Hartford, MI (Friday, July 9, 2021) - The double-header Great Lakes Sprints weekend officially kicked off Friday night at Hartford Motor Speedway with the Great Lakes Super Sprints Presented by Engine Pro and ARP (GLSS) and the Great Lakes Traditional Sprints Presented by PERFIT (GLTS). Nearly 30 GLSS drivers unloaded ready to do battle alongside a stout field of GLTS drivers.
The night began with qualifying where drawing early appeared to be important. For GLSS, 2020 Champion, Jared Horstman set fast time in the first group with a 15.166. Mike Astrauskas led the GLTS field with his effort of 19.220.
Through GLSS heat races and a Last Chance Qualifier, the field was set for 25 laps around the wide and fast Hartford Motor Speedway. Max Stambaugh and Zane DeVault led the field to the green, with DeVault taking the early lead. In a car he’d never drove before, DeVault led the first nine rotations around the speedway before Brett Mann took the top spot on lap 10. The race was slowed the next lap for Horstman who blew a right rear tire in turns three and four. His crew changed the tire and he was able to continue.
Mann led the charge again following the restart, but it wasn’t long before Portland, Michigan’s Dustin Daggett found the top spot. Coming from his seventh starting spot, Daggett used the bottom of the race track to methodically work his way to the front of the field. Not long after taking the lead, Daggett went to the top of the race track to work through lapped traffic. Mann held onto the second spot while an impressive race unfolded for the top five spots. DeVault, Max Stambaugh, Ryan Ruhl, Gregg Dahlman and Danny Sams all jockeyed for position in the closing laps.
Daggett grabbed the win by over two seconds on Mann, and the top five shook down as DeVault, Ruhl, and Sams. Keith Sheffer, Jr, who raced his way in through the Last Chance Qualifier after battling mechanical issues at the beginning of the night, grabbed the Hoosier Racing Tire Hard Charger Award gaining eight spots to go from 18th to 10th.
The GLTS field rolled the speedway to close out the Sprint Car double on Friday night. Daggett and Astrauskas led the field to the green flag, but by the exit of turn two, Championship Points leader Steve Irwin had already came from his fourth starting spot to take the lead down the backstretch. Irwin would officially lead lap number one, but Astrauskas showed he wasn’t going to go quietly, coming back to lead lap number two. The pair would exchange the lead at the stripe two more times before Astrauskas put his number 3A machine at the point for two consecutive laps. On lap seven, Irwin sailed his flyin’ 0 machine off into turns one and two and came away with the lead down the backstretch, appearing to have found what he needed to get away from Astrauskas.
That all changed on lap nine when the caution was cued up after Tom Davies spun in turn three. Davies was able to keep the car rolling, but the caution was thrown as he spun in traffic. Irwin had no issues navigating the restart and led the rest of the way to the finish. Astrauskas’ car fell off as he slid backwards through the field, but another exciting battle within the top five kept fans occupied as Lee Underwood, Parker Frederickson, Keith Sheffer, Jr and Max Frank all battled to get a top five finish. At the checkered, Irwin grabbed the win followed by Daggett, Underwood, Frederickson and Sheffer, Jr.
Both divisions are back in action tonight, plus they are joined by the third member of the Great Lakes Family of Sprint Cars - the Great Lakes Lightning Sprints Presented by Maxima Racing Oils. Racing at Merritt Speedway in Lake City, Michigan begins at 6:30 PM and Grandstands open at 4:00 PM. For more on the Great Lakes Family of Sprint Cars, log onto www.GreatLakesSprints.com and find each of the divisions on Facebook and Twitter.