The Midwest Indoor Racing Series completed the 2015/2016 winter racing season with the running of the 2016 Cereal City Winter Showdown. For the ninth time in the series four-year history and out of 16 total events conducted since the inaugural 2012/2013 campaign, Kellogg Arena in Battle Creek, Michigan served as hosts. An impressive 152 teams jammed the pit area and the good crowd on hand was treated to an exciting and fun night in southern Michigan.
The headlining event of the evening would be the 50-lap Cereal City Winter Showdown for the 600cc Non-Winged Mini Sprints. After a thrilling battle between Clay Sanders, who swept the Thanksgiving Classic Weekend back in November and Engine Pro Sprints on Dirt star, Ryan Ruhl that would see the two standouts swap the lead six times in a span of eight laps. Sanders’ #21 Joker Motorsports machine took the lead for the final time on lap 31 and would lose Ruhl in traffic en route to a clean sweep of the three races that made up the 2015/2016 MIRS Winter Racing Season. The 21-year-old driver from Holt, Michigan had never won in MIRS competition prior to this winter and in the last two races; he beat Ruhl, a standout in Winged Sprint Car racing in the Midwest both times.
Ruhl came home second with Jason Ormsby rounding out the podium finishers. Jeff Wolfersberger scored a career high fourth place finish as Fast Qualifier, Howard McCormick completed the top five. A.J. Lesiecki was sixth as 18-year-old Blake Lamb, 17-year-old Tyler Fitzpatrick, Mark Zumbrun and 15-year-old Ryan Ball finished off the top 10. McCormick won the Fast Qualifier award over the 17-car field with a lap measured at a 7.675 around the 0.091 mile flat concrete oval. Wolfersberger, Bill Dunham and Ormsby scored the Heat Race wins.
In the Mini Cups 30-lap feature, Scott Quaal had been the man to beat in the only full-bodied division within MIRS over since the end of the 2013/2014 winter racing season having not lost a race. A span of five total features for the class. His streak came to an after a thrilling battle with pole-sitter, Kyle Trinklein that saw Trinklein even lead for one lap. Contact was made with three laps to go between the two battling drivers sending Quaal around in turn two. Both drivers were sent to the rear of the field, giving the lead to Colton Sensiba who would then lose the point a lap later to 16-year-old Matt Kemp who wouldn’t make a mistake the rest of the way to score his first career MIRS Feature win.
The Sawyer, Michigan teenager in his #5 Anytime Sports entry fought off a last minute charge from Sensiba to take home the trophy and become the first driver other than Quaal and Todd Cowan to win a MIRS Mini Cups Feature in series history. Sensiba finished a career high second ahead of Fast Qualifier, 15-year-old Zack Nichols. Quaal recovered to finish fourth over John Culp who finished up the final top five. 17-year-old Steven Nichols was sixth while Brad Perry, 18-year-old Nicole Stanley, Robert Siegel and 14-year-old Maggie Struthers finished off the top 10. Z. Nichols out-timed the new MIRS Mini Cups record 17 cars in the building with an 8.946 as Trinklein, Stanley and Quaal won Heat Races.
The Lawn Mowers would see the two top divisions, the Super Modifieds and Modifieds combined for the evening, but the results would be the same as they had been 11 previous times in the last four seasons. Sparta, Michigan veteran, Jayson Mikula thoroughly dominated for a clean sweep of the winter season in the premier Lawn Mowers class and his 12th career MIRS Feature win, good for second all-time in series history. The 39-year-old would also sweep the entire day as he won the Fast Qualifier award with an 8.382 and also won the Heat.
Keith Reed Jr., won the Lawn Mowers Stock Feature in his #8 Kalamazoo Speedway grass cutter after a thrilling battle with Mikula to give the 25-year-old from Galesburg, Michigan his first career MIRS Feature win. In doing so, he prevented Mikula from completely sweeping all Lawn Mowers events as Mikula set fast time in the Lawn Mower Stocks with a 10.011 and won the Heat Race, just as he did in the Super Modifieds/Modifieds division.
The Go-Karts were out in force for the Cereal City Winter Showdown and the big winner of the night would be 23-year-old Dylan Woodling. The Warsaw, Indiana driver in his #3 30 West Auto Sales & Service karts picked up two Feature wins on the night in the Heavy Clones and the Senior Caged divisions. For Woodling, it would bring his career MIRS Feature wins total to three. There were 26 Heavy Clones in the building as in the Heat Races, Woodling also won there as well while Phillip Schneider (twice), Nate Gressman, Daniel Hoffman and Josh McKnight also scored wins. Travis Fisher won the Last Chance Race. Woodling would then sweep both Senior Caged Heats as well for five total checkered flags.
In the Go-Karts 360s Feature, Findlay, Ohio driver, Brad Bowers made the most of his Midwest Indoor Racing Series debut as the 29-year-old driver of his #53 Peterson Electric machine went to victory lane in a wild 20-lap main. There were 22 360s on hand as Bowers also scored a Heat Race victory while a pair of 16-year-olds’, Joey Pendergrass (Twice) and Sam Weaver, plus Phillip Schneider and Nate Gressman also picked up wins. Jake Barker won the Last Chance Race.
As for the Go-Karts Gold Plate division, 11-year-old Andrew Scheid went to victory lane for the second time during the 2015/2016 winter racing season and sixth time overall of his young career. The Kent City, Michigan driver in his #18 Boyne Machine Company kart was the 2014/2015 Go-Karts Purple Plate Champion. He also swept the entire day in the division by winning both Heat Races.
Nine-year-old Aiden Williamson continues to impress in the Go-Karts Junior Caged division as the Warsaw, Indiana youngster in his #19 R&B Car Company ride collected career MIRS Feature win #6. The Hoosier State driver also swept both Heat Races as in the first one; he rolled his machine down the back stretch early in the event. After going to the “Hot Pits” for quick repairs, he came back out to pick up the win which led into him sweeping the entire day.
The Go-Karts Purple Plates saw another 11-year-old take the checkered flag first. Flint, Michigan driver, Billy Ross in his #9K.W.E. Tire Prep ride won his second straight and second MIRS Feature of his young career. He also won his Heat Race while 12-year-old Max Frank picked up the victory in the other Heat Race.
The youngest division within the Midwest Indoor Racing Series, the Go-Karts Kids Karts saw a young driver make a long trip worthwhile. Seven-year-old Cohen Henze, whose parents brought him to the Great Lakes State from Brodhead, Wisconsin, won the Feature in his first ever MIRS start. Henze’s #88 Decatur Dairy Cheese Store kart also scored a Heat Race victory. Six-year-old Parker Moyer, five-year-old Oliver Osborn and six-year-old Audra Weaver also picked up Heat Race triumphs.
In the Quarter Midgets, the story was once again Chase Burda as the now 11-year-old added two more Feature wins to his MIRS all-time career Feature wins total. The Columbiaville, Michigan youngster in his #18 Rob’s Service ride added victories #26 and #27 after winning both the Light 160s and Senior Animals main events. He also won the Light 160s Heat Race earlier in the afternoon.
However, Burda was denied the “Hat Trick” of three Feature victories in one day in the Senior Hondas as nine-year-old Landon Hathaway put a stop to Burda’s dominance in his #10 Big Lake Brewing machine with his second career MIRS Feature triumph. The Grad Haven, Michigan driver would also pick up the victory in the Senior Hondas Heat Race. Another nine-year-old, Drew Blom also held off Burda earlier in the day by winning the Senior Animals Heat Race.
Another two-time Feature Winner during the Cereal City Winter Showdown would be eight-year-old Race Bible who went to victory lane in both the Quarter Midget Junior Hondas and Junior Animals divisions. The Hastings, Michigan pre-teen aboard his #5 and #9 Honey Doo Construction entries added career Feature wins #5 and #6 in his brief time in MIRS. He swept both divisions in everything as he also won both Heat Races. His bid for a three-peat was also denied in the Light 160s in a race in which he flipped during the early stages of the event, which was won, ironically, by Burda.
In the Quarter Midget Heavy 160s, it would be 12-year-old Mackena Snyder who would see the checkered flag first in her #23 SendOutCards.com machine for her second career MIRS Feature win. Her first win came in this event one year ago. The Kalamazoo, Michigan driver also snapped Bobby Stanley’s win streak at two in the process. Stanley did manage to score the win in the Heat Race.
Lastly in the Quarter Midget Heavy Honda main event of the evening, it would be another 12-year-old representative of Little Kalamazoo Speedway winning a MIRS Feature. Like Hathaway, Bible and Snyder, Regan Powell would fly the LKS colors proudly in victory lane as the Scotts, Michigan driver in his #42 Culver’s Restaurants ride collected his second MIRS Feature of the season and third of his MIRS career, all of which have come at Kellogg Arena. 10-year-old Madison Snyder won the Heat Race.
The 2015/2016 Winter Racing Season is complete for the Midwest Indoor Racing Series (MIRS). Owned and operated by Motor City Racing Promotions (MCRP) based out of Rochester Hills, Michigan and features some of the most exciting racing in the Midwestern United States. MIRS is a revolutionary racing series designed to provide “circle track” auto racing, inside arenas and expo centers across the Midwestern United States. It’s great entertainment for the casual motorsports fan, short track diehards and fun for the entire family. Plus, MIRS helps get motorsports fans through those cold winter months. The 2016/2017 winter racing season will be the fifth anniversary campaign.
To learn more about Motor City Racing Promotions, the sanctioning body for the Midwest Indoor Racing Series and to inquire about sponsorship opportunities available as well as to book events for the fifth anniversary 2016/2017 winter racing season, email or call MCRP/MIRS President, Scott Menlen at: [email protected] and/or the MCRP office: (248) 747-6277. You can also go to the MIRS website located at: www.midwestindoorracingseries.
-Midwest Indoor Racing Series Press Release & Photo