Mike’s Thoughts – April 29

Happy Friday to everyone,

What a difference a year makes! Last year, there had already been tons of work done out at the speedway, from asphalt and cement being poured and placed, to paint going on nearly every surface, new fencing, etc. etc. This year, we can’t seem to get a dry week to get far on a couple projects. Coupled with that, the new racing surface has a ton of moisture in it and is the reason we were forced to cancel tomorrows first scheduled test and tune. We will do our best for next weekend, but stay tuned to the website in case the wet weather continues. Hopefully that announcement was made earlier enough for everyone to be able to make alternative plans or free up your weekend, as we get set to dial it up for a long but fun summer ahead!

Very excited to have sold more than 120 pit stalls, to drivers currently committed to racing at Merritt for the 2016 season.

The Merritt Showdown continues to grow, as the second annual event had a few additional announcements made regarding it last week. Chase Elliott and Ryan Blaney will join Rusty and Kenny Wallace on the Thursday, June 9 special. The guys will meet with fans in the paid hospitality event, much like we did last year with Matt Kenseth. Tickets for that will be on sale soon, and we are thrilled to host them for this years Showdown – a can’t miss Thursday night special.

Kevin Striegle has been brought on to a full time position for Merritt Speedway beginning with the 2016 season, and will serve as General Manager and oversee the race operations side of things this year. Kevin was with us last year part time, and has worked in the role of race director previously for a couple years as well as filling various other positions. He has been an employee of mine for nearly a decade on and off and I am very happy to have him on Merritt full time now. If you have any questions on race day or during the week, feel free to contact him at 616-250-6211 via text or call, as well as [email protected].

A heads up for opening night, May 14 to all drivers… We are going to be one hour ahead on everything, to ensure we start on time at 7:00 p.m. and can work through all the opening night obstacles that are normal. Time will be announced later, but plan to come early and enjoy opening night 2016 with us! And be sure to tell your friends and neighbors that tickets for all ages in the grandstand are just $7!

Until then…

Mike Blackmer

NASCAR’s Two Biggest Rising Stars, Chase Elliott & Ryan Blaney, Coming to the Merritt Showdown, Thursday, June 9

Merritt, MI (4-21-16) – Merritt Speedway officials are pleased to announce the addition of NASCAR’s brightest up and coming stars, Chase Elliott and Ryan Blaney, who will appear at the tracks Showdown, Thursday, June 9, presented by Don’s Auto Clinic.

The 2nd Annual Merritt Showdown will offer fans not only spectacular racing on the track, but a star-studded lineup of guests that currently include previously announced NASCAR Hall of Fame Inductee Rusty Wallace, as well as Kenny Wallace, and now Chase Elliott and Ryan Blaney presented in part by Cadillac Truck Service and Napa of Cadillac and Big Rapids.

Chase Elliott, the son of famed NASCAR Champion Bill Elliott, has quickly made a name for himself in NASCAR’s top series. Taking over the reigns of Jeff Gordon’s #24 Chevrolet, Elliott qualified on the pole for the 2016 Daytona 500, and most recently brought home an impressive fourth place finish in Sunday’s event at Bristol Motor Speedway. Chase currently sits solidly in 12th position in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series points in his Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet, and is atop the series Rookie of the Year standings. The second generation driver won the 2014 NASCAR Xfinity Series Championship, and Rookie of the Year while taking home the honors of the Most Popular Driver in 2014 and 2015. Chase also became the first driver to win the Grand Slam of the Super Late Model world by winning the Winchester 400, the World Crown 300, the All American 400, and the Snowball Derby

Ryan Blaney, who has grown up in a family of racers himself, has become the captain of what is one of the most iconic cars in NASCAR history, the #21 Wood Brothers Ford. The 22-year-old driver originally from Cortland, Ohio, has compiled 8 combined wins in NASCAR’s Xfinity and Camping World Truck series tours including six poles. Blaney, who has run a largely part-time schedule in his early NASCAR days, now runs full time for Wood Brothers Racing this season, with support from Penske Racing. Ryan Blaney most recently finished 11th in the Food City 500, and is currently 19th in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Points. Ryan won the 2014 Camping World Truck Series Most Popular Driver award, and also has a distinguished short track racing career including wins at many of the nations premier events.

“I was able to have Chase and Ryan at Berlin Raceway competing in 2009 and 2010, and it was a great experience,” commented Mike Blackmer, owner of Merritt Speedway. “It’s an honor to once again have these two fine young men back to Merritt and continue our tradition of bringing big name stars to Merritt and Northern Michigan at our Showdown each year.”

Race fans will have the opportunity for just $65, to meet Chase Elliott, Ryan Blaney, NASCAR Champion Rusty Wallace, and Kenny Wallace, as well as enjoy a full buffet dinner and grandstand admission for the racing. Along with that fans can enjoy a question and answer session with all four of the drivers, get the chance to win signed Merritt apparel, and more.

Tickets will be available for pre-sale online via printed form at a date to be announced soon, as well as at the speedway ticket office beginning on opening night May 14, while supplies last. Merritt Speedway has racing every Saturday night, including specials such as the Merritt Showdown, in addition to the Hell Tour on Thursday, July 14, and the Craftsman World of Outlaw Late Models on Friday and Saturday, August 26 and 27, presented by Keyser Manufacturing.

Fans can keep up on the latest speedway news, including ticket information and much more by Liking Merritt Speedway on Facebook, and visiting MerrittSpeedwayMI.com

Media interview requests must be directed to General Manager Kevin Striegle at [email protected]

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Mike’s Thoughts – March 31, 2016

Good afternoon! Sorry it has been awhile since our last update. We’ve been busy working on our schedule and details surrounding it, partnership sales, and much more.

First things first, we will start out with a good one! Opening night, which will fall on Saturday, May 14, will feature a big Keyser Manufacturing Late Model payout of $2,500-to-win and $275-to-start! The Cadillac Tire Center UMP Modifieds will compete for $1,000-to-win and $150 as well on opening night, and joined by the other five classes including Lightning Sprints, Pro Stocks, Hardcore Performance Pro Trucks, Factory Stocks, and 4-Cylinder cars. This should really help kick things off once again with a bang!

The car counts for this year… wow! If pit slab rental is any type of sign, we are going to have some excellent competitive racing for fans all season! We’ve sold over 100 season long pit stalls, which is exciting on the surface. To honor everyone who has paid to have the right of their own reserved stall, we are going to strictly enforce that everyone MUST pay for their pit stall, whether it be a season long purchase or the $20 per night, regardless of whether it is on a cement slab or in the grass. This will be monitored weekly and charged at the pit gate before entry to the pit area if one has not been paid for, in fairness of those that have committed to a stall for the season.

Mini Wedge Association… Very very exciting new class that will be racing with us this season. The new class, formed by Aaron Morey, will compete eight times in 2016, including their championship weekend joining our annual labor day weekend championship as well. During that weekend, we will be giving away a brand new mini wedge chassis, as well as racing suites, helmets, and other prizes and awards to the kids. We are thrilled to be able to help grow this new class and there are many good things to come with it. So mini wedge parents and drivers, mark your calendars for Labor Day Weekend!

If you have a questions regarding the Merritt Speedway rules, you can contact Josh Harrington at 989-745-2648. If he doesn’t have the answer, he will find it for you.

If you are looking for some part time summer work, we would love to hear from you. We have a few positions available. Please E-Mail to [email protected] to learn more and submit your resume.

A month away from our first practice of the season, we hope your preparations are coming along smoothly and we can’t wait to see all the new cars soon. There is still lots of work to be done but we are all very excited to get year two underway. Until next time…

Michael Blackmer

Don’s Auto Clinic Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram Returns as Major Merritt Partner in 2016

Merritt, MI (3-25-16) –  Merritt Speedway is pleased to announce Don’s Auto Clinic Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram will return as a big partner again for the 2016 race season. The Cadillac, Michigan company will again be the title sponsor for the annual Merritt Showdown, which will take place on Thursday, June 9.

“Don’s Auto Clinic is a staple to the Cadillac area, with an outstanding sales and support staff to assist with the needs of every customer that walks through the door,” said Merritt track owner Mike Blackmer. “Don’s Auto Clinic held the naming rights to our Showdown special in its inaugural season, and with that event growing this season, is a perfect fit for them to be part of again this coming year,” Blackmer stated in closing.

Located on North Mitchell Street in downtown Cadillac, Don’s Auto Clinic is the place to purchase your next new or used vehicle. Don’s Auto Clinic will provide an automotive buying experience that very few other dealers can offer. Thousands of satisfied customers of all ages and financial backgrounds have enjoyed their unique hassle free auto buying experience.

The second annual Merritt Showdown will feature NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee Rusty Wallace, who drove the #2 Miller Lite car for legendary owner Roger Penske in NASCAR’s top series. The 1989 Champion will sign autographs and have a private meet and greet with fans prior to the Thursday night, June 9, racing events. Rusty will be joined by his brother Kenny, a NASCAR on FOX TV personality and dirt short track racer at heart. Additional announcements regarding this event, which is presented by Don’s Auto Clinic, will be made in the coming weeks.

Whether you live in Wexford, Missaukee, Clare, Grand Traverse, Osceola counties or across the country, you can rest assured that your next vehicle purchase will be handled with honesty and integrity, which has been the foundation of Don’s Auto Clinic for over 50 years. Stop by their showroom or call 231-775-2413 to learn more and make your next vehicle purchase. And be sure to let them know you heard about them from Merritt Speedway!

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Engine Pro Returns as Merritt Speedway Championship Point Fund Presenter

3-23-16 (Merritt, MI) – The 2016 season for Merritt Speedway is racing closer, and partners and organizations are jumping onboard just as quickly. The latest addition to the Merritt Speedway portfolio is the return Engine Pro. The company joined Merritt Speedway for the first time in 2015, and due to the success of the partnership, will rejoin again for the coming season. Engine Pro will be the presenting sponsor of the 2016 Championship Point Fund.

Engine Pro is dedicated to exclusively servicing the wholesale market with the best brands and most complete inventories of engine and performance parts in the Great Lakes region. Engine Pro’s 35 distribution centers, with locations including Grand Rapids and Livonia, provide engine builders and machine shops across the country with a full line of brand name internal engine components. Engine Pro distributes engine parts for domestic and import passenger car, light truck, heavy duty, industrial, marine, agricultural and performance applications. Engine Pro is the proud title sponsor of the Sprints on Dirt touring series, that will compete at Merritt Speedway on Saturday’s June 18 and August 20.

“We are very happy to have Engine Pro as a partner again for the 2016 race season,” said Mike Blackmer, Merritt Speedway owner. “Having worked with their fine organization for many years, Engine Pro provides their customer base with outstanding products and services. Their knowledgeable sales staff helps to make jobs easy, and is a model that we strive to attain ourselves at Merritt Speedway.”

Learn more about Engine Pro and how you can get involved with this fine company by visiting their website, www.EngineProParts.com, or by calling them at (616) 247-6572.

The Chase for the Engine Pro Championship Points Fund will begin on Saturday night, May 14th, featuring the full lineup of divisions. Like Merritt Speedway on Facebook, or visit www.MerrittSpeedwayMI.com for more information today.

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