Lake Odessa, MI (Monday, April 15, 2019) – Race Season officially began for the American Ethanol Late Model Tour (AELMT) on Sunday, March 31st at LaSalle Speedway with the 8th Annual Thaw Brawl Presented by Hoker Trucking. Many AELMT championship contenders were on-hand for stop one of 24 en route to the 2019 American Ethanol Late Model Tour $10,000 Championship Grand Prize.
AELMT championship contenders proved to be strong all weekend long. Defending Tour Champion, Brandon Thirlby opened the weekend by setting quick time in the Thursday night practice session, ousting Bobby Peirce of the top spot in the final hour. Tour regulars continued to flex their muscle during the 75-lap main event on Sunday. Thirlby and Rich Bell, waged a battle within the top ten throughout most of the race. The two came home 7th and 8th respectively, just ahead of 2018 championship points runner-up, Travis Stemler, who finished 10th. Logan Arntz finished 12th.
Brandon Thirbly currently sits 7th in AELMT 2019 Championship Standings, just three points ahead of the 2018 DIRTcar UMP National Points Champion, Rusty Schlenk. Both drivers are among the favorites to take the points lead after this weekend’s IceBreaker at I-96 Speedway, as each have victories at the fast and wide oval in Lake Odessa, Michigan. Rich Bell is currently 9th in the standings, just one point behind Schlenk. Travis Stemler holds the 12th position, tied with Logan Arntz.
Surely, eyes will be on Lake City, Michigan’s Eric Spangler this weekend as he looks to climb back up the standings. Coming into the season, Spangler has been a favorite to win the Tour’s fifth title, however a set back at LaSalle has him 22nd in points, 25 markers behind Thirlby.
Since the AELMT season opening Thaw Brawl event at LaSalle Speedway, several Tour regulars have made trips to Attica Raceway Park in Attica, Ohio, to turn some laps before the AELMT, $4,000 to win, 40-lap A-Main there on Friday, May 10th. On Attica’s opening night, Rusty Schlenk, Chad Finley and Eric Spangler all had top ten runs. Last weekend, Travis Stemler scored a second-place finish, Schlenk, Spangler and Logan Arntz collected top tens.
This Friday, April 19th, Tour drivers are coming “home” to kick off the Michigan racing season, at I-96 Speedway, in Lake Odessa. Tour regulars have performed well at I-96 historically, with Brandon Thirlby picking up his one and only win on the 2018 season, during the May event last year. Logan Arntz has a Last Chance Qualifier win to his credit at the Speedway and Eric Spangler also has had strong runs at “96”.
Then, on Saturday, the AELMT will join the American Ethanol Modified Tour Presented by Allstar Performance when they travel south to Plymouth Speedway for the first time since 2015, with the running of the Iroquois BioEnergy 40.
Keep up with all the action all season long by logging onto aelmt.com. Plus, get behind the scenes content, race day updates and more on social media, including Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.