Billy Swartzenburg scores Mini Stock feature victory; Warren Paxton Crowned Champion
For the second time this year, Billy Swartzenburg held on behind the wheel of his No. 86 Spira Fire Protection and Chetty’s Hot Sauce Mustang to grab the feature victory at Sunset Speedway. Meanwhile, Warren Paxton finished third in the feature in his No. 33 Blue Mountain Honda to win his first career championship.
Billy Melenhorst won the first heat ahead of Brandon McFerran, Swartzenburg, Terry Clodd, Ken Townsend, Brian Love, Shawn Gerrior, Wendy Adams and Chris Free.
Big brother Ben Melenhorst won the second heat behind the wheel of his No. 26 Automotive Business School of Canada Nissan 240SX ahead of Samantha Shaw, Myles Tyson, Warren Paxton, Eric Yorke, Gehrig Halliday, Benjamin Wolf, Brandon Passer and Kendra Adams. Kendra Adams pulled into the infield pits on lap two due to fighting mechanical issues with her car.
Lance Foster won the third heat behind the wheel of his No. X Newmarket Car Club, Dryco and RB Graffix Mini Stock ahead of Steve Belanger, Kevin Pickford, Doug Wilman, Tyler Johnston, Terry Woodley, Lisa DeLeeuw, Peter Inglis and Morgan Robson.
Billy Swartzenburg won the fourth heat ahead of Billy Melenhorst, McFerran, Clodd, Townsend, Love, Gerrior, Wendy Adams and Free. Rainey pulled his car off on lap six.
Warren Paxton won the fifth heat ahead of Tyson, Yorke, Ben Melenhorst, Halliday, Shaw, Passer, Kendra Adams and Everingham.
Steve Belanger won the final heat for his first career heat win ahead of Pickford, Foster, Wilman, Johnston, DeLeeuw, Inglis and Robson.
Come feature time, Wilman started pole followed by Townsend, Pickford, Johnston, Belanger, Woodley, Clodd, Halliday, Love, Ben Melenhorst, Yorke, Shaw, Foster, Paxton, McFerran, Tyson, Swartzenburg, Gerrior, Wolf and DeLeeuw, among others.
The race didn’t get too far going as down the backstretch on lap one, Foster would spin Yorke around. Both cars would be sent to the back.
The second attempt was successful as Ken Townsend took the lead behind the wheel of his No. 21 Honda while Wilman and Johnston battled for second. Wilman held Johnston off on lap four, leaving Johnston to battle for third with Ben Melenhorst. Melenhorst cleared Johnston and then got alongside Wilman for second, passing him on lap five as Wilman started to get shuffled through the field.
On lap seven, Townsend led Ben Melenhorst while McFerran and Swartzenburg battled for third. McFerran cleared Swartzenburg on lap eight while Paxton, Halliday and Tyson battled three-wide behind them for fifth. Paxton took fifth on lap nine ahead of Billy Melenhorst while Tyson and Halliday continued to battle. Tyson took seventh on lap 10 ahead of Halliday, Pickford and Shaw as the field made their way through lap traffic. At the front, Swartzenburg passed McFerran for third on lap 13.
Everything ran clearly till the caution flew on lap 14 for Foster and Belanger getting together. Under caution, Townsend headed down pit road with mechanical problems, giving up the lead to Ben Melenhorst. With 11 laps to go, Ben Melenhorst led Swartzenburg, McFerran, Paxton, Billy Melenhorst, Tyson, Halliday, Shaw, Pickford, Yorke, Wolf, Love, Wilman, Foster, Johnston, Belanger, Gerrior and Clodd on the lead lap. Passer led the lap down cars ahead of Woodley, Wendy Adams, Kendra Adams, Free, DeLeeuw, Candiss Everingham, Inglis, Rainey, Bob Phinnemore and Robson.
On the restart, Ben Melenhorst and Swartzenburg battled for the lead with Swarzenburg taking the lead ahead of Ben Melenhorst on lap 16 followed by McFerran. Behind them, Billy Melenhorst and Paxton battled for fourth. Billy Melenhorst cleared Paxton, getting alongside McFerran on lap 17. Billy Melenhorst made quick work of McFerran on lap 18, getting alongside Ben Melenhorst. Billy Melenhorst grabbed the second spot behind Swartzenburg on lap 19. Meanwhile, Ben Melenhorst and Warren Paxton battled for third while McFerran had slipped back to fifth.
All battles came to a halt though on lap 21 as the caution flew for Robson hitting Pickford, collecting Wolf with them. With four laps to go, Swartzenburg led Billy Melenhorst, Ben Melenhorst, Paxton, McFerran, Tyson, Shaw, Yorke, Halliday, Foster, Love, Wilman, Belanger, Clodd and Pickford. Passer once again led the lap cars ahead of Kendra Adams, Woodley, Wendy Adams, Everingham, Free, DeLeeuw, Rainey, Inglis and Phinnemore. Gehrig Halliday headed down pit road and behind the wall with mechanical problems as the field was going to take the green flag.
On the restart, Swartzenburg and Billy Melenhorst battled side-by-side for the lead with Swartzenburg taking the lead with a couple laps to go.
Billy Swartzenburg would lead the final laps to pick up his second victory of the season. Billy Melenhorst finished second for his third top five and second straight second place finish of the season. Warren Paxton finished third to win the championship for his 14th top five in 14 races this season. Myles Tyson finished fourth for his second top five finish in his second start at Sunset Speedway. Ben Melenhorst rounded out the top five for second in points with his 11th top five.
Brandon McFerran finished sixth followed by Eric Yorke, Lance Foster, Samantha Shaw and Brian Love.
Kevin Pickford finished 11th followed by Steve Belanger, Doug Wilman, Terry Clodd, Kendra Adams, Brandon Passer, Terry Woodley, Wendy Adams, Candiss Everingham, Lisa DeLeeuw, Eric Rainey and Chris Free.