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Conklin notches first career Modified win at MIR

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AKWESASNE - It was a big night for all drivers this past Friday night at Mohawk International Raceway as Lazore’s Construction was on hand to host the Frenchie’s Ford/Seaway GM Sportsman Series. In addition to that, the track was multi-grooved and the drivers put on great racing in all classes.

The 358 Modifieds were ready to go and Charlie Rice showed that last week’s great run was no fluke as he jumped out to a quick lead over Matt Woodruff, John Mulder, Gage Morin and Tom Conklin. Rice had a stout race car and immediately pulled away from the rest of the field as behind him John Mulder was also making some noise. Mulder, a Brockville native, wasted no time getting by Matt Woodruff which brought Tom Conklin to the third spot with Brian McDonald and Carey Terrance completing the top five cars. Mulder quickly closed in on Rice on lap 8 and by lap 10 was able to get the top spot away as Conklin came through to second and Charlie Rice completing the top three drivers. From there, it was a spirited battle as Mulder and Conklin went wheel to wheel for the next five laps and dodging lapped cars in the process. On lap 15, Conklin saw his opening on the front stretch and took the top spot away. Once in front Conklin patiently made his way around the traffic but behind him Brian McDonald was also on the move taking second from Mulder, Billy Dunn and Carey Terrance made up the top five. With clear race track in front of him and no lapped cars ahead, Conklin went on to score his first ever 358 Modified victory and his first MIR win since June. 3, 2011, his only career Sportsman victory. McDonald had a great run finishing second with Billy Dunn getting by Mulder for third at the line, Carey Terrance held on to finish fifth at the checkered flag.

The 40-lap Frenchie’s Ford/Seaway GM Sportsman Series saw Shane Pecore and Dylan Evoy lead the field of 30 cars to Austin Swamp’s green flag with Evoy getting the early lead over Pecore, Mathieu Desjardins, Joey Ladouceur and Ricky Thompson. The first yellow flew on lap 2 as Delbert Legrow Jr. spun off turn 2. On the restart, Pecore was able to get the advantage over Evoy and would hold the lead for the next 3 laps until the yellow flew for Scott Mere and Moise Page as they spun in turn 4. Under the same yellow Delbert Legrow Jr. slowed in turn 3. When the race resumed, Evoy was able to get back by Pecore and the top two drivers put on a fantastic display of talent. From lap 7 through 14, Evoy and Pecore would exchange the lead several times including pulling some masterful slide jobs while going in and out of lapped traffic. Behind the top 2 battle Corey Wheeler was on the charge as he battled Brent Kelsey for fourth. These two drivers put on a great side by side battle which also brought Joey Ladouceur into the mix as well as the race approached the halfway point. On lap 18 the yellow flag flew setting up another restart. When the green flew, Brianna Ladouceur spun off turn 4 while running seventh, she would restart 27th on the field and recover for an 11th place finish. When the race resumed Pecore pulled out in front with Evoy 2nd. Wheeler, Kelsey and Joey Ladouceur making up the top five. Pecore was on rails pulling away from the field over the next 12 laps as Evoy did all he could to hold second over Corey Wheeler. Joey Ladouceur moved into fourth which brought Mike Maresca into the top five for the first time with just 10 laps to go. On lap 33 Delbert Legrow Jr. spun in turn 3 bringing out the final yellow flag. On the final restart, Pecore jumped into the lead over Evoy, Joey Ladouceur, Mike Maresca and Corey Wheeler. Shane Pecore had the strongest car all night and would check out from a quality field to secure his first ever Mohawk victory and first in the Seaway/Frenchies Series. Evoy came home 2nd while Mike Maresca scored another impressive top five finish coming home third. Joey Ladouceur and Corey Wheeler rounded out the top five.

The 15-lap Mod Lite feature kicked off with two caution flags in the first two laps as Nick Mallette stopped on the back stretch on lap 1. Then on lap 2, Dan Reif also slowed on the back stretch with problems. Once the race got going Dan Desnoyers, fresh off his first Mod Lite win last week, was in control over Jesse Hudson and Mathieu Robinson. On lap 6 Hudson started to charge forward as he went to the high side and made the pass for the lead bringing Robinson to 2nd and Desnoyers completed the top 3. The final yellow came out on lap 9 for Tim Reif who spun in turn 2. On the final restart Jesse Hudson and Mathieu Robinson ran side by side for the final six laps for the race win. On the white flag lap, both drivers ran wheel to wheel as they exited turn 4 Hudson had the momentum on the top side as he charged past Robinson to score his second win in the last three weeks. Robinson finished second while Desnoyer, Rejean Lemieux and Harley Brown rounded out the top five finishers.

The Bandit 12-lap event also kicked off with two consecutive caution flags, once the racing resumed on lap 3 things got exciting. Matt Zira was looking to get back on track after blowing a tire last week while leading. Zira led the way over Randy Whiting and Shane Ray. On lap 5, Zira’s machine began to lose power which gave Whiting the opportunity to get by for the top spot. On lap 6, the final yellow flew for debris in turn 3. On the restart Randy Whiting showed how strong he was as he pulled out to over a straight away lead in the final 6 laps to record his 2nd win in a row and fifth of the season. Ray come home second while Francis White, Corey Castell and Darryl Mainville claimed top five finishes.

This Friday, Dig Safely will be on hand as the TUSA Mod Lite Series will be in action along with a full show for 358 Modifieds, Sportsman and Bandit. It’s also Canadian Appreciation night. Show your Canadian driver’s license at the main gate and receive $4 dollars off general admission. The green flag drops at 7:30 p.m.

For more information, visit the track website at www.MohawkInternationalRaceway.com or call the MIR office at (518) 358-9017.

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