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Archive for June, 2008

Racing at TNT – Wild Then Wet

Monday, June 30th, 2008

The races that finished featured a temporary end of dominance by two drivers in the WISSOTA Midwest Mods and Street Stocks and repeat winners in the TNT Bombers and Stingers.

Jordan Kurtti started the night by going for his fifth straight victory in the
WISSOTA Street Stocks at TNT. He looked poised to pull it off, rocketing from fourth to second in just two laps.

Lac du Flambeau’s John Johnson, Jr. took the early race lead from the pole and was successfully running up in the second groove. It soon became apparent that the track was lacking in grip and while Kurtti could close within a car length in the corners, he lacked the bite to get out of the turns and lost ground down the straight-aways.

Kurrti switched his line to match Johnson’s late in the race, closing to a half car length. Yet Johnson, a Street Stock rookie, was not fazed. He drove a mistake-free final five laps to hold off Kurtti and claim his first career WISSOTA/Amsoil Dirt Track Series feature win.

The WISSOTA Midwest Mods had a more difficult time with the slippery surface at the start of the event. Four cautions flew during the first 11 laps of the feature, and there were numerous other occasions where drivers spun, but got their machines pointed in the right direction before the yellow came out.

The driver that handled the loose conditions the best was Eagle River’s Chad
Boettcher. Scheduled to start fifth, Boettcher inherited the pole when on the first attempt at a start, the two drivers ahead of him in the inside row, Charlie Jackson and Will Roffers, were involved in a wreck.

Boettcher cruised. Bruce Belland held second for most of the race, but the handle went away on his car late as he dropped two spots to fourth in the final laps. Jeff McDonald passed Leif Gunderson for second in the final lap and Roffers came back to finish fifth despite having the toe knocked out on the right front tire in the lap one wreck.

That wreck occurred as Jackson spun in turn three and Roffers, with nowhere to
escape, made heavy contact. There was a similar wreck in the Mods later in the
night, but that pile-up collected five cars.

Leif Gunderson spun while battling for the lead in turn three on lap three. With the field still in a tight bunch, the chain reaction began as Belland, Roffers, Boettcher, Grasse and Cody Schmidt were all collected. Boettcher, Belland and Grasse could not continue.

Jason Zdroik took the lead through all of the carnage and comfortably led the final 16 laps to claim his first win of the season. George Dalbeck finished second and Terry Stebbeds came home third. Roffers was again able to survive the wreck and finished fourth.

In the Bombers, Crandon’s Ben Hendricksen won his second feature of the season.
Ironically, he has won both of his main events in make-up fashion. Jason Isaacson of Merrill won his third straight Stinger feature.

Saturday was Midseason Championship night at TNT Speedway. Belland won the WISSOTA Midwest Mod Midseason title by 20 points over Will Roffers.

The rest of the Midseason Champions will have to wait until next week to be crowned as rained washed out the program after halfway for the third time this month. Still, there were some interesting plot twists in the Midseason Title fights that took place during the heat races.

Between the make-up feature and the heats, something went amiss on Jordan Kurtti’s primary car. He borrowed Neal Slizewski’s car to race the heat and finished second. He has a 25-point advantage over Johnson, Jr. and will only need to start the make-up feature to clinch.

John Johnson, Sr. caught a very lucky break with the rain. The TNT Bombers had just started their feature and Johnson had slowed and was entering the pits on lap three. The caution came out and moments later, rain washed out the rest of the night. Johnson had a four-point lead on Todd Brass entering the feature and that looked to be in jeopardy with the unscheduled pit stop.

Meanwhile Nick Visser will take a five-point lead into the Stinger make-up feature. Visser came out the best in a battle for second in his heat race, when he made contact with James Leitl, spinning him in the backstretch. Leitl’s car collected Bill Martin, who trailed Visser by a point entering the race.

Martin was knocked out of the race and finished sixth. Visser, despite being sent to the back for bringing out the caution, recovered to finish second.

Racing will begin with the make-up features in the Bombers, Stingers and Street
Stocks next Saturday night. Then the WISSOTA Midwest Mods will join in for a full racing program sponsored by NAPA of Rhinelander and the Toy Shop of Eagle River.

As always, hot laps begin at 7:00 PM, with racing at 7:45.

Chateau Raceway

Monday, June 30th, 2008

Instead the track was able to run just its sixth race of the season with a nice field of cars on hand despite the threatening conditions. Rain hit the area shortly after 5:00 but not enough to call the show off and while cars were checking it at the pit gate a few sprinkles would fall but again not enough to scare anyone off. Finally as the National Anthem was played the sun broke through the clouds for a moment and shone down on the track giving a positive sign the nights action, despite the clouds and threat of more rain, would be run. For the most part the drivers did a good job of keeping the show moving along all night with cautions held to a minimum with the exception of the “Power 96 WISSOTA Midwest Modifieds” who for the second week in a row had laps cut from there feature race because of excessive cautions.

It started right off on the first green flag start in corner number one when
they bunched up and two cars turned sideways. Five cautions in the races first three laps caused an immediate cut of five laps from the scheduled twenty lap main event. They also lost there double wide restarts and had to
go single file. Finally after a couple more cautions they were able to run
the last ten laps of there race clean and put on a good show for the fans.
Bryan Hernandez had lead the opening lap after shooting out of the second row to the front on the first lap only to have outside pole sitter Bobby Swanson of Kasson come back by him on lap two for the lead. Swanson maintained the lead until lap eight when he got out of shape and Hernadez, who had fallen back to third, made a big move back to the front where he stayed the rest of the race for his first feature win of the season. Pfefier Jr held on for second ahead of Kenny Wytaske of Lansing and Albert Wytaske of Lansing. Hernadez also scored a heat win on the night to give him a sweep. Albert Wytaske and Brandon Davis of Medford also took home heat wins in the class.

Also picking up his first feature win of the season was Jason Gabrielson of
Austin in the “Triple J Disposal WISSOTA Super Stocks”. Gabrielson took advantage of starting on the pole for the race and lead flag for flag for the win. Cole Queensland of Grand Meadow worked his way from a third row starting spot up to second on lap six only to come up with mechanical problems a lap later that put him in the pits for the night. Jeff Brauer of Rochester outdueled last weeks feature winner Chris Klinger of Austin for second. Brauer claimed the nights heat win in the class. Queensland did run the fastest lap of the season for the class however on Friday night with a lap of 17.159, just a tick faster than his mark from earlier this month which was 17.226 .

Ross Spitzer of Dodge Center was the third of four drivers who became a first time feature winner this season at Lansing. Spitzer drove his “Pizza Ranch Pure Stock” to a pair of wins as he swept the class. Spitzer lead flag to flag in the main event as he jumped off the first row to the front and never looked back as he pulled away from runner up Jason Newkirk of Austin. Brandon Skalicky of Claremont who had the classes other heat win came home third in the feature.

In “Affordable Portable WISSOTA Street Stock” action AJ Zvorak of Blooming Prairie looked like he was on his way to a sweep on the night until late in
his feature. After winning his heat AJ started in row two of the feature and moved up to second on the first lap behind Mike Kohn of Hollandale. Zvorak moved to the lead in turn two and started to stretch out his lead as the race moved into its final hand full of laps. Coming off turn four with three laps to go Zvoraks car snapped around suddenly putting him crossways in front of the field and bringing out a late caution. Things just got worse for him on the restart. Starting tail end he charged down towards turn one on the restart and a tire went down sending him to the pits and ending his night. Bobby Kilby of Austin who inherited the lead held off Matt Eustice of Hartland for his second feature win of the season. Rick Lisowki of Dodge Center came home third ahead of Kohn. The nights other heat win went to Jesse Stahl of Austin who fell out early in the feature with mechanical problems.

In “Frenchs Repair and Fabrication of Dodge Center USRA Modified” action Brad Waits of Zumbrota made his first appearance of the year at the track and lit things up just missing out on the track record for the class. Waits started outside row two in his heat and went straight to the front on the drop of the green and sailed to the win. Along the way he turned a lap that was less than a tenth of a second slower than the track record held by Mark Noble of Blooming Prairie. Marks fast lap in 2006 was 15.861, Brads fast lap on friday night was 15.952, just .091slower, When you figure the length of the track that comes out to a difference of less than ten feet, or about half a car length difference between the two laps. The time was however the fastest lap so far this season. Waits may not of taken over the record but he did take home the big prize at the end of the night as he followed up his heat win with a dominating flag to flag win the the classes feature event. Waits started on the outside of Tommy Myer of Blooming Prairie. The two took the green and headed into turn one with Myer having a bit of an advantage into turn one, however as they came through turn two Brad stuck his car on the top of the track and powered past Myer coming out of turn two and took control of the top spot. Behind the two Mike Sorensen of Rochester and Brad Bakken of Garner Iowa put on a good show for third racing side by side and going back and forth a few times before Bakken took control of the spot on lap five. Brad reeled in Myer on lap ten and those two than went at it for second for several laps with lots of good side by side racing action. Bakken eventually made the pass for second on lap thirteen but there was not catching Waits as he had to settle for second ahead of Myer and Sorensen. Jacob Dahle, who scored the classes other heat win, came home in fifth.

In “S and S Auto Salvage Hornet” Feature action things got a little wild on the first lap. Sixteen Hornets took the green flag and the front of the field immediately tried to go three wide. As the field came into turn three there was some bumping and grinding and suddenly Dan Weckworth of Albert Lea, who started on the outside of the front row, was upside down. He ended up rolling one and a half times ending up with all four wheels straight in the air. Officials rushed to him and with a half a dozen cars sitting spun out all around him worked on getting him free from his belts so he could crawl out of the car. After climbing out he sat on the track for a moment talking with the EMT’s before heading back to his pit with his car. In all five cars went out on the first incident. The bumping and grinding took its toll on the field as three more cars were in the pits by midway and less than half the field was still around when the checkers flew. In the end it was Gary Stahl of Kasson who took home the feature win, his fourth of the year. Kevin Vogt of Rose Creek took second ahead of Garitt Wytaske of Lansing, Matt Brooks of Austin, Michael Wytaske of Lansing, and Cole Lonergan of Dexter, the only six cars running at the end. The classes heat winners were Mike Blowers of Waseca and Trae Diaz of Austin.

Chateau Raceway reminds everybody that they will run Thursday Night next week instead of Friday Night with the Fourth of July Holiday falling on Friday. The track will feature a special Dare Devil show as part of the Thursday Night special. “Dr Danger, a family thrilling stuntman, will entertain at some point during the nights program. In case of rain a possible rain date of Sunday July Sixth will be considered. Fans are to watch for a confirmation on that date if it becomes necessary. The tracks annual “Fireworks Spectacular” will be saved for a week until after the Fourth of July Weekend, with that event scheduled for Friday Night July 11th.

Schedule Changes For Special Classes

Monday, June 30th, 2008

“I have said it before,” said Kevin Greven, General Track Manager, “we always attract some of the best drivers regardless of the classes we race. From our specials to weekly racing, the quality and quantity of racers has been amazing this season. Because of the quantity side of things, it has been tough on the fans to hang with us till the end of the night.”

With that being said, the show length of last week’s O’Reilly Late Model Challenge has been called near perfect. It has prompted track officials to make some changes in the remainder of the 2008 schedule to ensure the same kind of flow.

“It’s simply about being even more fan and racer friendly,” added Greven. “If we can give the fan their money’s worth and get both them and the racers home at a decent time, it is worth the effort.”

Currently the Lucas Oil Speedway runs three classes: Miller Lite ULMA Late Models, Pitt’s Homes “A” Mods, and Transport Graphic Factory Stocks. Occasionally, we also run a fourth special class. For the remainder of the 2008 Season these extra fourth classes are going to be eliminated to insure the best quality of racing and best fan friendly show length we can provide.

The extra classes being removed are as follows:
July 5th – Figure 8 Racing
July 26th – Hobby Stock Rally
August 11th – 305 Sprint Cars
August 16th – Hobby Stock Rally
October 18th – “B” Modified Event

We are looking very forward to getting back to the “Best Weekly Racin’ in the Nation” on July 5th. In fact after this weekend’s Lucas Oil Pro-Pulling League Event we are basically racing through October. For more information on the remainder of the 2008 schedule log on to LucasOilSpeedway.com

WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO RACE AT AGE 14?

Monday, June 30th, 2008

Sounds a little far-fetched at the outset, however while NASCAR requires their lower level drivers across the country to be at least 16 to step into a race car, and their upper level series at age 18, the American Speed Association (ASA) and its premier traveling series on the West Coast; the ASA Speed Truck Challenge; welcomes any driver to join its ranks to be among some of the finest drivers in the country at only 14. “Most of our drivers have come up through the ranks of Karting, Bandoleros, and Legends,” says ASA Speed Truck Challenge president, Jay Rutherford. “Even at 14, they understand the basics of racing and how to respect the talents of other drivers on the track. In this series, we are able to redefine their driving talents and give them the true experience at a young age on as many as 10 different, varied size oval and road course race tracks in California, Arizona and Nevada. With that kind of understanding of different track conditions, truck setups and endurance of 100-lap features, I would put our rookies at the end of their first season up against anyone in the country,” explained Rutherford.

Add to the rush of driving their own Speed Truck and traveling over the West Coast, the thrill of learning to be interviewed and seen on national television at such a young age, preparing them for all aspects of what national sponsorship teams will expect out of a new driver. Now in its eighth year being nationally televised, the ASA Speed Truck Challenge gives these new drivers the opportunity to showcase their talents all over the country with broadcasts that have run on FOX Sports, The Outdoor Channel, and VERSUS Network, to name a few since 1999. This year, there has been no shortage of young “rookie” drivers in the ASA Speed Truck Challenge. “Are you kidding?” said 14-year-old Donny St. Ours, a development driver for Greg Biffle Motorsports. “This is the experience of a lifetime! I am thrilled that ASA gives me the chance to run with all of these other great drivers and gain the needed time behind the wheel of a Speed Truck on some of the greatest oval tracks and road courses in the country, preparing me for my future in racing. This is a blast!” St. Ours is definitely holding his own with half of the season gone holding a top ten position in the Championship Points’ race.
Because of the excellent parity between trucks on the track, it truly has put winning the championship all about the driver behind the wheel. In 2005, Victor Pfluger at age 14 won a main event in the ASA Speed Truck Challenge. In 2007, at only 16, he won the series championship in the very last race of the season with only two points separating him from two-time series champion, Darren Young, age 43. “This is exactly what my officials and I have been working for over the years and I believe we have done it, remarked Rutherford. “With only three races left in the 2007 season, we had ten drivers that mathematically could have won the championship. It just came down to a great team effort and super driving ability that put the Pfluger team on top for the season.” To prove the point, over the entire season of fourteen races on eight different tracks, qualifying times were separated by less than 7/10 of a second on the oval tracks.

Chris Buescher out of the David Ragan driving stable has quite a story to share with many of his fellow Legend Car drivers. At the ripe old age of 15, Buescher showed up at Tucson Raceway Park on March 22nd, having never seen a Speed Truck. Strapped in, ran the practice sessions, qualified on the pole, won the Trophy Dash and went on to win the 100-lap feature, and all of this on national television. At Orange Show Speedway on May 24th Buescher won another Speed Truck main with yet another 100-lap feature coming out in the Winner’s Circle. “This series is helping me move up the ladder. Nowhere else can I gain the “big car” experience I need to move up to West, ARCA, Craftsman Truck, Nationwide or the Sprint Cup series.”

ASA is extremely fortunate to have its partner carrier, Federal Insurance Company a member company of Chubb Group of Insurance Companies, work with them so closely to arrange this unique motorsports program. It provides the ability for 14-year-olds to race on all of the ASA sanctioned tracks as well as NASCAR tracks with full protection. This huge supporting $500,000 coverage on and to/from the race track, adds the exclamation point to the series stepping up to the plate with a tremendous emphasis on safety. “We have our own Safety Director at every race,” continued Rutherford, “who inspects every safety item on the Speed Trucks to make sure the drivers have every precaution. We want the parents and families of all of our drivers, particularly the younger ones, to know that both on and off the track, we run an extremely safe series for our teams,” concluded Rutherford.

The Speed Truck Challenge travels the Southwest competing at I-10 Speedway, Tucson Raceway Park, Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Orange Show Speedway, Havasu 95 Speedway, Irwindale Speedway, Firebird International Raceway, California Speedway, Kern County’s New Home to NASCAR (formerly Mesa Marin Raceway) and has raced numerous events at Phoenix International Raceway, San Diego Grand Prix, LA Grand Prix and others. The Speed Trucks weight 2,450 pounds, are full tube chassis, 108 inch wheelbase, 375 horsepower Van Gordon Racing Engines V-8’s, a 2-speed direct drive transmission, aluminum quick-change Speedway Engineering rear end, 8-inch Hoosier Racing tires on Allied Racing Wheels, powered by Torco Race Fuel and fired by Mr. Gasket’s – Mallory / ACCEL ignition systems. The Speed Trucks sport exact replica Norris Racing fiberglass bodies in Chevy S-10, Chevy Colorado, Ford Ranger, Dodge Dakota and Toyota Tacoma. Check them out at SpeedTruck.com., C,

To find out how you can climb into your own Speed Truck and join this exciting West Coast series, call Jay Rutherford at 909-949-4780 or jay@speedtruck.com.

Kasson Speedway Press release

Monday, June 30th, 2008

“The month of August will hopefully begin a new era in Kasson Speedways history. We realize there is a long standing tradition of Sunday nights at Kasson, unfortunately it just does not work anymore and in reality it hasn’t for a long time.” Stated promoter Scott Mondus.

Mondus went on to state that he and his staff have conducted interviews, surveys, and numerous one-on-one conversations with fans, drivers, and sponsors. The issue almost always was associated with Sunday being the problem that prevented attendance or participation. The unfortunate reality is Kasson Speedway is a business in a very competitive marketplace in close proximity of two other racing facilities. We hope this bold move will gain the support of drivers, fans, and sponsors as the alternative is not a subject we would like to state.

It is our belief that being last in line puts us at a severe disadvantage, and it has been communicated to us that Sunday is reserved for a day of rest, family time, or that their entertainment dollars have just plain been exhausted by Sunday. It is our hope that the move to Thursday nights will be the catalyst to revitalize Kasson Speedway and give us a jump start on the weekend and our competition.

A reminder on upcoming events prior to the switch; July 2 (Wed) 360 Sprint Cars plus MWM $500 to win, July 11th (Fri) “Eve of Destruction, July 20th (Sun) Fair Race, July 24th (Thurs) NASCAR Night “Featuring Kenny Wallace.”