Lake Odessa, Michigan (Saturday, May 5th, 2012): After a week delay due to Mother Nature, the 7th annual Ice Breaker / Opening Night 2012 was held at the fast and newly revamped 3/8s (0.375) mile high-banked dirt oval of I-96 Speedway. 119 cars jammed the pits to kick off the respective chases for the 2012 United Midwestern Promoters (UMP) DIRTcar Racing Series Weekly Track Championships in Lake Odessa, Michigan. It was also the first race of the 2012 campaign for the Allstar Performance Michigan Dirt Cup Modifieds Tour Presented by Lane Automotive.
The Rudd’s Septic Service UMP Street Stocks rolled out for the first Feature of the 2012 racing season and the 20-lap main would be led to Chief Starter, Rusty Seaver’s green flag by Ron Wiers and Steven Erickson and it would be Erickson leading the first lap until breaking a rear end just two laps into the race. This handed the lead to Wiers who had Bill Brandt Jr., on his back bumper on the start.
Brandt Jr., grabbed the lead on lap five and made no mistake the rest of the way as the Defending Track Champion and hometown favorite from Lake Odessa, Michigan would steer his #65 Zylstra Construction Chevrolet into victory lane after winning the first Feature of the 2012 racing season and begin defense of his track title from a year ago in style.
Ron Harper finished second over Ron Harper who finished second. Former Track Champion Aaron Wolf was third as Josh Frye and Chuck Smith completed the top five. Landon Hidy finished sixth while Kenny Clark, Wiers, Jim Beltz, and Robb Sternberg wrapped up the top 10. Derek Poland, Gary Vandermark, and Sternberg won the Qualifier Heat Races while David Grega scored the B Main victory to transfer into the Feature. There were 24 Rudd’s Septic Service UMP Street Stocks on the grounds.
The main event of the evening, the 40-lap Feature for the Allstar Performance Michigan Dirt Cup Modifieds Tour Presented by Lane Automotive would be up next as this race also served as the 2012 season opener for the tracks’ weekly Accurate Engines UMP Modifieds division. The stellar field was brought out of turns three and four by Zack Olger and Joe Rokos and it would be Rokos leading the first two laps.
Defending UMP DIRTcar Racing Series Michigan State Champion, Defending Michigan Dirt Cup Modifieds tour Champion, and Defending Track Champion, Jacob Poel rocketed into the lead on lap three and was seemingly running away with the race until Aaron Morey used lapped traffic to catch Poel and on the white flag lap, Morey would steer his #2k Keyser Manufacturing / Diamond Racecars entry to victory lane as the West Olive, Michigan driver would fend off Poel to win the $1,500 pay day.
Poel finished second while Olger was third. David Mielke and Andy Sprague were the top five. Collin Thirlby started 16th and finished sixth as Former Track Champion Rich Robinson Jr., Trevor Sloan who started 19th, Mark Anderson, and Travis Stemler were the final top 10. Olger, Rokos, Sprague, John McCaul, and Poel won the Howe Racing Enterprises Qualifier Heat Races as Thirlby, Dennis Craft, and Jeff Erickson Jr., all collected the Outerwears Performance Products B Main victories to transfer into the A Main. There were 49 Allstar Performance Michigan Dirt Cup Modifieds Tour Presented by Lane Automotive / Accurate Engines UMP Modifieds Teams on hand.
Normally the premier division within the UMP DIRTcar Racing Series, the Miller Lite UMP Super Late Models rolled out next for their 30-lap Feature as this event served as the one and only tune-up for the Inaugural Allstar Performance Michigan Dirt Cup Late Models Tour Presented by Lane Automotive race in two weeks on Saturday, May 19th.
The front row would consist of Sammy Epling and Brandon Thirlby, but it would be Defending Track Champion, Tom Sprague Jr., who would grab the early lead from his inside second row starting spot. Zack Olger briefly took the lead on lap 13 only to lose it two laps later to Sprague Jr., who would then lose Olger and the rest of the field in lapped traffic and in the end, would steer his #21s Sprague Auto Parts / Rocket Chassis machine into the P.A.T. Landscaping & Restoration victory lane after his win.
Olger finished second while Dona Marcoullier, Former Two-Time Track Champion Eric Spangler, and Epling completed the top five. Dave Hartman finished sixth while Billy Bray, David Hilliker, Keith Gentz, and Kris Patterson Jr., rounded the top 10. Rich Neiser, Sprague Jr., and Marcoullier won the Qualifier Heat Races as Patterson Jr., grabbed the B Main win. There were 23 Miller Lite UMP Super Late Models entered.
Finally to close out the 7th annual Ice Breaker / Opening Night 2012, the Smyrna Bar & Restaurant UMP Sport Compacts 20-lap Feature would be up and it would be 14-year-old Harper Hotchkiss and Chad Tomczak on the front row. Tomczak led the first three laps before Former Track Champion Dan Reimersma slipped by on lap four.
Reimersma brought Defending Track Champion Rick Peck with him and Peck would be able to steal the lead away on lap seven. Reimersma wasn’t to be deterred however as the Ada, Michigan veteran in his #13 Enterprise Iron & Metal Honda would fight back and reclaim the lead with four laps to go and go on to take the checkered flag and win the Feature,
Peck settled for second while Tomczak, Scott Rumsey, and Harley Farkle were the top five. Kyle Brigance finished sixth over Tim Horvath II, 18-year-old Terry Henderson Jr., Bob Wolf, and 17-year-old Joe Pironello finished off the top 10. Brandon Taipolus, Tomczak, and Peck won the Heat Races. There were 23 Smyrna Bar & Restaurant UMP Sport Compacts in attendance.
The cars and stars within the UMP DIRTcar Racing Series take the weekend off to allow for the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) District 14 Flat Track Motorcycles Series to start their 2012 racing season at I-96 Speedway this Friday-Saturday, May 11-12th.
Stock Car Racing returns to Lake Odessa, Michigan on Saturday, May 19th with the Inaugural race for the Michigan Dirt Cup Late Models Tour as the Miller Lite UMP Super Late Models will take on the traveling stars from the Flint, Michigan based series in their first Official race of the tour. The series held three season preview races a year ago and now it’ll all count for points for the first time on May 19th.
Joining the Michigan Dirt Cup Late Models Tour / Miller Lite UMP Super Late Models will be the Rudd’s Septic Service UMP Street Stocks, Smyrna Bar & Restaurant UMP Sport Compacts, Spectator Drags at a special Stunt Show to be held at Intermission.
Ticket Prices for the Inaugural Michigan Dirt Cup Late Models Tour event on Saturday, May 19th are: Adults (13-61): $15.00 – Seniors (62 and Over): $12.00 – Children (6-12) $8.00 – Kids (5 and Under): FREE – Family Pass $35.00 (*A family pass will get 2 adults and 2 children into the races. Once inside, the Kid’s Club is Free for the Kids!) – Pit Passes: $25.00 (for any age that can walk, infants are free). Get your tickets exclusively with ShowClix! Click on the link for more information: http://www.showclix.com/event/223081
For the 2012 racing season on Saturday nights; Pit Gates will Open at 3:00p.m., the Grandstand Gates will open at 5:00p.m., Practice will start at 6:00p.m. and will go until 6:25p.m., as each division gets one Practice Session apiece. Then after the Drivers Meeting at 6:30p.m., followed by Pre-Race Ceremonies / Invocation / National Anthem(s), Racing will begin at 7:00p.m.
I-96 Speedway is located at 3823 Portland Road in Lake Odessa, Michigan. For more information, please call: 1 (616) 642-0555 or visit the website at: www.i96speedway.com You can also follow all of the off-season happenings in Lake Odessa, Michigan by becoming a fan on the tracks Facebook Fan Page. Just go to: www.facebook.com/i96speedway and click on “Like” button. You can even follow us on Twitter as well, just go to: www.twitter.com/i96speedway and “Follow” us today.