Tri-City Motor Speedway
Open Wheel Stars Invade Tri-City Motor Speedway
08/07/20 (Auburn MI) With Tri-City Motor Speedway’s sister track, Merritt Speedway, holding its annual Wood Tic weekend festivities, it was an opportunity for the open-wheeled drivers from the Great Lakes family of series to invade TCMS Friday night. Nearly eighty teams from across the Midwest were on hand to fill out fields for the Great Lakes Super Sprints (GLSS), Great Lakes Traditional Sprints (GLTS), Great Lakes Lightning Sprints (GLLS), and the TCMS house class of IMCA Modifieds.
The headliners of the night were the GLSS winged 360 sprint cars. Throughout the night, the wide tires and high horsepower made the track wide, smooth, and slick. Earlier Heat race wins were captured by Max Stambaugh (Elida, OH), multiple TCMS feature winner Jared Horstman (Cloverdale, OH), and Jay Steinebach (Hudsonville, MI). Quentin Blonde (Concord, MI) had to win the last chance qualifying race in order to be part of the twenty car main event. Chase Ridenour (Perry, MI) and Steinebach brought the full field to the green flag in the 25 lap affair. Ridenour jumped out to the early advantage and never gave up the top spot as he cruised through lapped traffic on his way to his first feature win of 2020. Horstman would have to settle for a rare second place finish. Dustin Daggett, who had the fastest lap in earlier qualifying, finished in third. Stambaugh and Steinebach were the remaining finishers in the top five.
Daggett also was the fastest GLTS 410 non-winged sprint of the eighteen that made the tow to Auburn. However, he would come up empty in the preliminary heat races that were won by Steinebach, Mike Galajda (Fenton, MI), and veteran driver Steve Irwin (Fenton, MI). Former champion Joey Irwin (Davison, MI) and Lee Underwood (Troy, OH) had front row starts for the main event. Irwin held on to the lead for a few laps before Steinebach took control. Steve Irwin looked like he may have had something for Steinebach but was involved in mid race incident that took him out of the race. With Irwin out, Steinebach was able to hold onto the lead and win his first ever TCMS feature. Joey Irwin finished in second and was followed by Brian Ruhlman (Clark Lake, MI), Underwood, and Cody Howard (Millington, MI).
The GLLS series of winged mini-sprints had 17 drivers check in to compete in the main event. Mack Erickson (South Boardman, MI) and Bill Dunham (Bellevue, MI) sat on the front row for their final event of the night. Both would battle over the opening laps before fast qualifier Jac Nickels (Harrod, OH) took over the lead. He would back up his qualifying effort by dominating the feature easily taking the checkered flag. Brendon Cascadden (Traverse City, MI), Erickson, Justin Ward (Benzonia, MI), and Alex Cogley (Findlay, OH) wrapped up finishes in the top five. Heat races were also won by Cogley, Ward, and Cascadden.
The Lane Automotive IMCA Modified drivers were the only house division in action on Friday night. From the first pair of heat races, won by Craig Vance (Midland) and Kevin McFarland (Bay City), the spectators on hand knew they would see an exciting feature. With the top pay increased to $1200, the seventeen drivers that started the feature were ready to battle. Pole Sitter Tanner Pray (Mt. Morris) led the first pair of laps before the outside pole sitter McFarland took his turn at the front. With the field behind them racing three and four wide around the clay oval, Pray took the lead back on lap six. He held that position until 2019 Champion Matt Szecsodi clawed his way to the front and stole the lead from Pray on the 11th circuit. Szecsodi had to hold off strong challenges from Nate Jones (Vestaburg) and Vance. However, neither of them could gain an edge to make the pass on Szecsodi as he took home the top prize. Jones and Vance would earn podium finishes while Chance Allen (Alma) and Austin Wonch (Crystal) took the remaining top five positions.
This Friday join us at TCMS for another night of high speed entertainment. All of the regular house divisions are in action with the Late Models competing for a $3000 top prize. Pro Stocks, Street Stocks, Bomber Stocks, and mini-wedge divisions will also be in action. It’s a show you will not want to miss! Follow us on Face Book for updates and other information throughout the week.
Article Credit: Roger Williams
Submitted By: Brian Osborne