Hilliker and Polyak Land in Victory Lane in Winged Outlaw Showdown
David Hilliker of Midland, MI continues his winning ways in Winged Outlaw Late Model action this past Saturday Night in front of a packed house at Merritt Speedway. Hilliker scored the Dash win to kick off the evening and continued his dominance with a heat win and the “A” Main victory to complete the sweep. In the battle of the Winged Outlaw Showdown, 19 year old sensation Paige Polyak of Tiffin, OH carried the checkers in 410 Winged Sprint car action, making her the first female driver to score a feature win at Merritt since the Teen Bee’s ran in the mid 2000 era. As for lap times, David Hilliker qualified in with a lap of 12.22 and was clocked at 12.09 during the feature while Paige Polyak was clocked at 12.75 during her feature event. Congratulations to both drivers on their victories.
Voelker Implement Sales Winged Outlaw Late Model action saw David Hilliker set fast time at 12.22 (track record 12.13 David Hilliker) and score the dash win over Jeremy Tulick and Josh Knoll. David also scored the first heat win over Bob Hammar and Mike Kresnak while Matt Pickard carried the checkers in the second heat followed by Josh Knoll and John McDonald. As the green flag flew on the feature event, Hilliker wasted no time in taking over the point from Josh Knoll on the second lap. Knoll and Matt Pickard battled for the runner up spot when Josh suffered mechanical problems and retired to the pits. David would go on to score the win over Pickard, Mike Kresnak, Allen Markel Nathan Hurley, Jeremy Tulick, John McDonald, Josh Knoll, Wade Witherspoon and Bob Hammar. The win by Hilliker also propelled him to the 2013 track championship at Merritt.
In the Don’s Auto Clinic UMP Late Model division, Eric Spangler set quick time of the night with a lap of 13.91 while Scott Phillips carried the checkers in the dash over Rich Neiser, Eric Spangler and Greg Gokey. In heat race action, Rich Neiser made his way to victory lane in heat #1 followed by Scott Baker and Bill Bray with Scott Phillips carrying his second checker of the night in heat #2 over Eric Spangler and Brook Brasington. In the 25 lap “A” Main, Bill Bray took the early lead from the outside pole with Scott Phillips and Rich Neiser in a battle for second. Neiser would secure the runner up spot on lap #5 and one lap later overtook Bray for the lead. Neiser would drive on to score his seventh feature race win of the year followed by Eric Spangler, Scott Phillips, Bill Bray, Scott Baker, Greg Gokey, Brook Brasington, Dan Delong, Chad Foster and Joe Hanson.
In the Outlaw Winged 410 Sprint action, Brett Lane scored the win in heat #1 over Joe Irwin and Phil Rutledge while Paige Polyak took the second heat win with a last lap pass over her car owner, John Gall in second and Chris Pobanz in third. In the feature event Polyak would start on the pole by virtue of lucky fan draw and lead flag to flag in the caution free 20 lap event for the win. John Gall finished in second followed by Brett Lane, Joe Irwin, Chris Pobanz, Mike Astrauskas, Phil Rutledge, Mark Strpko, Tom Davies and Don Bostrom. The race was the perfect length for Polyak as her right rear tire went flat sitting on the front straight during the post-race interview.
The Don Nester Auto Group UMP Modified events were not only a battle for the nights win, but a point battle between Kevin Miller, Chad Bauer and Roger Steig for the Championship. Miller started the night with just a 2 point lead over Bauer and Steig. Dave Baker would set fast time during qualifying with a lap of 14.97 while Greg Smith scored the dash win over Jeffery Erickson, Roger Steig and Dave Baker. Greg Smith found himself in victory lane for the second time in heat #1 followed by Greg Gokey and Roger Steig. Chad Bauer would take the checkers in the second heat over Bren Banning and Jeffery Erickson. Bauer’s heat race win would put him in the point battle lead just 4 points over Miller and Steig. Kevin Miller would start the “A” Main on the pole with Brent Banning on the outside. As the green flag flew, Banning would get the jump on Miller and lead the first 3 laps of the 25 lap event but was unable to hold off the hard charging Miller as Kevin took over the point on lap #4. The caution flew for the first time on lap 13 for Jeffery Erickson in turn three. On the restart several cars got together battling for position in turn one collecting Chad Bauer who suffered front suspension damage and retired to the pits. This would prove fatal for Chad dropping him to third in the point race. With the Championship on the line, Miller led the field on the restart with Roger Steig glued to his tail the remaining laps. Steig gave it all he had but was unable to overtake Miller as Kevin went on to win the event and take the Championship by just a single point over Roger Steig. Greg Smith would finish the race in third followed by Brent Banning, Dave Baker, Trever Fedewa, Greg Gokey, Brian Abernethy, Rich Robinson Jr. and Chris Barton.
23 cars checked in to battle in the WLLZ TV-12 Pro Street division with Rick Beauchamp taking the checkers in the first of three heat races followed by Bob Timmer and Andrew Steele. Point leader Steven Hilliker took the win in heat #2 over Jeff Chalker and Caleb Kill while Dan Hersey took the final heat win over Joe Fisher and Shane Aeschliman. Tim Tabaczka scored the “B” Main win followed by Archie Miles Jr. and Mark Howie. In the feature event, Rick Beauchamp would take the lead from his outside pole starting position with the rest of 18 car field battling for position behind him. On lap 5, Beauchamp suffered a flat tire and brought out the caution sending him to the pits for repairs. Joe Fisher would take the lead on the restart with Shane Aeschliman and Bob Timmer applying the pressure. On lap 13 all three came out of turn 4 side by side and ended up in a pileup under the flag stand. All three headed to the pits with only Fisher able to return after repairs and restarted on the tail. Dan Hersey would inherit the lead and drive on to score his first feature win of the year followed by Caleb Kill, TJ Erickson, Andrew Steele, Mark Howie, Archie Miles Jr., Tim Tabaczka, Joe Fisher, Bob Fetters Sr. and Jeff Chalker. Steven Hilliker had fallen from the feature event with ignition problems but had secured the point championship with his earlier heat race win.
Hardcore Performance Pro Truck Championship was also undecided leading into the final night with Bobby Liuzzo Jr leading Richie Sutherland by just 12 points. In the first of two heat races, Craig Foster carried the checkers followed by Richie Sutherland and Dick Stout. In the second heat race, Mike Nelson Jr. found himself in victory lane over Bobby Liuzzo Jr. and Mark Sheffield. In the feature event Bobby Liuzzo Jr. would start on the pole and took the lead as the green flag flew. Liuzzo never looked back and drove on to score the win and take the championship. Dick Stout finished a close second followed by Richie Sutherland, Craig Foster, Mike Nelson Jr., Brad Roberts, Jason Parkhurst, Mark Sheffield, Garry Hammer Jr. and Jeremy Hose.
MORA Sprints rounded out the night of action on the final night at Merritt with Kent Strong carrying the checkers in the first heat race over Doug Roush and Luke Strong. Victory in heat #2 went to Ryan Reckow followed by Corey Roush and Bob Baker. In the feature event, Ryan Reckow would take the early lead from the outside pole. Kent Strong started 8th on the field and made his way to the lead by lap #6 and drove on to score the win over Ryan Reckow, Corey Roush, Floyd Roush, Neal Fisher, Luke Strong, Bob Baker, Doug Roush, Brian Kent and Cheyanne Emery.
The Merritt Speedway Awards Banquet is scheduled for October 19th at the Comfort Inn in Houghton Lake. Stay tuned to the Merritt Speedway website for further details.
Thanks to all the fans and drivers for making the 2013 season such a success.
See ya at the banquet.