Montague, Michigan (Saturday, April 19th, 2014): The grandstands were filled on Saturday night at the fast 3/8ths (0.375) mile semi banked dirt oval of the Winston Speedway in Montague, Michigan for the kick off to the 2014 racing season after having the original starting date (April 12th) canceled due to bad weather. The fans that have been waiting all winter for some great racing action were greeted with a full program. The show was headlined by the high-powered UMP DIRTcar Late Models who were joined by the UMP DIRTcar Modifieds who battled hard for a $750 to win special, UMP DIRTcar Street Stocks, Factory Stocks/Bombers, Four-Cylinder Mini Stocks, Four-Cylinder Warriors, and Young Guns.
The first main event feature of the night was courtesy of the Young Guns division. Kristina Johnson and Riley Rubelnan led the field out onto the racing surface. Johnson was able to break away for the early lead, and was able to cruise on from there all the way to the checkered flag to pick up her first career feature win. Morgan Smith won the preliminary heat race.
The high powered UMP DIRTcar Late Models made their way out next led by the front row of Greg Gokey and Chris Keller. After the early stages of the feature event, it was five time and defending track champion Rich Neiser who found his way to the front of the field. He remained there until with under ten laps remaining, Neiser would make contact with the outside retaining wall, relinquishing the lead to Dona Marcoullier who went on to pick up the victory.
The 29-year old from Houghton Lake Michigan earned his first victory at Winston Speedway this season behind the wheel of his Northside Towing / Rocket Chassis. Keller ended up finishing second. Brian Ruhlman, two time track champion Tom Sprague Jr., and Gokey made up the rest of the top five. The heats were won by Marcoullier and Sprague Jr.
The UMP DIRTcar Modifieds were out next for their 25-lap feature. Defending track champion Andy Sprague and Travis Stemler led the field out to the green flag. Stemler jumped out to the early advantage, and was able to hold the position until after a close battle with the two time and defending UMP DIRTcar Michigan state champion David Mielke, Stemler fell back to second, and Mielke went on to score the win.
This was the first win of the season for the 22-year old from Gladwin, Michigan in his Rocket by Ruhlman Chassis. Stemler finished second. Sprague, 2011 track champion Mark Anderson, and Steve McClees capped off the rest of the top five finishers. Derek Passenier and McClees picked up the heat victories.
Defending UMP DIRTcar National Street Stock Champion Josh Frye and Chuck Smith made up the front row of the 20-lap main event for the street stocks. Once the green flag waved, it was Smith showing the way as the race leader. There would be a battle between he and Frye for several laps, which finally resulted in Frye getting the better of Smith for the lead. He would continue on from there and was the first to the checkered flag.
The 29-year old from Coopersville, Michigan scored the win at the helm of his Driftwood Bar & Grill / Chevrolet. Smith had to settle for second. Kendall Marlink, defending track champion Sadie Klein, and Derek Poland completed the top five. The lone heat race was won by Frye as well.
The Factory Stocks/ Bombers made their out next for their 15-lap A-main. The front row consisted of Mike Dejonge and Mark Campbell. However it was Josh Grabe who ultimately found his way to the front of the field, and was able to stay there and complete his quest for a feature victory.
Grabe, the 33-year old Muskegon, Michigan native collected his first win of the year with his Grabe Well Drilling / Oldsmobile. Dan Wilson Jr. finished in the runner up position. Nate Trick, Dejonge, and Mike Fekken made up the top five. Grabe also won the lone heat race.
The Four-Cylinder Mini Stocks saw 32-year old Wyoming, Michigan native, Nick Jenema pick up the big victory in his Vision Ink Screen Printing / Saturn. Brian Carson finished second, and Chris Gagnon finished third. 2011 track champion Paul Namey won the heat race.
Finally, the Four-Cylinder Warriors competed in their A-main which saw 33-year old Gary Larabee take home the checkered flag with his first win of the season with his ASAP Towing / Mercury Traser. Mike Goodwin finished second, and Nick Jenema rounded out the podium finishes. Nick Jenema won the lone heat race.
Next week the Winston Speedway will be the site for the running of the 8th Annual Allstar Performance 50 featuring the traveling cars and stars of the Sunoco American Late Model Series (A.L.M.S.) who will be going head to head in a battle rewarding $2500 to the winner. The UMP DIRTcar Modifieds, UMP DIRTcar Street Stocks, Factory Stocks/Bombers, Four-Cylinder Mini Stocks, Four-Cylinder Warriors, and Young Guns will all be in action as well. the Pit Gates Open at 4:00p.m., Grandstands Open at 5:00p.m., Practice Starts at 6:00p.m., and Racing Begins at 7:00p.m.
Winston Speedway is located at 7834 South 72nd Avenue in Rothbury, Michigan. For more information, please call: 1 (231) 737-9223 or go to the website located at: www.winstonspeedwaymi.com Soon you’ll be redirected over to the new domain name at: www.racewinston.com as both will be available for the season. You can also follow everything that is happening on and off the track by becoming a fan on the tracks Facebook Fan Page and following along on Twitter as well. Just go to: www.facebook.com/WinstonSpeedway and www.twitter.com/WinstonSpeedway and click on “Like” and “Follow” buttons today.