Tri-City Motor Speedway Opens 2012 Season
05/11/12 (Auburn MI) A beautiful summer-like evening greeted spectators and racers as the second season of dirt racing at the New Tri City Motor Speedway began in Auburn. Sixty-Nine cars filled the original pit area and poured into the newly expanded pits hoping to start the season with a victorious step toward a 2012 Championship.
J&L Transport IMCA Modified drivers were the spotlight of opening night and had the opportunity to break the track record set last year by Don Hintz. And the track record was broken by Fenwick’s Dan Minikey Jr (#42). He would also set the tone of the 25-lap feature event. (EZ1) Don Hintz and Beaverton native (4s) Toby Steele would bring the field of drivers to the green flag for the main event. Hintz was able to jump to the top spot and lead a large majority of the race. He was not able run away with the lead at any point in the race as Minikey, (7d) Myron Deyoung, (19) Joey Fowler, (78) Brody Bowser, and (20w) AJ Ward were in the tire tracks of the leader in some extremely tight racing. With around seven laps remaining, Hintz started to lose power and dropped towards the back (eventually finishing 13th) and handed the lead to Minikey. Minikey was able to hold on to complete the race at the point and picked up where he left off at last year’s Battle By the Bay with another feature win. Deyoung finished in the runner-up spot with Fowler, Bowser, and Midland’s (26) Tom Sova completing the top five. Heats were won by Bowser, Deyoung, and Ward. The B-Main was captured by (Z) Mark Bohannon.
PRW jumped on as the new sponsor for the Late Model Division for 2012. Although only a dozen Late Models were present, the crowd was no disappointed by the action that they saw. Asphalt ace, (75) Rod Laney with his new dirt late model started on the pole with veteran (00) Ron Goretski on the outside of the front row as they took the green for the 25-lap feature event. Laney would take the point and lead the first six laps of the event. Laney looked strong in a bid to win his first dirt feature, but defending Late Model champ (72) Kyle Borgman, from Muskegon, showed that he is ready to defend his 2011 championship. Borgman looked like he was going to take the checkered flag, but Hall Of Fame driver (55w) Roger Wing was determined to get his first Tri City feature win to go along with his career accomplishments. He was able to sneak to the bottom of Borgman with about five laps to go and cruised to the victory. Laney had his highest dirt finish as he used the high line to wrestle his way back to second position. Borgman would have to settle for third. Ohio driver, (77k) Steve Kester was fourth and (6r) Carl Reis took fifth. Heat gold was earned by Borgman and Kester.
Thirteen drivers started the Elgin Pro Stock feature with last year’s points champion and Pigeon native (40) Ron Bieri and points runner up (41) JC Witherspoon bringing the field to the green. A number of cautions would create race restarts before the field would settle down. One of those cautions was when Witherspoon would smack the backstretch guardrail. Bieri jumped out front and had as big as a half-straightaway lead over the field and led well past the halfway point of the twenty lap feature. Patience paid off for Riverdale’s (94) Chad Raby as he and Bieri would run a number of laps side-by-side. Eventually, Bieri would surrender the lead and Raby would run away with the feature win by over a full straightaway. Bieri would have to settle for second. Former track champion, (91) Gary Shank Jr took third. He was followed by (01) Randy Radabaugh and (53) Shane Aeschliman. Bieri and Raby took the heat races earlier in the evening.
The Auburn Hotel Street Stocks arguably may have been the most exciting feature of the night. (31) Tim Schmidt and (51) Todd Winchell had the best view of the green flag of the feature via their front row start. They also had a number of opportunities to work on the race starts as the first lap proved to be a tough one to finish. By the fifth lap of green flag racing, Schmidt was starting to feel the pressure of a number of strong cars making their way through the field. Bay City’s (99) Rick Beauchamp was one of those cars. As he was dicing through the field from his 11th place start, he made contact with the fourth place car, which cut down his left rear tire. As he slid sideways down the front stretch, the rim dug into the track and his car flipped violently causing a red flag. Beauchamp was unharmed. Once racing resumed, Schmidt found that he could not hold back 17-year old (27) Shawn O’Conner. O’Conner was able to hold off a stout field of twenty street stocks to take his first victory of the season. Schmidt salvaged a runner-up finish. He was followed by (75k) Kenny Keller Jr, (7g) Danny Krause, and (21d) Darren Mularz. Mularz also picked up a heat race victory as well as Beauchamp and O’Conner.
In the Four Cylinder Stock Rockets, (18) Christopher Barrons swept the heat and feature over (7) Tyler Morrell.
Next week, our four regular divisions (LM, IMCA, PS, SS) will be in action as well as round one of the Mini Sprint triple crown. It will also be the second annual Fan’s Choice Awards for the best looking cars in each division. The evening’s activities are sponsored by J&D Landscaping. Gates open at 5pm, hot laps at 6:45pm, Beat the Track Record at 7:30pm and racing at 7:55pm. If you can’t make it, follow all the results via Twitter at https://twitter.com/TCMSracetrack ! Also, for more information regarding drivers or the 2012 schedule, you can find us at www.tricityracetrack.com ! Got Dirt? Get it this season at the New Tri City Motor Speedway!!!