Mother Nature the Loser at Tri-City Motor Speedway - Tri-City Motor Speedway - Auburn, MI | Friday Night Dirt Track Racing
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Mother Nature the Loser at Tri-City Motor Speedway

Mother Nature the Loser at Tri-City Motor Speedway
Mother Nature the Loser at Tri-City Motor Speedway
Mother Nature the Loser at Tri-City Motor Speedway
Mother Nature the Loser at Tri-City Motor Speedway
Mother Nature the Loser at Tri-City Motor Speedway
Mother Nature the Loser at Tri-City Motor Speedway
Mother Nature the Loser at Tri-City Motor Speedway
Mother Nature the Loser at Tri-City Motor Speedway

05/20/2022 (Auburn MI) With the pending threat of severe weather across the state of Michigan this past Friday, all of the state’s dirt tracks cancelled their evenings scheduled events for the fear of rain wiping out their shows mid show. However, Tri-City Motor Speedway owner, Mike Blackmer, took a chance that the entire show could be run before the rain would arrive in Auburn. As it turned out, Blackmer was correct as the rains fell within five minutes after the final event was completed. Over 145 drivers from Michigan, Ohio and Canada also took the chance that they would get to run their events and win the top prizes in each racing division. This night also featured the Fast Shaft $1500 to win main event for the Great Lakes Motor Sports and Rawley Tire IMCA Modified class.

An incredible field of 37 talented Great Lakes Motor Sports and Rawley Tire IMCA drivers converged at TCMS trying to take the feature win of the Fast Shaft feature event. The winner of the event gets their name on the coveted All-Star ballot for a chance to run against the country’s best drivers at the annual Super Nationals at Boone, Iowa in September. Portland’s Jeff Reay and Dillon Gentry brought the 20-car field to the initial green flag for the main event. Reay found early challenges from 2021 TCMS IMCA rookie of the year Kendall Morrison and Austin Harnick. However, whatever the competition threw at Reay, he would overcome. At some points, Reay held up to a two second lead over the competition. He went on to lead all twenty laps to handily win the top prize. AJ Ward and Harnick battled hard in the closing laps with Ward outdueling Harnick for second place. Gentry and Chad Bennett held on to top five finishes. Nate Jones survived the 20-car Last Chance Qualifier to transfer into the main race. Heat race gold was captured by Morrison, Brenten DeYoung, Mitchell Hunt, and Harnick.

The Mini Wedge divisions ran their heat races and corresponding features to start the evening race program. Once again, the kids didn’t disappoint the crowd. Addy Wade took the initial heat race for the unrestricted motor class. Unfortunately, she suffered some mechanical issues which took her from contention in the feature. The 2021 co-champions of Brennan and Kyron DeShano led the field to the checkered flag at the end of the 10-lap affair. In the Restricted motor division of mini wedges saw Bowen Jaynes dominate the heat race. He would fall one position short of the win in the feature as pole sitter Lincoln Hughey was the class of the field.

Twenty-Seven Soaring Eagle Casino and Resort Late Models had Brandon Thirlby at the top of the list at the end of qualifying. Thirlby eclipsed the oval in a blistering lap time of 12.285 seconds. Thirlby backed up the qualifying effort by capturing the win in his heat race. Ryan Lanphierd and defending Champion Eric Spangler took top spots in their respective heat races. Garrett Wiles was able to overcome a disappointing heat race to win the last chance qualifier which secured him a spot in the 30-lap final race. A pair of #21 cars in Michigan Motorsports Hall of Fame driver David Hilliker and Vestaburg speedster Logan Nickerson led the full field to the green flag on their feature. Hilliker took early control of the race leading nearly half of the opening laps with the help of the high groove. Nickerson and Hilliker would swap the lead back and forth during the middle laps before Nickerson grabbed control of the lead. He and Hilliker had their hands full trying to get through traffic caught at the back of the field. As their speeds and race lines were stymied by the slower traffic, it allowed other drivers to reach the lead duo. Travis Stemler was one of those drivers taking advantage of the traffic jam. Stemler made his way around Hilliker and nearly pulled off the pass for the lead on Nickerson. But, by the time the checkered flew, it was Nickerson that ended up in victory lane ahead of Stemler, Rusty Schlenk, Hilliker, and his son Derrick Hilliker.

All twenty-four XLT Engineering 4-6 Cylinders started the 15-lap feature, which also was the final event of the night. Last week, defending Champion Chad Freeman had blown up his motor after winning his heat race. This week was a different tale. Starting outside of row two, he battled hard with last week’s winner Ethan Robarts and Chris Wassmann. The three ran a tight race which didn’t allow any of the three to make a mistake. As the lightning continued to light up the sky, Freeman took the lead and held off the field for his first feature win of the season. Within five minutes of the win in the night’s final race, the skies opened up with rain. Wassmann took the runner-up position at the finish ahead of Robarts, Charles Ellithorpe and Nicholas Thurtson. Wassmann, along with Chase Shank and Robarts were the best in their heat races.

The Auto House Factory Stocks contained another large car count with thirty competitors on hand. Lenny Goretski was the pole-sitter for the start of their 20-lap feature. Unfortunately, he looped his car in front of the field on the opening lap which brought out the caution. Goretski ended up starting the race at the back of the 24-car field on the restart. He never recovered from the spin finishing the night with a disappointing finish outside of the top fifteen. The Goretski spin brought last week’s winner Dale Kaake III to the pole alongside Justin Miller, who had won an earlier heat race in thrilling fashion. Kaake led the first three circuits before Cedar Springs driver Mike Vandermark Jr. overcame Kaake from the high side for his turn at the front. After making that move to the lead, the race win was never contested. Vandermark survived numerous restarts to take the victory over Kaake III, Brent Reil, Rick Beauchamp, and Justin Miller. Miller, Beauchamp, Eric Watz and Kaake III mastered their heat races with wins. The last chance qualifier was won by Benjamin Gonzalez. Gonzalez was impressive in the feature as he moved up 15 spots through the field to finish in sixth. It was Watz, Reil, Beauchamp, and Miller were the fastest in their qualifier heat races.

It was an unusually light field of a dozen Auto Value Pro Stocks had enough action to compensate for the lower car count. Danielle Robinson and Tim Murphy won their action-packed heat races. However, neither would get to fight for the feature win. Pole sitter and defending track Champion Andrew Steele looked tough to beat as he worked hard to not concede his lead. Brendan Powell tried every groove before committing long term to the high groove. He and Jared Rizer fought hard with each other with both eventually reeling in the race leader of Steele. Powell’s persistence on the high side actually took him the lead on lap eighteen. But, that lead was very short-lived as Steele took the lead back at the white flag and held off Powell at the checkered flag. Nate Murphy, Rizer, and rookie Ryan Nethers completed the top five.

Next weekend, TCMS kicks off the first official summer weekend with the Allstar Performace Challenge Series presented by Soaring Eagle Casino for the Late Models. Start your Memorial day weekend with us as all race classes will be back in action. Take a look at our Facebook pages for updates as well as Of course, you also check out instant results and point standings all season long by downloading the MyRacePass app on your smart phone or other devices.

Photo Credit: Randy Ellen

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