Lake City, MI (Saturday, July 10, 2021) - As part of a doubleheader weekend the Great Lakes Traditional Sprints Presented by PERFIT took on Merritt Speedway for the first time this season. A strong field of drivers unloaded at the facility in Lake City, Michigan with high hopes of conquering the challenging 3/8ths mile oval.
In Qualifying, Dustin Daggett set the pace of the field turning in a lap time of 13.855, besting Championship Points Leader, Steve Irwin for the Fast Qualifier Award who clocked in at 13.901, the only two drivers to punch into the 13 second bracket during qualifications.
After a pair of heat races, won by Mike Astrauskas and Keith Sheffer, Jr, the field was set and ready for a 20 lap battle around the tight Speedway. Sheffer and Astrauskas led the field to the green flag and the race was quickly slowed as Sheffer struggled to bring his car under control in the first rotation. While Sheffer did not stop on the track, officials deemed his car’s behavior to be a safety issue and threw the caution flag. Because the caution was thrown in regards to safety, no positions were lost or gained by the field. A complete restart followed and Sheffer settled into a rhythm at the front of the field.
The race was slowed again on lap five when a car spun at the exit of turn two, but it proved no issue for Sheffer who remained out in front. Two cautions flew once again on lap 12, first when RJ Payne spun his number 33 machine, and then again immediately following the restart for Ralph Brakenberry who also spun on his own.
The final caution of the night flew on lap 14 when RJ Payne spun for his second caution of the race. Sheffer mastered the restart and was able to hang on for the final six laps to collect his first career Great Lakes Traditional Sprints victory. Daggett crossed the line second followed by Irwin, Brain Ruhlman, and Max Frank rounded out the top five.
The next event on the GLTS calendar is another double header weekend starting on Friday, July 23 at I-96 Speedway and Saturday, July 24th at Silver Bullet Speedway. For more information on the Great Lakes Traditional Sprints Presented by PERFIT, log onto www.GreatLakesSprints.com or find them on Facebook and Twitter.
Story - Zach Hiser, Horsepower Happenings
Photo - Jim DenHamer