Lake City, MI (Sunday, May 31, 2020) - Merritt Speedway returned to action this past Saturday night for the second week of the 2020 season. The race program was headlined by two special events. The Soaring Eagle Casino UMP DIRTcar Late Models ran for $2000 to win, and the Factory Stock division compeated in a $500 to win special event. The Allstar Performance Mini-Wedges, Cadillac Tire Center UMP DIRTcar Modifieds, Diesel Freak B-Modifieds, Auto Value Pro Stocks, XLT Engineering Four & Six Cylinders were all part of the show as well.
The XLT Engineering Four-Cylinders were the first main event of the night led out by Dylan Vermilyea and Chad Freed for their 20-lap event. Matt Taylor would take the lead after lap 2. However, Nick Jenema would charge up through the field after starting fifth and he would take the lead away on lap 6. Jenema would go on from there to pick up the big win. This was the first win of the season for the native of Wyoming, Michigan in his #44. Travis Skaggs finished second. Taylor, Dalton Bouschor, and Katie Robinson rounded out the top five. The B-Feature race was won by Mike Currier. The heat races were won by Rodney Page Jr., Brandon Bos, Jenema, and Taylor.
The Cadillac Tire Center UMP DIRTcar Modifieds rolled out for their 25-lap feature with Caleb Kill and Andy Galgoci on the first row. Once the green flag waved the battle for position would begin. Collin Thirlby would take the lead after lap 2. He would never look back from there as he would continue to make the trip to victory lane. This was the first win of the season for the 30-year old Traverse City, Michigan native behind the wheel of the Thirlby Automotive / Dimond by CTR #47. Jeff Erickson Jr. finished just behind in second. Luke Hubbell, Kill, and 4-time track champion Brent Banning completed the top five. 2-time track champion Chad Bauer, Garrett Rons, and Erickson won the heat races.
The 40-lap $2000 to win Soaring Eagle UMP DIRTcar Late Model feature event hit the speedway led by the front row of Chad Finley and Derrick Hilliker. Finley would take the edge early on however after an early race caution, there was a restart on lap 8 which saw Cody Bauer would charge up front and take the lead. Bauer would manage to hold on throughout the remainder of the event to bring home the win. This was the 26-year old driver from Farwell, Michigan’s first win of the season in the Blue Wrench Repair / Domination Chassis #19x. Dona Marcoullier finished in the runner up position. 6-time track champion Eric Spangler, Finley, and Travis Stemler capped off the top five. Craig Foster and Amanda Wing won the last chance qualifier. Hilliker, Spangler, Finley, and Marcoullier won the heats. Logan Arntz was the overall fast qualifier with a lap time of 14.264.
Jeremy Wood and Gary Vandermark brought out the Diesel Freak B-Modifieds for their feature event that was 20-laps in length. Vandermark would not be denied as he dominated the event leading the entire 20-laps. This was Lowell, Michigan driver’s first win of the season in his #10. Brenten DeYoung, Austin Wonch, Dillon Gentry, and Wood rounded out the top five. Myron DeYoung won the last chance qualifier. The heat races were won by Wonch, Brody Bowser, Brenton DeYoung, and Jeff Reay.
The Factory Stocks hit the track for the $500 to win special A-Main. Brendan Powell and Bill Sian brought the field down to the green flag for the 20-lap race. There would lots position battles all the way through the field. However, when the dust settled it was Timmy Near who took the lead on won the race to the checkered flag. The Midland, Michigan native notched his first victory of the season in his #71 finishing just ahead of Ryan Vanderveen who took second. Rob Brillhart, Powell, and Bryan Cook rounded out the top five. TJ Gilbert won the B-Feature. Richie Sutherland, Billy Wilkins, Near, and Vanderveen were the heat race winners.
The Final main event of the evening belonged to the Auto Value Pro Stock division for their 20-lap main. Rob Putt and TJ Gilbert led the field at the start. Gilbert took the lead in the early going. Kendall Morrison would grab the lead on lap 8. The action continued on lap 11, where 17-year old Austin Harnick powered his way by for the race lead. Harnick would hang onto the lead for the rest of the race that would be plagued by many caution flags. This was the first win of the year for the 17-year old driver from Clare, Michigan in his #15h. Oliver Hillard won the last chance qualifier. Harnick, Jeremy Spencer, Marc Super, and Morrison won the heat races.
Earlier in the afternoon the Allstar Performance Mini-Wedges held their events. The Restricted division saw Mason Vanderveen pick the feature win in the Vanderveen’s NAPA #23v. Then in the Un-Restricted division Hunter Evans picked up his second win of the season in the Pat’s Auto Repair #2.
The next event at Merritt Speedway will be this Saturday June 6th where the Auto Value Pro Stocks will be competing for a $500 to win special event. The Soaring Eagle UMP DIRTcar Late Models will be running for $2000 to win again. For more details on the divisions and schedule for next week stay tuned right here on the Merritt Speedway Facebook page.
Story - Brian Osborn, Merritt Speedway