(FLAT ROCK, Michigan - May 5, 2012) - Race fans were treated to a night full of action and thrills as Flat Rock Speedway kicked off the 2012 racing season. Paul Pelletier, Robbie Loving, Clyde McKee and Rick Bennett captured feature wins.
The moon was full and that usually signals a strange and wild night at the race track! Opening night was not kind to the defending Flat Rock champions. Figure 8 king Jeremy Vanderhoof grenaded an engine in hot laps, went home, put in a new one and did make it back for the race program. Eric Lee, the Late Model champ, had his day go south with just 2 laps to go in the feature while leading, and 2011 Street Stock champ Tim Moore encountered engine trouble after his heat race and did not compete in the main event.
The ARCA Moran Chevrolet Late Model feature, however, was a great show with a surprise ending. The initial start of the race was recalled when Ron Allen and rookie Brad Turner locked bumpers and could not get unhooked. When the green flag did fly on the 50 lap feature, it was 50 laps straight of passing, battles for position and door to door racing. Paul Pelletier nosed out front on the start and sailed along as Eric Lee, coming from 6th spot, worked his way to the front. That duo ran side by side for 4 laps until Lee got by Paul in the outside lane. Pelletier stayed within striking distance as the laps clicked off. Entering turn 2 on lap 48, Lee, with a tire going down, slid up the track and Pelletier, just 2 car lengths back, dove under Eric to take the lead at the white and motored to the checkered flag. Eric held on for second, Steve Cronenwett Jr. was third, while a great battle for fourth went to Ricky Kargel, with Dennis Strickland and Derek Wiley next in line at the stripe. Dan Ford Jr., Joe Hawes, Stan Yee Jr. and Terry Bogusz completed the top ten. Wiley set fast time, with heat wins to Allen and Cronenwett.
A good field of 17 ARCA Parts Galore Figure 8 racers was on hand for the opener. “The General” Jerry Lee appeared headed to the win in the 20 lap contest, but the #31 slipped just a bit with 5 laps to go, giving Robbie Loving an opening to grab the lead and then the victory to start the season. Lee was second, Jeremy Miller returned to Flat Rock action after a brief absence to take third, Billy Earley was fourth and Danny Gaddis was fifth. Gaddis also is returning to weekly action after several years of sitting on the sidelines. Dennis Whisman, Gary Cronenwett, Vanderhoof, Scott Apperson and Steve Chartrand rounded out the top ten. Miller and Cronenwett claimed the heat race wins. Fast time was set by Greg Studt, who got caught up in an early red flag incident that broke the steering on his machine.
Attrition was the word for the ARCA DTS Drive Train Specialists Street Stocks at Flat Rock Saturday. Several drivers encountered mechanical problems, Jeff Luttermoser, Steve Searles and rookie Kyle Huston were all eliminated in a wild heat race wreck (all drivers were ok), while Randy Cornett and Jarod MacZink sustained heavy damage in a hard hit into the turn 1 fence on the start of the 25 lap A Main.
A lengthy clean-up ensued after the initial start of the A Main and when the event went green, it was all Clyde McKee, as the cagey veteran zipped to the victory, leading all 25 laps. The battle for second featured 3 cars trading spots and racing clean and hard as Frank Jiovani worked the high lane, with Rich Frantz and Tadek Stadniczuk door to door for the final 10 laps. Jiovani got to McKee’s door on several occasions but could not muster enough to take the lead. Clyde held on to take the win over Frantz, who grabbed second on the final lap and a half. Stadniczuk was third, Jiovani fourth and Grant Hedges just a car length behind in fifth. Darrell Krause, Rob Moore, Arnold Kirsch, Troy Brehmer and Mark Lavoie completed the top ten. Rick Bennett posted the win in the 10 lap B Main, topping Craig Lange, rookie Tom Jacobs and Don Roberts. Stadniczuk set fast time. Heat race winners were Rob Moore, Billy Cronce, Kirsch and Bennett.
A very, very special night is set for Saturday, May 12 as Flat Rock Speedway honors its many former Figure 8 drivers during the Parts Galore Celebration of 50 years of Figure 8 racing at the track. The track’s very first Figure 8 champ (1962), Dick “Little Richard” Simmons is making the trip from his Florida home to be part of this historic event. Bob Studt, the all-time Figure 8 feature win leader, will also be on hand. Track management has been contacted by many former Figure 8 racers who are making plans to attend the May 12 festivities.
It’s also Racer’s Reunion Night, and a host of former drivers again will be at the track to be honored for their efforts. For the current Flat Rock racers and the fans, Autograph Night is also on tap, where fans can walk onto the track and meet their favorite ARCA Late Model, Figure 8 and Street Stock drivers. The pits will open at 2, practice begins at 3, time trials are at 4:45, the on-track autograph session is at 6:15, followed by the introduction of the guests of honor, the former drivers and the special guests, the former Figure 8 drivers at 7 p.m.
A large crowd is expected for this event, and fans are encouraged to arrive early to take part in the Autograph session and to meet the heroes of the years past at Flat Rock Speedway.
Log onto www.flatrockspeedway for further information. You can like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/toledoflatrock or follow us on Twitter @flatrockspeed. The track is located on Telegraph Road, just 5 minutes from I-75 or I-275. The track phone number is 734-782-2480.