Whew! What a weekend. The 27th Annual Ed VanDuinen Wood Tic weekend was an outstanding success. What an event it was, with blue skies, a packed pit area, and lots of fans in attendance to see the big show. From riding around the campground and talking to the fans that traveled great distances to watch the races, to spending time talking to drivers and fans during the live music and getting to know everyone quite a bit more… I truly enjoyed the weekend.
Thursday we kicked things off with a nearly full golf outing, and I enjoyed playing 18-holes in Houghton Lake and spending time with the participants. Thank you to Debbie Tomei for taking the reigns on the outing and all the golfers who joined us. Thursday night we had two new track records set, with Jim Miller Jr. break the Factory Stock record, and Brendan Powell set the 4-Cylinder record. Congratulations to those two, and stay tuned for 2016 when we really up the stakes to see if we can get others broken.
Friday, I don’t feel we could’ve asked for a better night of racing than what we had. With the car count that we had, from the extended heat races, the Pro Truck and 4-Cylinder features, and Bank Robber races were all outstanding. I was shocked with how many people stopped me all day and night on Saturday to tell me how much they enjoyed Friday night, so that is something that we will continue to do. The post race party with the live band and hanging out by the fire and bar area was a blast too.
Saturday morning, Dorene Baldwin put on one heck of children’s carnival for all the kids. We had dozens of prizes and awards that were given out to the children, with about 15-different games, face painting, and various fun activities. Thank you to each and every volunteer that woke up early to help put it all together, and to all the drivers, teams, and individuals that made a donation. I think each one of the dozens of kids that left there, had a giant smile on their face and that is a pretty special thing. In all my years of being in racing and traveling to different tracks, I have never seen anything like this and from what I hear this years event was the biggest ever held at Merritt. Very proud of this, thank you again to everyone, and stay tuned for 2016.
Racing on Saturday night was much like Friday and was extremely enjoyable end to end. The big winner was Dona Marcoullier, who took home the $4,000 check and giant trophy after a great race that was full of passing and hard racing. All the different divisions put on great races as I mentioned, with lots of new cars and faces on the property for the big weekend and over 125 cars on the property to race. The Modified field was the only one that I was slightly disappointed with. David Mielke has shown that he is a force everywhere he races week in and week out, and took home the Modified trophy Saturday night. I believe that Merritt Speedway is privileged to have a driver like David, choosing to race with us on a weekly basis and provide a challenge and raise the bar for competitors. It is a pleasure to have David race in front of our fans weekly and want to encourage the other Modified drivers to come try and knock him off the top! All in all it was a truly great field of cars and I am blessed to be able to inherit such an elite event like the Wood Tic is and will continue to be.
We learned a ton last weekend and really do look forward to hosting the 28th annual next year. On that note, the Wood Tic will be moved back to the third week of July like it used to be. Mark it on your calendars, to be at Merritt Speedway on July 14, 15, and 16 2016 for Wood Tic 28!
Thank you to every driver, wife, crew member, family member, friend, enemy, acquaintance, and fan that was in attendance at any point last weekend. Thank you to Keyser Manufacturing for being the presenting sponsor. It was a truly memorable experience and I hope it was for you as well.
I also would like to take a moment to give a special thank you to all my employees for putting in long hours to ensure that everything goes smooth and an enjoyable experience for everyone. Needless to say, without your dedication none of this is possible.
This coming weekend is Kids Night, with all children 12 and under getting in absolutely free. We will also have $1.00 Beer and $1.00 Hot Dogs ALL NIGHT LONG! Late Models, Modifieds, Pro Stocks, Pro Trucks, Factory Stocks, and 4-Cylinders will all be racing. Hope to see you Saturday!