Lake City, MI (Sunday, May 30, 2021) - The Memorial Day Weekend brought on a special 2-day race weekend at the Merritt Speedway located in Lake City, Michigan. The Allstar Performance Late Model Challenge Series headlined the weekend racing for a $10,000 to win grand prize. The action did not stop there with the Cadillac Tire Center UMP DIRTcar Modifieds going for $2000 to win, and the Troll Smokehouse B-Modifieds running in a $1000 to win special event. The Auto Value Pro Stocks, Thirlby Automotive Factory Stocks, Allstar Performance Mini-Wedges, and XLT Engineering Four & Six Cylinders were all part of the packed race program.
The Allstar Performance Mini-Wedges kicked off the racing action both nights. Tucker Warner would score the feature win for the Restricted (restrictor plate) division both Saturday and Sunday. Meanwhile, in the Un-restricted division Leilynd Strehlke would get the win on Saturday, and 2020-track champion Hunter Evans would win the feature on Sunday.
The first A-Main feature event belonged to the XLT Engineering Four & Six Cylinders. Scott Popielarz and Herb Freeman bringing the field down to the green flag to start the 20-lap race. Freeman snatched the lead early on with the rest of the field battening for position behind him. The race would be plagued by several appearances by the caution flag. Despite all of the stoppages, Freeman would hold on to the lead and go on to make the trip to victory lane. This was the second win of the year for Freeman, the native of Prescott, Michigan in the #23. 2019-track champion Cheyanne Emery finished second. 2020-track champion Travis Skaggs, Clay Lachcik, and Cody Steinly rounded out the top five.
Jake Thompson and Tony Vinton led out the Thirlby Automotive Factory Stocks for their 25-lap A-Main. Thompson jumped out in front of the field after the opening circuit. He would lose the lead on lap 4 when Ryan Nethers was able to pass him. Nethers would maintain the lead until lap 22 when a charging Josh Loomis powered his way by to take over the lead position. Loomis went on to score the win. This was the first win of the year for Loomis, the native of Weidman, Michigan behind the wheel of the #11. Nethers would settle for second. Jacob Flickinger, 2016-track champion Jim Miller Jr., and 3-time track champion Rick Spencer capped off the top five.
The Cadillac Tire Center UMP DIRTcar Modifieds competed in a 30-lap main event paying $2000 to win. Garrett Rons and 3-time track champion Chad Bauer brought the field to green. Bauer led after the opening lap. That would turn out to be the only move necessary as Bauer would hold the lead all the way until the checkered flag. This was Farwell, Michigan native’s first win of the season in his #19. Joe Rokos finished second. Rons, Paul Johnson, and Mark Shook finished off the top five.
The Auto Value Pro Stocks hit the race surface for a 25-lap feature event with Tim Tabaczka and Brendan Powell on the first row. Tabaczka stormed off with the lead off the start. However, on the second lap, the lead would change hands over to Timmy Near. There would be several cautions throughout the race, but Near would stay firm and go on to pick up the win. For Near, the Midland, Michigan native this was his first win of the season in the #44. Tabaczka would take second. Danielle Robinson, Teri Lynn Murphy, and Anthony Schweifler completed the top five finishers.
The Troll Smokehouse B-Modifieds squared off in a $1000 to win main that was brought out by a front row of Chad Spencer and Joey Burch. The green flag waved in the air and the race was on with Burch taking the lead early. Burch would hold the lead until lap 10, when he would spin out surrendering the lead to Collin Thirlby. Thirlby would go on from there to get the win. This was the second win of the year for Thirlby, the Traverse City, Michigan driver in his #47. Kevin Miller was the runner-up. Calvin Stemler, Austin Harnick, and Chase Rosebrugh rounded out the top five.
Cody Bauer and Dona Marcoullier led out the 50-lap $10,000 to win A-Main for the third race of the Allstar Performance Late Model Challenge Series. Bauer took the early race advantage with everyone else shuffling for position. Bauer would lead until lap 12. That was when Marcoullier charged past taking the lead for himself. Marcoullier would dominate the second half of the event going on to visit victory lane to collect the huge payday. Logan Nickerson would be the second-place finisher. 2-time Sunoco American Late Model Series Champion-Brandon Thirlby, Bauer, and Chad Finley rounded out the top five.
The Merritt Speedway will return this Saturday, June 5th for “Factory Stock” night where the Thirlby Automotive Factory Stocks will race for a $2000 to win special. They will be joined by the Soaring Eagle Casino UMP Late Models, Cadillac Tire Center UMP Modifieds, Troll Smokehouse B-Modifieds, XLT Engineering Four & Six Cylinders, and Allstar Performance Mini-Wedges. Stay Tuned to the Merritt Speedway Facebook page for all of the latest updates and information.
Story - Brian Osborne, Merritt Speedway Release
Photo - Randy Ellen