Located halfway between Houghton Lake and Lake City, Michigan on M-55, Merritt Speedway has been a home away from home for many on summer Saturday nights. For over 40-years dust has been seen flying high above the lights and a rumble of race engines heard from the highway, and now under new management for 2011 Merritt has gotten a bit of a boost. The name has changed to Merritt Raceway, but what’s wonderful to see and hear is that some of the familiar faces are back to make Merritt the fun and successful track we have always known existed.
Rick Ancel has taken the lead as track manager and a couple new things are in place for the season that has struggled to get underway due to weather. A freshened Victory Lane is in place, safely secured infield media/track official platforms will provide photographers with better shots while offering a more secure area for officials, and although the concession stand is offering the old Merritt favorites, the prices have dropped since 2010. The schedule has a bit of a shake-up as well, the mid-week shows are gone but in August the track will be hosting the World of Outlaw Late Model series.
On Saturday night June 4th I got the opportunity to stop by the track for Spring Championships and bonus features from the May 21st partial rain-out, and I was very impressed by the number of cars in the pits, especially given the current economy in Northern Michigan.
Curtis Roberts drove his SMR Racing No.9 to the win in an action packed Late Model A-Main, while Roy Harvey’s No.75 ended up in victory lane at the conclusion of what has to be the best Modified feature I have seen thus far in 2011. Adam Brinks made driving a Pro-Truck look easy as he performed a clean sweep in his No.22.
All five divisions put on a great show that had fans on the edge of their seats time and time again with drivers charging hard from the middle and back of the pack to land podium finishes.
My Saturday night at Merritt was definitely a fun one and I am already looking forward to my next visit.
To learn more about Merritt Raceway you can check them out on the web at www.merrittraceway.com, and be sure to take note of their schedule as there are plenty of great events on tap for this summer including the Michigan Motor Sports Hall of Fame night on July 23rd.