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Archive for July, 2013

Northpole Nightmare Chills Field Scores 10th Victory of 2013

Wednesday, July 31st, 2013

Antigo, WI,– There was a chill in the air, and on the track on Friday Night at the Langlade County Fairgrounds Speedway. Having battled weather all afternoon, track officials overcame several afternoon downpours working the track into shape to present the first Bumper to Bumper IRA Outlaw Sprint Series race held at the track since the 2007 season.

Cool evening temperatures greeted fans with weather more representative of early October than mid-summer, and perhaps it was the chill in the air that helped former Alaska native Bill Balog find the extra speed he needed to charge from his 10th place starting berth to victory in the 20 lap A-main.

While Balog’s speed on the slightly banked half mile was impressive he found himself nearly a straightaway behind veteran racer Steve Meyer with five laps to go in the contest. Meyer who had lead from the opening green flag had cleared lapped traffic and appeared to have the pace to outrun Balog to the checkered flag when the lone caution of the contest appeared when Scott Nietzel looped his ride in turn three.

With rules placing lapped machines to the tails of the field Meyer no longer had any lapped cars as a cushion on Balog when the green flag fell for the five lap dash to the finish. As racing resumed Balog immediately began to pressure Meyer, working to is inside down the backstretch and securing the top spot before the lap was complete.

Once out front Balog was able to pull away from Meyer and he would take the checkered flag by a dozen car lengths. Meyer would accept the checker flag earning a second place finish for the second time this season. Meyer had posted runner-up honors in May at the 141 Speedway where he also saw Balog cross the finish line first.

The A-main event has started presenting a field of 21 cars for the race narrowed by mechanical difficulties which eliminated three drivers from participating in the event. Phillip Mock, Ken Jay Fiedler and Michael Decker all suffered engine problems in the heat races, with Mock’s ride suffering a very visible explosion just ase he took the checkered flag in his heat race.

Due to weather conditions qualifying was scrapped in the interest of time and heat race passing points would determine the starting lineup for the main event. By virtue of those points Meyer would start on the pole with Allen Hafford to his outside. Hafford turned in an exceptional performance in his heat race finishing second to Jeremy Schultz to earn his starting spot but he did not have the speed to keep pace with Meyer who took the opening lead in the main event. Rookie of the year contender Lance Fassbender sliced into the second spot, and Schultz bolted from his sixth place starting
position to reach third at Hafford’s expense before the completion of lap one.

Meyer would set sail on the smooth and tacky racing surface putting some distance on the field while Balog began his march forward. By the fifth lap Balog had cracked the top five and continued his charge picking off several more positions eventually surpassing Schultz for third before the halfway point. By this time however Meyer had reached the back markers and he began to place several lapped cars between himself and Fassbender who still held down the second position.

Fassbender would soon have his hands full as Balog caught up to his rear nerf bar by lap 13 and with a decisive move down the backstretch Balog placed himself in the second position. Meyer however still had several lapped car and a full straightaway lead on Balog as the laps began to wind down. The last thing Meyer wanted was a caution and unfortunately that’s exactly what happened on lap 15 when Neitzel slipped in turn three.

The caution negated not only the large lead Meyer had on Balog but due to the caution occurring with 5 laps or less the back markers were also moved to the tail of the field. This placed Balog directly behind Meyer for the restart. Meyer was able to get a good jump coming to the green flag but Balog drove deep into the corner, then diving under Meyer down the backstretch. Balog would then nose ahead into turns three and four taking the lead. Once out front Balog demonstrated the speed of his #17b machine leaving Meyer unable to close the gap.

The battle for third also changed hands on the restart as Fassbender lost several positions allowing both Schultz and Mike Reinke to work past. Schultz the current rookie point leader and second in the overall standings would run wheel to wheel with Reinke who made a surprise appearance this evening after having battled motor ills throughout the early season. On several occasions Reinke would draw even with Schultz who would stand his ground and fend off Reinke’s challenges for the third spot.

The race would conclude with Balog scoring the win by a comfortable margin over Meyer. Schultz would manage to fend off
Reinke to the checkered flag earning his ninth top five finish of the season. Reinke completed the contest in
fourth with Tommy Sexton rounding out the top five finishers. Todd King would pass Fassbener with only a couple laps remaining to grab sixth while Fassbender faded to a seventh place finish. Russel Borland, Dave Uttech and Nick Alden completed the top ten finishers.

13 cars were on the lead lap with Balog at the finish and only two drivers, Alex Bleisner and Dennis “Ozzy” Weisner were unable to finish the event leaving 19 of the original 21 starters on the track at the finish. Ironically it was the first series start of the 2013 season for both drivers. The second day of the planned double header “Northwoods Weekend” would have included a trip to ABC Raceway located in Ashland, Wisconsin. The banked third-mile clay oval was to have
seen it’s third appearance by the Bumper to Bumper IRA Outlaw Sprints on Saturday Night, July 27th, however intermittent showers began just after the pit gates opened and remained persistent leaving series officials no choice but to call off the event. Both the IRA and track officials hope to return again during the 2014 season.

Heskin Thunders to Grams Crown

Wednesday, July 31st, 2013

(St. Croix Falls, Wisconsin)A passing rain shower momentarily dampened the spirits of the crowd at St. Croix Valley Raceway as a mini-burst arrived just as Friday’s Thunder in the Valley #4 was set to begin. But the rain quickly ended and the subsequent rainbow to the track’s east set the stage for an evening filled with excitement for the first annual Dan Grams Memorial featuring the Upper Midwest Sprintcar Series (UMSS) winged sprint cars, with whom Grams often competed during his career.

A strong field of 25 winged sprints was on hand for the first running of the UMSS Dan Grams Memorial. When the final double checkers waved, Davey Heskin of St. Michael, Minnesota hustled his Donnahue Motorsports sprint car around the 1/4 mile dirt oval to record his first UMSS sprint car feature victory and become the first winner of the UMSS Dan Grams Memorial. It was Heskin’s birthday, and he certainly gave himself a fine present with a feature race victory. The win was not without some anxious moments for Heskin though, as the pace was slowed under caution on several occasions for minor altercations or spins. With about five laps remaining in the 26 lap feature, Brooke Tatnell attempted to pass Heskin with a slide job going into turn one. Heskin waited patiently for Tatnell to clear, then immediately turned down under him to retake the lead exiting turn two. Heskin led all 26 laps en route to his inaugural series win and the $1,313 payday.

With several members of the Grams family in attendance, Lowell Grams brought his son Dan’s #13 sprint car to the track and it was parked in Victory Lane prior to feature race action. A smiling Heskin presented the commemorative Dan Grams Memorial poster-style print from Track Rat Photos to Lowell following the post-race celebration with Dan’s sprint car serving as the backdrop to Victory Lane. Heskin made sure to autograph the print afterwards, in what was a class move on his part to help honor the memory of Dan Grams.

Following the usual double round of qualifying races that the UMSS utilizes, Brooke Tatnell was high point driver. Tatnell redrew the #6 pill putting Heskin and Rick Kobs on the front row. With the race distance being twice the number of Dan Gram’s #13 sprint car, 20 drivers were set to do battle for 26 racing laps. Heskin immediately got the lead from his pole starting spot, as he locked his sprint car into the cushion up top. A series of five yellows waved in the first half of the race. At the halfway mark, Heskin held the top spot over Kobs, two-time 2013 winner Scotty Thiel, Tatnell, and Jason Tostenson. By the time the final caution blinked on with 17 laps scored, Tatnell had moved to second for what would be the final nine lap green flag run to the finish. Tatnell, the leading winner in UMSS history, was just returning to action after sitting out about a month with a broken foot and was looking for his third UMSS win of the season.

Tatnell stayed close to Heskin and made the one failed attempt to gain the top spot. Shortly after that, the track took some rubber up top and Heskin was able to hold off Tatnell for the win. In the final nine laps, Tostenson drove a strong race to finish third ahead of Thiel and Tony Norem. After spinning on the opening lap, Norem restarted 19th and made a tremendous charge forward to the top five. Rounding out the top ten finishers were Kobs, current UMSS point leader Chris Graf, Tony Kaus, Ryan Wilson and two-time UMSS Champion Jerry Richert, Jr.

Ultimate Sprint Heat race wins went to Heskin, Kobs and Jared Goerges. Tatnell and Norem topped the two Challenge Races. Lee Grosz had a throttle stick open entering turn three in his heat race and ended upside down in turn four. Although the damage to the 4J car did not appear too serious, Grosz was done for the evening. Various mechanical gremlins kept Jordan Wilmes, Sye Anderson, Joseph Kouba and Brandon Allen from making the 20-car starting grid for the main event.

It was an emotional night for several UMSS competitors, as Jason Tostenson, Chris Graf, Brandon Allen, Jordan Wilmes, and Cam Schafer had raced with Dan Grams on numerous occasions primarily at Arlington and Redwood Falls. Tostenson and Grams were close personal friends, and Jason practically drove the wheels off his #36 sprint car in an effort to get to the front. In the end, Tostenson ranked highest amongst those drivers who had raced quite a bit with Grams. Tostenson also drove several parade laps in the Grams #13 sprinter during intermission. Several members of the Grams family were in Victory Lane during the break to have their photos taken following a brief tribute to Dan Grams on behalf of the UMSS.

Prior to the featured sprint car attraction, the Pure Stocks did their best to warm the crowd that endured unseasonably chilly north winds with some hot, heart-pounding action. Second heat race winner Jason Havel and Tim Baxter paced the field to green and Havel got the early jump on Baxter and led in the early going. Baxter, a feature winner two weeks ago, kept Havel honest with a series of high-side attempts around Havel, but Havel was equal to the challenge each time. Behind the battle for the lead, Krysta Swearingen was putting on a driving clinic. Swearingen, who grenaded her power plant last Thursday, suffered more mechanical woes in her heat race and had to start the feature in the last row. Within a few laps, Swearingen was already up to fifth place and sizing up first heat race winner Ben Kaphing for fourth. With Havel continuing to fend off Baxter, Swearingen had dispatched Kaphing and “Jet Lag” Wigchers and began reeling in the lead duo. With five laps to go, it was a three car battle for the point, and with three circuits left, Swearingen worked around Baxter for second place. Fending off all challenges, Havel went on to win his fifth of the year over Swearingen, Kaphing, Robert Thompson and Wigchers.

Three of the seven starters in the Future Four main event were women, and one of the three came within a few hundred feet of winner her first feature. Derek Reding and Nickin DuBois brought the field to green and Reding got the early jump on the field, leading the first two laps. On the third lap, DuBois powered to the front and a lap later, fourth-starting Damon Roberts charged by Reding as well. Through the white flag and beyond, DuBois masterfully drove her #62 in front of Roberts, already the owner of three feature wins this season. The leaders were side-by-side through the last set of turns and just a few feet was the margin by which Roberts bested DuBois at the stripe. Reding came home third in front of Dylan Roberts and Brock Anderson.

The first of three UMSS divisions to compete on the evening were the Micro Sprints with Bryan Patrick and July 13 winner Allison Berger on the front row. Quickly vaulting from row three to the point was three-time winner Ty Sampair in his #64 micro, and once there, Sampair was determined to stay there after failing to complete the heat race after leading in the early going. Fourth-starting Collin Olson was closely tailing Sampair for a few laps, but Sampair was on a mission and eventually pulled away to win by more than a straightaway over Olson, Patrick, Berger and heat race winner Sandy Traaseth.

The WISSOTA Midwest Modified Feature still another thriller in a class that seems to have a penchant for racing three and four cars wide, cleanly, on a weekly basis. Kyle Hallin and Jim Giossi brought the Mods to green with Giossi showing the way for laps one and two. On the third circuit, Josh Bazey took over the point while Giossi, Ryan Olson, Vince Corbin, Mitch Weiss and Joe Chaplin Jr. fanned out across the breadth of the racing surface looking for speed. Olson tried myriad grooves, constantly testing low and high for a path around Bazey while Bazey was pushing his #55 to its limits. With seemingly the rest of the field battling behind them, Olson and Bazey settled into a one-two battle for the lead. With two to go, Olson finally found a path around Bazey and was heading for the win when the caution waved, re-bunching the field for two lap dash to the finish. On the restart, Olson was able to maintain the point and pick up is second SCVR win of the summer while Corbin nipped Bazey at the line for second. David Mastell and John Remington rounded out the top five.

The penultimate race on the night featured the non-winged UMSS Traditional Sprints, with Katrina Sautbine and Johnny Parsons setting the pace. Sautbine, looking for her third TSCS win led for the first five laps before Parsons took over, trying to score his third win of 2013 as well. Mike Mueller, who picked up his first career TSCS win when the series visited Granite City Speedway in Sauk Rapids, Minnesota, last Sunday, was running the low groove with Sautbine and Parsons, while series points leader Rob Caho Jr. was running in his comfort zone – high, pushing off the cushion. At the race’s midpoint, Caho’s high-side hustle paid off as he edged in front of Parsons to take over the lead. With neither line showing a clear advantage, the middle of the track was clear as the racers meticulously stuck to their respective low and high racing grooves. Caho and Parsons were tussling for the win, while Sautbine, Brian VanMeveren, Cam Shafer and Mueller all attacked their preferred lines. At the final double checkers, Caho claimed the trophy over Parsons, Mueller, VanMeveren and Shafer.

Friday night, August 2, The Valley is back in action with the Big Bike Giveaway/Ultimate Kids Night, with activities for young fans to accompany the several bikes to be given away to junior fans. The big fireworks display that was planned for the rained out June 21 Fireworks Spectacular will also be part of the Ultimate Kids Night event. All five regular classes will complete along with the Northern Vintage Stockcar Racers (NVSR), with racing set to begin at 7:05. More information can be found on the track’s website,, or on their Facebook page.

Jason Hughes Scores Biggest Win of His Career with WMDTC Triumph

Wednesday, July 31st, 2013

Westville, Oklahoma- Jason Hughes enjoyed a dominant weekend in his #12 West Siloam Pawn/Gressel Racing/Hughes/Mullins Race Engines Open Wheel Modified on his way to the biggest win of his career with a $20,000 triumph in the 3rd Annual World Modified Dirt Track Championship!

Jason Hughes opened the 3rd Annual World Modified Dirt Track Championship with a bang on Wednesday night at Deer Creek Speedway (Spring Valley, Minnesota) by scoring the win in the preliminary event!

He started the night by being the fastest qualifier in his group and with the top six qualifiers in each group being inverted for heat race action, he started 6th. A 6th to 2nd run in his heat race resulted in Hughes being the 2nd highest point’s earner via preliminary action, and as a result he started 2nd in the feature alongside Lucas Schott. Jason would go on to charge to the win in the feature to end the night as the top point’s earner, which locked him into Saturday night’s $20,000-to-win finale.

On Saturday evening Jason entered the final night of the mega-event in front of a capacity crowd and threatening skies at the 3/8 mile oval. Via his preliminary night performance Hughes started 4th in the feature, and early in the event would advance to the second position behind race leader, Jason Krohn. He stalked Krohn until a lap 28, when he pulled even with the leader before taking control of the lead on lap 30. The next several laps found Hughes inching away from the field, but a late-race caution that bunched the field with just seven laps remaining gave second place runner, Stormy Scott a shot at the top spot. However, Jason would not be denied as he raced to the biggest win of his career and fifth of the 2013 season!

“We had a really good car all weekend; Steve (Karver, crew chief) had this thing dialed in and we were pretty comfortable out there,” Hughes said following his seventh USMTS win at Deer Creek, “I didn’t want to see that caution at the end. I hadn’t seen anybody until then so I figured we were running pretty good. I have to thank all of my sponsors and fans for their awesome support.”

Scott, Joey Jenson, Krohn, and Rodney Sanders rounded out the top five finishers. Full results from the event are available at

Jason now turns his attention to the start of The Hunt for the USMTS Casey’s Cup with the USMTS tour, which begins this weekend, August 1st-3rd, in Arkansas and Missouri. Hughes, who was the 2010 USMTS National Champion, will begin his pursuit of another title on Friday night at Batesville Motor Speedway (Locust Grove, Arkansas) before heading to West Plains Motor Speedway (West Plains, Missouri) on Friday and concluding the weekend on Sunday evening at Monett Speedway (Monett, Missouri)

For more information on the events please visit

Hughes Race Cars continues to lead the Tiger Rear Ends Manufacturers Championship standings with the USMTS. Visit for more information on how to join our winning team.

Jason Hughes would like to thank his sponsors including West Siloam Pawn, Gressel Racing, Hughes Racing Chassis, Road Runner Trucking, LLC, Mullins Race Engines, JRI Shocks, Hanson Tire Service, Braka Operating, Sunoco Race Fuels, Mert’s Truck Center, SAEF Custom Finishing, Wheeler Metals Rainbow Graphics, Hooker Harness, Quarter Master, Beyea Custom Headers, Ultra-Shield Race Products, MB Machine & Tool, T&D Machine Products, Callies, Quick Car Racing Products, Dan Olson Racing Products, FSR Radiators & Racing Products, Tiger Rear Ends, Joe Gibbs Driven Racing Oil, Sweet Mfg, Real Racing Wheels, Rod End Supply, and Marketing Services.

For more information on Jason Hughes, please visit

Charles Davis Jr. Wins “Summer Slam” at Home Track

Wednesday, July 31st, 2013

PEORIA, AZ – For the second year in a row, “Chargin” Charles Davis Jr. of Buckeye earned the “Summer Slam” victory at Canyon Speedway Park. The $1,500 USAC SouthWest Sprint Car triumph was the fourth win of the campaign for Davis and his second straight “home track” conquest. The five-time Arizona Champion took command from Shon Deskins on lap nine and powered his way to the checkered flags. Deskins, point leader R.J. Johnson, Tom Ogle, and Andy Reinbold rounded out the top-five drivers.

Driving the Massey Motorsports’ #50 RSS Industries / Rod End Supply RSS, “Chargin” Charles Davis Jr. started third in the main event after running second in his heat race and third in the dash. Currently second in the point chase, Davis has six heat race victories, three dash wins, two semi-main wins, three hard charger awards, sixteen top-10 finishes, and 84 feature laps led to his credit. Davis will be one of the favorites to watch when the series returns to action at the four-race “Freedom Tour.”

Phoenix’s Shon Deskins led the first eight circuits before taking second in the 30-lap main event. Piloting his #20 Performance Plus / Ellis Race Cars machine, Deskins won the night’s Racers Advantage Store Heat Race #3 and placed second in the dash. Currently, the veteran driver is fifth in the standings with seven heat race victories, one semi-main win, one hard charger award, and nine top-10 finishes on the season.

R.J. Johnson of Phoenix scored third in the “Summer Slam” after starting fifth. Racing Bill Michaels’ #77M Kodiak Products / Beal’s Auto Body Sherman, Johnson placed second in his heat race and claimed fifth in the dash. To date, the USAC SouthWest point leader has eight feature wins, seven heat race victories, four Sunoco Fuels Passing Masters Dash wins, one hard charger award, sixteen top-10 finishes, and 239 feature laps led on the year.

Surprise’s Tom Ogle had a solid night at Canyon Speedway Park and claimed fourth in the “Summer Slam.” Driving his #48 RSS Industries / JT Engineering RSS, Ogle was second in his heat race and won his first Sunoco Fuels Passing Masters Dash. Running a limited schedule, Tom sits fifteenth in championship points with six top-10 finishes in the campaign.

Andy Reinbold of Gilbert raced to fifth in the “Summer Slam” after starting eighth. Piloting Todd Underwood’s #19 AME Electrical / Ross Equipment Rentals RSS, Reinbold scored third in his heat race and finished eighth in the dash. As this writing goes to press, Andy is sixth in the standings with one semi-main win and eleven top-10 finishes in 2013.

Glendale’s “The Bullet” Bob Ream Jr. earned the program’s “Hard Charger / Best Passing Job” honors with a seventh place finish after starting seventeenth. Racing the BRAT Racing #8 Hose Advantage Store / Racers Advantage Store Viper, “The Bullet” took sixth in his heat race and was not eligible for the dash. In limited starts, the former state champion is nineteenth in the points with one heat race victory, one Sunoco Fuels Passing Masters Dash win, and four top-10 finishes on the season.

Rookie contender Steven Harms of Scottsdale won his first 8-lap Racers Advantage Store Heat Race. Driving the family owned #60 S.A.I. / Gorilla Powder Coating Maxim, Harms finished sixth in the dash and scored twenty-second in the feature after an early exit. Currently seventeenth in the standings, Steven is gaining valuable experience with the USAC SouthWest Sprint Car Series.

Tucson’s Ronnie Clark won the night’s Racers Advantage Store Heat Race #2. Piloting the family owned #6 Ellis Race Cars / Performance Engine & Machine Ellis, Clark scored fourth in the dash and sixth in the “Summer Slam” main event. To date, Ronnie sits fourth in the championship points with two heat race victories and eleven top-10 finishes to his credit.

The USAC SouthWest Sprint Car Series will return to action for the inaugural four-race “Freedom Tour” in Oklahoma and Kansas. Featuring a purse of $2,500-to-win and $250-to-start each night, the non-point tour will start August 21st at Sapulpa, Oklahoma’s Creek County Speedway. The following night, the series will clash at 81 Speedway in Wichita, Kansas. The “Freedom Tour” will conclude at Dodge City, Kansas after two shows at Dodge City Raceway Park. For more information, visit the series website at

The USAC SouthWest Sprint Car Series would like to thank Sunoco Race Fuels, Hoosier Tire, Hose Advantage Store, and the Racers Advantage Store for their support. For more information on the series, visit,, or follow the series on Facebook (

Salute to America Night Featuring Racing and Booms is this Friday at MIS

Wednesday, July 31st, 2013

It will be a big night under the lights at Madison International Speedway this Friday night for Salute to America Night featuring the Big 8 Late Models, Midwest Trucks, and Vintage Series all on Wisconsin’s Fastest Half-Mile. Plus fans will be treated to the best fireworks show in the area presented by Thunder Cat. The Racing…Big 8 Late Models, Club La Mark Midwest Trucks, and Vintage Series Over 30 Big 8 Late Models are expected to come to Madison on Friday night and battle
it out on Wisconsin’s Fastest Half-Mile for 48 exciting laps. The Club La Mark Midwest Trucks will be here too fighting it out for top honors. See a wide variety of vintage cars that look great and race hard…all on the half-mile.

The Booms…Fireworks presented by Thunder Cat…it’s the best! These guys from Thunder Cat somehow outdo themselves each year they are at MIS…you won’t be disappointed!!! Plus we will be hosting a Vendor Faire on the hill with more than a dozen different vendors here to share their products and services. Pit Gates open at 3:30 / Grandstands open at 4:30
Practice at 4:45 / Qualifying at 6:08 / Racing at 7:30 Admission is $15.00 for Ages 13 and up / $5.00 for ages 6-12 / Free for 5 and under

Schedule of Events… Madison International Speedway Friday August 2, 2013
3:30 Pit Gates Open
4:45 Practice (Rotating, 2 Rounds)
-Midwest Trucks
-Big 8 LM
6:08 Qualifying (Trucks, Big 8 LM, Vintage)
**Driver’s Meeting to Follow**
7:20 Opening Ceremonies and National Anthem
-Midwest Truck Heats 8 Laps
-Big 8 Qualifying Races 10 Laps
-Big 8 Dashes 6 Laps
-Vintage Heat 6 Laps
-Big 8 Last Chance 15 Laps
-Midwest Trucks Feature 30 Laps (if 15 or more trucks 40 laps)
-Big 8 Feature 48 Laps
-Vintage Feature 10/15 Laps
FIREWORKS presented by Thunder Cat