WoO Late Models Returning To Merritt
CONCORD, N.C. - With new ownership in place, Merritt Speedway in Lake City, Mich., will host the World of Outlaws Late Model Series for the third consecutive season on Aug. 17, track and series officials announced on Wednesday.
A 50-lap A-Main paying $10,000 to win will headline the late-summer program at the three-eighths-mile oval, which once again anchors a weekend WoO LMS doubleheader in the Wolverine State. The renowned full-fender circuit previously inked an Aug. 16 date at Winston Speedway in Rothbury, Mich.
Steve and Stacey Potter closed on their purchase of Merritt Speedway from Rick Ancel last Friday, completing off-season negotiations that return the track to family members of its founder. Stacey Potter is the granddaughter of Gene Kregear, who opened the track in 1968 and operated it for a quarter century.
“We’re very excited to take over ownership of Merritt Speedway and renew a family tradition started by Stacey’s grandparents,” said Steve Potter, whose wife worked at Merritt in various capacities while growing up. “This is something we’ve been thinking about doing for several years and the opportunity finally opened up with Rick Ancel deciding to step away from ownership of the track (after five years at the helm).
“We’re really looking forward to bringing the World of Outlaws Late Model Series back to be the biggest race of the season at Merritt Speedway. We couldn’t wait to close on the track so we could firm up the World of Outlaws date Merritt has had for the last two years.”
Brady Smith of Solon Springs, Wis., (2011) and Josh Richards of Shinnston, W.Va., (2012) were victorious in the previous WoO LMS events at Merritt.
Presenting a WoO LMS event will hold some special significance for the 37-year-old Steve Potter, whose Xtreme Advantage Motorsports business builds aluminum dirt Late Model bumpers used by many drivers who compete on the tour.
A native of Northern Michigan, Potter and his wife moved four years ago to Raleigh, N.C., where he set up his parts-manufacturing enterprise. They are returning to Michigan with plans to build a new home and a northern headquarters for Potter’s motorsports business on land either adjoining or on the speedway property. Potter said he will keep his North Carolina shop open as well.
According to Potter, a new website for Merritt Speedway, which returns to its former title after several seasons using the Raceway tag, will be launched in the coming days. The track will run regularly on Saturday nights beginning the second weekend in May, with Late Models as the headline division.