Thirlby Completes Weekend Sweep with Merritt Win; Speedway Recap
Lake City, MI (Saturday, June 12, 2021) - Mother Nature tried to intervene on Saturday evening, but the Merritt Speedway would not be stopped in completing its race program. The show was amended to hold only feature events, eliminating the preliminary heat races, and qualifying to allow the track prep crew enough time to get the race surface ready. The show was headlined by the $2000 to win special for the Auto Value Pro Stocks. They were joined by the Soaring Eagle Casino UMP DIRTcar Late Models, Cadillac Tire Center UMP DIRTcar Modifieds, Troll Smokehouse B-Modifieds, and XLT Engineering Four & Six Cylinders.
The first A-Main of the night belonged to the XLT Engineering Four & Six Cylinders who competed in a 20-lap affair. Cody Steinly and 2020-track champion Travis Skaggs led the field to the green flag. Skaggs wasted no time in jumping out in front of the rest of the field. Things would change on lap 3 when Steinly took over the lead. However, after several cautions Allen Oyer would charge his way up through the field from a 14th place starting position and would take the lead on lap 14. Oyer would go on from there to pick up the win. This was the first win of the season for Oyer, the native of Mancelona, Michigan in his #12. Herb Freeman finished second. Steinly, Chad Freeman, and William Withrow rounded out the top five.
The 25-lap Troll Smokehouse B-Modified feature event was on the next race to hit the speedway with Aaron Mieske and John Goodrich on the first row. The green flag waved, and Goodrich grabbed the lead on the opening lap. On lap 3, 18-year-old Austin Harnick who started fifth was able to power his way past for the lead position. Harnick was able to withstand the rest of the event going on to pick up the win. For Harnick, this was the second win of the season for the Clare, Michigan driver behind the wheel of the #15h. Brian Brindley finished second. Kevin Miller, Richie Sutherland, and 19-year-old Michael Luberda capped off the top five.
The Cadillac Tire Center UMP DIRTcar Modifieds 30-lap feature was out next. Jacob Stuhr and Wyatt Baker started on the coveted front row when the green flag waved. Stuhr jumped out in front in the early going. Stuhr held the lead until lap 18, that was when the 3-time track champion Chad Bauer powered past and took the top position. Bauer went on from there to bring home the win. For Bauer, the native of Farwell, Michigan this was the third win of the season in his #19. Stuhr had to settle for second. Daryl Lehn, Chuck Powell, and Dan Wierman finished off the top five.
The high-powered Soaring Eagle Casino UMP DIRTcar Late Models were led out by Cody Bauer and Ryan Lanphierd for the 30-lap main event. Lanphierd stormed off with the lead as the battle for position began throughout the field. On Lap 5 Brandon Thirlby was able to charge past for the lead. Thirlby would not be denied as he would command the lead all the way through the rest of the race and go to victory lane. This was the second win of the season for Buckley, Michigan native Thirlby in the #m14. 6-time track champion Eric Spangler would be the runner-up finisher. Bauer, Lanphierd, and 2-time track champion David Mielke rounded out the top five.
The $2000 to win Auto Value Pro Stock feature event rolled onto the speedway led by Rob Brillhart and Danielle Robinson for the 25-lap A-Main. Brillhart pulled out with the race advantage on the opening lap. Lap 7 would be when the 2020-track champion Nate Murphy would gain the momentum to drive to the lead. Murphy would maintain the lead through the rest of the caution-plagued feature event. Murphy, the native of Coleman, Michigan scored his second win of the season behind the wheel of his #69. Adam Erickson finished second. Brad Roberts, Timmy Near, and Merv Hudson completed the top five.
The Merritt Speedway will return this Saturday, June 19th with another action-packed full racing program. The Cadillac Tire Center UMP DIRTcar Modifieds will headline the show racing for $2000 to win. The Troll Smokehouse B-Modifieds will also be facing off in a $1000 to win special event. Plus, the XLT Engineering Four & Six Cylinders will be racing for $1000 to win. The show will also see the return of the Great Lakes Lightning Sprints. The Auto Value Pro Stocks, Thirlby Automotive Factory Stocks, and Allstar Performance Mini-Wedges will be on hand for the show as well. Stay tuned to the Merritt Speedway Facebook page for all of the latest news and updates.
Story - Brian Osborne, Merritt Speedway
Photo - Randy Ellen