Chad Bauer Notches First Win of the Year at Merritt
Lake City, Michigan (Saturday August 18th, 2018): The race fans of northern Michigan made their way out to the Merritt Speedway this past weekend for another speed filled Saturday night. The show featured a big 7 in 1 show headlined by the Cadillac Tire Center UMP DIRTcar Modifieds. They were joined by the Diesel Freak B-Modifieds, Cadillac News Lighting Sprints, Auto Value Pro Stocks, Lake City Materials Factory Stocks, XLT Engineering Four-Cylinders, and Allstar Performance Mini Wedges.
The Allstar Performance Mini-Wedges held three feature events, two for the “Restricted” division and one for the “Un-Restricted” division. Jake Erickson won the feature for the “Restricted” division, with Keeton Cade, Pierson DeShano, Leilynd Strehlke, and Peighton Crawford making up the top five. Then, in the second feature It was Claire Krajniak getting the big win over Dillion Liggett, Lillian Erickson, Autumn Erickson, and Cole Shanteau completing the top five. In the Un-Restricted division, Clay Lachcik won the feature event. His finished ahead of Nathan Winters, Marshall Krajniak, Brennan DeShano, and Kyron DeShano completing the top five. The heat race wins went to Erickson and Krajniak (Restricted) and Lachcik (Un-Restricted).
The XLT Engineering Four-Cylinders rolled out for their 15-lap main event. 17-year old Danielle Robinson and 14-year old Bobby Fetters started on the front row leading the field of cars down to the green flag. Robinson pulled out front with the early lead. She would maintain her position through the early staged which did see a few cautions, but she would continue on and lead all the way through to the checkered flag. This was the fourth win of the year for the native of Mount Pleasant, Michigan in her Tommie Bauer Excavating #11. Fetters finished in the second spot. Brad Treichel, 18-year old Trent Matthews, and 19-year old Cheyanne Emery rounded out the top five. Robinson and Fetters won the preliminary heat races.
15-year old Bryan Cook and Dwight Crawford led out the next feature event for the Lake City Materials Factory Stocks. The field took the green flag for their 15-lap race with Crawford pulling away the early edge for the lead. Things would remain that way until lap 4 when the 2017-track champion Rick Spencer wheeled his way up the front of the field after starting sixth. Spencer would try to pull away, but a hard charging 13-year old Chase Burda would rally to challenge Spencer in the last stage of the event. However, when things were said and done Spencer would indeed go to victory lane after just beating Burda to the line. This was the Whittemore, Michigan driver’s seventh win of the year in the Spencer’s Auto Salvage #M65. Burda had to settle for second. Crawford, Cook, and Drew Reist would make up the rest of the top five. 18-year old Brendan Powell and Spencer were the heat race winners.
The 20-lap A-Main for the Auto Value Pro Stocks was out next with Tim Murphy and Kevin Newberry making up the front row. Once the green flag dropped it would be Murphy blasting off with the lead after the usual drag race into turn one. Three laps later Newberry powered his way past for the lead, but Murphy answered right back on lap 4. Murphy would stay there until lap 16 when Rob Westergard was able to rumble by taking the lead for himself and going on from there to pick up the big win. This was the second win of the year for the 29-year old driver from Bay City, Michigan in his R.W Transmission #27. 3-time track champion T.J. Erickson, Murphy, Newberry, and Jacob Flickinger finished off the top five. Westergard and Flickinger won the heats.
The next main event belonged to the Diesel Freak B-Modifieds with a 20-lap affair. Scott Payton and Scott Smith brought the full field to green flag, and Payton nabbed the edge early on. However, the race would be plagued by several cautions in the first six laps, losing multiple cars. The event would go just past the half-way point, but another caution would come out, forcing the scoring officials to end the race early due to breaching the time limit. Payton the 36-year old driver from Gaylord, Michigan notched his sixth win of the season in the Big Boy’s Tv / Longhorn Chassis #711. John Taylor finished second. Josh Loomis, Smith, and Kyle Galgoci capped off the top five. The heat races were won by Taylor, Loomis, and Reid Sanders.
The 25-lap feature for the Cadillac News Lightning Sprints were led out by Chuck Erickson and Anthony Whitehead. However, after the first circuit it was 2015-track champion Mack Erickson leading the way. Erickson would amass a good lead over the rest of the field, but on lap 23 Erickson would jump the banking going into turn 2, which allowed Johnny Roberts to take over the top position and sail on from there to take the win. This was Roberts fourth win of the year in the Pat’s Auto #2A. John Norder, Mack Erickson, Chuck Erickson, and Scott Flees rounded out the top five. Roberts and Norder won the heat races.
The main event of the evening fell to the Cadillac Tire Center UMP DIRTcar Modifieds who competed in a 25-lap main. Larry Cade and Dave Baker brought the field down to chief starter Randy Hose’s green flag. Baker would take the early advantage as everyone shuffled for positions in his rear view. Baker would stay at the top of the leaderboard until lap 15, that was when the hard-charging 2008-track champion Chad Bauer would work his way up to go side by side with Baker and wrestle the lead away. Bauer would pull away from there and would go on to pick up the win. Bauer, the 45-year old from Farwell, Michigan scored his first win at Merritt in his Otto’s Retreat / Rocket by Ruhlman Racecar #19. Caleb Kill, Josh Knoll, Baker, and Kyle Novak finished the top five. Joe Rokos, and Knoll won the heats. Rokos also won the four-car dash. Bauer was the overall fast qualifier with a time of 14.430.
The next event for Merritt Speedway will be this Saturday August 25th. The show will be headlined by the return of the high-powered Soaring Eagle UMP DIRTcar Late Models. Plus, the Cadillac Tire Center UMP DIRTcar Modifieds, Diesel Freak B-Modifieds, Cadillac News Lightning Sprints, Lake City Materials Factory Stocks, XLT Engineering Four-Cylinders, and Allstar Performance Mini-Wedges will all be in action as well. The night will also see the running of the UMP Modifeds and B-Modifieds make up features from June 30th. The pit gates will open at 3:00pm. Grandstands open at 5:00pm. Qualifying for UMP Late Models and Modifieds will take place at 6:00pm. Allstar Performance Mini-Wedge heat races will be at 6:45pm, then after the invocation/national anthem, the green flag is set to wave at 7:00pm.