I-35 Speedway is pleased to announce the addition of Mark Merrell, a 30 plus year veteran of race broadcasting, as the 2018 track announcer. Jacob Blair will continue to assist in the broadcast booth. Merrell got his love for racing as a child when his family was neighbors with Jerry and Billie Wichman. They would travel with the Wichmans to the various local and out of town tracks where Wichman raced. One of Mark’s first announcing tasks was to correct the Lakeside Speedway track announcer who pronounced Wichman as wickman instead of wishman.
Merrell is very experienced in radio, television, and print media. He has written articles for Chris Economaki and the National Speed Sport News. He was a writer for the Kansas City Star’s All Speed Racing News. He has experience as a cameraman covering the ARCA race on the road course at Heartland Park Topeka. He has worked with the Racinboys. He worked with Kirk Elliott and Major Miles on the local radio show the Race Report before Kirk left to become a Racinboy. This led to an opportunity to work with KFKF Traffic Reporter Steve Parker on a nationally syndicated post-race NASCAR show the first hour broadcast on KFKF and the second hour broadcast on their own home built studio. He has teamed with 2 Eagle Action Media to provide play by play of high school sports. He has worked with MRN as a pit road reporter, turn reporter, and victory lane reporter. Through Humpy Wheeler’s daughter Cheryl, he worked for the former cable network TNN. At 610 Radio he would do the Saturday morning Race Show and then head to I-70 Speedway to do live play by play of their simulcast races also on 610 Radio.
Merrell was the first recipient in 2000 of the Central Auto Racing Boosters Media Person of the Year Award. He has met and interviewed some of the top drivers in the racing world (Earnhardt, Wallace, Martin, Bivins). He has announced at all the various NASCAR levels, the World of Outlaws, ARCA, ASA, and numerous other sanction body races. Parker once told him you make the four-cylinder Pony Stocks sound like the end of the Daytona 500. His excitement and love for the sport and his superb race calling talents will be on display next race season at I-35 Speedway.