Poirier and Dykstra Win at Merrittville

Jordan Poirier. (Dale Calnan/ImageFactor Media)

By Tommy Goudge

THOROLD, Ont. (July 10, 2021) – Jordan Poirier made the long trip from Quebec worth it at Merrittville Speedway by winning the first ever Knights of Thunder 360 Sprint Car feature on Saturday night.

Aaron Turkey and Jim Huppunen were on the front row for the first A-Main in Knights of Thunder history, and Huppunen took the early lead in search of another Merrittville win. Poirier quickly moved up from fourth on the grid to challenge Huppunen for the lead, and made the winning move on lap seven as the two drivers raced through traffic; many of the cars Huppunen was trying to lap were running in his preferred groove on the low side of the track, while Poirier was running through the middle and higher side of the track.

Poirier was able to open a commanding lead, but Huppunen began a comeback attempt as Poirier took his turn picking through traffic. Despite a tricky and slick track surface, the race went the 25 lap distance without a yellow flag and Poirier was able to get clear of the traffic to lock down the victory. Huppunen settled for the runner-up spot, followed by Mack DeMan, Josh Hansen, and Cory Turner.

“It feels really good,” exclaimed the jubilant Poirier afterwards. “It was a long offseason; I felt like I was in my prime by the end last year, so to win the first one of the Knights of Thunder we’re really happy. Thanks for Pinty’s for putting this on. It’s awesome to have a Canadian tour.

“The track was insane,” continued Poirier. “I was surprised that I was able to cross the track like (uncle) Steve used to do, so I have to give it to him. I was searching at the beginning. I was looking at (Huppunen) and he was really good exiting (turn) four but I felt like the cushion was really good exiting the corner and all the lap cars were on the inside.”

Huppunen was relatively happy with a runner-up finish to start the season, especially after running most of the race without brakes.

“I saw Jordan get by me there and I think he threw something at my car because I lost the rear caliper so I had no brakes the rest of the race,” joked Huppunen after the race. “It was a tough go but I’ve got to thank Glenn Styres for having me in his car for another year.”

DeMan methodically moved through the field and felt he may have been able to challenge Huppunen and Poirier if the race hadn’t gone caution-free.

“It’s tough starting seventh, but that’s the way the redraw goes,” lamented DeMan. “Really needed a caution there, but the car was coming on. The car just kept getting better and better and I started to catch (Huppunen) and I saw Jordan way up ahead and I was like ‘We’re gonna need a yellow’ but just great redemption for me and my team; last year we ran one lap and destroyed the car so it’s just good to have the car roll in the trailer and finish third.”

Shone Evans, Aaron Turkey, row eleven starter Ryan Turner, DJ Christie, and Action Sprint Tour winner Jacob Dykstra rounded out the top ten. Heat race wins were claimed by Jordan Poirier, Cory Turner, and Aaron Turkey. The only serious incident of the evening occurred in heat race action when Mikey Kruchka and Mack DeMan tangled on the frontstretch; Kruchka’s car careened into the wall after the contact and did enough damage to prevent Kruchka from starting the feature.

The Knights of Thunder series will next be in action on Saturday, July 24 at Brighton Speedway. Visit www.knightsofthunder.com and www.brightonspeedway.ca for more information.

Jacob Dykstra
Photo by Dale Calnan/ImageFactor Media

THOROLD, Ont. (July 10, 2021) – Jacob Dykstra moved into a tie atop the all-time Action Sprint Tour win list with a thrilling victory at Merrittville Speedway on Saturday night.

Allan Downey and Nick Sheridan were on the front row for the first AST Crate Sprint Car event of 2021, and Downey opened up an early lead while several drivers began to charge to the front from deep in the pack. Downey was working to get through slower traffic when Dale Curran spun to bring out a yellow flag with 11 laps complete. Dykstra was up to second for the restart after starting eighth, and drove into the lead shortly thereafter.

Dykstra’s lead was short-lived however, as Lucas Smith had used the tricky outside groove to charge through the field from 14th on the grid. Smith and Dykstra swapped the lead several times, but Dykstra was the leader at the stripe when the second yellow flag of the race appeared for a spin by Dave McKnight with 19 laps complete.

Dykstra was able to open a gap on the restart before Smith reeled him back in, but Dykstra stayed ahead to claim his fifth career AST win and tie Josh Hansen atop the all-time list. Smith settled for the runner-up spot, followed by Nick Sheridan, row six starter Jesse Costa, and Steven Beckett.

“I felt pretty strong on the bottom and I was able to roll through (turns) one and two pretty well,” observed Dykstra in victory lane. “I saw (Smith) coming around me and thought I should try it, but I just didn’t like it; I wasn’t too comfortable so went back to the bottom, kind of rolled the middle and kept the wheelspin to a minimum.”

Row eleven starter Brett Stratford, Downey, Darren Dryden, DJ Christie, and Terry Baker rounded out the top ten. Heat race wins were claimed by Steven Beckett, Nick Sheridan, Jacob Dykstra, and DJ Christie, while Derek Miller won the B-Main.

The Action Sprint Tour’s next event is scheduled for Saturday, July 31 at Humberstone Speedway. Visit www.actionsprinttour.com for more information.

Merrittville Speedway
Thorold, Ontario
Saturday, July 10, 2021

Knights of Thunder Winged 360 Sprint Car Series

Heat Race #1 (8 Laps)
1. 28-Jordan Poirier[3]
2. 14H-Jim Huppunen[6]
3. 87X-Shone Evans[2]
4. 11-Jamie Turner[1]
5. 9-Liam Martin[5]
6. 84-Tyler Rand[4]
7. 15-Dan Nanticoke[7]
8. 35C-Corey Gruhl[8]

Heat Race #2 (8 Laps)
1. 13-Cory Turner[2]
2. 88H-Josh Hansen[6]
3. 5D-Jacob Dykstra[3]
4. 90-Travis Cunningham[7]
5. 70-Baily Heard[1]
6. 46-Kevin Pauls[4]
7. (DQ) 91-Ryan Turner[5]

Heat Race #3 (8 Laps)
1. 68-Aaron Turkey[1]
2. 17X-Mack DeMan[6]
3. 5-DJ Christie[3]
4. 11J-Chris Jones[5]
5. 0-Nick Sheridan[2]
6. 1-Holly Porter[7]
7. 01K-Mikey Kruchka[4]

A-Main (25 Laps)
1. 28-Jordan Poirier[4]
2. 14H-Jim Huppunen[2]
3. 17X-Mack DeMan[7]
4. 88H-Josh Hansen[5]
5. 13-Cory Turner[8]
6. 87X-Shone Evans[10]
7. 68-Aaron Turkey[1]
8. 91-Ryan Turner[21]
9. 5-DJ Christie[9]
10. 5D-Jacob Dykstra[3]
11. 90-Travis Cunningham[6]
12. 9-Liam Martin[13]
13. 11-Jamie Turner[12]
14. 84-Tyler Rand[17]
15. 1-Holly Porter[14]
16. 0-Nick Sheridan[15]
17. 11J-Chris Jones[11]
18. 46-Kevin Pauls[18]
19. 15-Dan Nanticoke[19]
20. 35C-Corey Gruhl[22]
21. 70-Baily Heard[16]
DNS: 01K-Mikey Kruchka

Action Sprint Tour

Heat Race #1 (8 Laps)
1. 08-Steven Beckett[3]
2. 84-Dan Ferguson[1]
3. 2-Steve Murdock[2]
4. 51-Trevor Young[7]
5. 56-Dereck Lemyre[6]
6. 50LS-Adrian Stahle[5]
7. 7-Eric Gledhill[8]
8. 69-Joshua Hill[9]
9. 48M-Andrew Marshall[4]

Heat Race #2 (8 Laps)
1. 45-Nick Sheridan[1]
2. 19D-Allan Downey[4]
3. 4-Jesse Costa[3]
4. 70MM-Dave McKnight Jr[7]
5. 31-Dale Curran[5]
6. 20-Johnny Miller[2]
7. 3S-Austin Roes[8]
8. MK8-Matt Hill[9]
9. 77T-Tyler Powless[6]

Heat Race #3 (8 Laps)
1. 5D-Jacob Dykstra[4]
2. 45G-Curtis Gartly[1]
3. 49L-Lucas Smith[2]
4. 74-Rob Neely[3]
5. 48-Lance Erskine[5]
6. 38-Derek Miller[7]
7. 14T-Noelle Teal[6]
8. 4B-Darrell Pelletier[8]

Heat Race #4 (8 Laps)
1. 5-DJ Christie[1]
2. 12DD-Darren Dryden[6]
3. 94-Ryan Fraser[2]
4. 26X-Terry Baker[7]
5. 14-Larry Gledhill[3]
6. 49C-Cody Smith[4]
7. BS39-Brett Stratford[5]
DNS: 9C-Brian Nanticoke

B-Main (8 Laps)
1. 38-Derek Miller[1]
2. BS39-Brett Stratford[10]
3. 3S-Austin Roes[3]
4. 50LS-Adrian Stahle[2]
5. 7-Eric Gledhill[4]
6. 69-Joshua Hill[8]
7. 77T-Tyler Powless[12]
8. 14T-Noelle Teal[7]
9. 20-Johnny Miller[6]
10. 4B-Darrell Pelletier[11]
11. 49C-Cody Smith[5]
12. MK8-Matt Hill[9]
13. 48M-Andrew Marshall[13]
DNS: 9C-Brian Nanticoke

A-Main (25 Laps)
1. 5D-Jacob Dykstra[8]
2. 49L-Lucas Smith[14]
3. 45-Nick Sheridan[2]
4. 4-Jesse Costa[12]
5. 08-Steven Beckett[5]
6. BS39-Brett Stratford[22]
7. 19D-Allan Downey[1]
8. 12DD-Darren Dryden[6]
9. 5-DJ Christie[7]
10. 26X-Terry Baker[9]
11. 45G-Curtis Gartly[11]
12. 84-Dan Ferguson[10]
13. 51-Trevor Young[4]
14. 94-Ryan Fraser[15]
15. 3S-Austin Roes[23]
16. 38-Derek Miller[21]
17. 48-Lance Erskine[19]
18. 74-Rob Neely[16]
19. 2-Steve Murdock[13]
20. 31-Dale Curran[18]
21. 14-Larry Gledhill[20]
22. 70MM-Dave McKnight Jr[3]
23. 56-Dereck Lemyre[17]
24. 50LS-Adrian Stahle[24]