Lake Odessa, Michigan (Saturday, June 18th, 2011): The Fathers Day Holiday Weekend was celebrated in style at I-96 Speedway as the high flying, winged bandits of the Engine Pro ASCS Sprints on Dirt Presented by ARP made their first of three appearances at their adoptive home track in Lake Odessa, Michigan on Renegade Racing Fuels & Lubricants Night at the Races. A stellar crowd was on hand and they witnessed a nice sized field of 85 total teams in the pits including an impressive 27 Sprint Cars!
Also on the card were three of the tracks weekly divisions who race within the United Midwestern Promoters (UMP) DIRTcar Racing Series; The Lane Automotive UMP Modifieds, Renegade Racing Fuels & Lubricants UMP Street Stocks, and Jim’s Auto Body of Portland UMP Sport Compacts as all four divisions took on the fast 3/8s (0.375) mile high-banked dirt oval. The Tinney Automotive UMP Late Models had the night off as they prepare for the UMP Summer Nationals Hell Tour race on Sunday, June 26th.
After taking the weekend of June 10-12th off, drivers and teams were eager to get back on the track and the night started off appropriately enough with the Renegade Racing Fuels & Lubricants UMP Street Stocks and their 20-lap feature on Renegade Racing Fuels & Lubricants Night at the Races and it would be David Grega and Hillary Smith bringing the field down to the green flag.
Defending Track Champion and Current Points Leader, Gary Vandermark rocketed from his outside second row starting spot and performed a daring inside / outside maneuver around the first three cars to take the early lead as the rest of the field jockeyed for position around and behind him. Bill Brandt Jr., who came into the night second in the season long points chase behind Vandermark, carefully negotiated his way up to second by following Vandermark by the front row and followed the reigning champions’ tire tracks.
All of a sudden on lap 13, Vandermark slowed on the track and as the field drove by, he pulled off and was done for the night, handing the lead to Brandt Jr., who had to deal with Grega as well as Smith who had worked her way back into the top three. A late restart bunched the field up once more, but Brandt Jr., wasn’t to be denied as the Lake Odessa, Michigan native in his Zylstra Construction Chevrolet would hang on to win his first feature of the season and with Vandermark dropping out, takes over the points lead in the process!
Grega settled for a hard fought second place finish as Smith finished third over 2010 Rookie of the Year Ron Harper with Landon Hidy finishing off the top five. Josh Frye was sixth as Rookie Nathan Stickney, Rich Sweet, another Rookie, 15-year-old Carlind Forsythe, and 2009 Track Champion Aaron Wolf were the top 10. Vandermark and Brandt Jr., collected the heat race wins.
After getting rained out in the series’ first scheduled appearance back on May 14th, that race has since been officially cancelled and will not be made up, the Grand Rapids, Michigan based Engine Pro ASCS Sprints on Dirt Presented by ARP were pushed off and after an impressive four-wide salute, the green flag flew for their 25-lap feature with 1999 I-96 Speedway Track Champion Robert Huisken and Joe Bares leading the stellar field to the green.
All the way from his outside third row starting spot, home track favorite, Dustin Daggett rocketed into the lead passing all five cars in front of him by the time they came out of turn two before even completing lap one, and to the roar of the partisan crowd on hand, Daggett would lead that first lap. From that point on, the all-time leader in feature wins in the series as well as a former two-time series champion put on a clinic few fans who witnessed the race will ever forget.
Daggett would take advantage of the caution free event to lap everyone up to the second place and in the end, the Portland, Michigan driver in his Miles Petroleum Group / Maxim Chassis machine would dominate like few have ever seen in track history en route to the popular win. Jared Horstman finished second and was the only other car on the lead lap! Bares was third with Ben Rutan and Gregg Dalman the top five. Michigan Motorsports Hall of Famer Ken Mackey was sixth as former Three-Time Track Champion Brett Mann was seventh with Huisken, Blake Nimee, and Andy Chewoski wrapped up the top 10.
There was no Qualifying for the 27 Engine Pro ASCS Sprints on Dirt Presented by ARP teams as the heat races used a passing points system to transfer cars into the Feature as Daggett, Mackey, Defending Series Champion and Feature Winner the night before at Cherry Raceway, Ryan Grubaugh, and Horstman scored heat race wins while Nimee won the dash. Tim Champlin won the B Main over Kirk Cheney, Dustin Shriver, and Nic Rogers who also transferred to the feature.
The ASCS Sprints on Dirt return to I-96 Speedway twice more in 2011 on Saturday, August 13th and then in the series’ 2011 Season Championships on Saturday, September 24th during the tracks 4th annual Dirt Gold Cup Championship Extravaganza. Both events will again be Renegade Racing Fuels & Lubricants Night at the Races.
The Jim’s Auto Body of Portland UMP Sport Compacts rolled out next for their 20-lap feature and it would be Tim Horvath II and 2010 18 and Over Rookie of the Year and Current Points Leader, Rick Peck leading the 20-car field to the green flag and it would be Horvath II beating Peck to the first corner to grab the early lead while the rest of the field settled in behind him.
Just a lap later, Defending Track Champion, Dan Reimersma, who started sixth, had methodically worked his way up to Horvath II’s back bumper and drove around the early race leader on lap two. By this time, Peck had regrouped and followed Reimersma by Horvath II to take over the runner-up spot. Peck chased Reimersma all over the 3/8s mile dirt oval, following him through lapped traffic all the while searching for a way around the reigning champion.
Through it all though, Reimersma was able to dodge several obstacles thrown his way in the form of lapped traffic and was also able to fend off Peck and Horvath II and after all was said and done, Reimersma was able to draw closer to Peck in the chase for the 2011 Track Championship as the Ada, Michigan driver, in his Sharkwater Shots Honda would go on to collect his second feature win of the 2011 racing season.
Peck was able to fight off Horvath II to finish second as Horvath II secured the final podium position in third. Rookie Kyle Brigance finished a career high fourth with Scott Rumsey rounding out the top five. Another Rookie Keith Brigance, Kyle’s younger brother, finished a career high sixth as 15-year-old Rookie Jordan King was seventh over 18-year-old Rookie Brian Hofbauer while 19-year-old Caleb Schuiling and 17-year-old Rookie Joe Pironello completed the top 10. Kyle Brigance, Schuiling, and Peck picked up heat race victories.
The final feature of the night would be the 25-lap main event for the Lane Automotive UMP Modifieds and leading the 24-car starting field to chief starter, Tim Beebe’s green flag would be 19-year-old David Mielke and former Two-Time Track Champion, Todd Feutz. It would be Feutz beating Mielke to the first corner to take the early advantage as the rest of the pack maneuvered their way into position to battle.
With the massive and stout field in such close quarters, real estate was at a premium for the division as from second on back, the battles ensued all over the 3/8s mile which was good news for Feutz who slowly but surely pulled away from the rest of the field. The feature winner from two weekends previous, Jacob Poel, who also won the Michigan Dirt Cup Series race the night before at Winston Motor Speedway, finally escaped the pack from his ninth starting spot and began reeling in Feutz.
As Feutz carefully negotiated the lapped traffic, Poel went up to the top of the track and rode the momentum to close the gap on Feutz. With five laps to go, Poel would find himself on Feutz’s back bumper and the battle was on for the lead. Poel did briefly pull up along-side of Feutz but was forced to back off due to lapped traffic. That proved to be the winning move for Feutz in his O.M.M. Engineering Chevrolet as the Ada, Michigan veteran, the 2008 and 2009 Track Champion, would score his first feature win in two seasons in the caution free race.
Poel settled for second while UMP DIRTcar Racing Series Michigan State Points Leader and Track Points Leader, Mark Anderson was third with Mielke finishing a season high fourth over Defending Track Champion, Rich Robinson Jr., who completed the top five. 2007 Track Champion Shannon Fisk, in his first appearance of the season, finished sixth as 18-year-old Andy Galgoci, John McClure, Travis Stemler, and Trevor Sloan wrapped up the top 10. Poel, Mielke, and Anderson grabbed the heat race wins.