Lake City, Michigan (Saturday, June 3rd, 2018): Drivers and fans gathered for the second week of racing at Merritt Speedway this past Saturday. The 1/4 (0.250) mile dirt oval located in Lake City, Michigan hosted six divisions in what was another action-packed night. It was Factory Stock night where the Lake City Materials Factory Stock division competed for an increased payout, as did the Diesel Freak B-Modifieds. The Soaring Eagle UMP DIRTcar Late Models, Auto Value Pro Stocks, XLT Engineering Four-cylinders, and Allstar Performance Mini-Wedges were all in action as well.
The Allstar Performance Mini-Wedges took kicked off the feature events with Pierson DeShano earning his second win of the season with Claire Krajniak, Keeton Cade, Peighton Crawford, and Cole Shanteau rounding out the top five in the “Restricted” division. Brennan DeShano won his first feature of the year in the “Unrestricted” division with Clay Lachcik, Marshall Krajniak, and Dillon Liggett making up the rest of the top five. Pierson DeShano and Brennan DeShano won their respective heat races for their divisions.
The Auto Value Pro Stocks made their way out for their 20-lap A-Main. Dick Stout and Roger McQueen started things off on the front row. However, on the opening lap it would be T.J. Erickson taking lead. That turned out to be all he needed, as he would hang on until the very end to be the first to the checkered flag. Rob Westergard was the runner up finisher. Jacob Flickinger, Kevin Newberry, and Marc Super completed the top five. Newberry and Westergard were the heat race winners.
Then, it was time for the $800 to win special event for the Lake City Materials Factory Stocks. Dave Crawford and 13-year old Chase Burda led the field down to chief starter Randy Hose green flag. Burda jumped out with the early lead after the opening circuit. He would remain there until lap 5, where Jake Thompson who started eighth powered his way by and took over the lead. Thompson would go on from there to pick up the win and big payday. It was the Traverse City, Michigan driver picked up his first win of the year. Defending track champion Rick Spencer finished second. Eric Lake, Will Stanley, and Burda capped off the top five. The Preliminary heat wins went to Myron Wiggins and Aaron Spearling.
The feature event that followed was the Diesel Freak B-Modifieds facing off for a special $1500 to win prize lasting 30-laps. Mike Shanteau and Richie Sutherland brought the field to green. Shanteau wasted little time in commanding the race lead. The rest of field would give their best effort, but there was no stopping Shanteau as he led every lap of the event and took home the $1500 payday. This was the first win of the year for the Weidman, Michigan native who finished in front of Josh Loomis who was second. Scott Payton, Sutherland, and Scott Smtih finished off the top five. Defending track champion Cody Bauer, Dwight Crawford, and Blake Rausch won the heats, and Jeremy Wood won the B-Main.
Greg Gokey and JC Witherspoon led out the next feature event which was courtesy of the Soaring Eagle Casino UMP DIRTcar Late Models. The green flag fell for the 30-lap race which saw David Mielke take early led. He would hold on throughout much of the event, but on lap 27, Nick Kurtz who had pressured Mielke the last several laps made the move to wrestle the lead away. Kurtz would go on from there to pick up the win. The 24-year old from Greenville, Michigan earned his first victory of the season. Mielke was forced to settle for second. 6 time and defending track and 5 time and defending UMP DIRTcar state champion Eric Spangler, Andrew Terrill, and Steve Hilliker made up the rest of the top five. Kurtz, Gokey, and Chad Finley won the heat races. Gokey also won the four-car dash, and Kurtz was the overall fast qualifier with a time of 13.073.
The 15-lap XLT Engineering Four-Cylinder A division feature was the next to hit the racing surface. Russ Carrier and Ashley Vanauken led the field out from the front row. Vanauken led in the early going, but the defending track champion Willard VanHaitsma would maneuver his was to the front of the field and take over the race lead. The Cadillac, Michigan driver earned his second feature win of the year. Vanauken took second. 17-year old Danielle Robinson, Jacques Julin, and 19-year old Cheyanne Emery rounded out the top five. VanHaitsma also won his heat race.
The XLT Engineering Four-Cylinder B division also went 15-laps for their feature event race. 16-year old Jake Bell and Gabby Susdorf started things off when the green flag waved. Rylee Knoll who started at the rear of the field powered his way up to front of the pack to lead on lap 1. He was able to hang on from there picking his first feature win finishing ahead of 18-year old Trent Matthews who was the runner-up. Katie Robinson, Mandie Downey, and Shane Forman completed the five. Knoll also won the heat race.
The next show at Merritt Speedway will be This Wednesday June 6th. The traveling cars and stars of American Ethanol Late Model tour will compete for a purse that will pay $4000 to the winner. Plus, it will be the season opener for the American Ethanol Modified tour presented by Allstar Performance, where the modifieds will be in action battling for a $1500 to win prize. Both tours will bring the best racing talent in the great lakes region to northern Michigan. The Diesel Freak B-Modifieds and XLT Engineering Four-Cylinders will be in action as well. Pit Gates will open at 2:00pm. The grandstand gates will open at 4:00pm. Drivers will hit the track for hot laps at 5:45pm, followed immediately by qualifying at 6:15pm. Then, after pre-race ceremonies, invocation/national anthem, the green flag is set to fly at 7:00pm.