Mt. Pleasant, Mich. — A season-high 80 cars rolled through the Mt. Pleasant Speedway on Friday, May 27, for the first of two stops for the Sunoco American Late Model Series.
This time it was the third annual “Woof Classic,” in memory of Mt. Pleasant Speedway Promotional Director Bill Long’s father.
Up first on the cool, breezy evening was qualifying for the 27 ALMS cars who made the trip to the three-eighths mile dirt track. First up to lay down two laps was defending Mt. Pleasant Speedway Late Model track champion No. 29 Sam Epling. The Perry resident laid down a quick lap of 14.27 seconds. Twenty-four cars later out rolled 2010 UMP DirtCar Late Model National Champion No. 91S Rusty Schlenk. On his second lap, the “Jackson Assasin” blew around the track in a scorching time of 14.04 seconds to set a new Mt. Pleasant Speedway track record. Schlenk bested the old mark of 14.06 set on May 22, 2009 by Zack Olger.
After the heat races were completed, the 30-Lap, 22-car ALMS feature was first out. The front row consisted of three-time Mt. Pleasant Speedway Late Model champion No. X1 Justin Robinson of Shepherd, Mich., and 1999 Late Model champion No. 25 Jeff Kohn of Sheridan, Mich.
As the green flag dropped Schlenk pulled out to a sizeable lead, and No. 55 Jeep VanWormer of Pinconning, Mich. moved up one spot to second. Running in sixth place midway through the race, No. 21H David Hilliker of Midland, Mich. broke up against the turn four wall.
Later in the race the No. 6M Dona Marcoullier of Houghton Lake, Mich. got a bit off the track in turn fo
ur while in third place and rolled his car. Marcoullier walked away from the rollover. Several laps later the checkered flag would fly and Schlenk would cap off his record-setting night with the Sunoco American Late Model Series “Woof Classic” victory, holding off VanWormer, Kohn, No. 49 Brian Ruhlman of ClarkLake, No. 0X Zack Olger of St. Johns, No. 25 Jon Henry of Ada, Ohio, who made his way from a 21st starting spot, Robinson, No. 23V Ryan VanderVeen of Six Lakes, Mich who came from 22nd spot, No. 27 Eric Spangler of Lake City, Mich and No. 13 Scott Baker of Ionia, Mich in the unofficial top 10.
Up next the Chuck’s Discount Foods UMP Modifieds rolled out for their feature event. The class of the field on this night was No. 0X Zack Olger of St. Johns, Mich who got an early jump on the field and pulled away quickly. At the checkered flag, Olger sailed to his second straight Mt. Pleasant Speedway modified feature win over No. 20D Dan DeLong of Ithaca, Mich, No. 13 Andy Galgoci of Mt. Pleasant, Mich, who charged through the field from a mid-field starting spot, No. 81 Lawrence Sprague Jr. of Mt. Pleasant, Mich, and No. 15 Rich Robinson Jr., of Mt. Pleasant, Mich in the unofficial top five.
Getting early jump in the Smokers Club UMP Stock Cars feature was No. 7 Mike Sparks of Otter Lake, Mich. Then around the halfway mark of the 20-lap feature, Sparks dropped back in the field and No. 10 Gary Vandermark of Lowell, Mich took the lead and never looked back. Vandermark went on to grab the feature win over No. 49 Greg Tragis of Harrison, Mich, No. 77B Rob Brillhart of Crystal, Mich, No. 28 Nathan Murphy of Sanford, Mich, No. 51 Mike Fecko of Gladwin, Mich, No. 06 Kevin Crawford Jr. of Clare, Mich, No. 11 Sr Jeff Loomis of Weidman, Mich, Sparks, and No. 58 Mike Turner of Lake, Mich.
Vandermark is now 8-for-8 on the 2011 season with four features and four heat wins.
Heat wins on the evening went to Chuck’s Discount Foods UMP Modifieds No. 15 Rich Robinson Jr., No. 81 Lawrence Sprague Jr., and No. 22 Roger Flinn III of Ionia, Mich. No. 8B Corey Bevard also picked up a modified semi-feature win. Sunoco ALMS heat wins went to No. 55 Jeep VanWormer, No. 25 Jeff Kohn, and No. 85 Mark Andersen of Blanchard, Mich. No. 13H J.R. Hotovy of Muskegon, Mich grabbed the Late Model semi-feature win. Smokers Club UMP Stock Cars heat wins went to No. 7 Mike Sparks and No. 10 Gary Vandermark. NAPA UMP Modified Mini Stock heat win was picked up by No. 16 Joe Burch of Rosebush, with No. 7 Fred Parisian of Auburn, Mich getting the heat win in the Mt. Pleasant and Clare Automotive Stock Minis.
Due to the time, the Modified Mini and Stock Mini features were postponed. Next Friday, June 3 is a full show with an Eastman Auto UMP Modified Special. Gates open at 5 p.m. and racing at 7:45 p.m. For more information go to www.mtpleasantspeedway.com or check out the track on Facebook.
(Jeremy Dickman is the Mt. Pleasant Speedway Public Relations & Marketing Director)