Eric Spangler Wins the 25th Anniversary Wood Tic 100 Late Model Feature
111 cars in 4 divisions graced the pits for the final leg of the 25th annual running of the Wood Tic 100. Rich Neiser of Fruitport was the first to take to the track in qualifying on Saturday and set the mark at 14.14. Forty of the state’s top drivers would take their shot at Neiser’s time but were unable to knock Rich off the leader board and Rich claimed the honor of fast qualifier for Saturday’s events. With 41 cars in attendance the Dash would include the fast qualifiers in 5 groups. Joe Pomeroy of Cass City would carry the first checkers of the night in the 5 car Dash over Kris Patterson Jr., Alex Hupert, Rich Neiser and Chad White. A 21 car field took to the track for the 35 lap Wood Tic 100 / Michigan Dirt Cup Late Model “A” Main. Brook Brasington and Dave Hartman led the field to the green flag. As the field exited turn 2 several cars got together with David Hilliker of Midland suffering the worst body damage. Hilliker was able to continue but Dave Hartman was sent to the pits with a leak on the Phat Motorsports #15. Hartman rejoined the field prior to the restart but had to fall in at the back of the pack. Rich Neiser took the lead on the restart but blew it off turn three on the second lap bringing out the second caution of the night. The final caution would fly on lap #3 for Scott Phillips with Joe Pomeroy in the lead. With 32 laps remaining, Pomeroy led the pack to the final restart Bill Bray and Andy Galgoci battling for second. Current Merritt Speedway point leader, Eric Spangler had worked his way to the runner up spot from his tenth place starting position by lap #9 and started his assault on the leader. On Lap # 17 Spangler pulled into the lead and several laps later started dealing with lapped traffic. Spangler weaved his way through the lappers and drove on to score his second consecutive and third overall Wood Tic 100 victory. JR Hotovy, a regular on the Michigan Dirt Cup Late Model tour finished in the runner up spot with Rich Neiser recovering from his early troubles to finish in third followed by Joe Pomeroy, Bill Bray, Justin Robinson, Brad Harden, Kyle Borgman, Josh Knoll and Scott Phillips. Preliminary action saw Justin Robinson pick up the win in “B” Main #1 over Sammy Epling and Kris Patterson Jr. Kyle Borgman carried the checkers in “B” Main #2 followed by Chad White and Jordan Erickson. Heat races were won by Dave Hartman, Josh Knoll, Brook Brasington, Bill Bray and Rich Neiser.
With 39 Super 8 UMP Modifieds in attendance for the Michigan Dirt Cup event the field was split into 4 groups by pill draw. The top three in each heat transferred to the “A” Main. Chad Spencer picked up the win in heat #1 over Scott Payton and Andy Sprague. Heat #2 victory went to Andrew Terrill over Dave Baker and Joey Fowler while Jacob Poel scored the win in heat #3 followed by David Mielke and Brent Banning. The final heat race was won by Joe Rokos over Kevin Miller and Adam Thrush. The first of two “B” Mains saw Chad Bauer visit victory lane over Bob Baldwin, Travis Stemler and Tyler Norton while Jeffery Erickson Jr. scored the final “B” Main win followed by Rich Robinson Jr., John Taylor and Roger Steig. David Mielke of Gladwin took the lead as the green flag flew with Dave Baker and Andrew Terrill in hot pursuit. The only caution of the 40 lap event would come out on lap 17 for debris on the track. Jacob Poel took advantage of the restart to go from 5th to 2nd and set his sights on Mielke who continued to lead the field. David worked lap traffic to perfection and drove on to score his first Wood Tic 100 victory. Jacob Poel finished a respectable second followed by Scott Payton, Chad Spencer, Andrew Terrill, Kevin Miller, Andy Sprague, Dave Baker, Rich Robinson Jr. and Adam Thrush.
In Hardcore Performance Pro Truck action, Richie Sutherland recovered from a rough Friday night to sweep the action by first picking up the win in the heat race over Adam Brinks and Bobby Liuzzo Jr. In the 25 lap feature Sutherland would take the lead from Bobby Liuzzo Jr. on lap 3 and survive multiple restarts to score his first Wood Tic 100 victory. On lap 2, Craig Foster went for a wild ride in turn 1 as he barrel rolled and came to rest on wheels. The Extreme Safety Team reported Craig to be okay and the race restarted after a short red flag. Bobby Liuzzo Sr. finished in second followed by Jason Parkhurst, Mark Sheffield, Garry Hammar Jr., Bobby Liuzzo Jr., Mike Nelson Jr., Dick Stout, Adam Brinks and Craig Foster.
Archie Miles Jr. scored the first of two heat race wins in WLLZ TV-12 Pro Street action followed by T.J. Erickson and Jeff Haley while Steven Hilliker carried the checkers in heat #2 over Kevin Newberry and Ryan Kent. Kevin Borgen made his way to victory lane in the “B” Main finishing ahead of Greg Grahek and Andrew Steele. Dan Hersey of Traverse City started on the pole of the 20 lap “A” Main with Ryan Kent of Greenville on the outside. Ryan Kent took the lead as the green flag flew with Hersey glued to his tail. Hersey would suffer mechanical issues and drop from competition on lap #11. Archie Miles Jr. would take over the runner up spot with Steven Hilliker now running third. On lap #14, Hilliker got past Miles and set his sights on the leader but ran out of laps and had to settle for a second place finish behind Ryan Kent. Ryan was jubilant in victory lane winning in his first appearance at Merritt, raved about the track, the competition and said he would be back. Archie Miles Jr. held on to finish third followed by Jeff Haley, Joe Fisher, Kevin Borgen, Kevin Newberry, T.J. Erickson, Shane Aeschliman and Greg Grahek.
Friday action saw Rich Neiser score the win in the Michigan Dirt Cup Late Model event resulting in him taking over the Dirt Cup point lead from JR Hotovy. Eric Spangler, David Hilliker, Brandon Thirlby and Chris Brindley rounded out the top five. Andy Galgoci and Justin Robinson were both victorious in “B” Main action while Eric Spangler, Brandon Thirlby, Rich Neiser and Tom Sprague Jr. all scored heat race wins. Rich Neiser set quick time of the night with a lap of 13.98 while Eric Spangler scored the Dash win over JR Hotovy, Neiser and Chad White.
Adam Thrush set quick time in the Friday Open Modified show at 15.29 and scored the dash win followed by Andrew Terrill, Ryan Ritchie and Chad Bauer. Heat race wins went to John Taylor, Kevin Miller and Travis Stemler. Rich Robinson Jr. carried the checkers in the “B” Main followed by Brad Wilson, Chad Spencer and Darrell Woodring. Kevin Miller hit the jackpot with a win in the “A” Main with Chad Bauer, Ryan Ritchie, Joey Fowler and John Taylor rounding out the top five.
WLLZ TV-12 Pro Street heat race wins went to Steven Hilliker and T.J. Erickson as these two are in a heated battle for the point lead. Steven Hilliker also posted another Feature Race win over Erickson, Archie Miles Jr., Bob Timmer and Rob Brillhart.
Adam Brinks scored the first of two heat race wins in the Hardcore Performance Pro Truck division over Mike Nelson Jr. and Bobby Liuzzo Sr. while Mark Sheffield carried the checkers in the second heat over Bobby Liuzzo Jr. and Craig Foster. Adam Brinks scored his second feature race win in a row followed by Bobby Liuzzo Jr., Richie Sutherland, Mark Sheffield and Dick Stout on Friday.
Jamie Fancett had a career night in the Jimmy’s Collision Factory Stock division on Friday night with a win in the heat race over his father, Terry Fancett and John Matthews. Jamie Fancett also scored the feature race victory and took home the Wood Tic Trophy with Rick Stewart, Terry Fancett, Dan Wierman, Nick Crim, John Matthews, Scott Boyd, Craig Wertz, Peni Lalonde and Brian Paige III rounding out the top ten.
On Thursday night Jeff Haley, Caleb Kill and Bob Timmer all beat the track record but it was Steven Hilliker that eventually set the record at the end of the night with a lap of 15.31. The old record stood at 16.18 set at last year’s Wood Tic 100 by T.J. Erickson. Richie Sutherland also set a new track record for the Factory Stock division at 17.06. Spike Grega held the old mark at 17.16.
Join us this coming Saturday for the MTS Non Wing Sprints, UMP Mods, Pro Trucks, Pro Streets and Factory Stocks.
See ya at the track