Marcoullier Takes Home DIRTcar Nationals Feature at Tri-City
Special from Tri-City Motor Speedway - Tri-City Motor Speedway hosted the DIRTcar Summer Nationals Hell Tour for UMP Late Models and Summit Racing Equipment UMP Modifieds. In addition to the national touring Hell Tour drivers, the XLT Engineering 4-6 Cylinder and Auto House Factory Stocks were also in attendance. The 4-6 cylinders were also racing with the ALLSTAR Performance Challenge Series. 108 cars made the tow to Auburn to entertain a capacity crowd.
Thirty-four DIRTcar UMP Late Models were on hand with drivers from around the country and around the world vying for the $10k top prize. Chase Burda was the top qualifier of the entire field. Four time track Champion Andrew Terrill was a qualifying heat race winner along with Farwell’s Cody Bauer, Pinconning’s Jeep Van Wormer and Dona Marcoullier. Frankfort Illinois driver Frank Heckenast Jr. regrouped after a disappointing heat race finish to transfer into the feature by winning the Last Chance Showdown. Bauer and Marcoullier brought the field of 22 drivers to the green flag of the 40-lap feature. Marcoullier immediately jumped out to big lead early. By lap five, he had a full straightaway advantage on the rest of the field. The best battle in the first half of the race was for second amongst Andrew Terrill, Van Wormer, Billy Moyer Jr. and Chad Finley. Van Wormer jumped the cushion in turn three on lap 21 which took him out of that second place battle and eventually out of the race. Moyer Jr’s car came to life in the second half of the race as he took over second and started to reign in Marcoullier but needed a caution to have a chance to challenge for the top spot. But, that caution would never fly as the race went caution free and Marcoullier went on to win his second DIRTcar Summer National Late Model feature win. Moyer Jr was the runner-up followed by Chad Finley, Eric Spangler, and Cody Bauer.
With all drivers in the Summit Equipment UMP Modifieds making their way to the feature event, the heat races were important as to where the drivers would start the main event. Lowell Michigan driver Shannon Fisk took the checkered flag in his heat as did Brian Brindley from West Branch. Both started on the front row in the 25-lap main event. Fisk paced the opening two laps before Brindley made a high side pass on Fisk on lap three. Thirlby made it a three car battle for the lead before taking the lead on lap 16. Lapped traffic calmed the top spot battle as Brindley dropped back to third and lost touch with the lead pair in the late laps. Thirlby ended up taking his first DIRTcar Summit Equipment Modified Nationals win. Fisk held on to finish second ahead of Brindley, Joe Rokos and Chad Bauer.
With thirty XLT Engineering competitors in attendance, four qualifying heat races helped to lock in the top twenty drivers for the evenings $800 to win feature event. Nick Bullock, Charles Ellithorpe, Troy Deuscher, and Robert Hankinson took the wins in those qualifying heat races. Jay Bradsher took the Last Chance Qualifier win. Jason Parks and David Harrington led the field to the feature green flag. However, it was Nick Bullock stealing the lead on lap one. Numerous cautions plagued the early laps but it didn’t slow down Bullock as he pulled out to a full straightaway lead on the field that ran mostly three and four wide throughout the field. While everyone was jockeying for position, fifteenth place started and current point leader Chad Freeman patiently slipped through traffic and reeled in the race leader to take the top spot at lap 10. Bullock tried everything he could to take the lead back but Freeman was too strong as he cruised to the feature win. Bullock finished second ahead of Harrington, Peter Hennard, and Bradley Williams.
A great field if 26 Auto House Factory Stock drivers were on hand to compete for the twenty spots available in the 20-lap feature. Three qualifying heat race wins were captured by Joe Cunningham, Kamryn Gordon, and Dale Kaake III. Eric Watz transferred to the feature event with his Last Chance Qualifier win. Kaake and Nick Putnam started on the front row of the feature and the entire race was a fight between the two. Kaake drew early blood by leading most of the first half from the low groove before Putman took the lead from the top. Once in the lead, Kaake had nothing for the leader Putman. Putman cruised to his second victory of the season ahead of Kaake, Gordon, Ryan Nethers, and Ty Papkey.
Next Friday is another IMCA Fast Shaft Qualifier event for the Rowley’s Tire and Great Lakes Motorsports IMCA Modifieds Pit gates open at 3:30 with general admission grandstands opening at 4:30 pm. The first green flag will wave at 7:00 pm. Visit our Facebook page for updates as well as our website tricityracetrack.com. Of course, you also check out instant results and point standings all season long by downloading the MyRacePass app on your smart phone or other devices.
Story By: Roger Williams
Photo Credit: Randy Ellen