Mike’s Thoughts – Feb. 10, 2016

Howdy everybody! It’s been awhile since we’ve chatted. Thought I would do an update since it has been about a month.

From the last time I wrote, we released the 2016 season schedule which I think has to be one of the best schedules for a dirt track anywhere around. We are very excited about it and look forward to things getting actually underway. Take note this year that we have two test and tune dates to help work the track back into race shape after the resurfacing.

This weekend I am headed to Florida for Speedweeks and the events surrounding it. This includes the promoters workshop during the week, some short track racing at Volusia, and the big track on the weekend!

When I get back from Florida, we will be making several new announcements about more things happening and changing this coming season. While not everything will be loved by all, we ask that you give it a chance as we continue to learn and adjust after the first year.

The Meet and Greet will take place on Saturday, March 5, and will have driver division sign ups, printed rules, product catalogs and much more. We will also have pit-stall renewals available, and we strongly encourage everyone to renew or purchase a pit stall in 2016. Unlike last year, we will be enforcing the use of cement slabs, as well as on regular nights we will not permit any parking in the west field, but strictly in the main area off the backstretch.

Lastly, if you are planning on competing in the Hardcore Performance Truck Division next year, we would like for you to email us ([email protected]). We are going to run this class again, but want to know how many trucks we will have as there is some new interest in it as well for the coming year.

Hope you all are staying warm and your cars are coming along great!

Mike Blackmer

Lightning Sprint Meeting Wrap-Up

Good afternoon Lightning Sprint competitors,

Thank you to each and every one of you that came to last Saturdays meeting at The Pines. There were roughly 20 drivers in attendance, and I believe everyone left feeling very good about the outcome of the gathering and looking forward to the 2016 season.

The focal point of the meeting was positivity moving forward, in all aspects and regards involved in Merritt Speedway and Lightning Sprint competition. All drivers came to the agreement that the past is the past, and everything in the future will be looking at completely fresh and new. There will be no hangover from previous rulings, penalties, decisions, etc., but instead all competitors will have a fresh start.

In 2016 we will be utilizing the Hirams Lightning Sprint rules package. If you have any rule related questions, please E-Mail Rusty Reyelts at [email protected]

Merritt Speedway looks forward to continuing to grow this thrilling division and great style of racing, as they will once again be a huge part of the weekly entertainment with us. We would also like to thank Rusty Reyelts for stepping up and leading, and he will be the Merritt point of contact for all Lightning Sprint racing moving forward. We hope to see all Lightning Sprint drivers and teams back at The Pines for the meet and greet on Saturday, March 5.

2016 Merritt Speedway Schedule Released

Merritt, MI (1-14-16) – As the first real snowfall this winter hits the mitten state this week, Merritt Speedway officials are pleased to announce the complete 2016 race calendar. The schedule, which marks what will be the second season under track owner Mike Blackmer, is stocked full of big events and great weekly racing. 22 event nights spread over 17 weekends will provide a full offering of entertainment to motorsports enthusiasts in northern Michigan.

The 48th season will kick off on Saturday night, May 14 with a big $3,000-to-win, $275-to-start UMP Late Model special! Fan admission for all ages on opening night will be just $7.00, and they will also be able to see the remainder of Merritt’s spectacular divisions including UMP Modifieds, Lightning Sprints, Pro Stocks, Pro Trucks, Factory Stocks, and Four Cylinders.

Armed Forces Memorial Weekend, where all military members past and present, police, and first responders will get in free, on Saturday, May 28. Teachers from school districts in neighboring communities from Merritt will receive a certificate for free admission and will be recognized on Saturday, June 4. Students with a current school identification will get in for free on Saturday, June 25. Boy and Girl Scouts who wear their uniform, will gain free admission on Saturday, August 13. Saturday night, July 2 will feature $5.00 admission for all ages, and will feature autograph night and close with a giant fireworks display for everyone in attendance.

The return of the midweek special, the 2nd Annual Merritt Speedway Showdown will take place on Thursday night, June 9 and is likely to feature a few big names once again. The inaugural event in 2015 featured Ross Kenseth, Austin Dillon, Justin Allgaier, Kenny Wallace, Ken Schrader, and NASCAR Champion Matt Kenseth who signed autographs for fans. This years Showdown will once again have sanctioning bodies American Ethanol Late Models and Allstar Performance Michigan Dirt Cup Modifieds, and those two classes will be joined by Four Cylinders who will race for $500-to-win. While the UMP Late Model payout is yet to be announced, the UMP Modifieds will pay a big $3,000-to-win and $250-to-start. Many more details regarding the event will be announced in the coming months, but is sure to once again be one of the larger events of the season.

Merritt Speedways longest standing and greatest tradition, the Wood Tic, returns to its mid-July weekend this season, the 14th, 15th, and 16th. In previous years, Thursday was used as a practice day for competitors, with racing on Friday and Saturday nights. In 2016, track officials are thrilled to be hosting the DIRTcar Summer Nationals Hell Tour on Thursday night, July 14, which will bring in premier drivers and teams from across the Midwest with their UMP Late Models, as well as UMP Modifieds. Joining them on Thursday will be Merritt’s Factory Stock and Four Cylinder divisions, and will both race for $500-to-win on Thursday night. Friday and Saturday of Wood Tic will see all seven of Merritt’s divisions in action, with Late Models, Modifieds, and Lightning Sprints all running heat and dash for cash races similar to 2015, and the Pro Stocks, Pro Trucks, Factory Stocks, and Four Cylinders all racing features. Saturday night will see feature races for all seven divisions and other events to cap off the huge three days of racing.

One of the most exciting additions to this coming years race calendar, takes place in late August on the second to final weekend. The World of Outlaw Late Model tour comes to Merritt for a huge two-day show, in one of the most anticipated weekends of the season. Presented by Keyser Manufacturing, many of the best dirt late model drivers will compete against local Merritt stars in pursuit of the large payout and World of Outlaw trophies. All of Merritt’s divisions including the UMP Modifieds, Lightning Sprints, Pro Stocks, Pro Trucks, Factory Stocks, and Four Cylinders will race in support of the World of Outlaws, split between the two days of racing.

Other dates of note include Saturday, June 18, when the Engine Pro Sprints on Dirt come to town. The upstart Great Lakes Super Sprints join Merritt’s UMP Late Models and other classes on Saturday night, July 30 for their first ever appearance on the 3/8-mile clay oval. The 2016 edition of the Open Wheel Spectacular is bound to be a big one following last years’ huge car counts and great racing, with the Engine Pro Sprints on Dirt, Lane Automotive Michigan Traditional Sprints series, and Merritt’s Lightning Sprints all in competition on Saturday, August 20. The American Ethanol Late Model tour will make their second of two appearances on Saturday, August 6, being joined by UMP Modifieds, Pro Stocks, Pro Trucks, and Factory Stocks. The 2nd Annual Gene Kregear Championship Weekend returns to close out the 2016 season, on Labor Day weekend, Saturday, September 3 and Sunday, September 4. All seven divisions will be in action, as well as the Allstar Performance Michigan Dirt Cup Modifieds tour on Saturday. Champions will be crowned and a fireworks spectacular will close out the events on Sunday.

Merritt Speedway races every Saturday night during the summer, with many multi-day weekend events and special shows on other days. Be sure to check out the entire schedule which is available on MerrittSpeedwayMI.com, as well as keep up on all the latest news, pictures, and great promotions by finding Merritt Speedway on Facebook. Track officials will be holding a meet and greet for everyone involved with Merritt Speedway at The Pines Sports Bar and Bowling Center in Cadillac, on Saturday, March 5 at 1:00 p.m.

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Mike’s Thoughts – Jan. 7

Good afternoon everyone,

Hope everyone had a safe and happy holiday season and good new year celebration.

The biggest talk of racing in our area, is the unfortunate closure of Fife Lake’s Cherry Speedway. I’ve come to know Roger and I definitely feel for them. We had plans to work together on several things this coming season between the two tracks.

While I’ve been told by various different people that Cherry closing is a positive for Merritt, I do not believe this to be true. I think the racing community is stronger as a larger group and Cherry has been a staple in northern Michigan racing for years.

Roger talked about his belief and challenge for Cherry Speedway, as being the negativity that pours through Facebook. If you were at the Merritt banquet, you know that I talked about Facebook negativity and how I also believe it is a detriment to short track racing. No more than two-hours after the banquet concluded, a now ex-employee posted a negative comment about our banquet and a few other things. Another instance is a racer and his wife that have been awkwardly negative about Merritt since opening night and are not allowed to race with us. The saddest part about all that to me is that the wide majority of folks are happy with and positive about the state of affairs on any given week. But it is the minority, that make the most noise. This is true with many aspects in life, where it seems like we are maybe quick to complain, but rarely compliment or thank. Maybe 2016 will bring a new wave of positivity and enjoyment for all.

You may have seen that we met with the Hirams Lightning Sprint group recently, and we are very excited about what is to come for this style of racing. I want to personally invite all Hirams drivers and non-Hirams Lightning Sprint racers to join us for a meeting on Saturday, January 16 and 2:00 p.m. in the afternoon. The Pines Sports Bar & Bowling Center in Cadillac will host the meeting, and we would love to see all the lightning sprint guys there!

The complete 2016 schedule will be released next week, so stay tuned for that! Almost everything is officially in line and we are working on a handful of different promotions and ideas we want to introduce. Have a great week, and stay warm.

Mike’s Monday Thoughts – Dec. 21

Good Monday afternoon to everyone! Since it’s the shortest day of the year (daylight), I thought I’d do my last Monday Thoughts of 2015. A lot has happened since the last thoughts just before Thanksgiving, with a few pretty exciting things regarding our schedule.

So let’s review…

The Hell Tour Summer Nationals Late Models and Modifieds have been added to the huge lineup for the 28th Annual Wood Tic Weekend. The Tour which will come to Merritt during its Champions Week, will add a third night to the weekend beginning on Thursday, July 14. Although the Hell Tour then goes to Oakshade for their final two events, we are confident that the Wood Tic is established enough and offers a large enough payout to keep the cars in our area.

More sprint car racing will take place in 2016, with the return of the Engine Pro Sprints on Dirt for two open wheel events, and the addition of the new Great Lakes Sprint Series coming one time to Merritt on July 30. Hopefully these two series can cooperate with each other, to help out not just the fans, but the drivers, teams, and promoters as well. Out of that should come two very solid open wheel sprint car touring series in the state of Michigan, which is exciting for all.

Two staples in last years’ schedule return again in 2016 for prominent events. The American Ethanol Late Model Tour will sanction the Thursday, June 9 Merritt Speedway Showdown, as well as a return visit on Saturday, August 8. Also coming back is the elite Allstar Performance Michigan Dirt Cup group, who will sanction the Modified portion of the Merritt Showdown event, as well as appearances on Saturday, August 20, and September 3.

The previously mentioned 2nd Annual Merritt Speedway Showdown, is set to take place on Thursday, June 9 this season. The date was adjusted out of respect to our friends at Kalamazoo Speedway and the late Gary Terry, where a race will be held in his memory. The Merritt Showdown will feature $8,000-to-win for the UMP Late Models, and $3,000-to-win for UMP Modifieds in 2016! Details will continue to be released as they become available.

Finally, our biggest announcement yet regarding 2016 is the addition of the World of Outlaw Late Model Series! This two-day show marks the return of the outlaws, with details and specifics still be worked on with series officials. What I can tease though, is that we have plans to make this the largest dirt race not only at Merritt next season, but in the state of Michigan in 2016. Stay tuned. And mark your calendars now, to be at Merritt on August 26 and 27!!!

Having the first year in the book is hopefully going to pay dividends now as we move forward, simply with the knowledge of what works, what doesn’t, what could use improvement, and what should stay the same. Thank you to the race fans, drivers, teams, family, and friends who make it all possible and for your support. We are proud to make Merritt Speedway strong and will continue working toward making things even better next year.

On behalf of the Merritt Speedway staff, I would like to wish you all a Merry Christmas and a safe and happy New Year.

Mike Blackmer

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Contact Our Office: 231-328-RACE(7223)
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