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.