Packed House for Mid-Season Championships at Merritt Speedway
Thanks to all that came out to Merritt Speedway to celebrate the 4th of July Independence Day weekend with us. Fans were treated to an autograph session on the front stretch before the races started, a spectacular night of racing in all 6 classes and an awesome fireworks display at the end of the night.
The night kicked off with qualifying for the Michigan Kenworth UMP Late Models and Super 8 UMP Modifieds. David Hilliker of Midland logged the overall fast time at 13.69 for the Late Model division while Roger Steig of Reed City topped the charts for the Modified division with a lap of 14.84. Rich Neiser carried the first checkers of the night in the late model dash followed by David Hilliker, Chris Brindley and Brandon Thirlby. Rich Robinson Jr. was next to visit victory lane in the Modified dash over Bob Baldwin, Roger Steig and Jeffery Erickson Jr.
The Jimmy’s Collision Factory Stock division was first to take to the track for heat race action with Terry Fancett crossing the finish line first ahead of Jamie Fancett (son) and Kevin Kroupa. In the feature event, John Matthews took the lead at the drop of the green flag from outside the front row. Pole sitter, Kevin Kroupa would also fall victim to Terry Fancett on the opening lap and Jamie Fancett two laps later. With the Father/Son duo of Terry and Jamie Fancett battling for position, John Matthews enjoyed a comfortable lead as the laps clicked off. With just two laps to go, Jamie got past Terry for second but ran out of laps to track down Matthews. John Matthews cruised on to his first feature race win of the year at Merritt Speedway followed by Jamie Fancett, Terry Fancett, Kevin Kroupa, Rick Stewart, Craig Wertz, Peni Lalonde and Richard Cebula Jr.
Another strong field of WLLZ TV-12 Pro Streets was on hand to battle this Saturday night. In the first heat race, Bob Timmer brought out the caution on lap #3 and restarted at the tail. By the white flag Timmer was in third and on the final lap flew past the leaders to score his first win of the season followed by Tim Tabaczka and Dan Hersey. T.J. Erickson carried the checkers in the second heat over Steven Hilliker and Caleb Kill. Last year’s Factory Stock Champion, Caleb Kill led the field to the green flag in the feature event with Bob Timmer on his tail. On lap #4, Dan Hersey pulled into second but relinquished the spot to Steven Hilliker one lap later. Hilliker would press the 92 of Kill for several laps until Caleb slipped up on lap 12 and Hilliker took over the point. Caleb would suffer mechanical problems several laps later and fell from competition. Steven Hilliker drove on to score the win with Dan Hersey finishing in second on his first time out for the 2013 season. Robert Erickson finished third followed by T.J. Erickson, Caleb Kill, Brian Abernethy, Bob Timmer, Andrew Steel, Roger McQueen and Tim Tabaczka.
Hiram’s Lightning Sprints presented by B.H. Hobart Jewelers made their second appearance at Merritt for 2013 with Tom Hunt carrying the checkers in the first heat race over Mack Erickson and Ricky Droke. Victory went to Bill Dunham in heat #2 followed by Rusty Reyelts and Ron Ramoie. In the feature event, pole sitter Tom Hunt took the lead with the rest of the field battling for position behind him. Bill Dunham had worked his way to the runner up spot by lap #4 and put the pressure on Hunt for the next 8 circuits when he was finally able to get past Hunt for the lead with just 3 laps remaining. Bill Dunham of Bellville, MI drove on to score his first feature win of the year at Merritt followed by Tom Hunt, Rusty Reyelts, Ricky Droke, Randy Plamondon, Mack Erickson, Ron Ramoie, Chuck Erickson and Pauly Erickson. Hiram’s Lightning Sprints are scheduled to make their final appearance at Merritt on Saturday, August 17th.
Super 8 UMP Modified action was as fierce as ever with Roy Harvey carrying the checkers in the first of two heat races followed by Jacob Poel and Roger Steig. Victory in the second heat race went to Rich Robinson Jr. over Chad Bauer and Paul Johnson. As the green flag flew on the “A” Main, pole sitter Jacob Poel of Spring Lake took the early lead with Roy Harvey a close second. As the laps wound down and Poel had stretched his lead over Harvey, Poel would start to encounter lapped traffic and saw his lead diminish. Still in the lead Jacob would experience a mechanical failure sending him up the track and into Roger Steig as Roy Harvey took over the point. In an effort to stay with the leaders, Steig collected Chad Bauer in turn 1 bringing out the caution with just four laps remaining. Steig and Poel both retired to the pits with damaged equipment after the incident. Roy Harvey would finish out the final laps to take the checkers followed by Kevin Miller, Bob Baldwin (3rd from 10th), Andrew Terrill (4th from 13th), Jeffery Erickson Jr., John Goodrich, Paul Johnson, Chad Bauer, Roger Steig and Jacob Poel.
Michigan Kenworth UMP Late Models took to the track in the first of three heat races with David Hilliker taking the win over Jeremy Tulick and Adam Erickson. Eric Spangler fought his way to the front for the win in the second heat race after mechanical issues during qualifying plagued the #27 machine. Josh Knoll and Scott Phillips finished 2nd and 3rd. Rich Neiser would make the trip to victory lane for the second time of the night in the final heat followed by Rick Whipple and Chris Brindley. First timer, Glen Thompson of Buckingham, IL took the win in the “B” Main over Bob Hammar and Joe Pomeroy. Rich Neiser would lead the field to the green flag in the feature event but was unable to hold off Scott Phillips from his outside front row starting position. Phillips would set a blistering pace for the first 9 laps on the point but fell victim to Neiser on lap #10. Rich worked his way picking through the lapped traffic and drove on to score the win and sweep the nights events in Late Model action. With only a single caution on lap 15, the pace was almost nonstop and over in the blink of an eye. Scott Phillips held on to finish in second followed by David Hilliker, Josh Knoll, Chris Brindley, Brandon Thirlby, Jordan Erickson, Eric Spangler, Andy Chester and Mike Kresnak.
Heat race action in the Hardcore Performance Pro Truck division saw Mark Sheffield find his way to victory lane over Bobby Liuzzo Jr. and Richie Sutherland. In the feature race, Bobby Liuzzo Jr. (celebrating his 21st birthday) took the lead at the drop of the green flag and led flag to flag for an impressive win. Mark Sheffield tried all he could do to run down Liuzzo but had to settle for a second place finish for the second week in row. Mike Nelson Jr., Dick Stout, Garry Hammar Jr., Craig Foster, Richie Sutherland and Bobby Liuzzo Sr. rounded out the field.
Join us this Saturday for another action night at Merritt and get ready for the 25th annual, Silver Anniversary Wood Tic 100 on July 18th, 19th and 20th.
See ya at the track