The Michigan Auto Racing Fan Club prides itself on encouraging race fans to visit new Michigan speedways and become more diversified in their tastes. This past weekend that goal was evident as the club had member nights targeting the east side of the state, first on the dirt Friday night at Tri-City and then on the asphalt Saturday at Whittemore Speedway.
Although Steve Puvalowski and his brother Denny revamped and reopened Tri-City Speedway in 2011, I had yet to make the trek down to Auburn, Michigan to check it out. The July 13thMARFC night gave my family and I that perfect opportunity and I can definitely say that I have been missing out. The semi-banked clay oval sits in the infield of what once was Michigan’s “Trick-Track”, a five-turn ½ mile paved track. The new track is exactly a 3/8-mile and is in pristine condition, the racing was exciting and never single-file. Three and sometimes even four wide action wasn’t uncommon in any of the divisions. Most impressive to me though was the fact that after only one season of operation, none of the divisions were sparse. Tri-City is definitely a track to put on your visit list. The grounds were neat & clean, the concessions and souvenir booth affordable, and according to reports each week brings a new improvement to the speedway.
Friday the 13th turned out to be anything but unlucky for Tri-City fans, not only was it MARFC night where one lucky fan was awarded with a special MARFC gift and Kyle Borgman who hauls his no.72 Late Model across the state week after week was gifted with a gear bag. We fans were treated with a special bonus; Former ASA & Nationwide Champion and Sprint Cup standout Johnny Benson was in town and spent the night piloting Davey Hartman’s no.12 Late Model. An asphalt driver by heritage Benson definitely held his own and made the show even better despite the fact that he had not competed at the speedway since the days of ASA on the “Trick-Track”.
Despite having added more seating; the grandstands at Tri-City were full, and with incredible racing action, a great announcer in Roger Williams, and an owner and staff willing to put forth incredible effort to bring dirt track racing to the east side and see the track succeed it is no wonder!
To learn more about Tri-City Speedway check them out on the web or “Like” them on facebook and get live feeds on Friday night.
Hot racing action on Friday night made me anxious for a just plain hot Saturday filled with racing as well. Whittemore Speedway in Whittemore, Michigan somehow beat Mother Nature. Thunderstorms rumbled in the distance and the radar looked anything but promising, but somehow the storms parted and the second night on the MARFC double header weekend was a complete success.
Whittemore Speedway is definitely one of my favorite places to visit, the small high-banked asphalt track is racy and it’s 100% family oriented. Early race nights, comfortable grandstands, and bus rides around the track for the kids intermixed with other kids activities give Whittemore a unique charm. The racing is also wicked fast and a lot of fun to watch. Australian pursuits are part of the weekly racing program and barstools also often make an appearance on the small dirt track located in the infield.
Whittemore is an amazingly enjoyable track, and it’s easy to see why families such as the Babcock’s travel all the way down from Rudyard weekly. Taylor Babcock is one of the toughest competitors in the 4-Cylinder division, at age 14 she has an incredible amount of talent and is definitely a fan favorite and was the obvious choice for the MARFC gear bag.
My MARFC weekend was definitely a fun one. The Michigan Auto Racing Fan Club is an awesome organization and is an amazing deal for any individual or family. For a membership fee of $15 for an individual or $20 for a family, members are allowed free admission into a host of tracks throughout the state. The cost of membership often pays for itself in just one visit and with a number of events still on the 2012 schedule it’s not too late. The best part about MARFC; it allows fans to try new speedways risk free and you never know when you will find your next home track.
MARFC will be visiting Auto City this weekend, and then on July 28th they will be guests of honor along with the Michigan Motor Sports Hall of Fame at Merritt Speedway.
Check out MARFC on the web and then come see me when the next green flag flies!!!