Hartford, MI - The Great Lakes Super Sprints Presented by Engine Pro and ARP (GLSS) unloaded Friday night at Hartford Motor Speedway for the fourth race of the 2023 Wolverine (North) division season. Coming into the night, defending GLSS Champion Max Stambaugh was all tied up with 2018 Series Champion, Dustin Daggett. That battle falls apart fast after a standout performance from Fremont, OH native, Phil Gressman.
A total of 29 cars checked in to Hartford on Friday night looking for the available 22 starting spots. Two-time GLSS Champion Jared Horstman grabbed the Ti22 Performance Fast Qualifier Award turning in a 14.877. Stambaugh, Danny Sams III, Daggett, and Brad Lamberson all collected heat race wins with Mike Keegan grabbing the Last Chance Qualifier win.
In the main event, drama unfolded before the race could ever get underway. Horstman pulled directly to the hot pit work area after his car was pushed off. After some time in the work area, officials pushed Horstman's car back off and he again pulled directly into the work area where he exited the car bringing his night to an end.
Kyle Locke and 2017 Champion Gressman led the field to the green flag. Locke came around and led the opening lap before Gressman found his way by the Quincy, Michigan native. Gressman was on a rail until lapped traffic came into the equation. As Gressman worked his way through heavy traffic, it allowed Lamberson and Stambaugh to catch the No.7c.
The battle at the front was side-by-side more than once, but Gressman managed to never lose track of the lead. The hard racing at the front gave Stambaugh an opportunity to work by Lamberson for the second spot. The lapped traffic disappeared when the first caution flag of the race waved with nine laps to go. The slowdown was due to a single car spin in turns three and four.
On the restart, Gressman got away on the opening lap, but Stambaugh was right back in contention challenging for the lead again on the inside of turns three and four. Another slowdown came with just two laps to go when Keegan came to rest against the turn one wall.
Green, white, checkered finish was next for Gressman. His start was on point, but once again in turns three and four, Gressman washed high opening the door for Stambaugh on the bottom. Gressman took an aggressive cut down the track to slam the door on Stambaugh and maintain the lead at the white flag. The race would slow again, however, when Daggett and Logan Easterday tangled in turn one.
With the race in overtime, fans were treated to an extra lap of GLSS action for the same regular admission price they paid to get in at the beginning of the night. Gressman fired early in turn three and the start stood giving Gressman a sizeable advantage that Stambaugh simply couldn't recover from. The win is Gressman's first of the 2023 season and now gives him an eight-point lead in the GLSS North Division; a perfect fit for his 10-point advantage in the GLSS South Division (NRA).
The next event for GLSS is Saturday night at Butler Motor Speedway in Quincy, Michigan. Many of the drivers in attendance Friday at Hartford Speedway are expected at Butler. Plus, the Speedway will host their weekly 410 Sprint Cars for a double feature event. Racing begins at 7:30 PM. If you can't make it to the track, LISTEN to all the action LIVE on the HPH Network.
Story - Zach Hiser