AKWESASNE - Everything was on the line this past Friday night at the Mohawk International Raceway as drivers were searching for that little something extra to try and take away a coveted track championship and join some great drivers from years past.
The 358 Modifieds were set to not only conclude their regular season but also the Frenchie’s Chevy Runs Deep 358 Modified Series was on the line as Danny O’Brien, Chris Raabe and Brian McDonald were all in line for the title while Billy Dunn was also back in line for his third straight track championship as well.
At the start of the 50-lap Labor Day Shoot Out Chris Raabe grabbed the top spot away and would lead the opening six laps with Tommy Conklin, Brian McDonald, Ryan Arbuthnot and Billy Dunn holding down the top five spots early on. Raabe had one of the fastest cars on the race track as he built up nearly a full straight away lead by lap 10. The first yellow of the night came out as Lance Willix spun on the backstretch. On the restart, Raabe continued to be strong as always as he pulled away with the lead over McDonald, Conklin, Arbuthnot and Dunn. Despite a stellar 2014 season Raabe had gone winless this year at Mohawk and was poised to change that as he showed no signs of letting up with McDonald, Dunn, Arbuthnot and now Carey Terrance moving into the top five by lap 18. Raabe would enter into lapped traffic and this played out perfect for Dunn as he quickly got by McDonald for second and slowly chipped away at Chris Raabe’s big lead. On lap 37, Dunn would catch Raabe and take the top spot away in turn 1 with Raabe now 2nd. Brian McDonald, Carey Terrance and Ryan Arbuthnot completing the top five. With Dunn now in the lead and in firm control on his third straight track title,
The focus shifted to the tight battled between O’Brien, Raabe and McDonald for the Frenchie’s Series Crown. These three drivers would battle hard over the next five laps of the event with O’Brien moving to third getting by McDonald which proved huge in the chase for the Frenchie’s Series title. On lap 43, Carey Terrance came into contact with the fourth turn wall bringing out the final yellow. When the green flew Dunn drove away but Danny O’Brien was all over Raabe, trying to get by for second with McDonald fourth and Ryan Arbuthnot rounding out the top five. With all the battling behind him, Billy Dunn would cruise on to record his fourth win of the season and in the process join Mike Perrotte and Ovide Doiron as the only drivers to win the 358 Modified title three straight years. Raabe came home second with O’Brien taking third and in the process wrap up his first ever Frenchie’s Chevy Runs Deep 358 Modified championship. Ryan Arbuthnot and Brian McDonald rounded out the top five finishers.
The Sportsman division was looking to crown a track champion and also a champion in the Frenchie’s Ford Go Further Sportsman Series. “The Enforcer” Mike Stacey took the lead at the start of the 35-lap event with Zach Arquiett, Wyatt Mullin, Joel Hargrave and Dylan Evoy making up the top five in the early going. Stacey had a strong car early and would lead the opening five laps as behind him Joel Hargrave would spin to the infield in turn 4 bringing out the first yellow of the race. On the next restart, Brad Winters made contact with the wall on the front stretch bringing the yellow back out again. One lap later, Eli Gilbert also had problems as he slowed in turn 3. Once yellow fever was out of the way, the racing began to heat up and Dylan Evoy was on a mission on this night. Having a big deficit to make up in an effort for his third track title, Evoy knew he had a shot at the Frenchie’s Series and used that as motivation as he took the lead from Mike Stacey with Mike Maresca now in third. Once in front, Evoy was untouchable as he drove out to a big lead but Maresca had gotten by Stacey on lap 11 and was closing the gap as the race approached halfway. On lap 12, Brent Kelsey broke his front end on the front stretch bringing out another yellow flag. On the restart, Evoy took the top spot but Maresca was fighting hard on the top side of the speedway in second with Louie Jackson Jr., Mike and Zach Arquiett completed the top five. Both Evoy and Maresca had the fastest cars on the track and quickly put major distance on the rest of the field as the laps wound down but that all changed as Greg Snyder lost a motor in turn 1 on lap 24 bringing out the caution. Four laps later, on lap 28 Thomas Cook lost a right rear tire and spun in turn 4 bringing out the final caution. On the final restart, Dylan Evoy and Mike Maresca continued to lead the way with Jackson, Arquiett and Corey Wheeler who came from the consi to get into the top five with a few laps to go. Despite numerous challenges Dylan Evoy proved to be too strong as he claimed his third win of the year and in the process claim his fourth straight Frenchie’s Ford Go Further Sportsman series title. Maresca came home a hard fought second with Jackson, Mike Arquiett and Corey Wheeler’s 5th place finish secured him his second straight Sportsman track championship.
The Mod Lite division was set to go for their final regular season feature event. Harley Brown jumped out to the early race lead and would lead the opening three laps but newcomer Jacob Bova, who made the long haul from Ohio, took over the top spot on lap 4 with Brown, Dan Desnoyers, Jesse Hudson and Brad Reif completing the top five. Bova led the next two laps until lap 6 when Derrick Ellsworth lost a left rear tire. On the restart, Bova continued to lead but and built up over a two-second lead over the next five laps. On lap 10, the caution flew for an incident involving Dan Reif in turn 2. On the final restart, Bova was able to drive away and dominate for his first ever Mohawk feature win in his first ever start. Desnoyers came home second with Jesse Hudson, Harley Brown and Mathieu Robinson rounding out the top five. Robinson’s fifth place run was enough to secure the Mod Lite track title for 2014.
In Bandit action Randy Whiting was the class of the field on this night as he took the lead early in the 12-lap event. Whiting pulled away to a huge lead and would not look back as he scored his sixth win of the year and in the process claimed his first ever Bandit track championship.
In two weeks time, Mohawk International Raceway will be back racing with a two-day show kicking off Friday, September 12, with the 358 Modified Super DirtCar Series plus the DirtCar Sportsman Series and the Go Nuclear Late Model Series. The following Saturday, the Big Block Modified Super DirtCar Series takes center stage for a 100-lap event plus the TUSA Mod Lite Series and Go Nuclear Late Models Series.
For information on start times for both days check us out online at mohawkinternationalraceway.com or call the track office at (518) 358-9017.