Danny Sams Wins GLSS Season Finale at Merritt Speedway
The Final Event of the Merritt Speedway was held this past Saturday night. The fast 1/4 mile dirt oval in Lake City, Michigan welcomed in the fire breathing winged warriors of the Great Lakes Super Sprints for their 2021 season championship finale. They were joined by their “wingless” comrades of the Great Lakes Traditional Sprints, and the Great Lakes Lightning Sprints. The Cadillac Tire Center DIRTcar Modifieds faced off in a special $5000 to win event. The Troll Smokehouse B-Modifieds also competed in a season ending special paying $3000 to win. The XLT Engineering Four & Six Cylinders completed the racing program.
The Great Lakes Traditional Sprints rolled onto the speedway for a 25-lap A-Main. Danny Sams of North Point, Florida and 2020-Series Champion Mike Galadja of Fenton, Michigan brought the field down to the green flag. When the dust settled it would be Steve Irwin making the trip to victory lane. This would go down as the third win of the season for the Fenton, Michigan native behind the wheel of his #0. Keith Sheffer Jr., Dustin Daggett, Chris Probanz, and Kent Gardner rounded out the top five. Sams, and Irwin won the preliminary heat races. Sheffer Jr. was the fast qualifier with a time of 13.698.
The Troll Smokehouse B-Modifieds hit the track lead out by Crystal, Michigan’s Myron DeYoung and Gaylord, Michigan’s Scott Payton for the running of a 25-lap $3000 to win feature event. The green flag waved, and Payton wasted no time grabbing the lead after the opening circuit. Things would change on lap 16 when DeYoung was able to complete the pass for lead spot. DeYoung would go on from there to pick up the win. This was the first win of the season at Merritt for the driver of the #7D. Chad Spencer finished second. Brenton DeYoung, Richie Sutherland, and Kody Johnson finished off the top five. Spencer and Michael Luberda won the heats.
The Great Lakes Lightning Sprints were out next for their final event of the season in a 20-lap main event. Chuck Erickson and 2020-Series Champion Brendon Cascadden started on the front row. However the night would belong to the Mason, Ohio native Brad Strunk as he would make the pass for the lead after starting fourth. Jac Nickels was the runner up finisher. Cascadden, Bill Dunham, and Justin Ward completed the top five. Lindsay Erickson, Nickels, and Strunk were the heat race winners. The fast qualifier was Cascadden with a 13.339 lap time.
The $5000 to win Cadillac Tire Center DIRTcar Modifieds were brought out by 2011-DIRTcar Regional Champion Jacob Poel and 2-time track champion Rich Robinson Jr. The 30-lap A-Main kicked off and it was Poel snatching the lead in the early going. Poel would stay in the lead until lap 19 when 3-time track champion Chad Bauer was able to pass and take the lead over. Bauer would never look back from there as he would go on to win his sixth feature of the season in his #19. Curt Spalding finished in second. 5-time track champion Brent Banning, Joe Rokos, and Robinson capped off the top five. Bauer and Poel were the heat winners. Poel was the overall fast qualifier with a 14.739 lap time.
The 25-lap feature event for the Great Lakes Super Sprints rolled to the speedway for their season championship race. Danny Sams of North Port, Florida and 2016-Series Champion Chase Ridenour of Perry, Michigan brought the field down the green flag. Sams grabbed the early stages. That would turn out to be all Sams needed to do, as he would not be denied the victory the #24. This was Sams first GLSS win in 2 years. Ryan Ruhl would finish second. Keith Sheffer Jr., Ridenour, and 2018-Series Champion Dustin Daggett rounded out the top five. The heat races were won by Sams, Ridenour, and Daggett. The fast qualifier was 2019-series champion Phil Gressman with a time of 12.142.
The final race of the night was the 15-lap Feature for the XLT Engineering Four & Six Cylinders. Cody Steinley of Whittemore, Michigan and Colin Preston of Ionia, Michigan led the event to the start. Preston would lead after the opening lap. However, on lap 9 Herb Freeman would work his way up after starting eighth and the take the lead. Freeman would go on to pick up the win. The victory marked the fifth of the season for the Prescott, Michigan native behind the wheel of the #23. David Harrington would finish second. Steinley, Clay Lachcik, and Preston competed the top five. Lachcik and Steinley won the heats.
The Merritt Speedway 2021 season has concluded. Stay tuned to the Merritt Speedway Facebook page for all of the remaining news and notes for the end of the season, and for all future announcement regarding the 2022 schedule of events.
Photo Credit: Randy Ellen
Article Credit: Brian Osborne
Submitted By: Justin Sharp