Lake City, Michigan (Saturday July 28th, 2018): The American Ethanol Modified tour presented by Allstar performance made their way to Merritt Speedway to complete their show that was rained out back on June 23rd. The traveling tour brought some of the best UMP DIRTcar Modified drivers to “Michigan’s Premier Dirt Track”. The high-powered Soaring Eagle Casino UMP DIRTcar Late Models also headlined the program. The Diesel Freak B-Modifieds, Auto Value Pro Stocks, Lake City Materials Factory Stocks, and XLT Engineering Four-Cylinders were also part of the full 6 in 1 show.
The feature events began on Saturday with the Diesel Freak B-Modifieds who rolled to the speedway for a 20-lap race. Mike Shanteau and Archie Miles made up the front row and brought the field to the green flag. Shanteau grabbed the early edge in the race leading after lap 1. He would hold that spot until lap 6 when the 2017 track champion Cody Bauer powered his way by for the race lead. Bauer pulled away with an impressive advantage, but soon there would be pressure coming in the form of John Taylor who was within striking distance of Bauer as the laps were winding down. However, an excessive amount of cautions would end up causing the feature to be finished due to breaking the time limit. Bauer the 25-year old from Farwell, Michigan was credited with the race win, his third of the season in the Bauer Construction / BMS #19x over Taylor, Scott Smith, Chuck Powell, and 15-year old Austin Harnick who made up the top five. Taylor, 17-year old Preston DeShano, and Jeremy Wood won the preliminary heat races.
Next up was the XLT Engineering Four-Cylinders “A” division led out by 18-year old Stan Sutten and John Lowes. Sutten pulled off with the early lead after the start of the race. Sutton would lead until lap 4, 19-year old Cheyanne Emery would work her way by taking the lead. Things would remain the same until lap 8 when Danielle Robinson would pull off the pass for the top position. She would go on from there to pick up the win. Robinson, the 17-year old from Mount Pleasant, Michigan picked up her second win of the season in the Tommie Bauer Construction #11. Emery took second. Russ Carrier, Lowes, and Sutten completed the top five. Robinson also won the heat race.
The XLT Engineering Four-Cylinders “B” division hit the track for their 15-lap A-Main. 16-year old Jake Bell and Bobby Fetters started on the front row. Fetters was able to jump out in front of the field in the early going. He was able to sustain the lead until lap 12, when Trent Matthews would snag the lead. He went on from there to see the checkered flag. Matthews the 19-year old from Houghton Lake, Michigan notched his second win of the year. Fetters had to settle for second. Ritchie Montgomery, Mandie Downey, and Katie Robinson finished out the top five. Rylee Knoll won the heat race.
6-time track and 3-time UMP DIRTcar Michigan State Champion Eric Spangler and Herb Reich led out the 30-lap main event for the high-powered Soaring Eagle UMP DIRTcar Late Models. The green flag waved, and Spangler took off with the lead after the opening circuit. The ever-intense battling for position commenced, with numerous battles round the track. When all was said and done, it would indeed be Spangler making the visit to victory lane for his fifth win of the year at Merritt in his Forbes Construction / Mastersbilt Racecar #27. Two-time Sunoco American Late Model series champion Brandon Thirlby finished as the runner up. Nick Kurtz, David Mielke, and 16-year old Michael Luberda rounded out the top five. The heat victories went to Mielke, Thirlby, and Josh Knoll. Kurtz won the four-car dash. Thirlby was the overall fast qualifier with a 13.238 lap time.
The 20-lap feature for the Auto Value Pro Stocks was next with Marc Super and Teri Lynn Murphy on the front row. Super led after the opening lap, but he would soon have to see Jacob Flickinger power his way by on lap 3. Flickinger maintained the lead until the 3-time track champion TJ Erickson maneuvered his way to the front of the field after starting ninth and taking the lead away. Erickson scored the victory, it was his fourth of the year in the Culvers #19. Rick Yaroch, Super, Tim Tabaczka, and Tim Murphy capped off the top five. Jordan Erickson and Kevin Newberry won the heat races.
The main event for the American Ethanol Modified tour presented by Allstar Performance hit the speedway for a 30-lap feature race paying $1500 to win. John McClure would the first leader of the event topping the leaderboard after the first lap. He would try to hang on but on the very next time around it would be the four-time track and 5-time UMP DIRTcar Michigan State Champion David Mielke taking over the lead. Mielke would pull away with the advantage, but he would have the 2017 American Ethanol Modified tour champion Jacob Poel hot on his trail. But there was no stopping Mielke from being the first to the checkered flag. Mielke, the 26-year old from Gladwin, Michigan picked up his fifth Merritt win in his Krompetz Elevators / Rocket by Ruhlman Racecar #87. Poel was the runner up. 2008 track champion Chad Bauer, 4-time track champion Brent Banning, and Michigan Motorsports Hall of Famer Donnie Roberts completed the top five. Mielke, Banning, and McClure won the heats.
The final main event of the evening belonged to the Lake City Materials Factory Stock division running a 15-lap A-Main. Pat Kisser and 16-yeard old Tristian Siddall made up the front row. Kisser was the early leader after lap 1. But on lap 2 it was the hard charging 13-year old Chase Burda who lead the field. Burda would try to pull away, but the 2017 track champion Rick Spencer was in hot pursuit. Spencer would begin to race nose to nose with Burda, but the two would hit heavy lap traffic allowing Burda to get a firmer hold on the top spot. Spencer tried one last but Burda would hang on to get the big win. This was the second win of the year for the 13-year old from Lapeer, Michigan in the Rob’s Service #18. Spencer, Aaron Spearling, Kisser, and Dave Crawford made up the top five. Spencer and Burda won the heats.
The next event for Merritt Speedway will be a double header weekend this Friday August 3rd and Saturday August 4th to celebrate the speedways 50th Anniversary presented by Gilboe’s Lock and Safe. This weekend will feature the highest payouts for the 2018 season. The show will include racing from the Soaring Eagle UMP DIRTcar Late Models, Cadillac Tire Center UMP DIRTcar Modifieds, Diesel Freak B-Modifieds, Cadillac News Lightning Sprints, Auto Value Pro Stocks, Lake City Materials Factory Stocks, XLT Engineering Four-Cylinders, and the Allstar Performance Mini-Wedges. The green flag is set to start the racing action both nights at 7:00pm.