Smith Smokes Field at Tri-City Motor Speedway - Tri-City Motor Speedway - Auburn, MI | Friday Night Dirt Track Racing
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Smith Smokes Field at Tri-City Motor Speedway

Smith Smokes Field at Tri-City Motor Speedway
Smith Smokes Field at Tri-City Motor Speedway
Smith Smokes Field at Tri-City Motor Speedway
Smith Smokes Field at Tri-City Motor Speedway
Smith Smokes Field at Tri-City Motor Speedway
Smith Smokes Field at Tri-City Motor Speedway
Smith Smokes Field at Tri-City Motor Speedway

06/03/2022 (Auburn MI) Mother Nature gave everyone at Tri-City Motor Speedway the Friday off from racing for the Memorial Day Weekend. That week off had drivers and fans raring to get back into the 2022 racing season at the historic Auburn speedway. It was the first TCMS appearance of the ALLSTAR Performance Challenge Series for the Auto House Factory Stocks. Twenty-seven Factory Stock drivers along with full fields in the other house divisions wowed the crowd with plenty of fast-paced action on the clay oval.

The ALLSTAR Performance Mini Wedges kicked off the night’s event with the restricted and unrestricted motor classes of cars taking to the infield mine wedge track. Brennan DeShano, who struggled in his earlier heat race, ended up starting on the pole position for their twelve-lap main event for the unrestricted motored wedges. He had no issues holding off the field for the entire event to pick up the win over Pierson DeShano and Ella Gradowski. In the restricted motor class Lucas Lanphierd won the heat race. In the feature event, pole sitter Kylie Watz shot out to the early advantage and led all the laps to capture her first feature win at TCMS. Watz was followed to the checkered flag by Brantley Reil and Bowen Jaynes.

The Great Lakes Motor Sports and Rawley Tire IMCA division saw heat races won by Garrett Bennett, Brian Brindley, and Kody Johnson. Those three drivers started in the front half of the twenty-two car starting field. Bennett, from row two, led the opening lap before Johnson grabbed the lead to pace the field for the next ten laps. There was some very tight racing amongst Johnson, Chad Bennett, Brindley, Collin Thirlby, and Austin Harnick. This group spent the majority of the race battling within the top five. Numerous cautions would also add to the excitement with numerous restarts shuffling the running order. On lap twelve, defending track Champion Thirlby took control of the race with his mastery of the low groove. As the laps wound down, his main challenger became multiple-time IMCA state Champion AJ Ward. Ward marched back through the field after falling to the tail as a caution car earlier in the race to mount a challenge to Thirlby’s dominance. Thirlby was able to hold off Ward to capture his third TCMS feature win of 2022. Harnick, Garrett Bennett, and Johnson finished behind Thirlby and Ward.

All twenty-three competitors in the XLT Engineering 4-6 Cylinder class of stock cars took the green for their 15-lap main affair. Logan Tompkins led the opening lap before Brian Bullock grabbed the lead he would hold for the next nine circuits. Multiple caution flags for spins and crashed provided exciting restarts with three and sometimes four-wide battles throughout the field. On the final restart on lap eleven, Christopher Wassmann snatched the lead away from Bullock and held on for the final four laps to collect his third win of the year and extend his point lead on the rest of the competition. Bullock had to settle for the runner-up position. The two leaders were followed to the finish by Delayna Kaake and Chase Shank with career-best TCMS finishes of third and fourth. Robert Hankinson moved up seventeen positions from where he started to place fifth. Heat race gold was won by Jason Parks, Peter Hennard and Scott Popielarz.

Defending track Champion in the Soaring Eagle Casino and Resort Late Models, Eric Spangler, started his night by qualifying quickest of the twenty drivers with his 12.601 second lap. He, along with David Hilliker, and Dona Marcoullier grabbed heat race wins. When the field for the 30-lap feature rolled out onto the speedway, it was Spangler who was sitting in the front row. He immediately took control of the race by shooting out to a lead that stretched out as far as a full straightaway from his nearest competitors. A caution with six laps remaining bunched up the field for one last dash to the finish. It seemed as if Spangler would once again pull away from the field. However, Logan Nickerson had some tricks up his sleeve. He found speed on the bottom groove while Spangler was running the very top line around the track. The two would swap the lead for three laps before Spangler grabbed the lead for the final three laps for his second TCMS feature win of the year. Nickerson, Marcoullier, Alex Hupert and Derrick Hilliker all completed the race within the top five.

The headliner of the night was the ALLSTAR Performance Challenge Series feature with the Auto House Factory Stocks. The $500 top prize brought out twenty-eight drivers to Auburn for the multi-track series event. Four qualifying heat races determined the first sixteen drivers to be locked into the top race. The most recent Auto House Factory Stock feature winner, Mike Vandermark Jr, took the first qualifying heat race win. Eric Watz, Scott Smith, and Brent Reil took the checkered flag in their respective qualifying races. Justin Miller, who dropped out of his heat race due to a flat tire, had to win the Last Chance race to gain his entry into the 25-lap feature and a shot at the $500. Outside pole-sitter, Blake Meylan led the opening lap until Reil took the lead on the second. It became a three-wide battle for the lead amongst Meylan, Reil and Scott Smith. Smith ended up clearing the other two to lead lap four. On lap fourteen, Brent Reil went for a scary ride as he clipped one of the infield tires and barrel rolled his machine three times in turn two. Thankfully he was able to walk away from his crumpled machine with no injuries. Once the race resumed, Smith became untouchable as he guided “Priscilla” around the track for the remaining circuits to end up in victory lane. Vandermark gave a valiant effort finishing second ahead of Watz, point leader Dale Kaake III and Nick Putman.

Next Friday is the ALLSTAR Performance Challenge Series for the XLT Engineering 4-6 Cylinders at TCMS. Come join us for another fantastic night of auto racing action!! Pit gates open at 3:30 with general admission grandstands opening at 4:30 pm. The first green flag will wave at 6:45 pm. Visit our Facebook page for updates as well as our website tricityracetrack.com. Of course, you also check out instant results and point standings all season long by downloading the MyRacePass app on your smartphone or other devices.

Photo Credit: Randy Ellen

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