Last Saturday night, we officially ended the 2017 season with our banquet at Soaring Eagle Casino and Resort. The night went great and I’d like to thank the Soaring Eagle staff for all their hard work on making the event a success. Great food, atmosphere, and all around experience.

Congratulations to all of our division champions on your accomplishments this past year. Eric Spangler, David Mielke, Cody Bauer, Jordan Erickson, TJ Erickson, Rick Spencer, Willard VanHaitsma and Steven Nieuwenhuis. We had more than 300 people on hand with us Saturday, and we thank each and every person who joined for the event. Outside of the comedian that seemed like maybe the down part of the night, we enjoyed it as well.

A full list of award winners is below, but we had a few extra special ones. Peni Lalonde won our Courage award, as she continues to battle cancer. Keep her in your prayers throughout the off-season, and send her a Facebook message if you’re thinking of her, to offer encouragement.

Two other particularly special moments resulted in standing ovations for the award winenrs. Dan Salay winning the Crew Chief of the Year award, helping with Brandon Thirlby’s ride and being a special piece in the racing community. Dan lost his cancer fight in September and will be dearly missed. We were also honored to have Chief (Leo Pego) at Saturday’s banquet, and he won our Ed VanDuinen Humanitarian Award. Sometimes change happens, as Chief went to announce at Crystal, but it was very special to have him at the banquet Saturday to honor him and what all he has done for Merritt Speedway, and wish him all the very best.

Work now begins for the 2018 season, as we’ll start communicating with track partners, divisions, etc to put the pieces together for what will hopefully be a tremendous 50th anniversary season. As mentioned at the banquet, the Merritt schedule will not be released until after the first of the year.

I would like to say thank you to all the Merritt employees that dedicate their weekends to working at the track. Special thank you to Kevin Striegle for putting together and emceeing another really fantastic banquet.

I hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving next week!

Mike B


Sponsors of the Year
The Perfit Corporation / Engine Pro
Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort

Perfect Attendance
Sonny Tulick- 28 Years
Bob Hammar- 19 Years

Rookie of the Year
Mini Wedges – Katie Robinson
4 Cylinders – Danielle Robinson
Factory Stock – Steven Lippner
Pro Stock – Teri Lynn Murphy
Lightning Sprints – John Norder
B Modifieds – Archie Miles
Modifieds – Josh Guerne
Late Model – Karl Mead

Most Improved Driver
Mini Wedge – Nathan Winters
4 Cylinders – Austin Harnick
Factory Stock – Dwight Crawford
Pro Stock – Marc Super
Lightning Sprints – Scott Flees
B Modifieds – Reid Sanders
Modifieds – Larry Cade
Late Model – Mike Staszak

Best Appearing Car
Mini Wedge – Preston Mieske
4 Cylinders – Austin Harnick
Factory Stock – Jim Miller Jr.
Pro Stock – Don Erickson
Lightning Sprints – John Norder
B Modifieds – John Taylor
Modifieds – Kyle Novak
Late Model – Andrew Terrill



On Call Award                         Randy Ellen

Hardest Crash                         Chuck Erickson

Most Popular Driver                Richie Sutherland

Social Media Team                 Sanders Racing

Employee of the Year             Rick Stewart

Crew Chief of the Year           Dan Salay

Sportsmanship                        Steve Kurtz

Racers of the Year                  Cody Bauer & Jacob Poel

Humanitarian                          Chief - Leo Pego