(Auburn MI) A capacity crowd convened upon the 3/8ths clay oval in Friday to witness the final winged sprint car show of 2016 at Tri-City Motor Speedway. The Great Lakes Super Sprints series was on hand to kick off their triple header weekend throughout Michigan. A total of approximately 80 drivers throughout five divisions of cars were on hand to compete on Clements Contracting Night.
#2m Dustin Daggett and #11r Chase Ridenour earned a front row starting position for the 25-lap Great Lakes Super Sprint 25-lap feature by finishing in the top two positions in the dash held earlier in the evening. Ridenour, on the outside of the front row, took the early lead ahead of multi-time Sprint Car Champion Daggett. By the fifth lap, Ridenour began to encounter lapped traffic. With many race grooves, Ridenour would have the entire track in which to weave his way through the slower traffic. This allowed Daggett to reel in Ridenour. Both would battle wheel to wheel in the midst of lapped cars before Daggett finally took the lead on lap sixteen. Ridenour would continue to struggle behind the slower cars which allowed Daggett to increase his lead to a full straightaway. Then, with five laps to go, Daggett would make a rare mistake in turn one that would force him off the speedway. This allowed Ridenour to catch and pass Daggett as he was getting back on the track. Daggett would overcome Ridenour’s big lead in the closing laps to give it one last shot out of turn four heading the checkered flag. But Daggett’s mistake would be insurmountable as Ridenour would capture his first GLSS feature event by less than a tenth of a second over Daggett much to the delight of the crowd. #28 Phil Gressman, #49t Greg Dalman, and #31 Andy Teunessen came home in the top five. The remainder of the top ten included #57 Mike Dunlap, #46 Robert Huisken, #3a Mike Astrauskas, #24 Eric Smith, and #19j Linden Jones. Huisken, Ridenour, and Teunessen won their heat races.
Stacie Staszak has had an up and down few weeks behind the wheel of her #77 in the Thornton Brothers Sewer Service Bomber Stock Division. After winning three weeks ago and a night off, she came back last week and was involved in a heat race altercation which caused her to not compete in the feature that evening. She came out swinging by winning her heat race in convincing fashion. She would start in the front row for the 12-lap feature and would take full advantage of the track position. She would easily cruise to her second feature win of 2016 by finishing ahead of #13 Preston DeShano, #09 Jack Freese, #18 Nick Putman, and #21 Andy Koczenasz.
#10b Joe Batts was scheduled to start on the pole for the 25-lap Melling Select Late Model feature race. However, he opted to start at the rear of the field. This allowed #3 Kyle Roberts to pull into the front row along with #03 JC Witherspoon. Roberts would take the lead on the first lap and never looked back as he led all 25 laps on his way to his first ever TCMS feature win. He would hold off a hard charging #4t Andrew Terrill, #14 Tyler Norton, #6r Carl Ries, and veteran #75 Rod Laney. #21s Steve Hilliker, #16 Mike Staszak, Witherspoon, #76 Torrey Ahrens, and Batts took top ten finishes. Roberts and Norton captured heat gold.
Marlette driver #25 Adam Friend has gained a lot of confidence over the past few weeks as he learns TCMS and his Elgin Pro Stock. A good heat race finish would put him on the pole of the 20-lap feature race. He led some of his first feature laps until #71 Tim Near would make the pass for the lead via the bottom of turn four on lap six. Once again, Near would dominate the field and pick up his fifth feature and third in a row. #80 Jeramie Raby fought his way from the tenth starting spot to finish in the runner-up position. The top ten included #57 TJ Gilbert, Friend, #01 Randy Radabaugh, #21d Darren Mularz, #99 Rick Beauchamp, #28 Jared Rizer, #9s Marc Super, and #66t Rick Trewartha. Near and #10 Brent Reil won their respective preliminary heat races.
The final event of the night was once again the Suspension MAXX Street Stock Class. #18d David Lester would get to lead one lap before rookie #50 Jake Thompson took charge of the 20 car field in the money race. Thompson would have to endure a multitude of cautions before he was finally able to cross the finish line for his second win of 2016. Last week’s winner #57 TJ Gilbert could only get to second from his twelfth-place starting position. The rest of the top ten finishers included #3 Mitch Clements, point leader #96 Shane Wright, #x5 Eric Lake, #21e Dan Engel, #67 Ryan Fitzgerald, #7r Kevin Newcomb, #7k Dan Krause, and #16 Steve Doty. Thompson, Gilbert, and Lester had won their heat races earlier in the evening.
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