Hilliker Brothers Celebrate Father’s Day Early With Feature Wins
Our Father’s Day special was well received at the front gate this past Saturday at Merritt Speedway as the fans game out to view some of the best dirt track racing action in the state. Word is spreading like wild fire of the track conditions and side by side racing as the pits filled up with several new drivers in all classes from all over the state along with all of our regulars.
The Potter Excavating UMP Late Models kicked off the night with a qualifying session that saw Mike Kresnak of Ellwell, MI. set fast time at 13.53. Eric Spangler of Lake City would lead the field to the checkers in the Late Model Dash followed by Chris Brindley, Mike Kresnak and Charlie Liggett. David Hilliker scored the win in the first of three heat races over Scott Phillips and Chris Brindley. Josh Knoll carried the checkers in heat #2 followed by Bob Hammar and Andy Chester while Justin McNeill won the final heat finishing ahead of Eric Spangler and Adam Erickson. John McDonald of Muskegon captured the “B” Main win over Merv Hudson and Jeremy Tulick. All three drivers would transfer to round out the 18 car “A” Main event. In the feature, Justin McNeill of Houghton Lake took the lead as the green flag with pole sitter, David Hilliker glued to his tail. As the laps wound down, the first of several cautions would fly on lap 19. With two laps to go on the final restart McNeill would once again lead the pack at the white flag. On the final lap, thinking the race had ended, Justin slowed in turn 4 allowing David Hilliker to take the lead and the win. McNeill did hold on to finish second and in a post-race conversation commented that feature race wins at this level are hard to come by and was disappointed to say the least that he gave this one up. Justin was dominate the entire race and will back hungrier than ever for that first win of the season. Bob Hammar crossed the line in third but was underweight at the scales and DQ’d. Scott Phillips, Josh Knoll, Brook Brasington, Mike Kresnak, Andy Chester, Adam Erickson and Chris Brindley rounded out the top ten.
Like the Late Models, the Super 8 UMP Modifieds were out in force with a strong field of 26 entered for the night. Chad Bauer of Farwell, MI topped the charts during qualifying with a lap of 14.25 while Adam Thrush of Mt Pleasant scored the Dash win over Ryan Ritchie, Rich Robinson Jr. and Bauer. Rich Robinson Jr. would carry the checkers in heat #1 followed by Dave Baker and Jerry Kent. Cherry Raceway promoter, Roger Steig captured the win in the second heat over Ryan Ritchie and Chad Bauer while Greg Smith made his way to victory lane in the final heat followed by Roy Harvey and Brent Banning. Trever Fedewa, Andrew Terrill and Donnie Roberts captured the transfer spots in the “B” Main earning them a place in the feature event. In the feature race, Ryan Ritchie of Gladwin took the early lead from pole sitter, Jerry Kent as the green flag flew while Roger Steig and Rich Robinson Jr. battled for the runner up spot. At the mid-way point of the 25 lap event, Steig and Ritchie would swap the lead back and forth with Steig eventually coming out on top. On lap 19, Roy Harvey would start to put the pressure on Steig but Roger was up to the challenge and held on to score the victory. Harvey held on to finish second followed by Rich Robinson Jr., Aaron Raby, Chad Bauer, Travis Stemler, Kevin Miller, Dave Baker, Adam Thrush and Brent Banning.
Steven Hilliker of Midland, MI carried the first checkers of the night in the WLLZ-TV 12 Pro Street division heat race followed by Caleb Kill and Kevin Borgen. As the green flag dropped on the “A” Main, Caleb Kill stormed into the lead with pole sitter Kevin Borgen and Archie Miles Jr. in a battle for second place. Borgen would start to fade as Steven Hilliker pulled into third. On lap #13, Hilliker took over second place from Miles and two laps later got past Caleb Kill to take over the point. Steve would go on to the lead the final circuits and score the feature race win over Caleb Kill, Archie Miles Jr., Bob Timmer, Bob Green, Kevin Borgen, Jackson Hill, William Hancock and Roger McQueen.
Rick Stewart was a force to be reckoned with this past Saturday in the Jimmy’s Collision Factory Stock division. Stewart would carry the checkers in the first of two heat races followed by Terry Fancett and Nick Crim while Jamie Fancett captured the second heat win over Kevin Kroupa and Dan Wierman. In the feature event, Rick Stewart took the early lead with Terry Fancett in hot pursuit. As the laps clicked off, a battle in the middle of the pack sent rookie, Dan Wierman on a wild roll over. Wierman was ok and after a brief red flag the track was cleared and Rick Stewart drove on to score the win followed by Terry Fancett, Joe Carmean, Kevin Kroupa, Jamie Fancett, Scott Boyd and Emery Smith.
The Hardcore Performance Pro Truck division qualified on this Father’s Day special with Bobby Liuzzo topping the charts at 16.05 While Mike Nelson Jr. took the win in the Dash over Mark Sheffield, Richie Sutherland and Liuzzo. Mike Nelson Jr. found himself in victory lane for the second time of the night in the heat race followed by Sheffield and Liuzzo. In the “A” Main, Mark Sheffield took the lead from pole sitter Mike Nelson Jr. and paced the field while the rest of the competitors battled for position behind him. As the white flag came out, Sheffield would suffer a flat tire and was forced into the pits handing the lead over to Bobby Liuzzo. Liuzzo drove on to the checkers for the win over Mike Nelson Jr., Richie Sutherland, Garry Hammar Jr., Jerry Mynarcik and Mark Sheffield.
This Saturday will feature the “Topless 50” for UMP Late Models, UMP Modifieds, Pro Trucks and the Hiram’s Lightning Mini Sprints will be on hand for the first time 2013.
See ya at the track