Josh Hansen celebrates his season-opening win at Merrittville Speedway.

By Clayton Johns

THOROLD, Ont. (May 20, 2019) – Beamsville’s Josh Hansen took full advantage of lapped traffic on lap nine to jump from third and steal the point position from Caledonia’s Jesse McDonald before leading the final 12 laps to win the season opener for the Action Sprint Tour powered by at Merrittville Speedway on Monday night.

“I was really good (in clean air),” Hansen said in Victory Lane. “I thought the top was going to be a bit faster and I was trying it for the first four or five laps and then I decided to go to the bottom and I was able to catch big time on Jacob (Dykstra). I stuck with it once I realized (the bottom) was a lot faster.”

The win was the second of Hansen’s career with the tour and second in as many starts after he won the 2018 finale. He also becomes the third different winner is three series races at Merrittville, joining Shone Evans and Dykstra on the victors’ list. The third-year Sprint Car pilot said following the race he will run the entirely of the Action Sprint Tour schedule in 2019 while also racing 360 Sprint Cars on Friday nights at Ohsweken Speedway.

McDonald and Brad Herron started on the front row for the 20-lap A-Feature after grabbing those positions in the redraw. McDonald jumped out to a convincing 10 car-length lead over the opening five laps with Jacob Dykstra, Hansen, Herron and Ryan Hunsinger leading the way early.

That changed on lap nine when Dave McKnight Jr. spun at the top of turn two with a complete 360 and continued on as the race stayed green. However, McDonald was forced to slow to avoid contact with McKnight and Dykstra followed suit, allowing Hansen to pounce from third and take the lead down the backstretch.

“I saw Jesse was pretty hung-up and I saw some of them slide high. It feels like I’m racing go karts again. It looked like Jesse was a little too tight and I was able to roll the bottom a bit better,” Hansen explained.

Hansen took full advantage of the track position and negotiated his way through some slower traffic. Fourth-running Aaron Turkey was not so fortunate and spun at the top of turn two while working through lapped traffic. The spin collected McKnight, who rolled to bring out the red flag. He was uninjured.

Hansen was strong again on the single-file restart, while Hunsinger used some extra momentum he found in the outside groove to move past Herron and run his fastest lap of the race to that point. The race was slowed again on lap 14 when rookie Adrian Stahle spun at the top of turn two. Stahle did not continue.

On the ensuing restart with six laps remaining, Hansen proved he had the best car in clean air. While McDonald threw everything he had at the Beamsville teenager, including a late challenge on the outside, it was not enough to steal the victory. Regardless, McDonald was happy to be back in a car after a year absence from Sprint Car Racing.

“It was amazing,” McDonald said. “I couldn’t be happier. The car was good in clean air, but as soon as I got in dirty air I couldn’t really do much. I kept missing my marks and then lapped traffic kept screwing me up. As soon as I got back into clean air I was able to catch the No.88h and I just didn’t have anything for him coming out (of the corner). I moved my wing back at the end of the race and I should have done that sooner. Either way, I had a blast.”

Dykstra, who had a pair of wins on the tour last year, was third. Over the final five laps, Hunsinger went back to the outside, but twice got over the cushion, allowing Herron to claim the fourth spot.  Hunsinger rounded out the top-five.

Hansen, Herron, and Rob Neely claimed qualifying heat race wins to begin the night. Liam Martin of Binbrook, Ont. won the 10-lap B-Main and transferred to the A-Feature with fellow top-6 finishers Trevor Young, DJ Christie, Adrian Stahle, Johnny Miller and John Verney. Martin was also the Hard Charger in the main event, racing from the 19th starting spot to an eventual 13th-place finish.

The Action Sprint Tour powered by will return to competition for round 2 of the 2019 series on Sunday, June 2 at Humberstone Speedway in Port Colborne, Ont. For more information on the Action Sprint Tour, including a full break down of the Series’ 2019 point fund and race purses as well as series rules, visit


Action Sprint Tour powered by Race Report
May 20, 2019
Merrittville Speedway – Thorold, Ontario, Canada
Total Entries – 29

Entry List
No. Name – Hometown
08 Steven Beckett – Fonthill, Ont.
1eh Paul Klager – Beamsville, Ont.
3b Blaine Barrow – Welland, Ont.
5* DJ Christie – Beachville, Ont.
5d Jacob Dykstra – Port Colborne, Ont.
9c Brian Nanticoke – Ohsweken, Ont.
10 Lofton Schuts – Oakland, Ont.
12 Brad Herron – Waterford, Ont.
14 Noelle Teal – Hagersville, Ont.
20 Johnny Miller – Six Nations, Ont.
22jr Al Gilletta Jr. – St. Catharines, Ont.
24a AJ Lewis – Stoney Creek, Ont.
26 John Verney – Salmon Arm, B.C.
26x Terry Baker – Ancaster, Ont.
28 Jordan Hill – Ohsweken, Ont.
29 Liam Martin – Binbrook, Ont.
43 Darren Dryden – Freelton, Ont.
49h Jerry Hill – Hagersville, Ont.
49L Lucas Smith – Brantford, Ont.
50LS Adrian Stahle – Kitchener, Ont.
51 Trevor Young – Ancaster, Ont.
52r Ryan Hunsinger – Caledonia, Ont.
68 Aaron Turkey – Ohsweken, Ont.
70 Baily Heard – Niagara Falls, Ont.
70mm Dave McKnight Jr. – Brampton, Ont.
74 Rob Neely – Rockwood, Ont.
83 Spencer Davis – Scotland, Ont.
88 Jesse McDonald – Caledonia, Ont.
88h Josh Hansen – Beamsville, Ont.

A-Feature (20 laps – No Time)
Finish. #-Name, [Starting Position]
1. 88H-Josh Hansen, [6]; 2. 88-Jesse McDonald, [1]; 3. 5D-Jacob Dykstra, [4]; 4. 12-Brad Herron, [2]; 5. R52-Ryan Hunsinger, [3]; 6. 74-Rob Neely, [5]; 7. 28-Jordan Hill, [8]; 8. 1EH-Paul Klager, [12]; 9. 49L-Lucas Smith, [14]; 10. 70-Bailey Heard, [9]; 11. 3B-Blaine Barrow, [11]; 12. 08-Steven Beckett, [13]; 13. 29-Liam Martin, [19]; 14. 49H-Jerry Hill, [10]; 15. 68-Aaron Turkey, [7]; 16. 5-D.J. Christie, [21]; 17. 22JR-Al Gilletta, [16]; 18. 10-Lofton Schuts, [15]; 19. 26-John Verney, [22]; 20. 20-Johnny Miller, [23]; 21. 43H-Darren Dryden, [24]; 22. 51-Trevor Young, [18]; 23. (DNF) 50LS-Adrian Stahle, [20]; 24. (DNF) 70MM-Dave McKnight Jr, [17]
A-Feature Lap Leaders – Jesse McDonald 1-8; Josh Hansen 9-20
Hard Charger – Liam Martin +6 (19th to 13th)
Watch Here

Heat Race No.1 (8 laps – Top 6 Transfer – Top 2 Redraw – No Time)
Finish. #-Name, [Starting Position]
1. 88H-Josh Hansen, [2]; 2. 5D-Jacob Dykstra, [4]; 3. 68-Aaron Turkey, [5]; 4. 26X-Terry Baker, [1]; 5. 08-Steven Beckett, [7]; 6. 49L-Lucas Smith, [8]; 7. 29-Liam Martin, [6]; 8. 51-Trevor Young, [9]; 9. 20-Johnny Miller, [10]; 10. 83-Spencer Davis, [3]
Watch Here

Heat Race No.2 (8 laps – Top 6 Transfer – Top 2 Redraw –  No Time)
Finish. #-Name, [Starting Position]
1. 12-Brad Herron, [3]; 2. R52-Ryan Hunsinger, [5]; 3. 28-Jordan Hill, [1]; 4. 3B-Blaine Barrow, [7]; 5. 1EH-Paul Klager, [8]; 6. 70MM-Dave McKnight Jr, [2]; 7. 50LS-Adrian Stahle, [10]; 8. 9C-Brian Nanticoke, [6]; 9. 43H-Darren Dryden, [9]; 10. (DNF) 24A-A.J. Lewis, [4]
Watch Here 

Heat Race No.3 (8 laps – Top 6 Transfer – Top 2 Redraw –  No Time)
Finish. #-Name, [Starting Position]
1. 74-Rob Neely, [1]; 2. 88-Jesse McDonald, [4]; 3. 70-Bailey Heard, [2]; 4. 49H-Jerry Hill, [3]; 5. 10-Lofton Schuts, [7]; 6. 22JR-Al Gilletta, [5]; 7. 5-D.J. Christie, [6]; 8. 26-John Verney, [8]; 9. 14-Noelle Teal, [9]
Watch Here

B-Feature (10 laps – Top 6 Transfer – No Time)
Finish. #-Name [Starting Position]
1. 29-Liam Martin, [1]; 2. 51-Trevor Young, [4]; 3. 5-D.J. Christie, [3]; 4. 50LS-Adrian Stahle, [2]; 5. 20-Johnny Miller, [7]; 6. 26-John Verney, [6]; 7. 83-Spencer Davis, [10]; 8. 14-Noelle Teal, [9]; 9. 43H-Darren Dryden, [8]; 10. (DNF) 9C-Brian Nanticoke, [5]; (DNS) 24A-A.J. Lewis
Watch Here


2019 Action Sprint Tour Schedule

Mon. May 20 – Merrittville Speedway – Thorold, Ont. – Winner: Josh Hansen
Sun. June 2 – Humberstone Speedway – Port Colborne, On
Sat. June 8 – Southern Ontario Motor Speedway – Merlin, Ont.
Mon. July 1 – Merrittville Speedway – Thorold, Ont.
Sun. July 14 – Humberstone Speedway – Port Colborne, Ont.
Tue. July 23 – Ohsweken Speedway – Six Nations, Ont.
Sat. July 28 – Merrittville Speedway – Thorold, Ont.
Sun. August 11 – Humberstone Speedway – Port Colborne, Ont.
Sat. August 17 – Brighton Speedway – Brighton, Ont.
Sat. September 14 – Ohsweken Speedway – Ohsweken, Ont. – Canadian Sprint Car Nationals

Twitter: @ActionSprints

About the Action Sprint Tour: The Action Sprint Tour is a travelling Winged Sprint Car Series based in Ontario, Canada. The cars on the Action Sprint Tour are powered by GMC 602 Crate Motors modified specifically to fit a Sprint Car chassis. The Series ran its inaugural season in 2018 and in 2019 will run 10 races at five different Ontario tracks. Drivers will compete for a point fund and bonuses totaling $10,000. For additional information, including rules, event purse and series point fund, visit the Action Sprint Tour official website at

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