Lake City, MI (Tuesday, July 6, 2021) - During the 2020 season, Travis Stemler seemed to have his way with the competition in the Allstar Performance Late Model Challenge Series presented by Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort, picking up multiple big wins and winning the championship in a runaway. His 2021 start to the series hasn’t gone the way he hoped, but he took a big step in correcting that this weekend. Stemler would lead all 50 laps at Merritt Speedway on Sunday, and collect his first Challenge Series win of 2021, along with a big $10,000 payday.
Stemler and Chad Finley would lead the field to green, and would stage a great battle during the first half of the event. Never separated by more than a car length early, Finley would take a shot at Stemler on lap 13 as the duo raced into turn #3. Finley drove his #42 machine hard into the corner on the bottom, trying to gain the advantage. They would make contact, before Finley slid up the track, with Stemler diving low to hold off the charge and maintain the lead.
From that point, it was nose to tail action, but Finley could never quite get close enough to take another shot at Stemler. A lap 34 -36 Caution/Red/Caution sequence would slow the battle. On the final restart, Stemler would once again keep his #4 machine out front, as Finley seemed to be running out of grip on his Hoosier tires.
Stemler was smooth through the final 14 laps to close out the win, and collect the $10,000 payday. Finley finished a strong second, with Greg Gokey coming home third, his second podium finish of the weekend.
Series Points Leader Dona Marcoullier made the best out of a bad day. After getting a flat tire in his heat race, he would choose to fall back on his points provisional and start at the tail. Marcoullier would drive his 6M machine to a 10th place finish to salvage the day. The Allstar Performance Late Model Challenge Series now gets ready for a one off event at Tri City Motor Speedway on Friday, July 23rd before the huge Woodtik weekend in early August.
Story - Rich Frantz, Horsepower Happenings
Photo - Randy Ellen