2007-05-17 / Sports

Merritt Speedway opener beats Mother Nature

By Diane Vinton

The season opener brought race cars, friends, sunshine and fans to Merritt Speedway for a night of great racing action. The weather cooled off as the sun went down but there was not a rain drop in sight. We finally beat Mother Nature and pulled off our scheduled opening night.

There were 36 Late Models on hand with Bob Harden Sr., Matthew Christiansen, Bob Hammer and Andy Chester taking the wins in the heat races. Matt Saxton and Craig Foster moved to the A-Main from the B by edging out Bruce Vance and Kevin Juusola. The A-Main was a hard fought battle with Dona Marcoullier of Houghton Lake taking the win over Rail Rokos of Traverse City, Dave Hadfield, Frank Seder, Eric Spangler and Donnie Marcoullier.

Brain Thomas, Greg Wangler Sr. and Rich Robinson Jr. took top honors in the Super 8 Michigan Modified Heat Races. With 24 Michigan Modified's on hand, Ryan Ritchie and Gary McKinley had their hands full making it to the front to move on to the AMain. Roy Harvey of Mt. Pleasant took the win over Brent Banning of West Branch with Bob Kingen, Lawrence Sprague, Paul Ostrom, Dave Baker and Wangler all vying for the win.

Pro Trucks were 19 strong and ready for the May 12th opener. Dick Stout and Bill Myers Jr. took the wins in the heat races. Eighteen Pro Trucks made it to the AMain with Jeff Hubbard of Manton taking the win over Justin McNeill, Myers Jr., Mike Kresnak, Steven Rybicki, Stout, Ritchie Sutherland, Phillip Lalonde, Leonard Ballor and Vito Lagalo.

Street Stock driver Mike Nelson Jr. and Ben Hidy took the top spots in the street heats with all cars going to the A-Main. Justin Clous edged out all other competitors to take the win in the Street Stock A-Main over Landon Hidy, Nelson Jr., Ted Myer, Ben Hidy, Mark Hidy and Paul Kennard.

The Teen Bees gave us another exciting night with Jessi Miller winning the heat. Jenna Ballor edged out Miller to take the win in the feature event over Miller and Bittany Lagalo. These young drivers are getting a driving education that can only make them better competitors as they move up to other classes in the future. It is great to see the support they are receiving from their families and other drivers.

We look forward to seeing everyone Saturday as the Riverside Bar & Grill sponsors racing action. Time trials start at 6 p.m. followed by racing at 7:30 p.m. Merritt Speedway is located west of Houghton Lake on M-55.

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