Behind the wheel of a Fun Stock at Full Throttle Motor Speedway – Varney, Mark Merritt proved that he could do a decent job. Though will he be able to repeat that performance in 2020?
He will have some more competition on the track, as the team will be fielding a second car for a fellow family member. After filling in for O’Gill on occasion last season, his 65-year-old father will be one of the drivers hopeful of taking the Rookie of the Year honors.
In respect to his own plans, though, Merritt has put the focus for 2020 on wanting to continue improving and “accumulating more seat time to become more consistent week-to-week,” with a goal of scoring more top-five finishes and a possible victory.
The goals seem within reach, as he was able to sixth in the standings last year with three top-five’s and 26 top-10’s, highlighted by a victory on September 14.
“Most memorable moments for me so far, one has to be my feature win in the very last race of the 2019 season,” he reflected. “I was aiming to get a top-three all year, winning a race was definitely unexpected, but it was extra special having all my sponsors there that night as well. Another great memory is just all the fun and camaraderie in the pits. I made several great friends last year.”
For Merritt, racing has been part of his family for multiple generations, dating back to his grandfather and great uncles racing Late Models at Pinecrest Speedway through the 1960s. While now behind the wheel of a stock car now, his own beginnings date back to drag racing in Northern Ontario at several airport drag strips.
He continues to carry a piece of the original family beginnings with him, though, as the Fred Flinstone that was on the top of grandfather’s car during those racing years is strapped on the side of his racecar.
Now with his rookie campaign under his belt, his advice to the next set of drivers entering the sport, including his father, is to talk to your competitors as they can offer you great advice.
“Everyone wants to see you improve and do well,” he commented. “Secondly, don’t get discouraged; it is a lot harder than it looks, but keep with it and make small improvements every week.”
For their continued support, Merritt would like to thank his friends, family, and his sponsors – Aces Towing, Bass on Wheels, Northern Customs by David Gordanier and finally the “Let’s Remeber Adam, Stop for the School Bus” Campaign.