Merritt Showdown to Host American Ethanol Late Model Tour Season Opener – Part II

June 6, 2016


2nd Annual Merritt Showdown Presented by Don’s Auto Clinic to pay $6,000 to win


After a rain out of the scheduled American Ethanol Late Model Tour (AELMT) 2016 season opener at Winston Speedway back on May 27th, the AELMT cars and stars will head north for what will now serve as the new 2016 door opener and it’s one of the most prestigious events on the tour. The fast 1/4 (0.250) mile semi-banked clay oval of Merritt Speedway located west of Houghton Lake in Lake City, Michigan will host the 2nd Annual Merritt Showdown Presented by Don’s Auto Clinic. The 40-Lap Feature will pay $6,000 to win and $300 to start.


There will also be a possible B-Main scheduled for the teams who do not transfer into the main event and based on car count. The non-qualifiers race will pay a cool $1,500 to win. The American Ethanol Late Model Tour season opener, part II, will also feature the Allstar Performance Michigan Dirt Cup Modified Tour as well as the American Ethanol Mini Wedge Association and Four-Cylinders.


In addition to the exciting racing on the track, NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee, Rusty Wallace as well as his brother Kenny Wallace and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series rookie of the year title contenders, Chase Elliott and Ryan Blaney will all be on hand for a Meet & Greet hospitality for fans. Included in the meet & greet is a Q&A as well as Autographs and Dinner with the NASCAR contingent.  


There will be an optional practice slated for the day before on Wednesday, June 8th as Pit Gates open at 4:00p.m., with rotating practice going from 5:00-9:00p.m. Then on race day; Thursday, June 9th, the Pit Gates open at 2:00pm with the Grandstand gates swinging open at 4:00p.m. AELMT practice begins at 4:00p.m., as AELMT Qualifying is at 5:30p.m. If any team misses Qualifying, they will start at the rear of a qualifier heat race. Racing gets the green flag at 7:00pm. For ticket and track information, visit:


In the inaugural Merritt Showdown back on June 10th, 2015, three-time track champion at the time, Eric Spangler, who later in the year would secure a fourth Merritt track title, went to victory lane for his one and only AELMT triumph in 2015 over a stellar field as Dona Marcoullier came home in second ahead of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series invader, Austin Dillon in the American Ethanol #3 entry, completed the podium finishers.


Midwest standout, Jeep VanWormer was fourth as Rich Neiser, who would go on to become the inaugural AELMT Champion, completed the top five. A stout 44-car field was in attendance as Steve Fairbanks surprised everyone on hand by out-qualifying the impressive driver roster. Herb Reich, Dillon, Brandon Thirlby and Marcoullier won the qualifier heats as Ed Reyes and Neiser both scored last chance race wins to transfer into the main event. 


The Lake Odessa, Michigan based tour also made one other appearance up north at Merritt on September 6th, 2015 as Rich Neiser would secure the AELMT title with the victory in the Feature over Dona Marcoullier as the legendary Frank Seder was third. Aaron Morey finished fourth and Steve Fairbanks finished off the top five. There were 26 cars in attendance with Neiser winning the fast qualifier award. Fairbanks, Billy Bray and Marcoullier won the qualifier heats. Jeremy Tulick won the last chance race to transfer into the feature.


Amongst the drivers who earned trips to victory lane in the AELMT’s inaugural season included inaugural tour champion, Rich Neiser who won three times. 2015 runner-up, Dona Marcoullier scored two checkered flags as veteran Curtis Roberts won the inaugural race for his lone triumph. Eric Spangler, Herb Reich and third place finisher in points, Brandon Thirlby also picked up victories in the tours’ nine races held in 2015.


Live Timing & Scoring of the American Ethanol Late Model Tour races from Merritt Speedway will be available for absolutely free at: You can also view Live Timing & Scoring from your mobile device by purchasing the Race Monitor Mobile App. In addition, the Voice of the World of Outlaws Craftsman Late Model Series, Matt Prieur, a Michigan native, will be on the mic as guest P.A. Announcer calling the action for AELMT for this event.


A total of 12 races will make up the 2016 AELMT schedule with a $10,000 grand prize going to the 2016 champion. The next event for AELMT after Merritt will be at the big ½ mile of Hartford Motor Speedway on Friday, June 17th. For more AELMT information and news, visit the official tour website at: The Facebook fan page is located at: Finally, you can also follow AELMT on Twitter by visiting:



By: Motor City Racing Promotions | American Ethanol Late Model Tour



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