It was a scheduled later start for the Flat Rock drivers this year. It’s been quite a few years since the season was scheduled to start the first week of May, but officials decided that quite a few rainouts (and just plain chilly weather) graced the last week of April, so it was moved. It still was a little chilly at the end of the night, but for the most part it wasn’t too bad.

The Late Models gave us a mini-preview of the Gold Cup race Memorial Day weekend with the Joy Fair 100. We had several of the Gold Cup drivers visiting, getting in some track time in preparation for the first Gold Cup race. We also have two Rookies in the class this season, Hayden Sprague and Connor Zbozien.

Frank Jiovani, winner

The Vandoorn Development car was on rails for opening night. The team, comprised of Dick Barker, Pat Moran, Jimmy Tucker and Ron Jiovani worked all winter to prepare for this race and it paid off! I would like to thank our sponsors and partners that allows us to have fun. Moran Automotive, Painters Supply & Equipment Co., McQuade Heating and Cooking, 4th Street Auto, JV Auto, Vandoorn Racing Development, Francis Engineering! Also, thanks to our family for all the support.

Craig Everage, second place

“Thanks to Hurricane SpeedShop doing my compete set up. I finished second place to a strong run by Frank Jiovani. Congratulations to them and thanks to Carl Miskotten and Dave Gaseki for an awesome V6 engine.” 

Dennis Strickland finished third.

“The car was good but missed the perfect setup. Looking forward to Autograph Night (my personal fav). I’d like to thank Bailey Racing and P.B. Fabrication for everything, CGS Imaging, Pat Moran for being the greatest sponsor ever at FR Speedway, Congrats on your win, Frank!”

Late Model Rookies:

Hayden Sprague

“I had a blast for my Outlaw Late Model debut at Flat Rock on Sunday. We missed the stagger in qualifying and ran a 12.00 flat, fixed the stagger for the heat race and we won that with an 11.761 fast lap. Started on the pole in the feature and lead the first 10 laps until we lost the stagger again. 3 to go running 5th on a restart the fuel pump broke ending our night. Thanks to everyone at Fair Racing Development and Senneker Performance for the fast car!” 

Connor Zbozien

“Saturday, I ran my first Outlaw Super Late Model race and my first race at Flat Rock. My main goals were to get a feel for the car in traffic and attempt some passing. I had a very fun, successful night finishing 10th and loading up a car with no damage! I am excited to see what the rest of the season has to offer. All of this would not be possible without the support of my sponsors: Sommer’s Marine, Blue Water Industrial, Uptown Electric, Michigan Independent Door Company, B C Motorsports, Gil’s Northwood Collision, PF&E and Arin Incorporated. Special thanks to Jay Sommers for his help in the pits, Bob Fox and Senneker Performance for a great car!” 

We had a strong field of Street Stocks too, with enough to run an A and B division feature: Both the Street Stocks and Figure 8s are running 9-inch tires this year, providing faster speeds.

Greg Studt, A division feature winner

“That was awesome! I love (the new) tires … so much more grip. I’m doing a lot better than I was on lap four, (he was involved in the caution, went to the pits for repairs and started at the rear), a lot of cars went out in the next caution. I was sitting in the cat bird seat… the car was just amazing. I can’t give enough for my dad, Bob, working on the car all winter, as usual. And my sponsors Apollo Broach, Carl’s Furniture, Budget Tire, Wine Town Party Store, Mark Sherrard and probably a lot more I’m forgetting,” said the multiple ARCA champion, “I think we’re going to have a lot of close, hard racing this year … the second groove is a lot more drivable than last year with these tires and I’m smile for it.”

Ian Jezlo, B division feature winner

“I’m really happy tonight. I was running really far behind. I realized this morning the car wasn’t done, I forgot to do something and put us way far behind. I’m at my favorite place in the whole world now and there’s no place I’d rather be on a Saturday night. I wasn’t sure how close they were to me. My headers’ (noise) bounces off the wall, so I always think someone next to me, so I run like a scared rabbit. It’s a great way to start the season.” 

Welcome back Landon Schuster! “Thank you to all of my sponsors UAW Local 50, JL Mechanical, Reliance Propane, Joseph's Beverage Center and Rocky's Body Shop. Thank you to my crew my dad, Gary, David. Our first night out this year and we had issues with our rear end, something in the gears. We planned on running one lap to get points and pull off. Instead I decided to just try and feather the throttle and hope the rear end didn’t blow and we ended up seventh, I'll take it and we will be back with a new rear gear next week. Nice to be back at the Rock!” 

Street Stock Rookies: 

Ethan Stadniczuk

Car was fast last night. Got a good spot in qualifying to start first in the race. Unfortunate call on lap four sent us to the rear but drove it from 12th to third in 20 laps. Overall it was a good first day. Want to thank my crew, support and sponsors, Hypercyl, M&N Controls, Stevens Disposal, 1Stop Speed Shop, Precision Epoxy, Bedford Auto, photosbykuyoth and Forest View Lanes for allowing me to do this. On to next week! congrats to Greg Studt on an amazing run and the win!” 

Max Fair,

Don’t have much on Max, who is the son of LM driver Harold Fair Jr. I also think he’s the first fourth generation driver (if I’m wrong let me know… and I’m basing this on the drivers that run weekly races as there might be a fourth-generation driver out there running go karts). Max is driving for Clyde McKee, who it appears has retired. He finished fifth in his heat and 18th in the feature. 

Our third street stock rookie is George Burgess. He’s normally the spotter for the #25 of Dennis Redersdorf. Today was the first time in a racecar and finished seventh in his heat and feature. He’s sponsored by Vic’s Auto Performance, Mac Grubber Engineering, Sully’s Speedshop.

Caleb Barron

“Let's title this one, ‘Not the Night We Were Hoping For’. After a couple of pretty good practices a few weeks ago, we were really excited to get this season started. First practice on old tires went pretty well, about the same lap times as the last practice day. We put on new tires and the car responded quite favorably, with a best time of 13.44, with two more laps in the 40's. Looking pretty good for qualifying, especially with the new "group qualifying" instituted for this season. A very slight chassis adjustment to correct a push, and we were ready. Luckily, and strictly by chance, we were the first of our group of three out on the track to qualify, meaning we had a clear track ahead of us. Green flag waved and we were off. The car unfortunately did not respond to the changes like we thought, and the best after 4 laps was a 13.512, only good enough for 14th. Trying to get just a little more on the last lap, Caleb ended up putting the car unto a lazy spin crossing the line. That spin put him down in the infield grass, and while pulling back onto the track, popped a pea-sized hole in the oil pan. No way to predict, or avoid it, our second "by chance" event of the afternoon. After some close inspection and deliberation, it was decided that we were done for the night. It will be another long week for a relatively simple repair, but it could have been worse. Plus, the car still looks great, the tires are nearly brand new, and we'll have some time to think about some further chassis changes. Thanks to all who supported us last night, and every night we are on the track! It is truly appreciated! See you next week for autograph night!”

Dennis Whisman Sr, winner Figure 8s

“Caught a lucky break Saturday and got a win. I’d rather be lucky than good any day. Huge thanks to Rich Lee on all my opportunities to race with awesome equipment. Thanks to Mike Young, Jeff Minnick, Mike Miller, Dennis Whisman Jr and Big Hoss for patching that car up and to Joe and Jamie for the loaned parts. And to everyone who pitched in. Big shout out to my sponsors Affordable Trans, Leppen Chiropractic, Mark’s Toy Box, DDRE, Royal Truck and Trailer and Robert A Mucha. I LOVE YOU ALL!”

Joseph Vanderhoof, second place, career best

“I had my best finished on opening night I don't have any sponsors but there are people I want to thank – I want to thank my brother and dad for all the help they do for me on a weekly basis and I want to thank Dennis Whisman Sr for always helping me when I need special parts and Joe Whisman for helping me build my motor over the past winter and Matthew Bullock for setting up the car 

James Vanderhoof, third place, career best

“Well last night was fun got my first top 3 and ran my fastest I’ve ever been. Now just have to do a little more tweaking and get her right and more seat time. But can’t thank my dad enough for all his help. And also, congratulations to Dennis Whisman on the win. On to next weekend try it all again!”

Billy Earley set a new track record for the Figure 8s, 20.290. This beats Jeremy Vanderhoof’s record of 20.334 set on Sept. 4, 2010.

I want to thank all the drivers that sent me messages on Messenger. I love hearing from you, so you can send me a message on or you can email me at If you write something on your Facebook page and want me to just grab it from you page, please send me a note saying it’s okay to take.

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