Merritt Speedway Is Looking For A New General Manager

Merritt Speedway. Photos from the Merritt Speedway Facebook Fanpage.

Going by the title of “Northern Michigan’s Premier Dirt Track” Merritt Speedway is a fast 3/8th mile, semi-banked dirt oval that is located west of Houghton Lake, and just 30 minutes east of Lake City, Michigan. Currently, ownership of the track is looking for a General Manager to run the operations.

According to the press release sent out by the speedway, the position is “an Upper Level Management full-time position at the Jenison, Michigan, headquarters. Role will work in a variety of capacities, including graphic design, communications, marketing, public relations, and operations.”

The release went on to specify; “This above-market-pay position will encompass a wide gamut of responsibilities, allowing the person hired to take full ownership of listed tasks. General management and support to all properties falling under the Merritt Speedway banner, and its related activities and events.”

Ross Kenseth in the red 25.

The entire job description can be read that the Merritt Speedway Facebook Fanpage. Earlier this month the track owner released a statement saying that the current track general manager, Kevin Striegle, had submitted his resignation in order to pursue a lifelong dream of operating his own business, Kevtron Media.

Merrit Speedway

The current owner, Mike Blackmer, purchased the speedway prior to the 2015 season. Blackmer is the former promoter of the Berlin Raceway in Marne, Michigan, and was a car owner in the ARCA/CRA series in 2014. The team supported driver Ross Kenseth, son of former NASCAR driver Matt Kenseth. He sold off the entire racing operation at the end of the season in order to make a bid on the Speedway.

A longtime businessman from the area, Blackmer has owned several companies in the area, including the Pines Sports Bar and Bowling Center, and the Boyne Machine Company in Cadillac, Michigan.

The track was built in 1968 by Gene and Mary Ann Kregear, who turned their ‘back 40′ into a race track to have some fun with during the summer. In 1979, Gene and Mary Ann sold the track to Phil Fuller who ran it for two years.

In 1981 Ed and Carmen VanDuinen bought Merritt Speedway and began the process of bringing the track to prominence in the world of dirt track racing in Michigan. In 2006, the VanDuinen’s leased the track to brothers; Rod and Ricky Ancel. The Ancel’s would become the promoters in 2009 and stayed at the track until the 2012 season. In 2013, the track came back to the VanDuinen family as Steve and Potter, the son-in-law and daughter of Ed and Carmen VanDuinen were the new promoters. At the end of 2014, the Potter’s stepped back from their roles and Carmen VanDuinen put the track up for sale.

Merritt Speedway has hosted such major events as the World of Outlaw Late Model Series, Sprints on Dirt and more, along with the traditional Wood Tic 100 Weekend.

Resumes can be emailed to or mailed to Merritt Speedway, 2169 Pine Ridge Dr., Jenison, MI 49428.


About the author

Bobby Kimbrough

Bobby grew up in the heart of Illinois, becoming an avid dirt track race fan which has developed into a life long passion. Taking a break from the Midwest dirt tracks to fight evil doers in the world, he completed a full 21 year career in the Marine Corps.
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