sprints will co-sanction next weekend’s Canadian Sprint Car Nationals at Ohsweken with the Empire Super Sprints, Patriot Sprint Tour and Great Lakes Super Sprints. The event includes the Night Before the Nationals on Friday, September 16 before the $12,000 US-to-win Canadian Sprint Car Nationals on Saturday, September 17.
SOUTHERN ONTARIO SPRINTS RACE REPORT
2016 SEASON RACE #11 – FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 9, 2016
MERRITTVILLE SPEEDWAY – MERRITTVILLE, ON
(Number Name – Hometown)
01jr Barry Beck Jr. – Port Colborne, ON
2 Lee Winger – Mount Hope, ON
6 Curtis Gartly – Thamesford, ON
10 Mitch Brown – Brantford, ON
11 Jamie Turner – Caistor Centre, ON
14h Jim Huppunen – Fenwick, ON
15 Mike Ferrell – London, ON
18 Ryan Susice – Ransomville, NY
22 Shawn Sliter – Port Colborne, ON
22P Jim Porter – Grand Island, NY
25 Warren Mahoney – Lefroy, ON
27z Stan Zanchin – Port Colborne, ON
30 Adam West – Ridgetown, ON
31J John Burbridge Jr. – St. Williams, ON
43 Scott Sherk – Port Colborne, ON
47x Dylan Westbrook – Oakland, ON
49 Todd Hoddick – Cheektowaga, NY
52 Jesse Costa – St. Thomas, ON
66 Frank Baranowski – Mount Hope, ON
71s Josh Sliter – Port Colborne, ON
91 Ryan Turner – Caistor Centre, ON
97 Cory Turner – Caistor Centre, ON
1-10 Jake Brown – Brantford, ON
Heat 1 (8 Laps – Top 3 Redrew For Feature Starting Position)
1. 10 Mitch Brown
2. 91 Ryan Turner
3. 11 Jamie Turner
4. 18 Ryan Susice
5. 14h Jim Huppunen
6. 15 Mike Ferrell
7. 01jr Barry Beck Jr.
DNS. 52 Jesse Costa
Heat 2 (8 Laps – Top 3 Redrew For Feature Starting Position)
1. 49 Todd Hoddick
2. 47x Dylan Westbrook
3. 27z Stan Zanchin
4. 1-10 Jake Brown
5. 66 Frank Baranowski
6. 22 Shawn Sliter
7. 31J John Burbridge Jr.
8. 71s Josh Sliter
Heat 3 (8 Laps – Top 3 Redrew For Feature Starting Position)
1. 97 Cory Turner
2. 2w Lee Winger
3. 22P Jim Porter
4. 6 Curtis Gartly
5. 25 Warren Mahoney
6. 30 Adam West
7. 43 Scott Sherk
FEATURE (25 Laps)
1. 47x Dylan Westbrook
2. 18 Ryan Susice
3. 11Jamie Turner
4. 91 Ryan Turner
5. 22 Shawn Sliter
6. 14h Jim Huppunen
7. 1-10 Jake Brown
8. 10 Mitch Brown
9. 49 Todd Hoddick
10. 30 Adam West
11. 25 Warren Mahoney
12. 6 Curtis Gartly
13. 66 Frank Baranowski
14. 71s Josh Sliter
15. 01jr Barry Beck Jr.
16. Mike Ferrell
17. 43 Scott Sherk
18. 22P Jim Porter
19. 2w Lee Winger
20. 27z Stan Zanchin
21. 31J John Burbridge Jr.
22. 97 Cory Turner
DNS. 52 Jesse Costa
Margin of Victory: 0.590 seconds.
Dash For Cash (5 Laps)
1. 1-10 Jake Brown
2. 10 Mitch Brown
3. 97 Cory Turner
4. 11 Jamie Turner
5. 30 Adam West
A-Feature Lap Leaders –Dylan Westbrook 1-25
2016 SEASON FEATURE WINNERS:
Dylan Westbrook – 7 (South Buxton on July 2, Brighton on July 9, Brighton on August 6, Humberstone on August 7, Brighton on September 3, Brighton on September 4, Merrittville on September 9), Mitch Brown – 2 (Brighton on May 21, Brighton on June 18), Ryan Susice – 1 (Humberstone on June 5), Dave Dykstra – 1 (Ohsweken on July 1)
UP NEXT: Canadian Sprint Car Nationals at Ohsweken Speedway – September 16 & 17
About the Southern Ontario Sprints: Founded in 1996, the Southern Ontario Sprints series is a traveling winged 360 Sprint Car tour based in Ontario, Canada. 2016 marks the 21st year of operation for the Southern Ontario Sprints, brought to you this season by The National Sprint Car Hall of Fame & Museum, www.ImageFactor.ca, andwww.OntarioOvalOnDirt.com.