Happy Monday Merritt family! Another not ideal Saturday weather wise hit us with dark clouds until closer to race time. Fortunately, it did get sunny and we had a nice turnout of fans in the stands to watch what was a great night of racing and value!
The Great Lakes Super Sprints joined our regular divisions, and we thank them for coming up and running with us. The sprints struggled a bit in their feature event, but congratulations to Jared Horstman on getting it done and getting to Allstar Victory Lane over the 20 others that were racing.
The Keyser Manufacturing UMP Late Models put on a great race, as usual. Brandon Thirlby, Andrew Terrill and Eric Spangler had a pretty good battle in the top 3, and Brandon got the victory! No matter what form of racing or where, it’s always nice to see different people get to victory lane, so congratulations to him and the team on the win and speed as of late. Andrew Terrill has been knocking on the door, and of course the 27 is always in the mix and finished third.
The B Modifieds have been pretty smooth and consistent all year, until last Saturday. One drive running up front spun in turns 3 and 4, which collected nearly the entire field. Among those involved was Cody Bauer, which in turn ended his streak of wins. The battle for the lead and win was still great as several drivers were able to race, but Archie Miles led them all and earned himself a big win. Congratulations to that group, as well as Reid Sander and Brian Baumgarten who finished second and third with really stout runs.
The Lightning Sprint car-count has been strong over the last several weeks compared to the past, with 16 cars in the A feature race. Early on it looked like Mack Erickson had the race in the bag and checked out from the field, but his bad luck continues and appeared to lose another motor. Andrew Scheid raced with the GLSS group, and also had his Lightning Sprint at the speedway and charged through the field to capture the feature win, edging WoodTic winner Johnny Roberts, while Jordan Erickson finished third.
A pair of TJ’s led the Pro Stock division feature finish, as TJ Gilbert got the victory over TJ Erickson. Richie Sutherland got his truck across the line third, while Marc Super and Don Erickson rounded out the top five. Jim Miller Sr. started mid pack in the Factory Stock feature, and raced to the lead and eventual win, over Rick Spencer and Jim Miller Jr second and third. The Mini Wedges had their best night of smooth racing yet this year, with an exciting 3-wide finish that went to Katie Robinson in the unrestricted division, with Jake Erickson getting the win in the restricted class. We love watching those youngsters run and its cool to see their smiles post-race.
Payouts… after talking with drivers and receiving some feedback, we are going to restructure the SPECIAL pays that remain this year. That begins this week with our B Modifieds and Pro Stocks; instead of paying $1,000-to-win, we’re going to instead distribute it through the top 10, and paying $200-more-than-normal to win this weekend. The breakdown can be seen at the bottom here, but all the remaining special payouts for specific classes will use this. Regular weekly payouts will remain unchanged.
On Saturday, August 5, we will again recognize all the past Merritt Speedway track champions. They’ll have free admission to the races and be invited on the front stretch pre-race. On that day, we’ll partner with the Tommie Bauer Memorial that is held at Mt Pleasant Speedway, and pay $2,000-to-win for the UMP Modifieds. If one driver can win both features, at Mt Pleasant and Merritt in a UMP Mod, they’ll get a $500 bonus as well! That night we will also honor Rod Ancel and his long commitment to Merritt Speedway. Make sure you join us for that show.
The Four Cylinders are a class that I take pride in and love every week that we have them, and having grown the division over the last two and a half years since buying the speedway. Again, after consulting with drivers and other track promoters, we are considering placing rules that will tighten up the field even more. Four Cylinders MOTORS are so difficult to tech and spans such a broad spectrum of makes and models, that keeping a level playing field and trying to eliminate guys having to put a lot of money into a four cylinder is difficult, but our goal. This is supposed to be an entry level division, and we want to get back to that. In the near future, we may impose a ‘breakout’ rule, or other possible ideas to be announced, to give every driver that shows up on a given night in that class an honest chance to race for the win going into things. I have never believed in having a 'claim' rule, and this is the way we can still avoid that.
Lastly, since I took over Merritt, we’ve always started generally everyone who shows up in the feature. On any given night, even if we have 24 cars in any of the divisions, we usually make it work to start them all and not send anyone home. This will continue and hopefully we can keep having nice full fields like that with great racing.
Saturday night looks to be great, so make sure to join us. I look forward to seeing you all then!
Pro Stock Pay - July 29
B Modified Pay - July 29