The 28th Annual Wood Tic is over just like that. It feels like the first half of the season has absolutely flown by. I cannot thank the fans, drivers, employees, and everyone enough for your support throughout the entire Wood Tic weekend and the first half of this race season.
The Wood Tic is a special event to many people, and is very special to me as well. Ed VanDuinen started this race 28 years ago, and to carry on the tradition of the unique event is a genuine honor. Carmen VanDuinen continues to be as dedicated to Merritt as I believe she always has been, and I even consider her my co-promoter. She does more for the race track than anyone else knows and her dedication is incredible.
Merritt staff… Thank you so much for enduring the three and for some four days of hard work all day and night at the race track. A special call out to Randy Hose and Joe Wood for maintaining the racing surface like they did, to ensure a quality race track, keeping the dust down, and providing the drivers with a facility to put one hell of a show on for the fans. Thank you to everyone.
Thursday had the Summer Nationals Hell Tour come to town, and we hosted more than 115 cars in just four classes. We had a tremendous crowd for a new weekday show that was normally just a test day, and the drivers all put on an excellent show. Congratulations to Gary Limron Jr. winning $400 and the Four Cylinder feature, and Jim Miller Jr. taking home $600 and the checkered flag in the Factory Stock event. Defending Modified champion David Mielke stole the show in the Summitt Modified feature race, fending off Chad Bauer and Aaron Morey for an all-local top three finish! And finally the Hell Tour UMP Late Models took center stage, and the big guns were ready to rock. Ryan Unzicker won the 50-lapper but didn’t win without a fight. Thank you to the entire Summer Nationals crew including Sam Drigger for providing a great experience for us and the race fans.
Day two and Friday came, with much cooler temperatures and overcast skies that felt more like October than mid-July. All of our divisions were in action in heat racing, dash for cash specials, and unique whip races which turned out to be a blast! We ran 44 individual races on Friday night! WOW! Thank you to the hard work of the staff in the pits to get things lined up and in order, as well as the drivers for being ready when they were called to the chute.
The third and final day of the Ed VanDuinen Wood Tic came with abundant sunshine and warmer weather once again! It was a picture perfect day… beautiful weather, a packed pit road, and later on a completely filled grandstands. It was the second busiest night since I bought Merritt, and what turned out to be incredible racing all night long. We ran more than 400 laps of green flag feature racing on Saturday alone, starting with last chances event, moving to our odd and even qualifier races for the Late Models and Modifieds, and on to feature action.
Congratulations to every race winner over the course of the three days of racing. Darren Bowers finally shook the overheating monkey off his back, getting to Lane Automotive victory lane on Saturday night in his Four Cylinder car. The Factory Stocks and Pro Stocks both had the fans on their feet for much of the races, with cars going three and four wide at times including for the lead. Mike Vandermark cleaned up on those two classes, scoring two huge wins in this years Wood Tic. Mike will need some more room on the mantle for those trophies to fit! Dick Stout drove his butt off, keeping Richie Sutherland out back and capturing the win in the entertaining Pro Truck division feature race on Saturday. Jordan Erickson led wire to wire in the only caution free feature of the night, winning his first Lightning Sprint feature of the season in his 027. Congratulations to his entire crew and thank you to the Lightning Sprints for putting on a wild and entertaining show. The B-Modifieds put on a fun race to watch, as they adapted and got quicker and quicker throughout the day and night Friday and Saturday. Chris Cohoon led the 11-cars to the checkered flag in the fun one-off special for these cars at Merritt.
What a thrill it was for me to watch two of the best UMP Late Model drivers go door to door lap after lap in their 50-lap feature race. David Mielke, winner of Thursdays Hell Tour race and defending track champion, and Jacob Poel, one of the winningest Mod drivers over the last several years, battled it out. Spring Lake, Michigan driver Jacob Poel muscled his way to the lead and to the win. Congratulations to Jacob on the win! Chad Bauer was hot on his heels for most the entire race and brought home second, with Mielke third, Dave Baker fourth, and Joe Rokos fifth.
If someone told me a week ago that Chad Finley was going to win the Wood Tic, I would’ve bet against it. In my past years of owning asphalt race teams, we have run against Chad on many occasions and he is always fast. Chad had a rocket on Saturday night, and kept it up front running back and forth for the lead with Sammy Eppling. Chris Brindley had a great run and charged to an impressive second place finish. Congratulations to Chad Finley and Jacob Poel on adding your names to the annual Wood Tic t-shirt.
We are excited to continue our weekly Saturday night racing, bringing the Late Models back with a special $1,500-to-Win and $250-to-Start this Saturday night. The Modifieds will have this weekend off, as want our regulars to be able to race with the Dirt Cup Tour and stay in the point standings there as well. Our Pro Stocks, Pro Trucks, Factory Stocks, and Four Cylinders will also all be in race action with everything starting at 7:00 p.m.
Family Night this Saturday with 2 Adult and 2 Child tickets costing just $25! Join us for the great deal and see some super racing.