RECAP: Opening Day 2024 at Flat Rock is Another Wild One

RECAP: Opening Day 2024 at Flat Rock is Another Wild One

FLAT ROCK, Mich. Sat. May 4th, 2024 - The 73rd season of racing at Flat Rock Speedway has commenced.

After a pop-up shower just one hour before race time, Flat Rock Speedway got started with its 2024 racing season the right way on Saturday, May 4th - with action all around! 

With an eye to the skies, heat races were forgone for a feature-only special, as drivers would have to adapt on the first raceday of 2024.

This was the first opening day in some time to feature four different divisions, and the garage area showed out, with a jovial atmosphere all through the Flat Rock facility.

In partnership with the UFL’s Michigan Panthers, team alumni Novo Bojovic would be grand marshal on Opening Day! An avid race fan, Bojovic would elect to wave the green flag for the Moran Chevrolet Outlaw Super Late Models feature, and even hand out the trophy to the eventual winner.

Moran Chevrolet Outlaw Super Late Models

Late Model Action is BACK in Downriver. A 50-lap feature greeted a strong field of race cars, including veteran stars from 2023 like Paul Pelletier, Scott Hantz and Harold Fair Jr alongside young guns Conner Zbozien, RJ Cornett, and Max Fair.

Stan Yee Jr would win 15 points as a part of the fastest qualifier award after his blazing 11.767s lap over Conner Zbozien, and start fifth after the post-qualifying inversion.

Corey Duane in a new-look #46 car and Paul Pelletier in another striking #44 black and green Fraza car would start up front, battling tightly for the first lap before Duane would pull ahead, Pelletier, Harold Fair Jr and Stan Yee Jr just behind until lap 11.

Pelletier and Duane would have contact on lap 11, Duane sliding up the track but keeping the car clean after sliding. This would give Pelletier the lead, who would hold the lead for the rest of the race with a very tight pack behind him.

The only caution of the race would come on lap 41, when the 09 of Austin Thiel would slow with issues.

The restart would be wild, as Pelletier would narrowly pull ahead of Harold Fair Jr and squeak away with a tight win.

Fair Jr. would finish second over Conner Zbozien and fast qualifier Stan Yee Jr, with Dennis Rederstorf completing the top five. Max Fair would finish sixth, RJ Cornett seventh, and Scott Hantz in eighth. Corey Duane and Allen Jones would complete the top ten.

The Moran Chevrolet Outlaw Super Late Models division returns to Flat Rock next weekend as a part of the Motor City Madness 50-Lap Day! Click below to learn more about this insane day of racing, coming up this weekend at Flat Rock Speedway.

DTS Drive Train Specialists Street Stocks

2023 DTS Drive Train Specialists Street Stock champion Kenyon Knight keeps it going. 

After taking a razor-thin fastest lap in qualifying over Jonny Rangel - a lap of 13.256s, three thousands of a second faster than Jonny Rangel’s lap of 13.259s - Knight went on to take his first feature win of the season, backing up his first ever feature win back in September of 2023.

In the race, Knight would start fifth behind Austin McKee, Jeff Metdepenningen, Jeremy Vanderhoof, and Jonny Rangel.

Right at the start, McKee would end up in the middle of a wild three wide battle between Vanderhoof on the inside and Rangel on the outside, as Jeff Metdepenningen slotted into the lead in a new-look #78 car. Vanderhoof would slide into second place.

Knight would eventually take the lead on the first of three restarts during the 25-lap feature, as he slid under the #78 of Jeff Metdepenningen to take the lead on lap 10. From there, it would be a continuation of 2023 as Vanderhoof and Knight battled hard for the lead in the waning laps.

Knight, however, would get the win. After a late restart on lap 22, Rangel would slide past Vanderhoof to take the runner-up position in the event, with Vanderhoof finishing third. Kyle Worley in the 15 and Jeff Metdepenningen would fill out the top five.

Evan Batkins would come home sixth, followed by Austin McKee, the returning Randy Cornett in a Royal Blue #2 car, and Dale Cronenwett. 2023 B-Main champion Ian Jezylo would complete the top ten.

R&M Recycling Figure 8

In the last race before Saturday’s Motor City Madness 50 at Flat Rock Speedway, Billy Earley would take a wild 20-lap feature win.

Race Loving, sporting a new-look #15 machine, would take the fastest qualifying designation after posting a lap of 20.743s, good for 15 points in the overall championship positions, just 11 thousands of a second faster than Greg Studt in the #33, looking to repeat as Opening Day feature winner.

In the 20-lap feature, Travis and Billy Earley would start side-by-side for a wild event, both drivers battling hard for the win.

A caution on lap 15 of 20 would mark the lone red flag of the proceedings, as Dennis Whisman in the #31 car and 2023 division champion Jeremy Vanderhoof would get together in the figure 8 loop, resulting in a red flag.

On the restart, Billy Earley would once again pull ahead, taking his first feature win of 2024 in the yellow #09 car.

Greg Studt would come home in second place, followed by Travis Earley and fast qualifier Race Loving. Brice Thomsen, Robbie Loving, and Joel Markin would finish sixth through eighth, and rookies Avery Vanderhoof and Junell Cummings would complete the top ten.

This Saturday is the biggest figure 8 race of the year! The Motor City Madness 50 at Toledo Speedway is coming up, featuring the stars of the R&M Recycling Figure 8 division. Click below to learn more about this weekend’s racing action!

Safety-Kleen Factory Stock 500 Series

The first ever Factory Stock 500 Series feature was one for the record books at Flat Rock Speedway. Rayce Metdepenningen became the first driver to ever take home a Flat Rock Speedway 100-lap Enduro event in this brand new series, and the action on-track backed up the pre-race excitement for the new division.

While Rayce Metdepenningen showed up as the fast qualifier of this event - putting up a lap of 14.828 seconds - it would be Cody Remick and Brad Turner leading the field to green, with 2023 Safety-Kleen Enduro series champion Derrick Sheppard and 2023 Safety-Kleen Factory Stocks champion Josh Bunting just behind.

Remick would pull out to an early lead over the battling pack behind, the 26-car pack proving little room for air, and lots of edges for carnage. As Remick pulled to begin lapping the rear field of the stacked pack, Josh Bunting, Jeff Metdepenningen, Rayce Metdepenningen, and Derrick Sheppard would form a snaking top five.

The first red flag would come out on lap 28, as Ayden Bunting would turn around in the #34 car and wouldn’t be able to get his car going. Under Enduro rules, this would freeze the field and set up for a hard charge for the lead after the restart - Cody Remick ahead of Jeff Metdepenningen, Rayce Metdepenningen, and Josh Bunting.

With some lapped traffic, the Metdepenningens would begin to close in on Cody Remick for the lead, and by the halfway point of the race, Jeff would try for a three wide move for the lead with the lapped car of Tony Rumble in the middle. Remick, Rumble, and Metdepenningen would drive three wide down the front stretch, Remick somehow retaining the lead with a wide move on the outside.

The battle would be fierce and for many laps, exciting the opening day crowd. By Lap 55, C. Remick, J. Metdepenningen, R. Metdepenningen, Nathan Sprotberry, and Derrick Sheppard would accordion back to a nearly nose-to-tail top five, setting up the dash to the finish.

The first event would happen soon after, as contact between leader Cody Remick and Brad Turner in the #72 would send the latter around, forcing the leading pack to scatter. In the shuffle, Rayce Metdepenningen would take second from Jeff Metdepenningen’s #78 car. Less than one lap later, Rayce would slide to the inside of the Cody Remick #19, and take the lead for the first lead change of the day.

Jeff Metdepenningen, Nathan Sprotberry, and Derrick Sheppard would soon shuffle to the inside of Remick, dropping the leader to fifth by lap 64. Cody Remick would eventually settle in at third, where he would finish on the day.

Up front, the dash for the lead turned into a wild one, as Jeff Metdepenningen briefly took the lead from Rayce on lap 68. Rayce would switch back under him, and Jeff Metdepenningen would afterwards slide three spots in three laps, ending up fourth on lap 71.

Two leaders would get together on lap 74, with Nathan Sprotberry and Derrick Sheppard turning around. 

Jeff Metdepenningen and Cody Remick would then begin to close in on the leader Rayce Metdepenningen over the closing 26 laps, but Rayce would hold off to take the first ever Safety-Kleen Factory Stock 500 Series feature win. Jeff Metdepenningen would come home second, followed by Cody Remick in third. Kyle Metdepenningen and Robb Remick would fill out the top five.

Justin Chamberlin, Trevor Buttrey, and Evan Batkins would finish sixth, seventh, and eighth respectively. 2023 Safety-Kleen Enduro Series Champ Derrick Sheppard would finish ninth, and Canadian Tony Rumble would fill out the top ten in his recognizable #04.

The Safety-Kleen Factory Stock 500 Series returns to action in less than two weeks with Kids Night and Scout Night at Toledo Speedway! Kids under 12 get in free, and get a free hot dog. The second 100-lap race will be live, and it looks to be another wild one under the lights of the Glass City. Tickets are available NOW!

Click here, or follow this link:

Next week at Flat Rock Speedway: The Motor City Madness 50-lap figure 8! This is the biggest R&M Recycling Figure 8 race of the year - 50 laps to battle on a Metro Detroit afternoon. Billy Earley looks to repeat in multiple weekends, and Jeremy Vanderhoof is looking to follow up a 2023 championship run in the Figure 8 division. Dennis Whisman Jr is the last winner of a 50-lap R&M Recycling Figure 8 race, back on August 4th, 2023.

One week after, we’re going racing with the ARCA Menards Series East Dutch Boy 150 at Flat Rock Speedway! For the second year in a row Flat Rock Speedway is set to host the ARCA Menards East Series. Last year the event marked the return of the series for the first time since the year 2000. See the likes of Venturini Motorsports and Joe Gibbs Racing take on the famed ¼ mile as Chevrolet, Ford and Toyota vie for bragging rights in the Motor City’s Speedway. The DTS Drive Train Specialists Street Stocks and the R&M Recycling Figure 8 divisions will add to the racing action.

  • Dutch Boy 150 | ARCA Menards Series East, Street Stocks, Figure 8

    Dutch Boy 150 | ARCA Menards Series East, Street Stocks, Figure 8

    May 18, 2024 - 07:00 PM EDT

    Flat Rock Speedway

    Flat Rock, MI
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