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Ryan Ruhl Wins in Late Race Charge in GLSS Thriller on Open Wheel Night

Ryan Ruhl Wins in Late Race Charge in GLSS Thriller on Open Wheel Night
Ryan Ruhl Wins in Late Race Charge in GLSS Thriller on Open Wheel Night
Ryan Ruhl Wins in Late Race Charge in GLSS Thriller on Open Wheel Night
Ryan Ruhl Wins in Late Race Charge in GLSS Thriller on Open Wheel Night
Ryan Ruhl Wins in Late Race Charge in GLSS Thriller on Open Wheel Night
Ryan Ruhl Wins in Late Race Charge in GLSS Thriller on Open Wheel Night
Ryan Ruhl Wins in Late Race Charge in GLSS Thriller on Open Wheel Night
Ryan Ruhl Wins in Late Race Charge in GLSS Thriller on Open Wheel Night
Ryan Ruhl Wins in Late Race Charge in GLSS Thriller on Open Wheel Night

The grounds of the Merritt Speedway were invaded by the traveling cars and stars of the Great Lakes family of sprint cars. This included the first visit of the season for the Winged Great Lakes Super Sprints and their wingless counterparts of the Great Lakes Traditional Sprints. The Great Lakes Lightning Sprints made their second appearance at the fast 1/4 mile dirt oval. The Cadillac Tire Center DIRTcar UMP Modifieds raced for a special $2500 to win. The Troll Smokehouse B-Modifieds were on hand for a $2000 to win event, and the XLT Engineering Four & Six Cylinders faced off in a $1000 to win special event. The Allstar Performance Mini-Wedges completed the program.

The Allstar Performance Mini-Wedges kicked off the night’s main events with Harbor Springs, Michigan’s Tucker Warner winning the restricted division feature event. He finished ahead of Brayden Hill and Amelia Erickson who rounded out the top three. In the Un-Restricted division, Ryan Read of Stanton, Michigan would pick up the win over Keeton Cade and Addy Wade who also finished in the top three.

The $1000 to win XLT Engineering Four & Six-Cylinders feature was led out by Chris Wassman and Chad Freeman for a 20-lap affair. Freeman notched the lead after the completion of the first circuit. The mad dash for position battles went on throughout the field. Freeman would not be stopped and he would lead the entire event from start to finish. However, Freeman would be disqualified after failing a post-race inspection. Ryan Hamm would be awarded the win, his first of the season. Herb Freeman, 2020-track champion Travis Skaggs, Wassmann, and 2019-track champion Cheyanne Emery rounded out the top five. The preliminary heat races were won by Hamm and Chad Freeman.
The Great Lakes Lightning Sprints hit the speedway for their 15-lap A-Main with Mack Erickson and Bill Dunham starting on the front row. When the dust settled it would be Traverse City, Michigan native and 2020-Great Lakes Lightning Sprints Champion Brendon Cascadden who made the visit to victory lane picking up his second win of the season in his #0. Jac Nickels finished second. Erickson, Dunham, and Matt Cogley capped off the top five. Cascadden, Erickson, and Alex Cogley won the heats.

Keith Sheffer Jr. and Mike Astrauskas led out the 20-lap main for the Great Lakes Traditional Sprints. Sheffer emerged as the leader after the opening lap with the fierce battle for position going on behind him. Sheffer would go on to lead the entire event from start to finish as he went on to pick up the win which was his first of the 2021 campaign. Dustin Daggett would be the runner-up. Steve Irwin, Brian Ruhlman, and Max Frank completed the top five.
The $2500 to win Cadillac Tire Center DIRTcar UMP Modifieds main event rolled to the speedway with Joe Rokos and Collin Thirlby bringing the field to the green flag. Thirlby won the battle for the race advantage in the early going. He would remain there until lap 19. This was when the 2011-DIRTcar Michigan Regional Champion Jacob Poel would complete the pass for the lead. Poel would go on from there to get the victory. This was the third win of the season for Poel, the native of Spring Lake, Michigan in the #82. Thirlby finished second. Caleb Kill, Curt Spalding, and Bob Baldwin finished off the top five. Rokos, Thirlby, and Poel scored the heat wins.

The high-powered Great Lakes Super Sprints rolled to the race surface for a 25-lap A-Main. Linden Jones and Dan McCarron kicked off the feature event bringing the field down to the green flag. McCarron would lead much of the event, but in the closing laps, Ryan Ruhl would weave his way past McCarron to take the lead. Ruhl, the Coldwater, Michigan native picked up his third win of the season in his #71h. McCarron had to settle for second. Max Stambaugh, Keith Sheffer Jr., and 2018-GLSS Champion Dustin Daggett rounded out the top five finishers.

The final race of the night belonged to the Troll Smokehouse B-Modifieds who squared off for $2000 to win in a 25-lap feature event. Chad Spencer and 18-year old Austin Harnick started on the front row. Harnick pulled away with the early race lead. Things would change on lap 18 when a hard-charging Joey Burch would work his way up through the field after starting eighth. Burch, the driver who calls Rosebush, Michigan home picked up his first win of the year in his #16. Harnick finished second. Collin Thirlby, Spencer, and Scott Payton completed the top five. Spencer and Miller won the heats.
The Merritt Speedway will return to action This Saturday, July 17th with “Pro Stock Night” where the Auto Value Pro Stocks will compete in a special $2500 to win event. The Soaring Eagle DIRTcar Late Models, Troll Smokehouse B-Modifieds, Thirlby Automotive Factory Stocks, XLT Engineering Four and Six Cylinders, and Allstar Performance Mini-Wedges will all be in action as well. Stay tuned to the Merritt Speedway Facebook page for all the latest news and updates.

Photo Credit: Randy Ellen

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