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Mike’s Monday Thoughts – Aug 31

Our second to final weekend of racing looked a bit uncertain earlier in the day with the poor weather. As it turned out we were one of very few tracks to race in the state once again it appears, and so the racecars come flyin’ in. We had more than 100 cars on the speedway property and after the track got ran in a little bit, we had some excellent and wicked fast racing. Thanks to the staff and all the drivers for working hard to get the track in race condition, allowing us to start on time right at 7:00 p.m.

I will start out with the Late Models with what seemed to be, based on cheers from the crowd, the most popular win of the year. Multi-time Merritt champion Frank Seder went back to victory lane for the first time this season, after coming out of retirement and racing with us almost all season. We had 24 Late Models on the property and the feature was thrilling and bad fast. Always hate to see cars get torn up like we had Saturday, in what looked like hard racing with just a handful of laps to go on the restart. Thanks to all the teams that came out and hopefully we will have everyone back for the big championship weekend.

Our Modifieds put on another great race Saturday night. Joe Rokos looked really strong for much of the race and was good to see him race in the lead, battling with Stemler, Baker, Banning and others. David Mielke yet again showed his muscle, pulling it out with just a couple laps to go and returning to victory lane. As I said about Late Models, this weekend should prove to be a fun weekend for the Modifieds, with a lot to race for.

Neat to see Rick Irwin in the Lighting Sprints, and Nate Jones in the Pro Stocks get their first victories at Merritt this season. Also congratulations to Kenny Keller, Chad Tomczak, and Bobby Liuzzo Jr. on their victories. With all those cars we had damn good racing throughout the entire night and the fans in the stands seemed to enjoy it all. It was ladies free night on Saturday and was a pleasure to see the stands fill up quite well considering the weather, and having the drivers put on a great show.

The season ending Awards Banquet will be held at the Wexford County Civic Center, on Saturday, November 7. Happy Hour will begin at 6:00 p.m., and the awards and dinner at 7:00. A reminder that drivers must be in attendance to collect their championship prize monies. This should be a great event, to celebrate our champions and bench race about 2015. Tickets will be available at the speedway on Saturday at the tire barn, as well as the souvenir trailer on the concourse. If you haven’t been to one of my banquets, you are in for a treat.

This Saturday we close things out with our Gene Kregear Championship Weekend, with all seven of our divisions determining their champion! Late Model championship will be Saturday night, with the American Ethanol Late Model championship settled Sunday night. The Modified title will be determined on Sunday, with the Michigan Dirt Cup Modifieds racing with us Saturday. The Lighting Sprints, Pro Stocks, Pro Trucks, Factory Stocks, and 4-Cylinders will all race both Saturday and Sunday, with their championships awarded Sunday. We will NOT be starting races by points, so all drivers from all tracks are welcome and we will be pill drawing both nights for our classes. Races start at 7:00 on Saturday, and 6:00 on Sunday. Sunday will also have $1.00 beer and hot dogs, and a big fireworks show and post race party. Everyone come on out for the weekend, as we have free camping for everyone and enjoy your labor day at the speedway! I can’t wait.

See everyone on Saturday and Sunday!

Mike Blackmer

Engine Pro Championship Weekend Information

Racing is at 7:00 p.m. on Saturday – 6:00 p.m. Sunday
Camping is absolutely free

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Mike’s Monday Thoughts – Aug 24

Another week in the book and yet again another great night of racing we had last Saturday! What does $1,600-to-win and $250-to-start get you in the modified division? Arguably one of the best races seen at Merritt Speedway in quite some time, so I’ve heard from countless people after the races and via messages and emails. Fantastic crowd got to witness a very entertaining evening at Merritt.

I feel we had one elite group of racers for the Dirt Cup feature Saturday, with David Mielke grabbing yet another checkered flag. It wasn’t easy though, having to race up through and fending off the likes of Brent Banning, Aaron Morey, Jacob Poel, and Travis Stemler amongst many others. Without that late caution, I think Banning had it wrapped up but congratulations to Mielke and fantastic race to the entire field.

Thank you to each and every driver and team that came up and raced with us, spanning a pretty wide distance with the open wheel group in town. The SOD Sprints, MTS Sprints, Lightning Sprints, and MORA Sprints put on damn good races. Really it was a fantastic night of racing across the board when I look back on it. And for keeping the ticket price at $12 like our regular nights, with the divisions we had, was really great to see the place full.

Hard to believe we are down to just 2 more weekends and 3 more event nights. Where did the season go? I’ve learned a ton and enjoy it all more each passing week. This Saturday is ladies night, so all the ladies are invited out and get free grandstand admission. We have all seven divisions racing so it should be another solid and exciting night.

Labor Day Weekend we hold our Championships and I am hoping to build that into a big annual weekend event. The Dirt Cup Tour will be with us on that Saturday, and the Modifieds will have the chance to race for big money as we are partnered with Hartford for a combined points and payout opportunity. The American Ethanol Late Models race with us on Sunday the 6th, and they will also have the chance to win big money that weekend. If a driver wins both Friday at Cherry Speedway, and Merritt on Saturday, they will receive a $1,000 bonus presented by Performance Engineering. Camping is free at Merritt for the rest of the season, and we will have $1.00 Beer & Hot Dogs and a big Fireworks show on Sunday the 6th. We will also have a post race party that night.

Hope to see everyone on Saturday night!

Mike Blackmer

Mike’s Monday Thoughts – Aug 17

I can’t believe we are already midway through August! With every passing week, I feel like the shows and events become smoother and smoother, as they should. Saturday was no exception, and want to thank all the fans, competitors, teams, and friends that came out to Merritt and spent the evening with us! It was a special night to honor Jim Brannam, a man whom I looked up to for years as he piloted his blue #77 at Merritt. Thank you to everyone who shared your love and support to the family and made Saturday truly memorable for everyone.

 

Great car count once again, with another night of really excellent racing. Pro Stock car count was up with the $500-to-win and increased starting pay, with Steven Hilliker continuing his stronghold on the division. Pro Trucks and Factory Stocks both had great races, as well as the Lightning Sprints who put on a darn good show for the fans. Congrats to Mack Erickson, Bob Hammar, and Aaron Spearling on taking the checkered flag in your features! 4-Cylinder car count was really really good, which is exciting to me. I have said all season that I want to help build this division and appreciate all the guys that came out on Saturday and congratulations to Chad Tomczak on getting the win!!

 

Late Models… WOW, that was easily the best Late Model feature race that I have ever seen. We had a solid car count, enough to have an important B feature, and really make some guys have to race hard to get in the field. We are really lucky to have some of the best dirt late model driving talent, call our speedway home, and show the way in the area. Eric Spangler and Rich Neiser raced door-to-door lap after lap, putting on one heck of a show. Even after Brandon Thirlby got by them both, they kept battling hard and the competition throughout the field was outstanding. Congratulations to Brandon Thirlby on picking up the $2,000 winners purse and race win. We look forward to self-sanctioning more events like this in 2016 and beyond.

 

This coming weekend, all of our regular divisions are off with the exception of the Lightning Sprints. It is the Open Wheel Showdown, and feature the Michigan Dirt Cup Modifieds racing for $1,600 to win and $250 to start! Also on hand are the big winged Engine Pro Sprints on Dirt, the non-wing Lane Automotive MTS Sprints, the MORA Mini Outlaw Sprints and as mentioned, our Hirams Lightning Sprints. Tickets for all this are only $12 for Adults, $10 for Seniors, $6 for children 6-12, and 5-under free. All this racing is presented by big speedway supporter Lane Automotive QuickCar Racing Products. This event should be great so don’t miss it!

 

Camping will be absolutely FREE for the remainder of 2015, so come out and stay with us and make it a weekend of fun.

 

On Wednesday, we will be announcing details for our Gene Kregear Engine Pro Championship Weekend, which will be falling on Saturday and Sunday of Labor Day weekend. We have some exciting things in the works, including something extra special for Modified teams, so stay tuned on Wednesday! We will close out 2015 with a BANG!

 

Hope to see each and every one of you on Saturday!

Mike’s Monday Thoughts – Aug 10

Hello everyone! Saturday night was the first event that I have missed in all my years of track ownership, and it about killed me. And therefore I think I about killed Kevin as I didn’t stop texting him all day and night. But from what I hear everything went well and was maybe a little bit quieter haha. I was attending my 35-year class reunion at The Pines Saturday. Thank you to the staff who worked hard as always, and those that stepped up with flagman Steve and scorer Anthony being gone.

We had an excellent car count Saturday and want to once again thank all the drivers and teams that came out to race with us. It was a cool moment for me when I heard that David Hilliker was racing and then getting the victory over a strong field of 20 others. Hopefully we see much more of David and the family, as we close out the season at Merritt. David Mielke picks back up and gets another impressive victory, with Steven Hilliker, Richie Sutherland, Jim Miller, and William Sian all winning. Special congratulations to Mack Erickson, who won our special 20-lap Lightning Sprint feature, and the entire field who put on a great show for the fans on a track that was as tacky as its been all year.

I am especially excited about this week, as we honor Jim Brannam. Last week I shared with you all about the tremendous respect I had for Jim, and he is the reason I have always used #77 on my racecars through the years. The Pro Stocks and Pro Trucks will both race for 20-laps in honor of Jim. The Pro Stocks will pay $500-to-win and $125-to-start, and Pro Trucks $300-to-win and $100-to-start in hopes that we draw a few more vehicles for those divisions.

The Sunoco American Late Model Series joins us Saturday as well for what should be a big show! $2,000-to-win and $250-to-start for their 35 lap feature event, in what hopefully brings some new names to town to challenge our weekly stars. August 22nd we have our big open wheel night, which should be a great show as well! The Dirt Cup Modifieds will race for $1,600-to-win and $250-to-start on the 22nd, and will be joined by the Sprints on Dirt, MORA Sprints, and Lightning Sprints.

Stay tuned for more information coming soon on our year-end Engine Pro Gene Kregear Championship Weekend, as well as the season ending banquet. I look forward to having great events each week to the end of the season, and thank everyone for your continued support.

Until next week,
Mike Blackmer

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