Spangler, Sprague, Liuzzo, Aeschliman and Wierman victorious in Season Championship Races
With the Season Championship races in the book, there is just one week of action remaining to determine the point champions at Merritt Speedway. Eric Spangler enters the final week with a 40 point advantage over David Hilliker in the UMP Late Model standings. In the UMP Modified division there are three drivers in contention for the Championship with Kevin Miller holding a slim 2 point lead over Roger Steig and Chad Bauer tied for second. Steven Hilliker holds a 22 point advantage over defending champion, TJ Erickson in the Pro Street Division while Bobby Liuzzo Jr. sits on a 12 point lead over Richie Sutherland in the Pro Truck division. Jimmy’s Collision Factory Stocks have concluded their season with Rick Stewart claiming the 2013 title by 16 points over Jamie Fancett. Terry Fancett, Dan Wierman and Nick Crim rounded out the top five.
The top 4 in points in all 5 divisions graced the front straight for open ceremonies on this Championship Race night and treated the fans to 4 cars dashes in all classes. David Hilliker was the first to find his way to victory lane in the Roger Bazuin & Son’s UMP Late Model dash over Eric Spangler, Rich Neiser and Josh Knoll. Eric Spangler scored the first heat race win in Late Model action followed by Rich Neiser and Scott Phillips. Heat #2 victory went to David Hilliker over Josh Knoll and Bill Bray. By virtue of his heat race win and luck of the draw, point leader Eric Spangler started on the pole of the “A” Main event and shot into the lead at the drop of the green flag with Rich Neiser and Josh Knoll in hot pursuit. At the midway point of the 25 lap event Spangler was enjoying a comfortable lead when the caution flew and bunched the field up for the restart. In the remaining laps Rich Neiser closed the gap but was unable to get past the 27 of Spangler. Eric would lead the entire race and take home the first place hardware. Rich Neiser held on to finish in second followed by Josh Knoll, David Hilliker, Brook Brasington, Bill Bray, Scott Phillips, Chad Foster, Jordan Erickson and Bob Green.
Roger Steig carried the checkers in the Don Nester Auto Group UMP Modified dash followed by Kevin Miller, Brent Banning and Chad Bauer. In the first of two heat races, Chad Bauer took the win over Kevin Miller and Aaron Raby while Andy Sprague scored the second heat race win followed by Roger Steig and Larry Cade. As the green flag flew on the feature event, Aaron Raby got the jump on pole sitter Donnie Roberts to take the early lead. With Raby out front, the battle for second was heated between Roger Steig and Andy Sprague. Sprague would eventually clear Steig on lap 16 and set his sights on the leader. On the 5 to go sign from flagman, Steve Sherwood, Sprague took over the point and drove past Raby for the lead and the win. Aaron Raby held on to finish in the runner up spot with Roger Steig in third. Chad Bauer, Kevin Miller, Adam Thrush, Jeff Cade, Donnie Roberts, Paul Johnson and Trever Fedewa rounded out the top ten.
In the Hardcore Performance Pro Truck Division, Mark Sheffield would score the Dash win over Richie Sutherland, Bobby Liuzzo Jr. and Mike Nelson Jr. Bobby Liuzzo Jr. would pad his point lead with a win in the heat race followed by Richie Sutherland and Mike Nelson Jr. In the Championship race, Bobby Liuzzo Jr. took the lead from outside the front row leaving the rest of the field to battler for position behind him. By the second lap, defending champion, Mike Nelson Jr. pulled into second to challenge Liuzzo for the lead. Bobby drove a smooth line and held on to lead flag to flag for the win over Nelson, Bob Hammar, Richie Sutherland, Jason Parkhurst, Jerry Mynarcik, Garry Hammar Jr., Mark Sheffield, Bobby Liuzzo Sr. and Dick Stout.
A full field of WLLZ TV-12 Pro Streets was on hand to battle for the Championship hardware with TJ Erickson making his way to victory lane in the Dash over Steven Hilliker, Caleb Kill and Archie Miles Jr. In the first of two heat races, Archie Miles Jr. captured the win followed by Bob Timmer and Steven Hilliker. Caleb Kill was victorious in heat #2 finishing ahead of TJ Erickson and Shane Aeschliman. In the “A” Main the outside starting position proved to be the preferred position as Rick Beauchamp took the lead at the drop of the green flag. By lap #5, Shane Aeschliman and TJ Erickson were both closing in on the leader. It wasn’t until late in the race with 2 laps to go that Aeschliman was finally able to work his way into the lead and score the win. Rick Beauchamp held on to finish second followed by TJ Erickson, Steven Hilliker, Caleb Kill, Dan Hersey, Bob Timmer, Archie Miles Jr., Bob Fetters Sr. and Tyler Wagener.
In a rare Dash for the Jimmy’s Collision Factory Stock division, point leader Rick Stewart found himself in victory lane followed by Jamie Fancett, Terry Fancett and Dan Wierman. Terry Fancett would carry the checkers in the first heat race over Jeremiah Woebbeking and Rick Stewart. Rookie driver, Dan Wierman scored his first win of the year in heat #2 finishing ahead of Jamie Fancett and John Matthews. Pole sitter Dan Wierman took the lead as the green flag flew on the feature event but the action came to stop on the second lap when Craig Wertz took a tumble down the front stretch. Craig climbed out okay but retired to the pits for the night. Several more cautions would fly in the coming laps, but Wierman was solid on the restarts and drove on to score his first feature win of the year at Merritt Speedway. Rick Stewart locked down the point championship with a strong second place finish followed by Terry Fancett, Jamie Fancett, Jeremiah Woebbeking, Dick Cebula Jr., Nick Crim, John Matthews, Ty Phillips and Joe Carmean.
This Saturday will be the final night of racing at Merritt Speedway featuring the Winged Outlaw Late Models, UMP Late Models, Winged Outlaw 410 Sprints, UMP Modifieds, Pro Trucks, Pro Streets and MORA Sprints.
See ya at the track