By T.J. Buffenbarger
(October 2, 2019) — The Great Lakes Super Sprints will expand its footprint for the 2020 season after it was announced they will acquire the Michigan Traditional Sprints series and start a series for Lightning Sprints.
GLSS president Barry Marlow and now former head of Michigan Traditional Sprints Joey Irwin confirmed with TJSlideways.com that MTS will now fall under the umbrella of the Great Lakes Super Sprints under the moniker Great Lakes Traditional Sprints.
Over the past 4 years we have worked closely with Michigan Traditional Sprints,” said Marlow. “Joey Irwin comes from a family of sprint car racers and is very passionate about keeping non winged racing strong in our region. I’m glad he feels comfortable turning the reigns over to Great Lakes Sprints to own and operate Michigan Traditional Sprints.”
Marlow stated changes to GLTS will be minimal with a slight purse increase and an expected schedule of 15-20 events.
The Great Lakes Lightning Sprints will appear at tracks north of I-96 Speedway for limited dates next season. Over the past several years the Lightning Sprints have started to grow in popularity while racing at Merritt Speedway, the now defunct Cherry Raceway, and a handful of other Michigan tracks.
Marlow hopes the lightning sprints continue to feed into traditional and winged 360 sprint car series.
“Drivers of these lightning sprints have made very smooth transitions to driving full sized sprint cars with us,” said Marlow. “We currently have at least seven drivers that have progressed from micro or lightning sprints.”
Marlow anticipates adding several staff positions to help man the additional series. The plan for 2020 is to see all the series operating independently with a handful of dates where two of the classes or even possibly all three will participate at the same facility.
The Michigan Traditional Sprints started as a non-sanctioned sprint car class at I-96 Speedway that ran on a semi-regular basis in 2006. After deciding to discontinue the division Irwin formed MTS. In 2019 MTS just completed their 14th season where Irwin won the point championship.
The Great Lakes Lightning Sprint division will make its debut during a non-point event for the Great Lakes Super Sprints October 12th at I-96 Speedway.