Horstman, Nickels, Stanley, and Ward Beat the Heat to Claim the Checkered Flags at TCMS - Tri-City Motor Speedway - Auburn, MI | Friday Night Dirt Track Racing
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Horstman, Nickels, Stanley, and Ward Beat the Heat to Claim the Checkered Flags at TCMS

07/02/20 (Auburn MI) It has been over twenty years since Tri-City Motor Speedway had last ran races on Thursday nights. This past week, TCMS took the opportunity to kick off the Independence Day weekend with a weekday affair inviting the Great Lakes Super Sprints (GLSS) and Great Lakes Lightning Sprints (GLLS) to headline the show. In addition, the SuspensionMAXX Street Stocks and Lane Automotive IMCA Modifieds competed for increased top prizes.

Twenty-Nine drivers filled the GLSS roster with hopes of capturing the $3000 top prize. Ryan Ruhl (Coldwater, MI) threw his name into the feature contention conversation by posting the fastest lap in qualifying with a fast circuit of 13.33 in his #71 Smith Racing machine. Phil Gressman (Helena, OH), Gregg Dalman (Bellevue, MI), Trevor Berry (Clio, MI), and veteran Chase Ridenour (Perry, MI) all took heat race wins which gave them the opportunity to start near the front of the 25-lap main event. Jay Steinbach had to win the Last Chance Qualifier to gain the final spots in the main feature. Lamberson and Jared Horstman (Cloverdale, OH) would lead the field to the green flag of the A-Main feature. Horstman took full advantage of his starting position and immediately took over the lead. He would maneuver through slower traffic masterfully and dominate his way to his third straight victory in 2020. Ruhl and Dalman, who had challenged for the lead at various times throughout the event ended up second and third at the finish. Max Stambaugh (Elida, OH) and Ricky Peterson (Rawson, OH) completed the top five finishers.

Thursday night was the inaugural night for the newly formed GLLS series. This mini-sprint series is now under the Great Lakes family of sprint car series for the first time and was visiting TCMS after an eight year hiatus. Jac Nickels (Harrod, OH) bested the eighteen cars that took a qualifying lap with his 12.833 lap around the 3/8ths mile oval. However, Nickels was finished there. He, along with Brendon Cascadden (Traverse City, MI), and Lindsey Erickson (South Boardman, MI) took the wins in their respective heat races. Cascadden and Bill Dunham (Bellevue, MI) brought the field to the green flag for the start of their big race. Dunham took the early advantage leading that opening lap before Cascadden took his turn at the point. He would lead the most laps, but it was Nickels that led the important one. After falling off the track in turn one on the opening lap, Nickels was able to climb his way back to the front and stole the lead from Cascadden on lap 15. That would prove to be the final lead change as Nickels completed the winning sweep of his three events. Cascadden had to settle for the runner up position and was followed by Erickson, and father/son duo of Matt and Alex Cogley (Findlay, OH).

Nearly forty SuspensionMAXX Street Stock competitors filled the TCMS pits in hopes of taking the $1000 that new track owner Mike Blackmer promised to pay the winner of the 20-lap feature. Preliminary qualifying races were captured by Gary Shank (Bay City, MI), Tyler Moore (Kinde, MI), point leader Jason Begeman (Caro, MI), and Rylee Knoll (Lake). 2019 SS point runner up, Will Stanley, had the luck of the draw and started on the pole for the main event alongside Blake Meylan (Harrison, MI). Stanley, who was well on his way to the victory last Friday night before being collected in a wreck on the final lap, was not going to let this opportunity slip away. He emphatically took the early advantage and never let anyone challenge him as he led every lap for the big payday. Begeman could only muster a distant second with Jim Miller Jr. (Clio, MI), Jake Thompson (Birch Run, MI), and Knoll battling to top five positions. TJ Gilbert (Elkton, MI) was the victor of the B-Main.

With the Lane Automotive IMCA Modified drivers competing for $2000 to win their main event, many of the state’s biggest modified names converged to TCMS. Not only would the win give them a big boost to their racing budgets, but since the top prize was more than $1000, the winner would also be on the ballet for the IMCA All-Star race held every year as a part of Super Nationals in Iowa in September. Twenty-four of the twenty-eight cars that arrived would start the A-Main. Austin Wonch (Crystal, MI) and 2018 modified champion Nate Jones (Vestaburg, MI) had a great battle up front during the opening laps with both taking their turn at the front of the field. However, by lap six, it was the TCMS multi-time IMCA Champion AJ Ward (Ionia, MI) who took control and pulled well away from the remainder of the field. He was never challenged over the final 19 laps to collect another large check for his efforts. Heat race winner Chance Allen (Alma, MI), Wonch, Brenten DeYoung (Crystal, MI), and defending Champion Matt Szecsodi (Clio, MI) completed the top five finishers. Other heat race winners included TCMS Champion Kody Johnson (Vestaburg, MI), Jacob McCloud (Freeport, MI), and Aaron Raby (St. Louis, MI). Former IMCA Regional Rookie of the Year driver Mitchell Hunt (Kent City, MI) won the last chance qualifier to gain his entry into the main event. He would finish in the 14th position.

At the time of this press release, TCMS still plans on running next Friday night. Please check our Facebook page early next week for more details and any possible event changes.

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