Schlenk Scores Another 10k to Win Victory on Championship Weekend at Merritt
The Merritt Speedway capped off their 2021 season track championships with the 2-day “Gene Kreager Championship Weekend” featuring all the track’s divisions racing both days. The action began on Saturday evening. However, a persistent rain would postpone the conclusion of Saturday nights program until Sunday afternoon. Then the official Sunday program immediately followed. The weekend was headlined by the $10,000 to win Allstar Performance Challenge Series presented by Soaring Eagle Casino for the high powered DIRTcar Late Models. The Cadillac Tire Center DIRTcar Modifieds, Troll Smokehouse B-Modifieds, Auto Value Pro Stocks, Thirlby Automotive Factory Stocks, XLT Engineering Four & Six Cylinders, and Allstar Performance Mini-Wedges completed the packed racing program.
The Allstar Performance Mini-Wedges ran events both nights featuring the youngest drivers at the speedway. The restricted division would see Colton Bowen win the Sunday feature event. The Un-Restricted division feature event was won by Jeremy Tabaczka. On Saturday, Hill won the restricted feature and Hollie Tabaczka won the Un-restricted main event.
The Auto Value Pro Stocks ran a pair of 20-lap feature events over the weekend. The Sunday night main was won by Timmy Near of Midland, Michigan who won on a last lap pass to get by Tim Tabaczka who had led up until that event. Tim Murphy, 2020-track champion Nate Murphy, and Andrew Steele rounded out the top five. Near also scored the win in the Saturday feature event finishing in front of Tim Murphy, Tabaczka, Nate Murphy, and Cody Wing.
The Cadillac Tire Center DIRTcar Modifieds squared off in two 25-lap main events. 3-time track champion Chad Bauer would win the Saturday feature. Joe Rokos, 2018-DIRTcar Regional Champion Colllin Thirlby, Caleb Kill, and 2-time track champion Rich Robinson Jr. were the top five. On Sunday 2011-DIRTcar Regional Champion Jacob Poel would make the visit to victory lane scoring the win after leading the entire event. Bauer finished second. 5-time track champion Brent Banning, Robinson, and Caleb Kill completed the top five.
The XLT Engineering Four & Six Cylinders feature events went 15-laps in length. Herb Freeman notched the win for day 1 beating out 2019-track champion Cheyanne Emery, Caden Anderson, Clay Lachcik, and Peter Hennard. On Sunday night Chris Wassman would lead after starting on the pole position and he would go on to lead the entire event and get the victory. 2020-track champion Travis Skaggs, Lachcik, David Harrington, and Emery were the rest of the top five.
The Thirlby Automotive Factory Stocks brought their season to a close with two 20-lap main events. Jacob Flickinger picked up the win in the first feature. He would finished ahead of 2016-track champion Jim Miller Jr., Jake Thompson, Ryan Nethers, and Eric Watz. The second feature event would be won by Miller. He won the race beating out Watz, Spencer, Bryan Cook, and Thompson who all finished out the top five.
The Troll Smokehouse B-Modifieds took part in 20-lap A-Mains. Collin Thirlby made the trip to victory lane in the first event. Austin Harnick, Scott Payton, Scott Smith, and Kelly Morrow made up the rest of the top five. The second feature would be finished early due to a time limit being reached. Payton was awarded the win as he was the leader when the time limit was called. John Goodrich, Chad Spencer, Michael Haynes, and Joey Fowler rounded out the top five.
The Soaring Eagle DIRTcar Late Models 30-lap A-Main took to the speedway with Andrew Terill puling away with the early lead. The Sanford, Michigan native would go on to get the win. He finished in front of Chad Finley, Cody Bauer, 6-time track champion Eric Spangler, and Ryan Lanphierd.
The same high-powered DIRTcar Late Models would then compete in the $10,000 to win Allstar Performance Challenge Series presented by Soaring Eagle Casino. Chad Finley and defending challenge series champion Travis Stemler brought the field to the green for the 50-lap main. Stemler led the opening lap with fierce position battling going on behind him. Finley would answer on lap two by taking the lead, which he held until lap 41. This was when 3-time DIRTcar National Champion Rusty Schlenk powered his way to lead the race. Schlenk never relinquished the top spot and would go on to pick up the win and big payday. Stemler would settle for second. Dona Marcoullier, Cody Bauer, and Spangler capped off the top five finishers.
The Merritt Speedway will return for its final event of the 2021 season this Saturday with an “Open Wheel Spectacular” featuring the championship race for the Great Lakes Super Sprints. Plus action from the wingless Great Lakes Traditional Sprints, and the Great Lakes Lightning Sprints. The Cadillac Tire Center DIRTcar Modifieds will also be on hand for a $5000 to win special event. The Troll Smokehouse B-Modifieds will be racing in a $3000 to win special as well. There will be a full night of racing on hand. For more information stay tuned to the Merritt Speedway Facebook Page.
Photo Credit: Randy Ellen
Article Credit: Brian Osborne
Submitted By: Justin Sharp