Schlenk Masters Merritt for Wood Tic Win

August 4, 2019



Lake City, MI (Sunday, August 4, 2019) - The American Ethanol Late Model Tour returned to Merritt Speedway for the second time in 2019 Friday and Saturday, joining in on the largest dirt late model race in the state of Michigan.  The 31st running of the Ed Vanduinen WoodTic was paired up with the 2nd Annual Dan Salay Memorial. The blockbuster race paid $10,000 to win, on top of $20 per lap to lead the event, along with many other contingencies and prizes.


The special event began on Friday with American Ethanol Qualifying.  Not only were drivers trying to set the overall fast time, but the fastest driver from each group would compete in a Fast Car Dash later in the evening.  Group Number One was paced by Travis Stemler who turned in a 14.337, over Dona Marcoullier’s 14.534, and Steve Hiliker’s 14.643. In Group Two, Chad Finley powered his brand new chassis to a 14.413, edging out Brandon Thirlby and his 14.445, and Isaac Wolfgang’s 14.792.  Group Number Three saw Rich Bell go to a 14.723 second lap time, however, right as he crossed the stripe, his engine expired, scratching him for the night. Rusty Schlenk set the pace behind him with a 14.922, and Eric Spangler turned in a 15.004. In the fourth and final group, defending Merritt Speedway Track Champion, Nick Kurtz qualified with a 14.927, besting Matt Shipley’s 14.991, and Andrew Terrill’s 15.191.  Stemler was awarded the Motul Motor Oil and Lubricants Fast Qualifier Award, and he joined Finley, Schlenk (who replaced Bell), and Kurtz in the Senior Insurance Solutions Fast Car Dash.


That was the first of three dash races for the night, Schlenk dominated the event, besting Kurtz by over two tenths of a second.  In the Dash for Cash races, Spangler and Josh Knoll went to victory lane.


In the heat races, no transfer spots were on the line, but a vital piece of the puzzle was up for grabs for the winner of the events; the top two finishers would redraw for starting spots in Saturday’s Odd/Even Features.  Marcoullier, Thirlby, Spangler and Kurtz were all heat race winners


Saturday, the pressure was turned up, as the Odd/Even features were the first on track action of the day.  The 26 lap contests helped set the starting line up for the 31st WoodTic, with the top 8 cars transferring to the show, while the top three redrew for the top six starting positions.  The importance of the races were very clear, as a number of cautions, and a few red flags for track clean-up plagued both races. The Odd race saw Schlenk continue to show his speed as he raced to the win by a comfortable margin over Marcoullier and Stemler.  In the Even race, Thirlby showed patience through the struggles of the race to pick up the win ahead of Finley and Kurtz.


The starting line-up was finalized after two last chance qualifiers, where the top two drivers from each were locked into the show.  One American Ethanol Points Provisional was awarded, along with five Merritt Speedway provisionals, meaning some 26 cars rolled off for the 74 lap main event.


In less than 20 minutes, history was made as a new driver wrote their name onto the list of WoodTic Winners.  Rusty Schlenk and Travis Stemler led the field to the American Ethanol Green Flag, and Schlenk took off as if he was shot out of a cannon.  Schlenk was never again challenged for the top spot, leading all 74 laps en route to his first career WoodTic Victory. Chad Finley avoided a late race scare when he made contact with a lapped car, nearly spinning to the infield.  He held on for a second place finish, some nine seconds behind Schlenk, ahead of Dona Marcoullier who was trying for another three-peat. The final driver on the lead lap was Kurtz who finished over 11 seconds off of Schlenk’s pace.  Only four drivers managed to stay on the lead lap during the race, an oddity that Schlenk accredited to improved track preparation.


The next event for the AELMT is a double-header weekend into the state of Illinois during Labor Day weekend.  Friday, August 30th the Tour makes its first ever trip to Farmer City Raceway, before a first time stop at Fairbury American Legion Speedway on Saturday, August 31st.


To learn more about the American Ethanol Late Model Tour, visit and follow them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


Unofficial Results: Night One


FK Rod Ends Dash 4 Cash Race #1:

  1. 27 Eric Spangler

  2. 6M Dona Marcoullier

  3. 79 Nick Kurtz

  4. M14 Brandon Thirlby

  5. 2 Travis Stemler

  6. 42 Chad Finley

  7. 44 Matt Shipley

  8. 4T Andrew Terrill

  9. 21S Steve Hilliker

  10. 41P Jesse Playter

  11. CJ1 Rusty Schlenk

  12. 9 Isaac Wolfgang


Merritt Speedway Dash 4 Cash Race #2

  1. 87K Josh Knoll

  2. 1W Michael Luberda

  3. 25CB Chris Brindley

  4. 24N Kyle Novak

  5. 15 Dave Baker

  6. 33T Bob Timmer

  7. 16 Mike Staszak

  8. 04 Wade Witherspoon

  9. 1R Todd Rosebrugh

  10. 3 Jeremy Tulick

  11. 44S Colin Shipley


Rick & Bobbi Jones Heat Race #1:

  1. 6M Dona Marcoullier

  2. 2 Travis Stemler

  3. 21S Steve Hilliker

  4. 25CB Chris Brindley

  5. 33T Bob Timmer

  6. 1R Todd Rosebrugh

  7. 52 Brad Harden

  8. 19X Cody Bauer

  9. 44G John Goodrich

  10. 41X Mike Vandermark Jr.


Bill Hill Heat Race #2:

  1. M14 Brandon Thirlby

  2. 42 Chad Finley

  3. 9 Isaac Wolfgang

  4. 87K Josh Knoll

  5. 44S Colin Shipley

  6. 24N Kyle Novak

  7. 87M David Mielke

  8. 113 Kyle Roberts

  9. 21A Logan Arntz

  10. 1X Greg Gokey


Todd & Tonya Pease Heast Race #3:

  1. 27 Eric Spangler

  2. CJ1 Rusty Schlenk

  3. 41P Jesse Playter

  4. 15 Dave Baker

  5. 16 Mike Staszak

  6. 3 Jeremy Tulick

  7. 73 Steve Nieuwenhuis

  8. 42A JT Anderson

  9. 23 Preston Deshano


Pro Power Racing Heat Race #4

  1. 79 Nick Kurtz

  2. 4T Andrew Terrill

  3. 44 Matt Shipley

  4. 1W Michael Luberda

  5. 10 Brett Miller

  6. 04 Wade Witherspoon

  7. 73L Logan Love

  8. 42JR Mike Nelson Jr.

  9. 03 JC Witherspoon

  10. 25JB Jim Billett


Senior Insurance Solutions Fast Car Dash:

  1. CJ1 Rusty Schlenk

  2. 79 Nick Kurtz

  3. 2 Travis Stemler

  4. 42 Chad Finley


Motul Motor Oil Fast Qualifier:

2 Travis Stemler 14.337


Unofficial Results: Night Two


31st Ed Vanduinen WoodTic:

  1. CJ1 Rusty Schlenk

  2. 42 Chad Finley

  3. 6M Dona Marcoullier

  4. 79 Nick Kurtz

  5. 87M David Mielke

  6. 2 Travis Stemler

  7. 113 Kyle Roberts

  8. M14 Brandon Thirlby

  9. 27 Eric Spangler

  10. 21B Rich Bell

  11. 44 Matt Shipley

  12. 21A Logan Arntz

  13. 24N Kyle Novak

  14. 1X Greg Gokey

  15. 25CB Chris Brindley

  16. 15 Dave Baker

  17. 21S Steve Hilliker

  18. 41X Mike Vandermark Jr.

  19. 44S Colin Shipley

  20. 03 JC Witherspoon

  21. 10 Brett Miller

  22. 19X Cody Bauer

  23. 16 Mike Staszak

  24. 41P Jesse Playter

  25. 52 Brad Harden

  26. 9 Isaac Wolfgang


Last Chance Race #1:

  1. 41X Mike Vandermark Jr.

  2. 25CB Chris Brindley

  3. 16 Mike Staszak

  4. 21S Steve Hilliker

  5. 41P Jesse Playter

  6. 42A JT Anderson

  7. 3 Jeremy Tulick

  8. 44G John Goodrich

  9. 73 Steve Nieuwenhuis

  10. 1R Todd Rosebrugh

  11. 23 Preston Deshano


Last Chance Race #2:

  1. 1X Greg Gokey

  2. 24N Kyle Novak

  3. 87K Josh Knoll

  4. 9 Isaac Wolfgang

  5. 42JR Mike Nelson Jr.

  6. 10 Brett Miller

  7. 73L Logan Love

  8. 25JB Jim Billett

  9. 44S Colin Shipley


Odd Feature:

  1. CJ1 Rusty Schlenk

  2. 6M Dona Marcoullier

  3. 2 Travis Stemler

  4. 21B Rich Bell

  5. 15 Dave Baker

  6. 27 Eric Spangler

  7. 19X Cody Bauer

  8. 52 Brad Harden

  9. 25CB Chris Brindley

  10. 16 Mike Staszak

  11. 23 Preston Deshano

  12. 44G John Goodrich

  13. 33T Bob Timmer

  14. 41X Mike Vandermark Jr.

  15. 73 Steve Nieuwenhuis

  16. 21S Steve Hilliker

  17. 41P Jesse Playter

  18. 1R Todd Rosebrugh

  19. 3 Jeremy Tulick


Even Feature:

  1. M14 Brandon Thirlby

  2. 42 Chad Finley

  3. 79 Nick Kurtz

  4. 113 Kyle Roberts

  5. 87M David Mielke

  6. 44 Matt Shipley

  7. 03 JC Witherspoon

  8. 21A Logan Arntz

  9. 24N Kyle Novak

  10. 1X Greg Gokey

  11. 87K Josh Knoll

  12. 9 Isaac Wolfgang

  13. 73L Logan Love

  14. 42JR Mike Nelson Jr.

  15. 25JB Jim Billett

  16. 4T Andrew Terrill

  17. 04 Wade Witherspoon

  18. 10 Brett Miller

  19. 1W Michael Luberda

  20. 44S Colin Shipley

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