Trackside Tidbits, by Debi Domby

It's been nearly two years since Paul Pelletier's bright green #44 has graced victory lane with his last win being July 2016. "That was fun racing Jimmy (Theil). We've been good friends for years and I wouldn't run harder with him than anybody … but that was fun. My car got really tight under that yellow, so had to readjust the line I was running. I knew he was coming, it was just a matter of time. Have to thank my friends and family all the kids, wives and girlfriends, everybody. This is a 9-5 job car team, battling guys with family money, jobs and own their own businesses, it still feels good to get a win out of it," said the driver of the ABC Plumbing & Drain, Blue Water Compressors, Dusty's Collision, Maniaci's, Jeff's Powder Coating, Nunya Perfomance, CC Engineering, Sully's Speed Shop


Keeping with the theme of the last couple seasons of drivers returning to racing after a long absence … this week herald the return to racing for Gary Hawes. Gary drove the car his nephew Steve drove the last couple season. It's been about 20 years since Gary has raced a late model (although he did drive a Figure 8 in 1999).


The Street Stock A division also drew for position and as such we had some different folks up front, where some of the top points guys were at the rear of the field.


Rob Moore Jr. won his third career feature and first of the season. "“Saturday’s win wasn’t an easy one, even starting from the pole. I want to thank everyone that has helped me on my car in order to compete with this fast field of street stocks. I would like to thank my dad, mom, sister, grandparents, aunt and uncle, girlfriend, and all of my family and friends. A special thank you goes out to Dylan Liedel, who chose my starting position for the race. Also a special thank you to Kyle Worley and Alan Kennedy. I would like to thank all of my sponsors for helping me out in 2018: Night Owl Trucking, Lee’s Technical Services, Cochran, Kroll & Associates P C, John Molnar Funeral Home, D Slater Home Inspections, Southgate Beauty Salon, Dow Engines, Slowboyz, Goon Squad, and Moore Racing. I hope to continue to keep our luck going into the coming weeks!”


It has taken 15 features and we finally have a repeat feature winner. Anthony Camilli won his second consecutive Street Stock B division feature. He treated the fans to a nice smoky burnout after his win. "That's why we do it (the burnouts, etc) we do it for you guys (the fans). We appreciate everyone coming out here, especially on Autograph Night. This is only my fourth feature win and to get two in a row is amazing. I want to thank… SPONSORS … my brother Jimmy Little, and baby Lily and Jerry."


Clarity Patton ran in the top five for the entire Street Stock A division feature to take home her first top five finish, her career best finish. "Autograph night was a blast at Flat Rock Speedway! Special thanks to all the fans who came out to support us. I was amazed and deeply moved to get to meet so many of you. You brought me luck for my heat race Win and Top Five finish in the feature! We wouldn’t be here without the support of Varsity Lincoln - Novi and Varsity Ford- Ann Arbor who make it all possible. Shout out to my crew chief Tom Cronenwett who worked extra hard to make the car fast, my car builder Steve Bunge with B & H Race Parts, and my crew Matt, Karen, Bella, Ed, Jim and Joey for their great help this season. See you at the next race on Saturday, June 16th at Flat Rock Speedway!"


Driving in his first career Street Stock A division feature was Trevor Farmer, finishing seventh. "I had a lot of fun running the A main. It was definitely fun challenge running in the top 10 i learned a lot racing with them guys I hope to keep learning and progressing even more and my sponsors are L&D Farmer Trucking, JD Farmer Trucking, Zander Trucking, Waller Trucking, Jenifer transport, and Dynasty Dogs."


Jeremy Vanderhoof won an emotional Figure 8 feature, "You always get a good starting spot and that helps. My dear friend Rob Martell gave me great equipment. We're really sad that we lost him over the winter time … This one is for him and every other one we race whether it's fifth or first or 20th, it's all for him. I want to than Olson Cement Work and Construction, Best Block of Ann Arbor, Rey-Mart Asphalt Paving, Martin's Tire and Sales, Suburban Oil, Calcium Chloride Sales, Martel Racing. If it wasn't for him, I wouldn't be here, neither would a lot of guys that run around this race track from time to time for probably the last four years. It was nice to see more cars we tried to run a couple weeks ago but had engine problems. It's been a struggle, a real struggle, this is the first race I've finished in a while. It's nice to be up here … hopefully we get more cars and can put on good shows. Next week I'll be sitting on the sidelines, crewchiefing for Mr. Danny Gaddis, get him to jump in this thing … hope I didn't set the bar too high for him.


This week they decided to interview the top five drivers. Dennis Whisman (Sr.) finished second, "This is a new car to us this year, built by Mr. Miller, over there, and I think we're getting a handle on it pretty good. It's getting better. We might be tough here in the next few weeks. We made some changes after qualifying and it was definitely good. It's always tough to race with these guys but I had a ball. I don't need no rocking chair yet," said the driver of the Affordable Transmission, Mikes Barber Shop, Leppen Chiropractic, Marks toy box, Robert Mucha ATTY, and Lee Power."


Defending division champion, Billy Earley finished third. "I love racing him (Dennis Whisman) a long time and he's taught me a lot of stuff too, so I just give it right back. The additional cars out there play a role, and then you get little water puddles … halfway through I couldn't get traction anymore, I was just hanging on.


Greg Studt finished fourth, our only double duty driver racing tonight. "It's a totally different race when you get a few cars out there, more than seven or eight. Usually fourth isn't bad unless you start first, They're all great drivers, very competitive. We'll fix her up and come back next week for the bus week and see if we have better luck that week." I hope he still has the same sponsors as last year, if not I'll get this updated next time. Apollo Broach, Jack's Garage, Budget Tire, Sportway Go-Karts, Wine Town Party Store and Mark's Toy Box.


Jeremy Miller finished fifth. "We've been battling brakes all day, Eugene (Worden) tapped me a few times, so I just moved out of the way and let him pass me. Then he got caught up in the intersection and we got back around him.


Joy Fair 100 and May 26,


How incredible was the 2018 version of the Joy Fair 100 Gold Cup Series race? Let's start with the time it took to run those 100 laps, a mere 24 minutes, 5 seconds. To put it into perspective, the four prior Joy Fair 100 races averaged 57 minutes (according to the race time listed for the winner as stated on Race Monitor) and the opening night Late Models feature took 24 minutes, 18 seconds to run 50-lap feature. The race started 23 cars and 22 saw the checkered flag. Fans were treated to tight side by side and nose to tail racing as the drivers raced with professionalism and everyone survived the night with minimal tire marks and dents.


"I'll tell you what, this place puts on good shows every time we come here. If the people didn't show up here to watch, they missed something spectacular because that was a lot of fun coming up through all the lapped traffic, passing cars. It was a riot for me. There was give and take, and you had to take a little bit but everyone was being nice and patient with everybody and it was fun to do … and we all get to go home with whole race cars. I really have to thank my crew. We got through two races last night at Kalamazoo (Speedway), got home at midnight and worked until three in the morning … got back to the shop at 8:30 in the morning to come here. It's a true testament to why we're standing here in victory lane today, all their hard work. I thank them a lot," said the driver of the Michigan Parking, Cellar Brewing, Town Automotive, Earnest Performance #12.


Jimmy Theil finished second, "I should've saved my tires a little bit longer. Didn't have any right rear left for the fight at the end there. Brian (Bergakker) was the better car and he passed me clean and he went off to win," said the driver of the Dusty's Collision #09.


2016 Gold Cup Champion, Steve Needles, finished third, "Coming to Flat Rock is always a pleasure. The fans are great, the racing is great, it's a fun race track. You see a lot of two and three wide racing here. One caution all night, that's pretty incredible, when you consider the amount of three wide racing we did tonight. The racers are great, man we love coming here, it's awesome! I'm worn out, it felt like a lot longer than the 24 minutes it too to me," said the driver of the Direct Detail, Amsdell Companies, Hutter Engines, Allstar Performance, Bicknell, Quickcar #18.


Defending track champion, Justin Schroeder, "It was really good racing with these guys, When you put it three wide, dive bomb, go to the outside, and not have a tire mark on the car is pretty awesome. (Brian) Bergakker was the class of the field, for sure, since he unloaded. It was good racing … a lot of fun … no tire marks, racing three wide … me and (Steve) Needles racing hard … me and (Craig) Everage …  can' complain at all. That's what so great about Flat Rock, it's not hard on the cars, great racing as you can see. Each time we come here the groove goes wider and wider … Needles was dang near in the fourth groove. I have to thank my crew they put in a good effort, it's our first race of the year … my dad for spotting. Thank my sponsors, Glass Unlimited, Dr. G. Michael Kabot, Exotic, L & M Hardwood Floors … my wife for making my car look good again this year … and thank all the fans for coming out, I know it was a rainy day, but appreciate it."


Craig Everage finished fifth, "Very intense race, all 100 laps. Pretty incredible. You get this bunch of cars, new drivers, that haven't driven this track for a while and they run the track like they've run a million laps (at Flat Rock). I'm not sure what you guys (the fans) paid to get in … but that was probably a $50 admission anywhere else … you'd have to pay $50 … that was a bargain at $20, you saw a great race," Everage Auto. Com, Fort Wayne Auto & Truck Auction 10, WeHop #101.


Brian Bergakker is the 32nd driver to win a race in the Gold Cup Series, the 21st driver to win a Flat Rock Gold Cup race, and 12th different driver to win the 100 (for the driver of the #12).


Grant Hedges won his first career Street Stock A division feature, " What a night, I’m so proud of this race team! I want to start off by thanking our brave men and women in the military, this is a special weekend where we honor those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. It feels good to finally break through and get a win here at The Rock. We’ve run second so many times, it makes this one even more special. I want to thank my dad for all of his relentless hard work and dedication to our race team. I wouldn’t be where I am today without his encouragement and support. I told him it would only be a matter of time before I handed him a trophy on the front straightaway, and it felt good to finally deliver on that promise. A very special thanks to Bryan Beard & Scott Cooker for all of their hard work this offseason and each race weekend. I couldn’t do this without you guys. It was also really cool to have my brother, Curt, here tonight to help wrench on the racecar. I appreciate my wife, my mom, and all the die-hard race fans braving the thunderstorms today and sticking around for some great racing. My beautiful wife and I are expecting a baby boy this summer, so this is a special year and special win for our family. The trophy will be a nice piece of hardware for his nursery! Thanks to Ron Drager, Scott Schultz, and all the ARCA officials that work so hard each and every weekend to provide a great place to race. Thanks again to all those who pull for Team 48 each weekend, I’m looking forward to hanging out with the fans next Saturday for Autograph Night!"


Although not a first time winner, Anthony Camilli won his first Street Stock B feature in a long time "It has been six years since I've raced down at Flat Rock full time and six years since my last win in either a heat rae or a feature . It feels good to be back out and with a car that handles good. It took us this long to get it close. I;d like to thank Jimmy Little, Danny Doyle, Jerry and PSA Transport, B and G Auto Salvage and Tony;s Tires." It was Anthony's third feature win.


Miss the races, visit Mike Miller's YouTube page to check it out again: