Stemler Tops The Challenge Series 10k to Win at Merritt Speedway
9/07/2020: (Lake City, MI): The 2020 race season for Merritt Speedway ended this past weekend with the running of the annual Gene Kregear Championship Weekend consisting of two days of racing action. The Lake City, Michigan speed plant hosted all of its regular divisions all running for special payouts to help decide the 2020 track championships. The weekend was headlined by the Allstar Performance UMP DIRTcar Late Model challenge series supported by American Ethanol racing for $4000 to win on Saturday and capping off Sunday in a big $10,000 to win main. The Cadillac Tire Center UMP DIRTcar Modifieds, Diesel Freak B-Modifieds, Auto Value Pro Stocks, Lake City Materials Factory Stocks, and XLT Engineering Four & Six Cylinders were all on the property too to complete the full race weekend.
The Allstar Performance Mini-Wedges held contests both days before the start of the main show running on the mini Merritt Speedway. On Saturday the restrictor plate division feature was won by Addy Wade. She finished ahead of Troy Yetter and Leilynd Strehlke who were the top three. Then in the No restrictor plate divisions it was Keeton Cade going to victory lane with Marshall Krajniak and Cole Shanteau finishing on the podium. Sunday would see Yetter win the restrictor plate division over Wade, and Bringer. In the no restrictor plate division, it would be Jeremy Tabaczka winning the feature, with Shanteau and Hunter Evans completing the top three.
The XLT Engineering Four & Six Cylinders squared off in $300 to win features both nights of the weekend. 13-year old Katie Robinson (Mount Pleasant, MI) won her third feature of the season in the Fire Rite #15 Saturday night after taking the lead on lap 10 of the 15-lap race. 2019-track champion Cheyanne Emery, 14-year old Clay Lachcik, Paul Streeter, and Ty Phillips made up the top five. Sunday’s championship race was shortened to due rain, the winner would be Emery who picked up her third win of the season in the Double K Services #26e. Lachcik, Jeff Metdepenningen, Robinson, and Craig Cummings rounded out the top five.
The Lake City Materials Factory Stocks faced off in some of the most competitive races of the entire weekend. Jake Thompson (Birch Run, MI) won the Saturday night $500 to win 20-lap feature after taking the lead on lap 8. The win was the third of the year for the 25-year old Thompson in the Diffin Farms #50. Eric Lake, Rylee Knoll, 2016-track champion Jim Miller Jr., and Josh Knoll were the rest of the top five. The 30-lap championship race on Sunday night had multiple lead changes and side by side action throughout the race. The finished was door to door between Eric Lake and Rylee Knoll. Lake would be called the winner driving his #X5 to victory lane for his first win of the season at Merritt Speedway. Koll settled for second. Josh Knoll, Chuck Powell, and Bryan Cook capped off the top five.
The Auto Value Pro Stocks feature events for the weekend payed a special $600 to win. The Saturday night 20-lap race would see Nate Murphy (Coleman, MI) pick up his fifth win of the year in the American Sewer Cleaners 69 after taking the lead on lap 9. 19-year old Danielle Robinson, Tim Murphy, Shane Wright, and Andrew Steele completed the top five. The 30-lap championship feature on Sunday was also won by Murphy who gained the lead on lap 7 and never looked back from there to get his sixth win of the season. Steele, Robinson, Anthony Schweifler, and Teri Lynn Murphy finished out the top five.
The Diesel Freak B-Modifieds hit the track in $600 to win specials both nights. The Saturday night 20-lap event was one of the best races of the weekend action with several lead changes and hard racing from start to finish. Josh Loomis (Weidman, MI) would end up going to victory lane for his third time in 2020 in the Ted’s Lawncare #11 after taking the lead on lap 16. Gary Vandermark, Kevin Miller, Scott Payton, and Michael Haynes made up the top five. The Sunday night championship race was 30-laps in length. When the dust settled in was Chad Spencer (Kingston, MI) grabbing the lead on lap 11 and going on from three to win his first race of the year in his Spencer racing #39. Miller, Payton, Richie Sutherland, and Haynes capped off the top five.
The Cadillac Tire Center UMP DIRTcar Modifieds rolled out for $1,000 to win feature events to close out the season. Jeff Erickson Jr. (Muskegon, MI) made the pass for the lead coming down to the checkered flag. The 31-year old driver picked up his 10th win of the year in the Salon One Hair & Nail Care #1E. Caleb Kill, 2-time track champion Chad Bauer, Joe Rokos, and 4-time track champion Brent Banning ended the top five. Erickson would not stop three as he would win the 35-lap championship feature on Sunday. Erickson was able to make the key pass on lap 17 and never looked back from there going on to get win number 11 for the season. Bauer, Rokos, Kill, and Banning rounded out the top five.
The Soaring Eagle UMP DIRTcar Late Models were once again the headlining attraction not only ending the Merritt Speedway season but also continuing the Allstar Performance Challenge Series supported by American Ethanol for races 8 & 9 of the 10-race challenge. The $4000 to win 40-lap feature on Saturday night saw Dona Marcoullier (Houghton Lake, MI) get his third Merritt Speedway win of the year in the Dennis Craft Construction #6m after taking the lead away from 2019-track champion David Mielke on lap 14. 6-time track champion Eric Spangler, Chad Finley, Travis Stemler, and Mielke capped off the top five.
The field returned for the Sunday night portion with the $10,000 to win 75-lap A-Main. Travis Stemler (Ionia, MI) rose to the occasion powering his AP Smille Contracting #4 to the front of the field after starting 8th. Stemler made the pass on Dave Baker on lap 53 and was able to go on from there to get his third win of the year. Mielke, Cody Bauer, Marcoullier, and Baker finished out the top five finishers.
The Merritt Speedway will now begin preparations for the 2021 season. Stay tuned all of the tracks social media pages for all of the upcoming events for 2021 and beyond.
Article Credit: Brian Osborne
Submitted By: Brian Osborne