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Poel Back to Victory Lane During Wild Night at Merritt Speedway

September 10, 2018


Lake City, MI (Sunday, September 9, 2018) - For the final time in 2018, competitors and crews with the American Ethanol Modified Tour Presented by Allstar Performance (AEMODT) set up shop at Merritt Speedway for the 30.  Going into the event, just four races remained on the schedule, with the top three drivers in the Championship Standings separated by just 52 points and those top three have proven their knowledge of the 0.275 mile Speedway in Lake City, Michigan.  However, 21 other drivers wanted a chance to take home the win.



The fireworks on the racetrack started much earlier than anticipated Saturday night, as Michael Patrick went for a wicked ride during group two of hot laps.  Patrick entered turn one on the white flag lap of his run and things went terribly wrong. Patrick slid off the top of the turn one embankment, the frame work under his number 26P caught the peak of the track and that sent him barrel-rolling several times toward the Merritt Speedway pit area.  Patrick's car came to rest on the driver's side door as the Motor City Racing Promotions - American Ethanol Modified Tour Safety Team rushed to the scene.  Patrick was okay after the violent crash, for which some officials commented that his car was nearly even with the top of the catch fence while in the air.  The incident totaled Patrick's car, ending his night.


The remainder of hot laps were uneventful as crews and officials worked into Motul Motor Oil and Lubricants Qualifying.  Group one was led by David Mielke, who turned a 14.131 second lap time, while group two was paced by Joe Rokos with a 14.631 second lap, with group three being led by Jefferey Erickson Jr. at 14.701 seconds.  Mielke's lap time made a couple of new marks in the AEMODT history books, including a new AEMODT Track Record, beating his time from earlier this season of 14.448.  Mielke also becomes the first driver in Tour history to claim the Fast Qualifier Award in every visit to a track in a single season with more than one visit.


Saturday’s 30 also marked the season's end for the Merritt Speedway house divisions, which includes DirtCar UMP Modifieds.  In the Merritt Speedway Kevtron Media Four Car Dash points standings, a tie was in place between Mielke and Rokos. AEMODT Officials agreed to hold an optional Dash to help the racetrack break the tie and crown a dash champion.  Chad Bauer collected the four-lap dash win, while Rokos finished second, one spot ahead of Mielke, collecting the dash championship.


From there, competitors prepared for the first of three heat races, hoping to change the trends that were sent by the house divisions of multiple cautions per race.  It appeared as though the AEMODT crew would not be immune to the trend. Allstar Performance Heat Race 1 saw an opening lap, first turn incident involving Chase Burda, John McClure and Kyle Novak.  Novak would leave the race with a broken driveshaft. Burda and McClure were able to continue.  A single car spin slowed the field once more before Jacob Poel and David Mielke became locked in a heated battle for second spot behind Brent Banning.  Going into turn three, on lap six, Mielke got sideways, right below Poel.  It was unclear how much, if any, contact was made between the two drivers. As Mielke contested his spot, once he got his car going again, he was called as the solo caution car in the incident by Race Control and was sent to the tail of the field.  Banning went on to win the race. Mielke drove his way back to second and Poel finished third. 


The remaining heat races were fairly uneventful, with QuarterMaster Clutches Heat Race 2 being slowed twice for single car incidents, with Rokos going on to collect the win.  Zoye Vegetable Oil Heat Race 3 was only slowed once for a two-car spin before Paul Johnson went on to collect the win.


No Last Chance Qualifier would be needed on a night with 23 cars remaining on the property, so the field was set for the 30 based solely on heat race results. 


Again, the trend of the night haunted the AEMODT as an opening lap caution waved for Jeffery Erickson Jr. who spun to the bottom of turn one. Rokos set the pace following the complete restart and led the way uncontested until a lap 14 caution was caused by a single car spin.  On the restart, Poel found himself in contention to take the lead from Rokos.  The two battled for several laps before Poel was able to clear Rokos off of turn four, taking the lead on lap 20.  The final ten laps of the race, however, would take just as long, if not longer, then the first 20, as things became very interesting.  A lap 22 caution would stack the field up after a single car spin in turn four. Then, two laps later, another caution flew when Mark Beard and Luke Hubble came together on the front stretch, with Beard facing the wrong way and Hubble against the wall - Beard took his machine pit-side while Hubble finished the race.  The field came back to what all hoped would be the final restart of the race, with Poel, Rokos and Mielke all battling for a chance to go to Victory Lane.  As the field came back to the Five-To-Go Signal, a caution was being called for a two-car spin in turn four; as that happened, Larry Cade's number 17 made contact with the front stretch guardrail, sending him flipping down the front stretch and into turn one.  Cade, whose car was heavily damaged, was also okay following his dramatic crash.  After a nine-minute red flag, racing resumed and the final five laps of the race were completed.  Rokos tried to get the lead but just couldn't get close enough to overtake Poel, who went on to collect his third win of the 2018 season.


Next up for the AEMODT is the long-anticipated return to Marne, Michigan's Berlin Raceway, when Berlin Goes Dirt on September 15th.  The AEMODT will be joined by the American Ethanol Late Model Tour and supporting Street Stocks.  More information, including gate times and ticket info, log onto


If you can't attend the event, be sure to log onto and click "Race Day Live".  There, you'll find flag-to-flag coverage of the event powered by Motorsports Broadcasting of Michigan, as well as LIVE timing and scoring powered by Motor City Racing Promotions. Join the conversation with the AEMODT on social media, including Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, using the hashtag AEMODT and powered by Kevtron Media. 30 A-Main

1. 82 Jacob Poel

2. 77 Joe Rokos

3. 87M David Mielke

4. 4J Paul Johnson

5. 19 Cad Bauer

6. 15 Dave Baker

7. 92 Caleb Kill

8. 62 Daryl Lehn

9. 87K Josh Knoll

10. 18 Chase Burda

11. 24N Kyle Novak

12. 63R Donnie Roberts

13. 12 John McClure

14. 23 Luke Hubbell

15. 9 Garrett Rons

16. 22 Jim Patterson

17. 29K Jerry Kent

18. 77D Anthony Deming

19. 17 Larry Cade

20. 28 Mark Beard

21. 29 Corey Finley

22. 99 Brent Banning

23. 1E Jeffery Erickson Jr.


Heat 3

1. 4J Paul Johnson

2. 1E Jeffery Erickson Jr.

3. 92 Caleb Kill

4. 17 Larry Cade

5. 87K Josh Knoll

6. 29K Jerry Kent

7. 63R Donnie Roberts

8. 22 Jim Paterson


Heat 2

1. 77 Joe Rokos

2. 19 Chad Bauer

3. 15 Dave Baker

4. 9 Garrett Rons

5. 77D Anthony Deming

6. 62 Daryl Lehn

7. 28 Mark Beard


Heat 1

1. 99 Brent Banning

2. 87M David Mielke

3. 82 Jacob Poel

4. 23 Luke Hubbell

5. 18 Chase Burda

6. 29 Corey Finley

7. 12 John McClure

8. 24N Kyle Novak



Allstar Performance Hard Charger: 24N Kyle Novak

ARP Most Laps Lead: 77 Joe Rokos

CompCams Halfway Leader: 77 Joe Rokos

Quarter Master Move of the Race: 77 Joe Rokos

Dirty Girl Racewear P10: *18 Chase Burda

Motul Motor Oils Fast Qualifier: 87 David Mielke

Lane Automotive Member A: 82 Jacob Poel

Lane Automotive Member B: 4J Paul Johnson

* = Non-Member, not eligible to receive award certificate



Story By: Motorsports Broadcasting of Michigan 

Photos By: Jim DenHamer




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