Schlenk Masters Merritt for Wood Tic Win



Lake City, MI (Sunday, August 4, 2019) - The American Ethanol Late Model Tour returned to Merritt Speedway for the second time in 2019 Friday and Saturday, joining in on the largest dirt late model race in the state of Michigan. The 31st running of the Ed Vanduinen WoodTic was paired up with the 2nd Annual Dan Salay Memorial. The blockbuster race paid $10,000 to win, on top of $20 per lap to lead the event, along with many other contingencies and prizes.


The special event began on Friday with American Ethanol Qualifying. Not only were drivers trying to set the overall fast time, but the fastest driver from each group would compete in a Fast Car Dash later in the evening. Group Number One was paced by Travis Stemler who turned in a 14.337, over Dona Marcoullier’s 14.534, and Steve Hiliker’s 14.643. In Group Two, Chad Finley powered his brand new chassis to a 14.413, edging out Brandon Thirlby and his 14.445, and Isaac Wolfgang’s 14.792. Group Number Three saw Rich Bell go to a 14.723 second lap time, however, right as he crossed the stripe, his engine expired, scratching him for the night. Rusty Schlenk set the pace behind him with a 14.922, and Eric Spangler turned in a 15.004. In the fourth and final group, defending Merritt Speedway Track Champion, Nick Kurtz qualified with a 14.927, besting Matt Shipley’s 14.991, and Andrew Terrill’s 15.191. Stemler was awarded the Motul Motor Oil and Lubricants Fast Qualifier Award, and he joined Finley, Schlenk (who replaced Bell), and Kurtz in the Senior Insurance Solutions Fast Car Dash.


That was the first of three dash races for the night, Schlenk dominated the event, besting Kurtz by over two tenths of a second. In the Dash for Cash races, Spangler and Josh Knoll went to victory lane.


In the heat races, no transfer spots were on the line, but a vital piece of the puzzle was up for grabs for the winner of the events; the top two finishers would redraw for starting spots in Saturday’s Odd/Even Features. Marcoullier, Thirlby, Spangler and Kurtz were all heat race winners.


Saturday, the pressure was turned up, as the Odd/Even features were the first on track action of the day. The 26 lap contests helped set the starting line up for the 31st WoodTic, with the top 8 cars transferring to the show, while the top three redrew for the top six starting positions. The importance of the races were very clear, as a number of cautions, and a few red flags for track clean-up plagued both races. The Odd race saw Schlenk continue to show his speed as he raced to the win by a comfortable margin over Marcoullier and Stemler. In the Even race, Thirlby showed patience through the struggles of the race to pick up the win ahead of Finley and Kurtz.


The starting line-up was finalized after two last chance qualifiers, where the top two drivers from each were locked into the show. One American Ethanol Points Provisional was awarded, along with five Merritt Speedway provisionals, meaning some 26 cars rolled off for the 74 lap main event.


In less than 20 minutes, history was made as a new driver wrote their name onto the list of WoodTic Winners. Rusty Schlenk and Travis Stemler led the field to the American Ethanol Green Flag, and Schlenk took off as if he was shot out of a cannon. Schlenk was never again challenged for the top spot, leading all 74 laps en route to his first career WoodTic Victory. Chad Finley avoided a late race scare when he made contact with a lapped car, nearly spinning to the infield. He held on for a second place finish, some nine seconds behind Schlenk, ahead of Dona Marcoullier who was trying for another three-peat. The final driver on the lead lap was Kurtz who finished over 11 seconds off of Schlenk’s pace. Only four drivers managed to stay on the lead lap during the race, an oddity that Schlenk accredited to improved track preparation.


The next event for the AELMT is a double-header weekend into the state of Illinois during Labor Day weekend. Friday, August 30th the Tour makes its first ever trip to Farmer City Raceway, before a first time stop at Fairbury American Legion Speedway on Saturday, August 31st.


To learn more about the American Ethanol Late Model Tour, visit aelmt.com and follow them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


Unofficial Results: Night One


FK Rod Ends Dash 4 Cash Race #1:

27 Eric Spangler

6M Dona Marcoullier

79 Nick Kurtz

M14 Brandon Thirlby

2 Travis Stemler

42 Chad Finley

44 Matt Shipley

4T Andrew Terrill

21S Steve Hilliker

41P Jesse Playter

CJ1 Rusty Schlenk

9 Isaac Wolfgang


Merritt Speedway Dash 4 Cash Race #2

87K Josh Knoll

1W Michael Luberda

25CB Chris Brindley

24N Kyle Novak

15 Dave Baker

33T Bob Timmer

16 Mike Staszak

04 Wade Witherspoon

1R Todd Rosebrugh

3 Jeremy Tulick

44S Colin Shipley


Rick & Bobbi Jones Heat Race #1:

6M Dona Marcoullier

2 Travis Stemler

21S Steve Hilliker

25CB Chris Brindley

33T Bob Timmer

1R Todd Rosebrugh

52 Brad Harden

19X Cody Bauer

44G John Goodrich

41X Mike Vandermark Jr.


Bill Hill Heat Race #2:

M14 Brandon Thirlby

42 Chad Finley

9 Isaac Wolfgang

87K Josh Knoll

44S Colin Shipley

24N Kyle Novak

87M David Mielke

113 Kyle Roberts

21A Logan Arntz

1X Greg Gokey


Todd & Tonya Pease Heast Race #3:

27 Eric Spangler

CJ1 Rusty Schlenk

41P Jesse Playter

15 Dave Baker

16 Mike Staszak

3 Jeremy Tulick

73 Steve Nieuwenhuis

42A JT Anderson

23 Preston Deshano


Pro Power Racing Heat Race #4

79 Nick Kurtz

4T Andrew Terrill

44 Matt Shipley

1W Michael Luberda

10 Brett Miller

04 Wade Witherspoon

73L Logan Love

42JR Mike Nelson Jr.

03 JC Witherspoon

25JB Jim Billett


Senior Insurance Solutions Fast Car Dash:

CJ1 Rusty Schlenk

79 Nick Kurtz

2 Travis Stemler

42 Chad Finley


Motul Motor Oil Fast Qualifier:

2 Travis Stemler 14.337


Unofficial Results: Night Two


31st Ed Vanduinen WoodTic:

CJ1 Rusty Schlenk

42 Chad Finley

6M Dona Marcoullier

79 Nick Kurtz

87M David Mielke

2 Travis Stemler

113 Kyle Roberts

M14 Brandon Thirlby

27 Eric Spangler

21B Rich Bell

44 Matt Shipley

21A Logan Arntz

24N Kyle Novak

1X Greg Gokey

25CB Chris Brindley

15 Dave Baker

21S Steve Hilliker

41X Mike Vandermark Jr.

44S Colin Shipley

03 JC Witherspoon

10 Brett Miller

19X Cody Bauer

16 Mike Staszak

41P Jesse Playter

52 Brad Harden

9 Isaac Wolfgang


Last Chance Race #1:

41X Mike Vandermark Jr.

25CB Chris Brindley

16 Mike Staszak

21S Steve Hilliker

41P Jesse Playter

42A JT Anderson

3 Jeremy Tulick

44G John Goodrich

73 Steve Nieuwenhuis

1R Todd Rosebrugh

23 Preston Deshano


Last Chance Race #2:

1X Greg Gokey

24N Kyle Novak

87K Josh Knoll

9 Isaac Wolfgang

42JR Mike Nelson Jr.

10 Brett Miller

73L Logan Love

25JB Jim Billett

44S Colin Shipley

Odd Feature:

CJ1 Rusty Schlenk

6M Dona Marcoullier

2 Travis Stemler

21B Rich Bell

15 Dave Baker

27 Eric Spangler

19X Cody Bauer

52 Brad Harden

25CB Chris Brindley

16 Mike Staszak

23 Preston Deshano

44G John Goodrich

33T Bob Timmer

41X Mike Vandermark Jr.

73 Steve Nieuwenhuis

21S Steve Hilliker

41P Jesse Playter

1R Todd Rosebrugh

3 Jeremy Tulick


Even Feature:

M14 Brandon Thirlby

42 Chad Finley

79 Nick Kurtz

113 Kyle Roberts

87M David Mielke

44 Matt Shipley

03 JC Witherspoon

21A Logan Arntz

24N Kyle Novak

1X Greg Gokey

87K Josh Knoll

9 Isaac Wolfgang

73L Logan Love

42JR Mike Nelson Jr.

25JB Jim Billett

4T Andrew Terrill

04 Wade Witherspoon

10 Brett Miller

1W Michael Luberda

44S Colin Shipley

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