2008-05-29 / Sports

Marcoulliers' battle earns top place finishes at Merritt

By Bob Steele

Late model drivers taking to the Merritt Speedway track for time trials saw Dona Marcoullier, of Houghton Lake, sitting atop of the pile with a 14.69 second lap only to see his father Donnie Marcoullier, also of Houghton Lake, match his time.

Now the 4-car dash is set, Matt Saxton of Houghton Lake along side Adam Erickson of Traverse City on the front row and the Marcoulliers in tow. As the green flag flew Saxton led the pack into turn one where Donnie Marcoullier mounted the only challenge for Saxton on his way to winning the dash.

In Heats one and two, Brad Harden of Ovid and Frank Seder of Alger where victorious respectfully.

Later that night with the track given a "drink" of moisture the late model feature lined up for a classic 30 lap Saturday night shoot out! When David Hilliker, Midland, and Seder brought the field to the start it was nice to see an outside groove come in. As lap four was scored, Seder worked the upper lane to get by Hilliker, with Saxton and Donnie Marcoullier in hot pursuit.

With lap six and seven recorded Donnie Marcoullier found himself in 2nd some eight car lengths behind the leader. Not wanting the elder member of his race team to get all the glory, Dona Marcoullier marched into third from his ninth place start during lap 13. As laps counted down Donnie Marcoullier battled Seder on the outside, then during lap 20, "I thought I had him (Seder)," Marcoullier stated, "but the car jumped out of gear".

With eight laps to go, Seder fell victim to Donnie Marcoullier as his power steering failed, then on lap 24 suffered a similar fate as Dona Marcoullier passed. A late race caution then bunched the field for a two lap finale, Dona Marcoullier tried the inside lane in every turn on his father Donnie with no success.

In "Autograph Alley" the senior Marcoullier said, "I was yelling, 'back off Jr., this ones mine!'"

The night's final results showed Donnie Marcoullier, Dona Marcoullier, Seder, Hilliker, Erickson, Saxton, Chris Brindley of West Branch, Chuck Powell of Harrison, Justin Robinson of Shepherd and Harden as top 10 finishers.

In Michigan Modified action, John Taylor of Mt. Pleasant took the dash victory, heat one was won by Greg Wangler of West Branch, heat two by David Doty of Shepherd and Kevin Miller of Mt. Pleasant won heat three.

This established the lineup for the B-Main, a 13-lap run, which gave four drivers a position in the 25-lap feature. As the fans watched the A-main unfold, 20 modified pilots worked the course and each other, with Chad Bauer of Farwell leading from start to finish, Taylor, Paul Ostrom of Coleman and Steve Hilliker of Midland followed and the night's big gainer Roger Steig of Big Rapids finished 5th. The remaining top 10 were Dave Baker of Grand Rapids, Ryan Ritchie of Gladwin, Brian Brindley of West Branch, Doty and Wangler.

The Pro Trucks carried the torch of excitement with three of the fast four being rookies in the class. As truck new comer Adam Sloat of Lake City got his first checkered in the dash, heat two would be another first. Sloat along with Leonard Ballor of Caro tangled coming out of turn two sending Sloat's truck over on to its roof. Sloat walked away uninjured with his evening over, also heat one winner J.T. Anderson of Cadillac had mechanical failure end his evening. As the AMain began Dick Stout of Houghton Lake and Mike Kresnak of Elwell battled side-by-side for 12 laps before a rear axle failure sidelined Kresnak. Leading the eight remaining laps allowed Stout to win his first feature of 2008. Bob Hammer and Craig Foster of Cadillac, Richie Sutherland of Merritt and Adam Brinks of Cadillac rounded out the top five.

For the second week of Season 2008, the Stock 4 Cylinder and Teen Bee classes have had the same results. David Mielke, of Gladwin has set the bar high, with Andrew Galgoci in a close second in the Stock 4 class and Darin Bowers of Marion holding the points lead over Tyler Hacker of Houghton Lake in the Teen Bee class.

May 31 will be the 2008 Spring Championship for all classes at Merritt Speedway and only 12 days to "The Who 55", as Season 2008 continues. Check out the web for remaining schedules.

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