Mielke Doubles His Merritt Speedway Fun

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David Mielke (87) battles Eric Spangler during Saturday's American Ethanol Late Model Tour feature at Merritt Speedway. (Jim Denhamer Photo)
David Mielke (87) battles Eric Spangler during Saturday's American Ethanol Late Model Tour feature at Merritt Speedway. (Jim Denhamer Photo)

LAKE CITY, Mich. – One day after winning in American Ethanol Modified Tour competition, David Mielke was back in victory lane at Merritt Speedway in American Ethanol Late Model Tour action.

Mielke and Travis Stemler led the field to the green flag. Mielke quickly jumped out to the early race lead, while Eric Spangler quickly shuffled Stemler out of line and back to third place ahead of Brandon Thirlby and Logan Arntz.  The top five would run that way, largely uncontested through the halfway point, but a pair of late race cautions turned up the wic at the front of the field.

A single car spin brought out the caution flag on lap 32, stacking up the field with eight laps to go.  Bell, Arntz and Kyle Novak went three wide on the restart, battling for a top five finish. Bell managed to take the spot momentarily, but Artnz crossed Bell over and retook the spot before a two car spin in turn four with Steven HIlliker and Mike Vandermark Jr. brought out the caution.

On the ensuing restart, Mielke jumped back out to the lead, but it was Thirbly who powered to the inside of Spangler into turns one and two, and took the second spot away down the back stretch.

Stemler, who was still running in the fourth spot, defended Arntz and Bell who were still locked into a fight for the fifth spot. A final caution waved on lap 37 for a single car incident, setting up a three lap dash to the checkers. Despite the opportunity, no one could manage to get close enough to Mielke to challenge for the win.

With the win, Mielke becomes the first repeat winner of the year, the first back-to-back winner of the season, and he becomes the first driver to win in the American Ethanol Modified Tour Presented by Allstar Performance and the American Ethanol Late Model Tour during the same show or weekend.

The finish:

David Mielke, Brandon Thirlby, Eric Spangler, Travis Stemler, Logan Arntz, Rich Bell, Nick Kurtz, Brett Miller, Michael Luberda, Josh Knoll, Andrew Terrill, J.C. Witherspoon, Steve Hilliker, John Goodrich, Mike Vandermark Jr., Kyle Novak, Dave Baker, Steve Nieuwenhuis, Dona Marcoullier, Cody Bauer.