Lake Odessa, MI (Wednesday, June 26, 2019) - The month of June is coming to an end, and the summer racing season is just getting warmed up, as the American Ethanol Late Model Tour (AELMT) makes their first trip to I-96 Speedway for the Battle of Speed 40 Presented by Zook Farm Equipment. On Friday, June 28th, the AELMT joins the Great Lakes Super Sprints for a must see event.
Last weekend, current points leader Brandon Thirlby finally found his way to victory lane in 2019, collecting his first win during the Michigan Corn 40 from Hartford Speedway. While Thirlby struggled on Saturday at Thunderbird Raceway, he still managed to open up his points lead over Travis Stemler thanks to two more Motul Motor Oil and Lubricants Fast Qualifier Awards and strong finishes in his heat races. Thirlby will now takes his 45 point lead into Lake Odessa’s I-96 Speedway, the track where he posted his only win of 2018, in hopes of becoming the first repeat winner of the 2019 season.
Another driver looking for a repeat, Logan Arntz, is now tailing Stemler for the second spot in the standings, just 65 points out of the top spot. Arntz posted a career best second place finish with the AELMT at Hartford Speedway on Friday, and then outdid himself on Saturday, going to YellowHose.com Victory Lane for the first time. Arntz has run well at I-96 in the past, and already has a podium finish at the Speedway in 2019 during an ALMS event, finishing second to Rusty Schlenk.
For Stemler, consistency has been his strong suit so far in 2019, but he is also on the hunt for a second win. Stemler went to YellowHose.com Victory Lane back in May at Gas City I-69 Speedway during the American Ethanol Showdown, his first career AELMT victory. Since then, Stemler has posted two fifth place finishes (Merritt, Hartford) and a fourth place finish at Thunderbird Raceway. Stemler also has seen success at I-96, with a third place finish during the May event in 2018.
The question of who will be the first repeat winner of 2019 could be answered this Friday, or another first time winner could be crowned. In addition to a full field of hopefuls, multitime AELMT feature winner Jeep VanWormer will be in attendance Friday trying to go to YellowHose.com Victory Lane for the first time since Berlin Raceway in 2018. Pit gates at I-96 Speedway open at 4:00 p.m., with general admission opening at 5:00 p.m. Hot Laps begin at 6:00 p.m., and the first American Ethanol Green Flag of the night waves at 8:00 p.m.
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