Flint, Michigan — The third season of indoors racing for Motor City Racing Promotions and the Midwest Indoor Racing Series concluded with a trip to the facility where it all began; Perani Arena & Event Center in Flint, Michigan. The 2015 MIRS Season Championships were on Saturday, March 7th as the 2014/2015 MIRS Champions were crowned throughout the weekend in all MIRS classes. A standing room only sold out crowd jam-packed the arena for the final race of the winter season as 125 teams were in the building on a very entertaining and exciting night.
The headlining 600cc Mini Sprints saw 15-year-old Chase Ridenour give himself an early birthday present of a second consecutive championship. The Perry, Michigan standout, who turns 16 on March 9th and clinched his second straight MIRS title once the green flag flew on the Flint-Town 50, took the lead from pole-sitter, Rod Henning with 10 laps to go using lapped traffic as a pick and would pull away to his second Feature Win of the season and fourth of his career in his #11 Ridenour’s Towing & Repair machine.
Henning settled for second as John Ivy, Peter Hathaway and 16-year-old Tyler Fitzpatrick completed the top five. With his fifth place finish, Fitzpatrick nailed down the runner-up position in the final points standings with 18-year-old Jonathan Lesiecki rounding out the podium. Combined age of the final top three in points is 50 years. Henning scored the Fast Qualifier award around the fast 0.093 mile flat concrete oval with a 7.498. Rusty Strausbaugh won the Fast Dash while Howard McCormick and Ivy picked up the victories in the two Qualifier Heat Races for the premier division within MIRS.
There was another driver who was able to add a title (two in fact) to his MIRS resume as 10-year-old Chase Burda, who won the Quarter Midget Senior Honda title in 2013/2014 repeated as champion in that division while also adding the honors of Quarter Midget Senior Animal Champion as well. The Columbiaville, Michigan driver in his #18 Rob’s Service entry simply needed to show up to repeat at Senior Honda champion while in the Senior Animal Feature, he finished second to 10-year-old Casey Smith who prevented Burda from winning his coveted 20th career MIRS Feature.
Smith in his #3 RSR Racecars North machine fought off Burda to score his first of two Feature Wins of the night. Burda’s second place finish though was good enough for his all-time leading third career MIRS Championship to lead Ridenour by one in that category all-time. Burda did also win the Qualifier Heat Race.
In the continuing rivalry between Smith and Burda, Smith would edge out Burda in the Quarter Midget Light 160s as the Portland, Michigan driver bested Burda to win his second Feature of the night and sixth of his MIRS career and in the process, passed Burda in the points standings with the win for the 2015 Championship in the Light 160s as well. His second Championship in a row in the division, which also ties Ridenour for second overall with two titles in MIRS history. Burda would also win the Qualifier Heat Race so as to not leave Flint, Michigan empty-handed.
Smith’s older sister, 12-year-old Corey Smith made it a great night for the Smith Family Racing Team as the Portland, Michigan young lady in her #8 RSR Racecars North machine scored her second Feature Win of the season in the Quarter Midget Heavy 160s. However in the title chase, 16-year-old Bobby Stanley’s second place finish was good enough to secure the 2015 Championship in his #12 Stanley Lawn & Garden ride. The Marshall, Michigan teenager needed to finish third or better to lock up the title and his runner-up showing was more than enough to bring home the hardware. Stanley would also win the Qualifier Heat Race.
Stanley’s older sister, 17-year-old Nicole Stanley ended her Quarter Midget career on the highest note possible. The Marshall, Michigan driver in her #2 Stanley Lawn & Garden entry won her third Feature of the season and fifth of her career in the Quarter Midget Heavy Honda division while locking up her first Championship as well. This was Stanley’s final race of her career in the division as she has aged out of the class. 14-year-old Taylor Sexton collected the Qualifier Heat Race win.
As for the rest of the Quarter Midget divisions, the Junior Animals saw 8-year-old Levi Lux have a night he’ll never forget as the Vicksburg, Michigan driver in his #2 Spastic Racing machine locked up the division Championship with the Feature Win as well as the victory in the Qualifier Heat Race. He then went out and picked up his second feature win of the night and third of his career when he scored the Junior Honda triumph. However, the division championship went to fellow 8-year-old Alex Sexton who locked up the title in his #9 Tapper Chevrolet machine, the first career championship for the Mattawan, Michigan youngster. Sexton also won the Qualifier Heat Race.
In the Arena/Mini Cup Cars, Scott Quaal made the home track fans happy in his #1 Custom Engineering Heating & Cooling ride dominating the night in the division. The 31-year-old driver from near-by Bridgeport, Michigan started the day by breaking the track record in Qualifying by going an 8.164 which was a blistering 0.537 seconds better than the old track record which was a 9.807. Quaal would then win his Qualifier Heat Race and dominate the Feature en route to sweeping the entire season in the division and winning his first MIRS Championship. It was his third Feature win of the year and seventh of his career to move past Todd Cowan for the lead all-time in the division.
The Great Lakes Tire Go-Karts divisions brought eight classes to Eastern Michigan and the youngest division in the building would be the Kids Karts. Brodie Wendel, the 5-year-old from Fort Wayne, Indiana made the haul north worthwhile in his #47 Pro Tow kart and made a little history in the process. Wendel became the youngest driver in MIRS history to win a Championship after completing the clean sweep of the entire day as well as of the entire season in the class by winning the Qualifier Heat and Feature in both events for the division, which was added on January 17th.
The Nationwide Auto Finance Purple Plate division would see another first time champion in 11-year-old Andrew Scheid, as the Sparta, Michigan preteen would complete the clean sweep of the weekend and of the season while also winning the division’s title. The driver of the #18 Enterprise Iron & Metal machine scored his fourth Feature win of the winter and also won his Qualifier Heat Race. Fellow 11-year-old Max Frank picked up the second Qualifier Heat Race Win.
As for the Nationwide Auto Finance Gold Plate division, 15-year-old Hunter Doutre completed a breakout season for the Swartz Creek, Michigan driver to the roar and approval of the partisan hometown fans in attendance. The driver of the #73 Outdoor Adventures R.V. Resorts machine swept the season by winning his fourth Feature in four starts and seventh of his career to stamp his exclamation point on a dominating season that saw Doutre never lose a race he took the green flag in. He swept both Qualifier Heat Races while a pair of 13-year-old young ladies, Victorya Truemner and Kaitlin Randall won the other Qualifier Heats.
The Great Lakes Tire Junior Caged Karts saw another young rising star make his presence felt as 8-year-old Aiden Williamson swept the entire night in his #19 R&B Car Company Go-Kart en route to his third Feature win of the season, third MIRS triumph of his career and the 2015 Championship in the division. Williamson scored two additional wins in both of his Qualifier Heat Races on his way to the ‘Hat Trick.’
For the Great Lakes Tire Senior Caged Karts Presented by MMR Motorsports, Zack Myers scored his third Feature win of the season and would clinch the division Championship in the process in his #41 Scott Burris Racing Engines machine. The 20-year-old Clyde, Ohio driver lapped nearly the entire field en route to the victory and title. He also scored a Qualifier Heat Race win while Dylan Woodling picked up the other Qualifier Heat Race victory.
The Great Lakes Tire Heavy Clones Presented by Your Custom Design would see Pleasant Lake, Indiana competitor, Josh McKnight bring home second Feature win of the season, the fourth of his MIRS career and the 2015 Divisional Championship for his efforts. The 26-year-old came into the night with a slim three-point lead over veteran Charlie Schultz and McKnight would keep his 330 BooWho Graphics machine ahead of the Buckeye State veteran for the entire night en route to the accolades. He also won a Qualifier Heat Race while Tyler Ransbottom, who nearly defeated McKnight in the Feature, scored a pair of Qualifier Heat Race victories. 15-year-old Joey Pendergrass scored the final Qualifier Heat Race triumph.
The widely popular Great Lakes Tire Go-Kart 360s Presented by JVM Racing brought a stellar 22-car field to Perani Arena & Event Center and when all was said and done, 15-year-old Joey Pendergrass driving his #3 Pendergrass Racing entry into victory lane for his first career MIRS Feature Win. The Huron, Ohio competitor held off Tyler Ransbottom who finished second for the second race in a row. Daniel Hoffman finished fourth to win 2015 Championship in a very competitive division in his #90 Weaver Performance kart. The 25-year-old from Fremont, Ohio was a model of consistency on his way to his first MIRS title.
Jeff Town picked up two Qualifier Heat Race victories while Ransbottom, Jake Wachtman, Josh McKnight, and Hoffman all scored single triumphs. Veteran Charlie Schultz, the reigning 360s Champion coming into the weekend who still had a chance at repeating as champion, would have to Last Chance Race to transfer into the show. 15-year-old Sam Weaver, 17-year-old Curtis Spencer and Mike Coleman also transferred in as well.
In the fastest division on the property, the Great Lakes Tire Go-Karts Opens Presented by Bear Trax Speedway, they would see Fremont, Ohio veteran, John Ivy return after missing the last event at Kellogg Arena in Battle Creek, Michigan on January 17th and pick up right where he left off with a Feature Win. For the 46-year-old, it was his third Feature of the season and seventh of his MIRS career. He also missed one show during the 2013/2014 Winter Racing Season which in turn cost him a chance at the championship that campaign as well.
Ivy started the sweep of the program by winning the Fast Qualifier award with a blistering 6.834 second lap; just 0.083 seconds off of the track record set by Matt Foos, in the same car Ivy now pilots, who went a 6.751 in the Inaugural race for MIRS back on November 3, 2012. Ivy also won the Qualifier Heat Race. As for the Championship, Durand, Michigan native, Greg Kurzer used consistency and perseverance to claim his first career MIRS Championship in his #28 S.K. Heating machine. The 20-year-old has been a mainstay since the series inception in 2012 and is one of a handful of drivers to have made appearances in all 14 MIRS events in series history.
Last but certainly not least, the always exciting Lawn Mower divisions were on hand as in the Supermodified/Modified combined division, Jayson Mikula walked away with his second Feature win of the season and ninth of his MIRS career, good for second all-time overall. The Sparta, Michigan driver in his #4 Four Seasons Yard & Sport grass cutter also set fast time in Qualifying with an 8.516 and won the Qualifier Heat Race.
As for the Championship, Mike Roberts primary Lawn Mower broke in practice and he was faced without having a chance to win his first career championship. In stepped Mikula who withdrew his second mower that was scheduled to compete in the Stock division and offered the ride to Roberts. In turn, Roberts was able to compete in the renumbered #199 Four Season Yard and Sport backup ride and the Kalamazoo, Michigan driver secured enough points to hang on for his first career title by eight points over Canadian Mike Wick.
In the Lawn Mower Stock division, Keith Reed scored his second Feature win of the season and that vaulted the Galesburg, Michigan driver in his #8 Kalamazoo Speedway machine to the 2015 Championship in the division. Earlier in the day, Reed won the Fast Qualifier Award with a lap measured at a 10.498 while Eric Corner picked up the win in the Qualifier Heat Race.
The 2014/2015 winter racing season is complete for Motor City Racing Promotions and the Midwest Indoor Racing Series. On behalf of the entire management and staff of MCRP and MIRS, a big Thank You to everyone for being a part of a very successful third season of indoor racing. The last two shows were spectacular with overflow car counts and standing room only crowds. We are so very grateful for everyone who is a part of MIRS. The 2015/2016 winter racing season is already being worked on as some exciting announcements will be made public in the near future.
-Midwest Indoor Racing Series Press Release & Photo