Fans Flock to the front stretch for Fan Appreciation Night at Merritt Speedway
The fans came out in droves to mingle with their favorite drivers this past Saturday at Merritt Speedway for Fan Appreciation Night. As usual, the drivers and pit crew members brought plenty of goodies to hand out during the 45 minute meet and greet session prior to the nights racing events. After a night of action packed side by side racing, everyone was treated to an awesome fireworks display on this Independence Day holiday weekend. Thanks to all who attended and participated.
The night’s action would kick off Jim Williams leading the Super Late Model 4-Car Dash to the green flag. Four laps later, Chris Brindle took the checkers followed by Williams, JP Julin and Derrick Waldfogel. In the first of three heat races, Chad Finley took the win over Greg Gokey and David Hilliker. In heat #2, Josh Knoll carried the checkers followed by Kris Patterson Jr. and Jeremy Tulick while Kevin Juusola scored the final heat race win over Dona Marcoullier and Eric Spangler. 14 of the 29 entrants in the Super Late Model division would take to the track to battle for 3 transfer spots in the “B” Main with Darron Andras picking up the win followed by Craig Foster and Scott Phillips. Pole sitter, Jeremy Tulick and David Hilliker would lead the 18 car field to the green flag in the 25 lap feature event with Hilliker taking the lead and Tulick settling in to second followed closely by Kris Patterson Jr. On lap #4, Dona Marcoullier took over the runner up spot and started his pursuit on the leader. As leaders approached lapped traffic on lap #19, Marcoullier found away past Hilliker and took over the point. Dona would then drive on to score his second feature win of the year at Merritt Speedway. David Hilliker finished second followed by Kris Patterson Jr., Kevin Juusola, Eric Spangler, Greg Gokey, Josh Knoll, Chris Brindley, Jordan Erickson and Joe Pomeroy.
In Hardcore Performance action, Mark Sheffield carried the checkers in the heat race followed by Bobby Liuzzo Sr. and Mike Nelson Jr. In the feature event, Bobby Liuzzo Sr. started alongside of Sheffield on the front row. As the green flag dropped, Liuzzo took the lead with Sheffield a close second. As the laps wound down, Mike Nelson Jr. took the runner up spot from Sheffield on lap #8. Nelson closed in on Liuzzo but ran out of laps and had to settle for a second place finish behind a very excited Bobby Liuzzo Sr. scoring his first feature win of the year. Mark Sheffield would hang on to finish third followed by Richie Sutherland, Bobby Liuzzo Jr., Garry Hammar Jr. and Dick Stout.
Greg Smith carried the first checkers of the night in Super 8 Modified action leading Andrew Terrill, Chad Bauer and Kyle Novak to the line in the 4-Car Dash. Smith would once again find himself in victory lane for the heat race win over Andrew Terrill and Kevin Miller. In the feature Greg Smith led the first lap but was unable to hold off the hard charging Andrew Terrill who took over the point on lap #2. Terrill was strong and smooth and led the remaining laps to score his third feature win of the year. Kevin Miller overtook Smith on lap #8 as Greg started to fade and eventually dropped from competition with just two laps to go ending his chance for a clean sweep of the night’s events in Super 8 Modified action. Kevin Miller held off the hard charging Dona Marcoullier to finish second followed by Marcoullier, Brent Banning, Rich Robinson Jr., Chad Bauer, Ron Price and Kyle Novak.
Bobby Timmer finally got the bugs worked out on his #33 Pro Stock and carried the checkers in the heat race over Steven Hilliker and TJ Erickson. In the feature event, Timmer started on the pole with current point leader, Steven Hilliker to his side. As the green flag dropped Hilliker took the lead and set the pace with Timmer a close second. On lap #6 Timmer brought out the caution and retired to the pits. On the restart, Caleb Kill took over the runner up spot from TJ Erickson and started to close on the leader. Steven Hilliker was able to keep Kill at bay and drove on to lead the final circuits and score the win over Caleb Kill, TJ Erickson, Archie Miles Jr., Rick Yaroch, Chris Peyerk, Brian Steele, Bobby Timmer and Jeremy McCracken.
A strong field of Hiram’s Lightning Sprints was on hand to battle for top honors with Mack Erickson carrying the checkers in the first heat race over Jamie Fisher and Johnny Roberts. Victory in the second heat would go to Bill Dunham followed by Josh Ward and Justin Ward. In the feature event, Tom Hunt jumped into the lead from outside the front row with the Ward brothers in hot pursuit. Tom Hunt was strong enough to lead flag to flag while setting a blistering pace to capture the win. Josh Ward would finish in the runner up position followed by Justin Ward, Bill Dunham, Johnny Roberts, Mack Erickson, Jamie Fisher, Robert Lenox, Paul Erickson and Chuck Erickson.
In Jimmy’s Collision Factory Stock action, current point leader Rick Stewart made it to victory in the heat race followed by Kenny Keller Jr. and Nick Crim. In the feature race, Stewart would start on the pole but surrendered the lead to Kenny Keller Jr. as the green flag flew. Stewart would hold onto the runner up spot till the red flag came out for a fire on the #09 of Jeff Chalker. On the restart, newcomer Scott Smith took over second position from Stewart and started his pursuit on the leader. Kenny Keller held off the challenges and drove on to score the win over Scott Smith, Stewart, Nick Crim, Peni LaLonde, Jeff Chalker and Benn Hinds.
With 4-Cylinder class growing with each week, Brendan Powell continues to dominate picking up the heat win over Ken Patterson and James Luhtanen. In the feature event, Powell took the lead as the green flag flew with Dirk VanAuken taking over the second spot on lap #2. Brendan would drive on to capture the checkers followed by rookie Matt Buning, Dwight Crawford II, Dirk VanAuken, Scott Boyd, James Luhtanen, Mathew Limron and Leah Neverth.
This coming Saturday the Michigan Traditional Sprints make their second appearance of the year for another great night action at Merritt Speedway.
See ya at the track.