Gearing Up For Another Weekend of Racing
Sterling Heights, MI (Wednesday, May 27, 2020) - After a long winter without racing in the state of Michigan, many were looking forward to the return of warmer weather and faster cars - something that many found in late Spring at Merritt Speedway. With the outbreak of COVID-19, many wondered when they would ever get the chance to go to a race track again. For many, the return came much sooner than anticipated when Merritt Speedway in Lake City, Michigan opened their gates to a Memorial Day weekend crowd of 1,000 or less fans.
The two day weekend featured DIRTcar UMP Late Models each night; plus DIRTcar UMP Modifieds, 4 and 6 Cylinders and B-Modifieds - Pro Stocks battled on Saturday, while Factory Stocks took the Sunday slot. On Saturday, over 100 cars were on property to welcome racing back with open arms, and the racing action did not disappoint.
The Late Model class saw perhaps one of the more dominating performances of the evening as St. John’s, Michigan native Chad Finley led flag-to-flag to pick up his first win of the season, a $2,000 payday after 40 laps. Travis Stemler and Brandon Thirlby rounded out the podium.
In UMP Modified action, it all came down to the final lap for a chance at victory lane. Farwell, Michigan’s Chad Bauer was looking to get back to victory lane and begin the quest for multiple wins after being sidelined for much of the 2019 season due to a workplace injury. He looked to be well on his way to the first feature win of his 2020 season, before Jeffery Erickson, Jr of Muskegon, Michigan found speed on the bottom late in the race. The two came to the white flag in a dead heat, the first time Bauer had been challenged all night, and by the time they came back around the 3/8ths mile clay oval, Erickson had taken the top spot and was headed for victory lane. Bauer held on to second and Caleb Kill finished the podium.
B-Modifieds presented an impressive crowd of competitors for the opening weekend with a full 21 car field rolling onto the speedway for their main event. Traverse City, Michigan representative Collin Thirlby powered his Black Diamond no. 47 machine to an impressive win, holding off a charge from second place finisher Brenton Deyoung, while Nate Jones finished third. Other winners on Saturday were Eldon, Michigan’s TJ Gilbert in the Pro-Stock division and Hillsdale’s Cory Gumm in the 4 & 6 Cylinder division.
Sunday welcomed another fantastic evening for racing, with another 1,000 fans taking in the first competitive laps in the state. UMP Late Models produced another flag-to-flag winning performance, this time handed in by three-time DIRTcar UMP National Champion, Rusty Schlenk. Seeking his first victory lane appearance in the Mitten State and second overall victory in as many weeks, Schlenk used his outside pole starting position to take the lead and never look back during the $2,000 to win 40 lap event. Schlenk bested local champions Dona Marcoullier and Eric Spangler for the win.
UMP Modifieds had a number of visitors on Sunday, but the story was redemption as Chad Bauer was able to hold off Jeffery Erickson Jr this time around for the win. The two crossed the stripe ahead of Collin Thirlby who ended with two podiums that night. Thirlby grabbed the win in the B-Modifieds ahead of Kyle Borgman and Brenten Deyoung. Other winners on Sunday included Rob Brillhart in Factory Stocks and Matt Taylor in the 4 & 6 Cylinders.
The Mini-Wedges were able to compete in their own special show that took place on Sunday afternoon before the main racing program. The "Restricted" division feature was won by Peighton Cunningham, and Kaden Harrison won the "Un-Restricted" division feature.
Merritt Speedway will return to action this coming weekend on Saturday, May 30th with a full 6-in-1 program, featuring $2,000-to-win $300 to start for UMP Late Models, and a $500 to win special for Factory Stocks. Full results and Pre-Sale tickets are available online at www.merrittspeedwaymi.com. The event will again be limited to the first 1,000 fans.
The Motor City Racing Promotions (MCRP) Timing and Scoring officials along with MCRP Safety Team were on hand as they prepared for a full season of serving Merritt and Tri-City Motor Speedway. Join the MCRP conversation on Facebook and Twitter by using the hashtag #MCRP. Learn more about their services by logging on to www.motorcityracing.co
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Story by - Zach Hiser, Motor City Racing Promotions