Lake City, MI (1-10-17) - Merritt Speedway recently trimmed some of the fat from their longtime slogan, formerly known as ‘Northern Michigan’s Premier Dirt Track’. Going in to the 2017 season, Merritt Speedway will simply use ‘Michigan’s Premier Dirt Track’, making a bold commitment to both racers and fans across the state.
Much of the reason for this change in wording, reflects the upcoming 2017 season schedule. Eight different touring series will make a stop at the three-eights-mile clay oval, spanning over the course of the year. Merritt’s weekly divisions which have seen an increase in count each of the first two years of ownership under Blackmer Motorsports, also have regularly scheduled specials featuring increased winners pay throughout the season.
Not only will Merritt Speedway host a variety of special events, but it will also offer racers the chance to compete for several monstrous payouts during the year. The first high paying show will put the spotlight on the American Ethanol Late Model Tour, which will race for $10,000-to-win at the third annual Merritt Showdown presented by Don’s Auto Clinic, on Wednesday, June 14. They will be joined by the new American Ethanol Modified Tour presented by Allstar Performance, for their inaugural appearance at Merritt Speedway. The new UMP Modified tour, will return to Merritt on Independence Day eve, Monday, July 3, and race for $10,000-to-win as well. These two series, which are both in their infancy, were started by Carbon Green BioEnergy, based out of Lake Odessa, Michigan. The Late Model Tour which has exploded on to the scene as the states premier series for this style of racing, along with their sister Modified series will both have their highest paying races at Merritt Speedway in 2017.
Open wheel racing will see growth at the Lake City speedway in 2017 after the expanded fan interest in the tracks Lightning Sprint division last season. For the first time ever, the Midwest’s strongest open wheel series All Star Circuit of Champions will make a stop mid-season. The Tony Stewart owned organization which races more than 50 times throughout the season, will make their only state of Michigan appearance at Merritt Speedway, under the lights on Saturday, July 1. Longtime Merritt open wheel staple, the Engine Pro Sprints on Dirt will again see a pair of appearances, taking place on Saturday, June 24, and again on Open Wheel Spectacular Weekend, Saturday, August 19. The spectacular will also see the return of the Lane Automotive Michigan Traditional Sprint Series. The Great Lakes Super Sprints which will be in their second year of 360-cubic-inch excitement, will compete on Saturday, July 22.
The second annual Keyser’s Great Lakes Shootout will come to town, featuring the world-renown World of Outlaws Craftsman Late Model Series, on Saturday and Sunday this season, August 26 and 27. The nation’s best Late Model stars will compete for massive paydays and long feature racing events again, in what is the tours only stop in Michigan again in 2017. Last season, defending Keyser Manufacturing UMP Late Model track champion Eric Spangler captured the Friday night feature event victory, showcasing Merritt’s regular lineup of stars’ strength against the tours best. Details regarding payout, laps, and much more will all be announced later.
Merritt Speedway regulars will not only be able to race for and take home these special event payouts and prize funds, but also with their weekly counterparts. Track owner Mike Blackmer is committed to not only provided racers and fans alike with the best in traveling series entertainment, but also supporting the backbone of Merritt Speedway, in offering great special weekly races and payouts to the drivers that show up week in and week out. UMP Late Models, UMP Modifieds, IMCA Modifieds, Lightning Sprints, Pro Stocks, Factory Stocks, and Four Cylinders will all compete in at least five special events for the class throughout the season. Additionally, the American Ethanol Mini Wedge Association will race bi-weekly, opposite Crystal Motor Speedway, and will race for a championship for the first time within Merritt Speedway.
The Keyser Manufacturing UMP Late Model division will compete in a variety of specials through the year. The first of which, is the aforementioned third annual Merritt Showdown on Wednesday, June 14, featuring $10,000-to-win. The American Ethanol Late Model Tour returns on Sunday night, July 2 for the second of three total visits. The DIRTcar Summer Nations Hell Tour returns as part of Wood Tic Weekend, on Thursday, July 13, presented by Diesel Freak. The World of Outlaws Craftsman Late Model Series stops in Northern Michigan on August 26 and 27. And closing out the year will be the American Ethanol Late Model Tour on the tracks last night of racing, Sunday, September 3.
The wildly popular and competitive Cadillac Tire Center UMP Modifieds will again go racing full time in 2017, with their first increased paying event on opening night, Saturday, May 20, paying $1,200-to-win! The American Ethanol Modified Tour presented by Allstar Performance makes their first ever trip to Merritt Speedway alongside the American Ethanol Late Model Tour on Wednesday, June 14, as part of the Merritt Showdown. The series returns on Monday night, July 3, when the Midwest’s elite Modified racers invade on Merritt Speedway, in search of the $10,000 winner’s payday in the inaugural Merritt Modified Madness. DIRTcar UMP Modifieds will compete for $1,500-to-win on Saturday, August 5 in the spotlight on what is otherwise a weekly event. And to close out 2017, the American Ethanol Modified Tour presented by Allstar Performance returns to Merritt Speedway.
Headed in to their inaugural season at Merritt Speedway, the IMCA (B) Modified’s will see their fair share of specialty events along with the other established divisions at the speedway. In their first point race, May 20, the B Modifieds will race for $1,000-to-win! Eight hundred dollars will be up for grabs on Saturday, June 17, as the new division grabs the spotlight during the weekly show. Alongside the high-paying UMP Modified race, the B Modifieds will race for $1,000-to-win on July 3, in what will be one of the tracks biggest race dates of the year. A cool grand will be on the line again on Diesel Freak Hell Tour night, Thursday, July 13. The IMCA B Modifieds will race for $1,000 as well under the spotlight on Saturday, July 29.
The Merritt Lightning Sprint Car division saw growth in car count during the 2016 season, and combined with even more high horsepower open wheel shows this coming year, speedway owner Mike Blackmer hopes to continue the Lightning Sprint Car tradition. Right out of the gate on Saturday, May 27, the Lightning Sprint Car’s will race for $1,000-to-win in what will be the tracks only special of the night, putting all the focus on this thrilling division. Saturday, June 10 will again see the Lightning Sprint Cars as the tracks only class under the magnifying glass. In what will be an exciting opportunity for the Lightning Sprint Cars to race alongside their older brothers in the All Star Circuit of Champions, will compete for $800-to-win on Saturday night, July 1. The division will also race for $800-to-win again on July 22, next to the Great Lakes Sprint Series, as well as on Allstar Performance Open Wheel Spectacular night, August 19.
The Pro Stock division in 2017 will be joined by the former Pro Truck class, after the division was merged due to dwindling vehicle counts. The Pro Stock class is sure to be a thriller in 2017, where fans will see the top Pro Truck drivers compete alongside the Pro Stock competitors weekly. A thousand bucks will be on the line for the first time in 2017 on Saturday, June 3. Joining the Engine Pro Sprints on Dirt, Saturday, June 24, will see the Pro Stocks payout increase again to $1,000. The division will steal the show on Saturday, July 8, racing again for $1,000-to-win as the tracks only featured class of the evening. July will end on Saturday the 29th, with a thousand dollars up for grabs to the Pro Stock winner that evening, as well as on August 12 to close out the year’s specials for the division.
A fan favorite at Merritt Speedway has quickly become the Factory Stock division, showcasing the older body styles. Opening night 2017 will see the Factory Stock division have $1,000 on the line for the winner. The class will have $1,000-to-win on Saturday, June 24, in an event featuring the Engine Pro Sprints on Dirt. Sunday, July 2, will feature the American Ethanol Late Model Tour, and the Factory Stockers will compete for $1,000-to-win. To close out the season special for the Factory Stocks, will take place on Saturday, August 5, and Saturday, August 26, both offering up a stout one-thousand-dollars to-win.
Merritt Speedways fastest growing division, the Four Cylinder class, will see an equal number of big time racing events in 2017 as its counterparts. While that seems only fair, they will also always be racing for $1,000-to-win any time the class has a special! The first featured event, will take place on Wednesday, June 14, as part of the Merritt Showdown. $1,500-to-win and increased starting pay will be up for grabs, alongside $10,000-to-win for the American Ethanol Late Model Tour. A thousand dollars will be on the line for the winner of the July 2 Four Cylinder special. The Diesel Freak Hell Tour on Thursday, July 13, will feature $1,000-to-win Four Cylinder event. Sunday night of the World of Outlaw Craftsman Late Model Series will also offer up $1,000-to-win to Four Cylinder drivers, as well as on the tracks season-ending night, Sunday, September 3.
The American Ethanol Mini Wedge Association has caught wildfire through the 2016 season, its first, and through the offseason. As previously mentioned, the young racers will compete regularly at Merritt Speedway in 2017, racing every other week, opposite of Crystal Motor Speedway, so competitors can compete at both tracks. Merritt Speedway will keep track of division points and treat the class as a regular, including honoring the division and its champion at the season-ending awards banquet. Merritt Speedway will be building a brand new oval inside the existing three-eights-mile speedway, for the wedges to compete on beginning in 2017.
Merritt Speedway has undergone a host of upgrades and enhancements to what already was an elite facility amongst the dirt track racing world in the nation. Upgrades include a brand-new clay racing surface, concrete and asphalt concourse, entrance, and concession areas, a new VIP suite area for speedway partners, new safety catch fencing, facility wide speakers, and much more. The improvements will not slow down as the track heads in to what is the most anticipated scheduled in the tracks long and storied history. All new Musco professional track lighting will be installed, to light up the tracks stout racing action all season long. Aluminum bleacher seating, hand rails, and raised handicap accessible platforms will be installed, stretching the entire span of the front straightaway. Former front stretch grandstands will be placed in a few locations along the back-pit area, to allow competitors and fans in the area with a much-improved perspective. Additional corporate hospitality areas, track scoring and management platforms, and other items are all being evaluated for future renovations and upgrades.
Merritt Speedway is proud to be known as Michigan’s Premier Dirt Track, with Michigan’s premier dirt racing fans! For the latest news and information, be sure to Like Merritt Speedway on Facebook, Follow them on Twitter, and check them out online at MerrittSpeedwayMI.com