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Birch Run, MI - A weekend jam-packed with racing action kicked off with the season’s second Friday Night Thunder event at Birch Run Speedway. Classic cars and trucks greeted guests courtesy of the folks from the Back to the Bricks who were on hand to promote their kick-off week from August 7th through the 12th. Their annual car show will take place at Birch Run Speedway on August 11th from 4 to 7:30. The Engine Pro Must See Sprints, Wheeler Trucking Friday Night Thunder Modifieds, Engine Pro VROA Vintage Modifieds, Midwest Classic Racers Dwarf and Pierson Road Muffler Man Mini Wedges were all in action.

21 Must See Sprints tried to claim the top spot in qualifying, but it was Bobby Santos III setting quick time with a 13.422 lap. Defending Wheeler Trucking Friday Night Thunder Modified Champion, David McManus, led the way for the 22 drivers on hand when he timed in at a 16.244. Dave Sensiba was quick time for the Engine Pro VROA with a 17.782 lap and Troy Hoffman came away with fast time for the MCR Dwarf Cars with a 16.654.

The Pierson Road Muffler Man Mini Wedges kicked off the night’s heat races. Bleighton DeLong took the win in the first heat race in the Junior Class while Jordan Jaroniewski got the win in heat two. Layden DeLong continued the family’s winning ways when he put his #L27 in victory lane in Senior Class heat number one. Heat two saw Aaden McCaslin grab the checkered flag. Jon Wylie took the win in heat one for the MCR Dwarf Car Series and Zack Nichols got the win in the second heat. VROA heat races were won by John Montgomery and Alan Marcott. The Must See Sprints held three eight-lap heat races and they were won by Charlie Schultz, Davey Hamilton Jr, and Jason Blonde.

Greyson Marcinkowski led the opening lap of the Pierson Road Muffler Man Mini Wedge Junior feature with Madlyn Matteson behind. Bleighton DeLong and Brentley Evans then split Matteson completing lap two to take over second and third. Approaching the completion of lap three, DeLong got to the inside of Marcinkowski to take over the top spot. The caution flew a lap later and on the ensuing restart, Brentley Evans took to the inside of Marcinkowski to grab second spot away. Another caution slowed the field and Evans got the advantage at the start to pull alongside DeLong as the green waved to grab the lead. Evans would go on to lead until the checkered flew, but after post-race tech, the win was awarded to Bleighton DeLong. DeLong and his Rigda Dumpsters/T&C Custom Concrete #B21 finished ahead of Jordan Jaronlewski and Greyson Marcinkowski.

Layden DeLong and Keagan Gorsuch led the field down to green for the Senior Division of the Pierson Road Muffler Man Mini Wedges. DeLong with the inside line grabbed the lead at the start and survived one restart to put his No Limit Karts&Parts/Tip Top Towing&Service #L27 in the winner's circle, making it a family sweep on the night. Gorsuch finished second with Aaden McCaslin behind in third.

The initial start of the MCR Dwarf Car Series was waved off when Cei Bowen and Nicole Olmstead spun on the front stretch. Jon Wylie beat Steve Shlater to turn one to take over the early lead as the field battled three and four wide behind. Zack Nichols and Troy Hoffman tucked in line behind Keith Barker Jr and Shlater trying to chase down Wylie. Nichols, utilizing the high line, got by Barker and then Shlater a lap later to take over second, Nichols then dove to the inside of Wylie in turn one only to see the caution wave for a spin by Nicole Olmstead. Wylie took the inside lane for the restart, but Nichols made the move out of two to take the lead. Matt Kemp made his way into fifth a lap later behind Hoffman, Barker, and Wylie. Their side-by-side battle allowed Cei Bowen to make it a five-car battle for the second spot as Nichols continued to distance himself from the field. Kemp went high around Barker and then low on Wylie to take over second. A great battle ensued as Hoffman and Bowen got around both Barker and then Wylie and raced for the third spot. Nichols opened up a 2.5-second gap over the field until the caution waved on the white flag lap. Kemp and Bowen lined up behind Nichols for the restart and Nichols had the lead into turn one, but pushed off two, opening the door for Kemp to move to the inside. Kemp got the advantage out of four as the white flag waved, but Nichols pulled back even out of two as the two drivers stayed side-by-side entering turn three. Nichols made a valiant effort in four to stay even with Kemp, but Kemp came out of turn four and picked up the win! For Kemp, it was his fourth win in a row dating back to last season as the driver of the Fricker’s Mint/HMOutlaw Chassis #5 added to his MCR point lead. Nichols held off Bowen in a near-photo finish for second while Troy Hoffman and Keith Barker Jr finished fourth and fifth.

The Engine Pro VROA Presented by Wyser Innovative Products was up next for their 20-lap feature. John Montgomery and Don Smith started on the front row, and when the green dropped, it was Montgomery getting the lead out of two. Todd Cowan and Alan Marcott both had issues in turn one, but both drivers stayed pointed in the right direction as Montgomery built up his lead. Montgomery entered turn one on the next lap and got loose, spinning in front of the field, resulting in Duane DeBonte and Tom Steinburg getting tangled together in the grass. Don Smith got the lead on the restart, but Todd Cowan moved to the inside of Smith down the backstretch and came out of turn four as the leader. Cowan opened up his lead over Alan Marcott until the caution was displayed on lap 18. Marcott tried to get to the high side of Cowan but came up short as Cowan put his Renewed Creations/Brass Ring Brewing #96 across the start/finish line first. Finishing behind Marcott was Dave Sensiba (in Mike Ouendag’s #31), Don Smith, and John Montgomery.

In a feature as electric as any in the 14-year history of the Must See Racing Engine Pro Sprint Car Series, Jimmy McCune won his third race of the season! McCune led 28 of 30 laps at the four-tenths-mile paved oval and fended off a masterful challenge from Bobby Santos III en route to victory lane. Despite starting on the pole and dominating most of the 30-lap distance, it still took four lead changes and a one-lap dash to glory before McCune could celebrate the win for good. A masterful dance through slower traffic saw Tyler Roahrig lead lap seven by inches and eventual runner-up Santos do the same on lap 26. Both times, McCune fought back in turn one to retake the lead the next circuit. Then, after a final-lap spin by Davey Hamilton Jr. set up a restart and single-lap sprint to the finish, McCune pulled away and raced to victory without another thought in the moment. Behind McCune and Santos, Jason Blonde converted a last-lap pass into a third-place finish, maintaining a 15-point lead in the championship standings in the process. Charlie Schultz was fourth and Rick Holley closed the top five.

The night concluded with the Wheeler Trucking Friday Night Thunder Modified Presented by Wheeler Trucking 50-lap feature. Robbie Johnson started on the pole alongside Scott Lammp II and from the drop of the green until completing lap three when Lamp would get the advantage out of turn four. The action heated up behind as Ohio visitor, Rick Sibila, Trevor Berry, and Donnie Matteson Jr all gave chase to Johnson on lap five. Dave Christensen moved around Matteson one lap later and moved into the fifth spot.

Berry, the winner of the Midwest Modifieds Tour feature on July 7th got by Sibila on the outside and then to the inside of Johnson for the second spot on lap nine and ten. While that battle was going on, Nick Lechota and fast qualifier McManus were closing on that group. The first caution came out when Christiansen and Johnson made contact between turn three and four that sent Johnson around and the field scattering. A two-second lead for Lamp was gone as Berry Lined up to the outside on the restart at lap 15. Lamp pulled out with the lead and Berry settled into second as Rick Sibila was being challenged by Kyle Hayden, Johnson, McManus, Lechota, Matteson, and Michael Luberda. McManus made his way by Hayden and then Sibila and set his sights on chasing down Berry and Lamp.

At the halfway point Lamp and Berry held a one-and-a-half-second advantage over McManus. Berry made multiple attempts trying to peek the nose of his #37 to the inside quarter panel of Lamp with no success as McManus made the gap disappear and get to the bumper of Berry. McManus made his move to the inside of Berry entering turn three on lap 35 and moved into second spot on lap 36. The lead trio then caught lap traffic and Lamp held the advantage until three laps to go.

McManus made a move to the inside of Lamp entering turn one, pulling even with Lamp, but the two made contact, and Lamp was sent sliding up the banking. Officials had to take multiple looks at the replay and made the decision that McManus was the caution car and Lamp retained his top spot. That set up a three-lap single-file restart shootout with Lamp leading over Berry, Kyle Hayden, Michael Luberda, and Nick Lechota. The green flew and Berry pressured Lamp, almost moving him up in turn one but backing out. Kyle Hayden then jumped to the outside of Berry entering turn three as the two raced door-to-door for a lap. Hayden made a last-lap charge at Lamp but came up short as Lamp II bagged the 50-lap feature in his Fox Auto/State Building Company #16! Berry finished third behind Hayden and Nick Lechota and Rick Sibila completed the top five.

Then on Saturday, the only thing missing was snow on the ground as it was Monster X Metals and Gold Christmas in July Dixie Destruction. Holiday music filled the air and Santa hats dotted the grandstand as a huge crowd was on hand to witness the pandemonium. Familiar names were winners in the first two events, with Justin Pepitone and Gerry Persails picking up wins in the Pull and Push races ahead of Josh VanWormer and Darby Christensen in the Pull and Jason Grissom and Aaron Abeare in the Push.

The Back to School race had 38 cars start, but “The Hitman” Anthony Richardson stood tall at the end of the 15-lap feature. The driver of the #422 sliced his way past other vehicles, at one point giving two other trucks a push into the outer groove to move them out of the way, and dodged the buses as well to finish ahead of Justin Pepitone and Jacob Mader.

Todd Nelson then showed his daredevil skills as he piloted a used Cadillac (courtesy of Suski Chevrolet Buick of Birch Run) through the center of a disabled motorhome in the middle of the X! The Top Speed Motorsports Spectator Drags brought out seven challengers to tackle the third mile. The final checkered waved over Darby Christensen and his 2016 Dodge Charger after he bested Jacob Woodward to win.

The Double O race started with 35 cars! Anthony Richardson moved to the front and led early. Justin Pepitone and Jacob Mader bobbed and weaved past the other competitors to get to second and third as they closed the gap on Richardson when he entered traffic going from the third mile onto the four-tenths mile. Pepitone pulled even with Richardson until a red flag for a fire on the #80 of Gerry Persails Jr. stopped the action. When racing resumed the trio pulled away again with Richardson in the lead. Richardson eventually held off Pepitone and Mader to take his second checkered flag of the evening.

Two Flagpole races were up next and Richardson continued his winning ways when he chased down early leader Ryan Hart and won race number one over Todd Nelson and Jason Grissom. Jimmy Sayan picked up his first Destruction checkered flag in Flagpole Race two over Justin Pepitone and Travis Goggin.

The School Bus Figure 8 saw Todd Nelson go from jumping a Cadillac to piloting the #3 bus to a victory. The night closed out with the always entertaining and interesting Trailer Figure 8 Race. Michael Dvorscak brought an old camper to the event and it managed one lap before it was dragged on its side. Richardson grabbed the early lead while everyone else dodged vehicles and trailers. There were several close calls in the intersection and Dvorscak’s trailer shell ended up coming off and got obliterated by Jacob Michael. He raced around for several laps with remnants of plywood and metal blocking his view. In the end, it was Richardson victorious again over Darby Christensen and Deric Davis.

The Birch Run Speedway is back in action this Friday with the Amber Lucynski Memorial Presented by Racing for Suicide Awareness to benefit the Walk for Hope. The Mt. Morris Auto Repair Modifeds will be in action along with a Front Wheel Drive invitational, the Street Stocks, Pure Stocks, Mason Burgess Title Agency Trucks, and the Motor City Core Figure 8’s. Each division will have extra cash and trophies on the line thanks to the following businesses:

Modified: Finish Line Auto & Tire Service in Burton

Street Stock: Junction Garage in Bridgeport

Pure Stock: Phil's Transmission in Clio

Trucks: State Dumpster Rental in Standish

Sport Compact: No Limits Karts & Parts in Clio

Figure 8: Webster Garner Oil & Propane in Clio

Trophies: Signature Truck Systems in Clio



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