Merritt Raceway in Merritt, Michigan is very rich in history. Founded in the late 60’s Merritt has long been a Saturday night attraction and the fans in the stands have seen many Michigan racing legends make laps on the 3/8-mile clay oval.
Several drivers who once called Merritt Raceway home have now solidified their spot in the Michigan Motor Sports Hall of Fame. MMSHoF is an amazing organization which has honored individuals who have shaped motorsports for more than 25-years.
Last weekend (July 23rd, 2011) the Merritt Raceway staff honored the board members and past MMSHoF inductees by inviting them to the speedway for an evening of incredible racing action. A pre-race introduction of the Hall of Fame helped inform many fans who may not know much about the organization on exactly what it means to be inducted into the Michigan Motor Sports Hall of Fame. As this organization works differently than most; with inductees being voted in by their peers based on privately submitted biographies, the honor of being a Hall of Fame inductee is even greater.
Merritt Raceway has long been home-ground for Hall of Fame inductees; Bill Whittington, Bob Kingen, Frank Seder, announcer Leo Pego, former track owner/promoter Carmen VanDuinen, as well as a host of others. Because of their rich talent bank Merritt Raceway and the Michigan Motor Sports Hall of Fame are a perfect match and the Board of Directors for MMSHoF would like to extend a very large “Thank You” to Rick Ancel and the entire Merritt Raceway crew.
In the weeks since my June 4th visit Rick Ancel and the team have continued to make improvements to the facility. Many items were freshened-up prior to the start of the 2011 season, but during a one-week hiatus in June the Ancel’s added the “Tailgate Bar & Grill”. In addition to seeing a very vast menu at the track concession stand, fans may now also venture over a few feet and see even more burger options at the new grill. A large screen projection of the live on-track action makes it possible for fans to eat restaurant-style at the speedway without missing any of the action. The bar is also open late serving burgers, beer, and other items well after the race is finished, and once the checkered flag flies, the video projection starts the evenings events over again giving a time for bantering and some crow eating I am sure. The new addition is very impressive and has brought companionship back into dirt-track racing at Merritt.
I had an amazing time at the speedway, taking in some very enthralling side-by-side action while also enjoying the camaraderie of my fellow Board Members Barry Meschke, Dennis Trinklein and Leo Pego and of course as it was Michigan Auto Racing Fan Club night I was also able to see MARFC board member Bill Walters and enjoy the company of many more of my fellow MARFC racing friends.
Words simply cannot express my thanks to the Merritt Raceway staff for their hospitality. To learn a little more about Merritt you can check them out on the web at www.merrittraceway.com.