Thirlby Wins Dramatic 40 at I-96 Speedway

Lake Odessa, MI (May 25, 2018) – The third show for the American Ethanol Late Model Tour (AELMT) got underway Friday night at Lake Odessa, Michigan’s I-96 Speedway during the POET BioFuels Memorial Day Weekend of Racing.  Thirty of the area’s best drivers were in attendance trying to claim the $4,000 pay day that came with winning the 40 Presented by NUVU Fuels of Ionia.


A long and busy night taunted the packed house that was in attendance for the night of racing that included three make-up Features for the I-96 House Divisions as well as three Heat Races, a Last Chance Qualifier and the main event for the AELMT.  Eric Spangler started the night off as the Motul Motor Oils and Lubricants Fast Qualifier turning at 16.431 second lap around the 4/10s mile oval.


Heat Races and the Last Chance Qualifier for the AELMT were fairly uneventful in comparison to the rest of the night for the Tour.  Steve Casebolt, Brandon Thirlby and David Meilke picked up Heat Race wins, while Logan Arntz drove his way to the Last Chance Qualifier win.


With the stage and field set, fans, officials and drivers alike were ready for the first event of 2018 in the Tours home state of Michigan.  A handful of cautions troubled the first 5 laps of the 40 before the cars and stars strung out for a long 25 lap green flag run.  On Lap 31 Matt Shipley took a solo spin to bring out the caution on lap 31 – from there, things got interesting.


After a false start by leader Rusty Schlenk, the field was bunched up again for a nine-lap shoot out.  Rich Bell had worked his way up through the field to restart in second spot.  On the restart, Bell chose the inside line while Schlenk started in row one by himself on the top of the race track.  Into turns one and two, Bell dove right to the bottom of the race track to attempt a slide job on Schlenk.  As Bell slid to the top of the race track, Schlenk attempted the cross-over and the two cars locked together exiting turn two.  The two could not pull apart from one another, and collected eight other cars on the back stretch before Schlenk flipped on the back stretch.  All the drivers were okay following the accident. The field was cut in half going from 16 on track down to eight.  That handed the lead over to Thirlby for the final nine laps.  He went on to win the 40 and the $4,000 pay day.


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Full Results below:


Allstar Performance Heat 1

1. C9 Steve Casebolt

2. CJ1 Rusty Schlenk

3. 27 Eric Spangler

4. 42 Chad Finley

5. 2 Travis Stemler

6. 20 Chad White

7. RH21 Gregg Haskell

8. 2J Bry Johnson

9. P3 Jeff Robertson


NUVU Fuels Heat 2

1. M14 Brandon Thirlby

2. 13 JR Hotovy

3. 44 Matt Shipley

4. 21B Rich Bell

5. 15 Phil Ausra

6. 49 Brian Ruhlman

7. 117 Kevin Reeve

8. 4 Jason PLayter Jr.

9. 79M Kory Maurice

10. 8 Rob AnderZack Heat 3

1. 87M David Mielke

2. 6M Dona Marcoullier

3. 79 Nick Kurtz

4. 23V Ryan VanderVeen

5. 1N Casey Noonan

6. 21A Logan Arntz

7. 23W Brad Wade

8. 39 Hillard Miller

9. 12 Scott Fisk

10. 7M Brad Mann


Carbon Green BioEnergy Last Chance Qualifier

1. 21A Logan Arntz

2. 20 Chad White

3. 49 Brian Ruhlman

4. 117 Kevin Reeve

5. 23W Brad Wade

6. 39 Hillard Miller

7. 7M Brad Mann

8. 5 Michael Archer

9. 79M Kory Maurice

10. RH21 Gregg Haskell

11. P3 Jeff Robertson

12. 12 Scott Fisk 40 A-Main

1. M14 Brandon Thirlby

2. 79 Nick Kurtz

3. 2 Travis Stemler

4. 1N Casey Noonan

5. 21B Rich Bell

6. 23V Ryan VanderVeen

7. 15 Phil Ausra

8. C9 Steve Casebolt

9. 42 Chad Finley

10. 27 Eric Spangler

11. 23W Brad Wade

12. 21A Logan Arntz

13. 44 Matt Shipley

14. 117 Kevin Reeve

15. RH21 Gregg Haskall

16. 6M Dona Marcoullier

17. 39 Hillard Miller

18. 87M David Mielke

19. 49 Brian Ruhlman

20. CJ1 Rusty Schlenk (DQ - Unsportsmanlike Conduct)

21. 13 JR Hotovy (DQ - Crew on Racing Surface)

22. 20 Chad White (DQ - Abuse of Official)





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