Dustin Daggett
Dustin Daggett

Dustin Daggett
Grand Ledge, MI



Great Lakes Super Sprints


Muskegon, MI – Dustin Daggett (Portland, MI) wins the 25 lap feature at Thunderbird Raceway Park Saturday in 6 minutes and 20 seconds with 20 cars going green to checker and finishing the race.

Next door to Michigan Adventure Amusement Park, Thunderbird Raceway Park should have been called Thunderbird Adventures last Saturday. With 21 cars making the trip to the west coast of Michigan, it was a warm but beautiful day for racing.

With an 11 pm curfew, things started pretty early Saturday. With the drivers meeting over, drivers put heat in the motors around 5 pm and were back on the track around 5:30 for qualifying. The track was smooth, but slicking off in the hot afternoon sun. Jared Horstman (Cloverdale, MI) set fast time around the 55’ wide O track with a lap time of 12.62 seconds. Andrew Scheid (Sparta, MI) smacked the wall on his last lap, but recorded a 12.735 lap time good enough for second. Tyler Gunn (Malinta, OH), Dan McCarron (Britton, MI) and Nathan Barouch (Miami, FL) rounded out the top 5.

The Engler Machine & Tool Heat 1 rolled on the track, which was starting to respond to the sun getting lower in the sky with moisture starting to come back up in the track. The lap times increased about a second, but McCarron had no problems clicking off 8 laps and taking the checkered flag. Trying to reel McCarron in was Jared Horstman (Cloverdale, OH), whose best time was 9/10ths of a second faster then McCarrons best lap. Following Horstman was Ryan Ruhl (Coldwater, MI), Jay Steinbach (Hudsonville, MI) and Gregg Dalman (Bellevue, MI) rounding out the top 5.

Rolling out for the Kistler Engines & Racing Products Heat 2, Max Stambaugh (Elida, OH) led all laps and secured the victory and taking the checkered flag. James “Hud” Horton (German Town, OH) started 5th and on the last lap got by Andy Chehowski (Coldwater, MI) for 2nd and the last redraw spot. Chehowski finished 3rd with Conner Morrell (Bradenton, FL) driving up from 8th to secure the 4th spot and Mike Astrauskas (Pierson, MI) rounding out the top 5.

The Specialty Fuels & Logistics Heat 3 was led out by Chase Ridenour (Perry, MI) and Dustin Daggett (Portland, MI). Daggett takes the lead at the drop of the green flag and leads Ridenour to the checkered flag, securing the final two redraw spots for Daggett and Ridenour. Phil Gressman (Helena, OH) crosses 3rd with Tyler Gunn and Justin Ward (Benzonia, MI) rounding out the top 5.

With a beautiful clear night and the sun long gone, the track was touched up for the Perfit/Engine Pro Feature. The track was looking great and anticipation of a great feature was building. As the cars fired and started to line up, the goosebumps were starting to appear on my arms. The fan favorite 4 wide salute to our fans was made with everyone on their feet, the cars split back to double file and the caution lights went out.

As the green flag flew, Horton, Daggett and the other 19 cars roared into turns 1 and 2 double file and remained that way the first lap as Horton lead after 1 lap. As Daggett went into turn 1 and 2, he got some separation from Horton as they were heading into turn 3. Completing the second lap, the cars were all over the track, top, bottom and middle. The leaders were hanging it all out up on the top, where a 12-16” cushion was forming, but there was a lot of passing done on the bottom as well!

The race was a feast for your eyes as anywhere you looked, cars were passing and the action was heavy. There were tires rubbing the wall in turns 1 and 2 and dirt flying in 3 and 4. Around half way, McCarron slammed the wall at the top of turns 1 & 2. Everyone held their breath hoping his car wouldn’t bicycle and go over. Fortunately, he let off the gas, the car landed on all fours, Dan got back on the gas and stayed in the top five.

Horstman, who was in 7th place after 2 laps, drove the bottom and picked off 5 spots in a hurry putting him in 2nd behind Daggett by the 10th lap. Daggett, Horstman, Stambaugh, Ruhl, McCarron, Gressman, Ridenour and Gunn were weaving in and out of lap traffic and still moving forward at 95-105 mph, while from the middle and the back we had Steinbach, Dalman, Josh Shantz (Waterloo, ONT) and Frank Neill (Vickery, OH) working their ways up the field.

Six minutes and 20 seconds after the race started, Dustin Daggett took the checkered flag and the victory, doing several doughnuts in front stretch to the delight of the noisy crowd! Horstman took 2nd , with Stambaugh securing 3rd and Ruhl and McCarron rounded out the top 5. Josh Shantz secured the Hoosier Hard Charger award moving up 7 spots to 12th. Frank Neill moved up 6 spots and Tyler Gunn moved up 5. The Perfit/Engine Pro Lucky Dog Award went to Phil Gressman.

Our next races up will be an Open Wheel Extravaganza at Tri-City Speedway on Friday, August 7th, Merritt Speedway, Saturday, August 15th, I-96 Speedway August 21st and Butler Speedway August 22.

A special Thank you to our series sponsors, Perfit/Engine Pro and ARP. Thank you also to our Marketing Partners, Addvanced Heating & Cooling, Beacon & Bridge Market, Specialty Fuels & Logistics and our race sponsors: Engler Machine & Tool, Campbell Performance, Kistler Engines and Racing Products and Hoosier Racing Tires.

Be sure to check out our website for the latest results, updates, schedules and points standings, go to www.greatlakessprints.com. Also follow us on Facebook and Twitter (@GLSprints).

Article Credit: Barry M. Marlow

Submitted By: Barry Marlow

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