Near Surpasses Steele to Take Home the Win and Big Check at TCMS - Tri-City Motor Speedway - Auburn, MI | Friday Night Dirt Track Racing
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Near Surpasses Steele to Take Home the Win and Big Check at TCMS

Near Surpasses Steele to Take Home the Win and Big Check at TCMS
Near Surpasses Steele to Take Home the Win and Big Check at TCMS
Near Surpasses Steele to Take Home the Win and Big Check at TCMS
Near Surpasses Steele to Take Home the Win and Big Check at TCMS
Near Surpasses Steele to Take Home the Win and Big Check at TCMS
Near Surpasses Steele to Take Home the Win and Big Check at TCMS
Near Surpasses Steele to Take Home the Win and Big Check at TCMS

07/16/2021 (Auburn MI) After a cloudy and cool week, fans and drivers were eager to get outside and enjoy some high horsepower excitement at Tri-City Motor Speedway this past Friday night. The top billing this week amongst the weekly house division was the Auto Value Pro Stocks, who were competing for an unprecedented $2500 top prize to the winner of the feature event. In all, nearly 120 drivers were on hand to participate in the evening’s events.

This season, there have only been two feature winners in the Auto Value Pro Stocks. Track Champion Nate Murphy (Coleman) and Andrew Steele (Twining) have been the two dominating the class. Steele led with three feature wins to Murphy’s one. However, coming into the night, Murphy was leading the Challenge Series point standing which has events at both TCMS and Merritt Speedways. Steele was able to outpace Murphy in the earlier heat race along with Brad Roberts (St. Johns), who won his heat race. The heat race winners started the 25-lap feature event in the third row as Josh Loomis (Weidman) and Jared Rizer (Freeland) brought the field to the green flag. Rizer led the opening laps holding Loomis at bay until Steele took over with five laps into the race. Loomis, who had been challenging for the lead broke the left front suspension of his car causing him to retire from the event early and knocking him down to a 17th place finish. Steele was strong for most of this race until, with about seven laps remaining, Timmy Near (Midland), driving for Jeff Haley, tracked down Steele. Near would follow in Steele’s tracks for a number of laps before finally clearing Steele and taking his first TCMS feature of the year along with the big payday. Steele and Murphy came home in second and third. Rizer held on for fourth while Danielle Robinson wheeled her car home for a fifth place finish.

The Soaring Eagle Casino Late Models had twenty-four drivers start the 30-lap main event, which was led to the green by Pinconning’s Jeep Van Wormer and Tyler Norton (Midland). Van Wormer immediately jumped to the lead. As he dominated, despite the numerous early and mid race cautions, the story was about the run of 2019 track Champion Derrick Hilliker (Midland). Starting in the fifteenth position, he found the high side groove to be the quickest way around for his set-up. By just after the halfway point in the race, he had climbed up to third and put on a show battling with the four-time Late Model Champion Andrew Terrill. They raced each other hard and clean through lapped traffic as Van Wormer held his commanding straightaway lead. Van Wormer was never touched as he crossed the line first at the end of thirty laps. Hilliker ended up besting Terrill for second. Fifteen year old Collin Shipley (Weston OH) finished a career TCMS best fourth ahead of Greg Gokey (Buckley). Eric Spangler (Lake City), Shipley, and Terrill took the wins in their respective heat races.

The Auto House Factory Stock feature was an exciting match up with Eric Watz (North Branch) and Mike Vandecar (Caro) brought the field of twenty to the initial start. Both took a turn leading a lap as did former track Champion Eric Lake (Montrose). However, it was Ryan Nethers (Mount Pleasant) that slipped through from his sixth place starting position to capture the lead. Nick Putnam (Kawkawlin) gave him a stout battle, but no one could muster the speed to pass Nethers as he won his first TCMS feature of 2021 and put himself one point behind Eric Lake in the 2021 track championship point race. Putnam took home another runner-up finish. Lake was third at the checkered flag with last week’s winner Jim Miller Jr (Clio) fourth and Kyle Andrzejewski collecting his second consecutive fifth place finish.

The Troll Smokehouse IMCA Modified class has seen perhaps the toughest competition at TCMS it has seen in its 11 seasons. Although veteran driver and past Champion Matt Szecsodi leads the season long points, neither he, nor any of the perennial TMCS powerhouse drivers, has taken a feature checkered flag in 2021. Young Dale Kaake III (Cass City) dominated his heat race earlier in the night. IMCA Rookie and former Pro Stock Champion Kendall Morrison put an incredible drive together in his heat race to claim the win. Kaake earned the pole position to start alongside Tanner Pray (Mt Morris) for the 25 lap main race. Although Kaake led early, he lost the handling of his machine and fell to a twelfth place finish. Morrison had a different ending of his night as he aggressively made his moves from the fifth starting position to take the lead. After he was out front, no one could stay within reach as Morrison took home his first ever IMCA Modified feature win. Bennett, who has been on a roll between TMCS and Silver Bullet Speedway this year, finished runner-up. Jaycob Truemner (Imlay City) captured a career-best third place finish ahead of Kyle Osentoski (Owendale) and Chad Spencer (Kingston)

The XLT Engineering 4-6 Cylinder division has been dominated by the Freeman’s this year. Herb Freeman has won two TCMS features while his nephew Chad was also tied with two wins. Chad started his night with a heat race win as did track Champion Johnny Staszak and Nick Bullock. Troy Miller needed the victory in the Last Chance Qualifier to gain entry into the 15-lap feature. Chris Wassman (Whittamore) overtook Paul Streeter at the start of the main event to lead a handful of laps. However, it was Chad Freeman who, once again, grabbed a lead that he would never relinquish to win his third of the year. Wassman held on to second place over Bullock, Herb Freeman, and Cody Steinly.

As always, The Walker’s Ideal Trophies Mini Wedge classes kicked off the evening with their heat races. Restricted Mini Wedge heat race winner for the second week in a row was Cason Murphy. Murphy could only get as far as second place it the feature as it was Bowen Jaynes who picked up his first TCMS win of the season. In the Unrestricted Mini Wedge class Brennan DeShano (Kawkawlin), who had won the previous week’s feature took another feature win over heat race winner Kyron DeShano.

Next week, all the house divisions including the Walker’s Ideal Trophies Mini-Wedges, Auto House Factory Stocks, Auto Value Pro Stocks, Soaring Eagle Late models and the XLT Engineering 4-6cyls are all a part of the race card. This week will be another AllStar Performance Late Model Challenge Series presented by Soaring Eagle Casino event paying $6000 to win. Come see some of Michigan and ohio’s best Late Model drivers duke it out on the 3/8ths mile oval!! The first green flag waves at 7:00. Be sure to come early to claim your seat for another exciting show you won’t want to miss! For updated and instant results, season and Challenge Series point standings and the 2021 race schedule, visit the TCMS website at or download the MyRacePass app.

Photo Credit: Randy Ellen

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