[Special from Zach Hiser]
A full field of 23 DIRTcar UMP Modifieds rolled into Merritt Speedway Saturday night for a $3,000 to win affair with the American Ethanol Modified Tour Presented by Allstar Performance (AEmods). A competitive class of drivers did their best to find YellowHose.com Victory Lane, but none could compete with Watervliet, Michigan’s Curt Spalding.
Spalding and Colin Thirlby led the field to the American Ethanol Green Flag, and it would be Thirlby who jumped out to the early race lead. That was short-lived though, as just four laps later, Spalding used the inside of the race track to muscle his way around a struggling Thirlby; Jeffery Erickson, Jr. also used the bottom of the raceway to slip by Thirlby on his march to the podium.
A caution flew 10 laps in, setting up the first restart of the evening. Spalding jumped back out to the uncontested lead, but the battle was strong within the podium, as Erickson, Thirlby, and AEmods points leader Will Krup. Krup worked his way to the inside of Thirlby on the restart, but the bottom line was clogged with Erickson, keeping all three under a tight blanket for a number of laps.
Erickson and Krup managed to run away with the battle for second, as Spalding continued to put lapped traffic between him and the pair. Inside of ten laps to go, heavy lapped traffic bottled up the battle for the second, and Erickson spun in the center of turns one and two.
Spalding survived another restart with just a handful of laps to go, as Krup settled into the second spot ahead of Thirlby. The final three laps of the event though needed three attempts; as Thirlby spun in turns three and four during the white flag lap.
On the first overtime restart, Spalding again jumped out into the lead and looked to again have the win in his sights, but as he again crossed under the white flag, a two-car spin in turn three drew the caution once more. Once again, the American Ethanol Green Flag flew, and Spalding, as the story goes, quickly gapped Krup and David Mielke. Joe Rokos and Jacob Poel rounded out the top five.
The next event for the AEmods is Thursday, August 29th from I-96 Speedway, paired up with the Morton Buildings World of Outlaws Late Model Series. Learn more about the AEmods by logging on to aemods.com. Find and follow the Tour on social media, including Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
Race Results: GetBioFuel.com 30:
Allstar Performance Heat Race 1: 1. #47 Collin Thirlby, 2. #87 David Mielke, 3. #5 Curt Spalding, 4. #19 Chad Bauer, 5. #77 Joe Rokos, 6. #4J Paul Johnson, 7. #60 Nate Wilber.
YellowHose.com Heat Race 2: 1. #82 Jacob Poel, 2. #99 Brent Banning, 3. #1E Jeffery Erickson Jr., 4. #15 Dave Baker, 5. #15H Austin Harnick, 6. #18 Dan Wierman, 7. #1* Wyatt Baker, 8. #17 Allen Oyer.
COMP Cams Heat Race 3: 1. #12 John McClure, 2. #K19 Will Krup, 3. #92 Caleb Kill, 4. #23 Luke Hubbell, 5. #9 Garrett Rons, 6. #17 Larry Cade, 7. #07W Ben Wager, 8. #22 Jim Patterson.
Feature (30 Laps): 1. #5 Curt Spalding, 2. #K19 Will Krup, 3. #87 David Mielke, 4. #77 Joe Rokos, 5. #82 Jacob Poel, 6. #12 John McClure, 7. #15 Dave Baker, 8. #19 Chad Bauer, 9. #9 Garrett Rons, 10. #23 Luke Hubbell, 11. #17 Larry Cade, 12. #60 Nate Wilber, 13. #92 Caleb Kill, 14. #1* Wyatt Baker, 15. #22 Jim Patterson, 16. #07 Allen Oyer, 17. #18 Dan Wierman, 18. #07W Ben Wager, 19. #47 Collin Thirlby, 20. #1E Jeffery Erickson Jr., 21. #99 Brent Banning, 22. #4J Paul Johnson, 23. #15H Austin Harnick.
Motul Motor Oil Fast Qualifier: K19 Will Krup 15.291