New Yorker, Tim Fuller back in Victory Lane in a 3-Wide Thriller at Merritt Speedway
For the third consecutive year the World of Outlaws Late Model traveling series paid homage to the renowned Merritt Speedway. 35 Late Model drivers checked in for a night of heart pounding action on a beautifully prepared race track and did not disappoint the capacity crowd.
With a win in heat #3, local drivers Rich Neiser of Fruitport, MI and a second place finish in heat #2, Chris Brindley of West Branch both earned positions in the redraw to set the top eight starters. The redraw landed a pole position start for Chris Brindley and Rich Neiser in the seventh starting position for the 50 lap “A” Main.
As the green flag flew for the feature event, Clint Smith of Senoia, GA took the lead from Brindley as the rest of the field battled for position behind him. On lap #32, Tim Fuller of Watertown, NY who stared 14th on the grid, worked his way to the runner up position and started to pressure Smith for the lead when the caution flew for the first time on lap #35. Fuller would surge around his good buddy and assumed the lead on lap #40 as Smith would start to fade and eventually finished in 5th. One more caution flag was needed, on lap 41 when Brady Smith of Solon Springs, Wis., spun out of fifth place in turn four.
Fuller then spent the remainder of the distance trying to fend off Rich Neiser, who was coming hard on the inside of the track, and later Eric Spangler of Lake City, MI , who started alongside Fuller in 13 th and appeared in third place with a lap-42 pass of Clint Smith. Neiser nosed his MasterSbilt car inside of Fuller off turn two on lap 48, prompting Fuller to switch to the inside lane racing through turns three and four. Fuller stayed on the bottom for the entire final lap – a strategic maneuver that dulled Neiser’s bid, but in turn opened the top side for Spangler.
Rounding turns three and four for the final time Spangler drove to the outside of Fuller, but Fuller slid up just enough off turn four to force Spangler over the wall-less homestretch berm. Fuller beat Spangler to the finish line by less than a half car length as Neiser looked to sneak by both on the inside. Fuller’s win over Spangler by just .101 sec. and .234 sec. over third place, Rich Neiser produced one of the most exciting side by side finishes in WoO competition. It also ended a 133 race winless streak for the ecstatic Fuller.
Darrell Lanigan surged from 20th to finish 4th followed by Clint Smith, Josh Richards, Chris Brindley, Shane Clanton, David Hilliker, Rick Eckert, Tim McCreadie, Bub McCool, Jeep VanWormer, Chub Frank and Eric Wells.
The buzz at the end of the night was how the local drivers stacked up against 15 of the nation’s best and the edge of your seat 3-wide finish of the NAPA Auto and Truck Parts Merritt 50 presented by Allstar Performance. Congrats to all that competed especially, Eric Spangler, Rich Neiser, Chris Brindley and David Hilliker all finishing in the top ten.
Heat races were won by Jason Feger, Bloomington, IL, Brady Smith, Solon Springs, WI, Rich Neiser, Fruitport, MI, Clint Smith, Senoia, GA. Last Chance Showdown wins went to Eric Wells, Hazard, KY and Tim McCreadie, Watertown, NY
Click on the link here to see a complete rundown and interviews of the night’s events. Read More
The Super 8 UMP Modifieds were in action and put on a great show of their own in front of the capacity crowd on a gorgeous night. Andy Sprague of Muskegon set fast time in qualifying with a lap 14.78 while Chad Bauer of Farwell scored the Dash win over Rich Robinson Jr., Sprague and Roger Steig. Heat race action saw Roger Steig make his way to victory lane heat #1 over Bob Baldwin and Trever Fedewa. Andy Sprague was victorious in heat #2 followed by Chad Bauer and Brent Banning. The final heat win went to Rich Robinson Jr. ahead of Adam Thrush and Kevin Miller while Scott Payton carried the checkers in the “B” Main over Brian Brindley and Ron Price.
As the green flag dropped on the 25 lap feature event, Andy Sprague got the jump on pole sitter Rich Robinson Jr. and took command of the lead. Just three laps in the caution would fly for Richie Sutherland sending Sutherland and Curt Spalding to the pits for the remainder of the event. On the restart Sprague resumed out front with Robinson and Kevin Miller in a battle for second. The final 22 laps would go caution free as Sprague mastered the lapped traffic to hold Robinson at bay and score his first feature race win of the season at Merritt Speedway. Rich Robinson Jr. held on to finish in second followed by current point leader Kevin Miller. Miller holds a slim 4 point lead over Chad Bauer and just 5 points ahead Roger Steig leading into next week’s Season Championship races. Bob Baldwin, Roger Steig, Scott Payton, Brent Banning, Chad Bauer, Brian Brindley and Trever Fedewa rounded out the top 10.
Hiram’s Lightning Sprints were on hand for the 4th time of the 2013 season with Riley Ramoie scoring the victory in the first of 2 heat races over Mack Erickson and Chuck Erickson. Victory in the second heat went to Tom Hunt followed by Bill Dunham and Ricky Droke. In the feature event Bill Dunham would take the lead from the pole with Riley Ramoie and Tom Hunt in a battle for second. On lap 8 of the 15 lap feature, Hunt took the runner up spot from Ramoie but ran short on laps to chase down the speedy Dunham. Bill Dunham Drove on to score his 3rd feature race win at Merritt Speedway followed by Tom Hunt, Riley Ramoie, Ricky Droke, Josh Ward, Pauly Erickson, Chuck Erickson and Mack Erickson.
Season Championship races in all classes are on tap for this Saturday, August, 24th.
See ya at the track,