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Matt Merrell To Berlin: Ready Or Not Here I Come

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Stock Car Racing Topics:  Matt Merrell, Hantz Group 200

Matt Merrell To Berlin: Ready Or Not Here I Come

Chris Knight
Knight Motorsports Management
Win-Tron Racing
July 6, 2011


Matt Merrell
MARNE, Michigan (July 6, 2011) - - If there has been one short track that Matt Merrell, driver of the No. 32 Champion Brands Dodge Charger has been eager to get to, odds are Berlin (Mich.) Raceway is the place. Not only is the Portland, Texas native looking to Saturday night’s Hantz Group 200 as a place to recover from a string of misfortune but also a chance to finish what he started at the .4-mile short track in 2009.

Never seeing the Marne, Michigan facility before that night of competition, Merrell, the former USARacing Pro Cup Series star wowed the ARCA regulars and his Win-Tron Racing team with an impressive third place qualifying run. During the 200-lap slugfest, Merrell looked like a veteran rather than a rookie as he found himself battling with eventual series champion Justin Lofton for the win. In the end, Merrell came up one position short, notching his career-best finish (second) in ARCA to this day.

Description: C:\Users\Chris Knight\Desktop\Racing Seasons\2011 Racing Season\ARCA Racing Series Events\Michigan International Speedway, No. 8\Photos\32 Michigan\IMG_1728.jpgNearly two years later, Merrell remembers everything about that race and plans to exercise those tactics in the 10th race of the 2011 ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards season.

“Berlin is such a neat place,” offered Merrell. “It’s not about horsepower; it’s about finesse and keeping your car intact. We were able to do that a couple years ago and believe me; I know I have to do that again this weekend.”

He added, “it’s been a rough couples weeks for us. After a strong start to the season, we’ve encountered some misfortune, most of it not of our doing. It’s been tough but this is a great organization with some of the best talent in the garage. Hopefully, our streak of bad luck is over and Berlin will be the place to put us back on path.”

After nine races, Merrell and his Mike Chaffee-led team hoist seventh in the ARCA Racing Series championship standings just 165 points from cracking the top-five. The 26-year old is not only focused on those crucial points but also taking the Lakeville, Minnesota-based team to victory lane.

“I could go on for weeks and talk about what a great operation Win-Tron Racing has. Kevin (Cywinski, owner), Nate (Thiesse, owner), Mike (Chaffee), Mike (Resop, car chief) and the entire Win-Tron gang have been so beneficial to my racing career. Every time we come to the race track, we’re quick. You cannot ask for much more than that. A victory on Saturday night would be a small way of giving my thanks to them and Champion Brands.”

The annual trip to Berlin (Mich.) Raceway, just on the outskirts of Grand Rapids signifies the ninth race that Champion Brands will heed the role as the primary sponsor for the Lakeville, Minnesota-based team. Headquartered in Clinton, Missouri, Champion Brands LLC produces and blends more than 300 products including fuel, oil and engine additives and lubricants for the automotive, heavy truck, agricultural and specialty markets.

“I appreciate the support from everyone at Champion Brands,” sounded Merrell. “They understand that there are going to be some bumps along the way in racing, but they’ve been super to work with and I know it would mean a lot to all of us to bring home the checkered flag on Saturday night.”

Co-car owner Nate Thiesse offered his preview on Saturday night’s battle. “I know this has been a track that Matt has been itching to get back to. We like Berlin too. It’s a technical track, so there’s a lot that goes into having a good run there. The last couple weeks have been tough on us, but we’re not quitters and we’re going to show why this team is championship caliber material on Saturday night!”

Merrell will make his 23rd career start in the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards at Berlin (Mich.) Raceway this weekend. In his previous 22 outings, Merrell has eight top-fives including runner-up finishes of second at Berlin (Mich.) Raceway and Pocono (Pa.) Raceway (August) in 2009 and 11 top-10s. His best start position for Win-Tron Racing occurred at the tricky triangle of Pocono (Pa.) Raceway where he qualified his No. 32 CollinsHope.org Dodge Charger second in June of 2009.

The Hantz Group 200 (200 laps / 100 miles) is the 10th of 19 events on the 2011 ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards schedule. The 24th ARCA race at Berlin (Mich.) Raceway is a one-day show. Practice begins Saturday, July 9 with a one hour and half practice session planned from 2:30 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. Menards Pole by Ansell qualifying is slated to begin later in the day at 5:00 p.m. The field will take the green flag later that night shortly after 8:00 p.m. The race will not be televised but event coverage including live timing and scoring throughout the 1,322nd race for the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards since it was formed in 1953 will be available through the ARCA Racing Network (ARN) online at arcaracing.com presented by ARCANation.com. All times are local.

Further information including driver opportunities with Win-Tron Racing is available by visiting win-tronracing.com or contacting Nate Thiesse at 612.306.1641

For more on Champion Brands LLC and their extensive line of products, please log on to championbrands.com or championsusechampion.com.

PHOTO CAPTION: Matt Merrell, driver of the No. 32 Champion Brands Dodge Charger for Win-Tron Racing in the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards.

###

TEAM COMMUNICATIONS CONTACT:

NAME: Chris Knight, Knight Motorsports Management
PHONE: 239.834.9797
EMAIL: chris@chrisknightpr.com / knight849@aol.com

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