Flat Rock, MI (Friday, March 12, 2021) - With the Bristol Dirt Nationals less than a week away, several late model drivers from the Great Lakes Region are making final preparations to head south and tackle the famed half-mile. The 10 hour drive is just part of the grueling trip, as cars are being prepped and trailers loaded.
Travis Stemler, the 2020 Allstar Performance Late Model Challenge Series Champion, is looking for success in his maiden voyage of 2021. Stemler closed out the 2020 season with an impressive win at Kokomo Speedway during the Kokomo Klash, and looks to pick up where he left off. The Ionia pilot appeared on Horsepower Happenings on Monday and was cautiously optimistic on his chances at Bristol.
“ We’re super excited to start off at Bristol. I grew up on half miles, but it’s also gonna be a tough race, ya know,” commented Stemler. “It’s going to help build our team, and we get to race against some of the best in the business.”
Two-time Merritt Speedway Late Model Champion David Mielke, and Portage, Michigan’s Chris Nash are also heading to Tennessee to try their luck at the iconic facility. As for Mielke, he has made the decision to switch chassis’ for the upcoming season. After a couple of years wheeling a Rocket Chassis around the Great Lakes region, the Gladwin native has made the switch to Domination Race Cars in 2021. He says he's excited to see what the event is all about.
"A lot of people are not sure what to expect," said Mielke. "It'll be a fun deal to be a part of and hopefully we can be competitive."
Nash, who spent most of 2020 racing on the west side of the state, is making his second trip south in this season. He made a stop at Boyd’s Speedway in Georgia on his way to compete at East Bay Raceway Park during Speedweeks in Florida.
In addition, three-time DIRTcar UMP National Champion Rusty Schlenk, who was previously entered, has withdrawn from the event. The McClure, Ohio driver still has a planned trip to Florida to compete with the Southern All Star Dirt Racing Series at Southern Raceway in Milton this weekend, if mother nature does not intervene.
Regardless of the confidence and excitement, these drivers have heading into Bristol, the task still remains large. There will be no lack of competition when facing the likes of Kyle Larson, Kyle Busch, Austin Dillon, and the rest of the NASCAR contingent, along with current late model superstars such as Jonathan Davenport, Bobby Pierce, Scott Bloomquist, Chris Madden, and the list goes on.
The Bristol Dirt Nationals takes place March 15 – 20, and all of the event information can be found at www.bristoldirt.com.
For more stories from around the region, be sure to log ontowww.horsepowerhappenings.com. Listen to on-demand episodes of the Horsepower Happenings Podcast, with new episodes every Monday night at 9:00 pm.
Story by: Rich Frantz, Horsepower Happenings