Birch Run, MI - After a slew of specials to kick off the 75th Anniversary season at the Birch Run Speedway, a “regular” night of racing as part of the NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Racing Series was on tap for Father’s Day weekend. It was Laps and Legends night round #1 as the track paid homage to its first two Legends of the Speedway in Jack Doering and Jay Woolworth. Qualifying for the night was led by David McManus in Mount Morris Auto Repair Modifieds (15.999), Nick Lechota for Street Stocks (16.966), Lonnie Saumier Jr in the Pure Stocks (17.146), Paul Rigda III in Mason Burgess Title Agency American Trucks (18.167), and Jason Jones for the FWD class (16.760).
After the Flushing Raiders Marching Band performed the National Anthem, the Heat Race action kicked off. Casey Snover held off Duane Damon to pick up the heat race for the Street Stocks and Scott Clifford, along with David McManus grabbed wins for the Mount Morris Auto Repair Modifieds. Anthony Duvernois and Cam DeLong captured checkers for the Mason Burgess Title Agency American Trucks while Andrew Burton and Andy Shelters won in the Pure Stocks. Jason Jones was the heat race winner for the FWD class.
In conjunction with the Laps and Legends theme, the Street Stock feature was named in honor of Jay Woolworth. Granddaughter Chelsea read an emotional testimonial tributing Jay and the field was paced by Nephew Jay Bradsher in his Diffin Farms #J50 Mini Stock. Casey Snover and Johnny Hayden led the field to green, but in two laps time, Nick Lechota charged past. The fast qualifier first got by Hayden and then went outside Snover in turn three to take the lead away coming out of turn four. Adam Rowe, who did not qualify, made his way from his seventh starting position to get to second but with no cautions, Lechota would build a nearly six-second advantage and take his Showcase Auto Sales/ FastLane Auto Exchange #12 to victory lane. Rowe was followed by Snover, Johnny Hayden, and Rob Sullivan.
The Mason Burgess Title Agency Trucks featured extra laps and extra purse money as they were racing 30 laps for $800 to win. Anthony Duvernois led early after starting on the inside front row. Several cautions flew, including one involving eventual winner Greg Long Jr. Long, who had started 10th, had worked his way through the field to the top five, when contact with Joe Shamel forced the driver of the #21 to tap and go to the tail. Fast qualifier Paul Rigda III in Anthony Richardson’s #422 was working his way through, but all eyes were on Long Jr. Long made some daring three-wide moves to work his way back through the pack of trucks to challenge and take the lead. Long Jr. pulled his Ron’s Machining Service/DK Auto machine into victory lane and was emotional as he dedicated his win to the memory of his mom and was mobbed by his son and teammates. Rigda III, Anthony Duvernois, Cam DeLong, and Jim Cudd completed the top five.
Marr Maki started on the pole of the Mount Morris Auto Repair Modified feature and got the early advantage at the start. Fast qualifier McManus and Nick Lechota made their way high and low through the field to get to the back bumper of Maki’s #29. McManus looked high and then low looking for a way around for several laps until contact entering turn one sent Maki sideways into the infield and McManus to the rear of the field. Maki chose the inside for the restart, but Lechota took advantage of the momentum on the outside to come out of turn two. Lechota hit all his marks and opened up a monster lead. McManus charged back through the field to get to second, but Lechota’s lead was too large as Lechota would go two-for-two in feature wins and pull his Rhyne Competition Engines/Angie Ridley’s Complete Realty #12 into the winner’s circle. McManus, Matt Meuller, Dawson Knaul, and Kyle Maki completed the top five.
The Jack Doering Pure Stock feature paid tribute to the late track promoter who spearheaded the racing action at Dixie and Auto City Speedways and was inducted into the Michigan Motorsports Hall of Fame in 1987. Andrew Burton started on the pole and grabbed the early lead. He was challenged by Hunter Doutre and then Lonnie Saumier Jr. Saumier got by Burton and looked to be on his way to another feature win until a mechanical issue coming to the white flag slowed the #M15. Mike Mosier and Hunter Doutre came out of turn four seeing the white flag and a slowing Saumier. Mosier had the preferred line entering turn one and was able to hold off Doutre to pick up the emotional win in memory of his dad Matt who passed away in December. The driver of the Rock Solid Insulation/Byer Development #22 was chased across the line by Doutre, Andrew Shelters, and Andrew Burton.
The Front Wheel Drive class made their second visit of the season. Brad Treichel and Charlie Boone led the field to green. Treichel led lap one with Troy Deuscher and Charlie Boone in second. Fast qualifier Jason Jones went to the top of turn three to make a three-wide move on both Boone and Deuscher and then went to the outside of Treichel in turn one to come out of turn two with the lead. Keith Grainger, who was making his debut in the class after a 15-year hiatus away from racing, managed to get to second as Jones started stretching out his lead. Jones, the 2021 Sport Compact Champion was never headed, taking his US Speedo/Backroad Beaute Salon #J11 to victory lane.
Grainger finished second ahead of Troy Deuscher, Jay Bradsher, and Charlie Boone.
The Motor City Core Figure 8’s closed out the night, and after surviving a few close calls at the intersection and a hard-charging Andrew Burton, it was John Hitsman and his Weasel Racing #112 taking the win. Tim Crabb, Eric Gilbert, and Dustin Hitsman finished out the top five.
A double-header weekend is on tap this weekend as the facility will host Dixie Days Laps and Legends night on Friday which will feature the Mount Morris Auto Repair Modifieds, Limited Late Models, Street Stocks, Pure Stocks, Mason Burgess Title Agency Trucks, Front Wheel Drives, and Motor City Core Figure 8’s. All attendees are encouraged to wear their Dixie/Birch Run apparel. Then Saturday will feature Dixie Days Eve of Destruction Summer Luau-themed night that will have the Push/Pull Races, Flagpole Races, the Back to School and Double O races, as well as Trailer Figure 8’s and Spectator Drags. The night will conclude with a 75th Anniversary Fireworks display. Advance tickets can be attained by clicking on www.birchrunevents.com
Story - Chuck Darling