The weather was cool once again in the Rainy River District and it seemed throughout much of the day that the heavens were going to open up and force a cancellation due to rain. However, it turned out better than expected and even with the low temperatures, drivers and fans alike appeared for the third week in a row at the Emo Speedway.There were some new faces at the track for 2009. Local driver, yet long distance traveler, Brad Loveday made his way to Emo due to rainouts almost everywhere else in WISSOTA country. John Hettinga returned to the WISSOTA Midwest Modified class for the first time this year. He ran a limited schedule in 2008 and was not able to start until July 19. Starting out much earlier this season, Hettinga was in top form for his heat race, winning it over Ken Anderson. Local driver, Rob Anderson made a return appearance for the first time since 2007. They were able to complete the car just in time for the evening’s races but his night didn’t turn out very well, finishing last in the heat and the feature. The Street Stock feature experienced a large boast in car counts as racers missing from last week returned. Compared to a total of five last week, this week saw the number more than double to twelve. Dean Martin returned to the scene in the Streets for the first time in 2009, but was unable to start the feature due to the lack of a spare tire. Wes Morriseau also returned from a one year hiatus and finished with a decent top five at the end of the night.
Attendance was similar to the previous two weeks in the WISSOTA Midwest Modified division as a total of sixteen cars were ordered into two heats of eight. In heat two, Dwayne Pihulak continued his dominance in the heat races as he flew past five cars to win over Kendal Gamsby and Christopher Leek. However, it was the feature that proved exciting. On the front row was long distance traveler Bill Reimer on the inside of town local, Christopher Leek. At the start, Reimer moved up high, causing Leek to move up the track to avoid a rub in between the two. A door was left open, and several cars slipped past the starters. The race soon became a battle of the veterans as Ken Anderson held the lead by about half a car length on Dwayne Pihulak. The race was close between the two of them, but there was some distance from second to third place where Chuck Lambert and Kendal Gamsby struggled to catch up to the speed demons. Pihulak was able to get beside Anderson a few times, but was unable to finish the job. Anderson crossed the line with the win, becoming the third different driver in as many weeks to win the WISSOTA Midwest Modified feature.
The WISSOTA Modifieds had a fair share of entertainment too. The twelve cars were split into two heats, with Brad Loveday winning the first heat and Dwayne Pelepetz drove around the track at full speed to win the second heat. In the feature, it was a Brad Loveday and Greg Ferris show. They proved during the entire race to be the fastest and the smoothest. While it seemed many of the other Modifieds were falling off the track or at least having a tough time maintaining a solid fast groove, Loveday and Ferris made it look easy. The two cars pulled away with Ferris trying to play catch up. With one restart about halfway through the race, Ferris had his best chance to make a move on Loveday, but he was not quick enough to gain any position. The two cars kept at even distance about a car length or so apart and Loveday remained alert, running an almost perfect race. Neither driver missed a beat with the sheer speed of their cars getting the fans fired up. Ferris tried his best using as much as the track as possible to find a faster groove, but could not find enough to beat Loveday, ending his short, but sweet winning streak.
The Street Stocks had a high car count compared to last week with twelve cars appearing instead of last week’s five. In the first heat, Scott Messner continued to dominate, as Jeff Wickstrom moved through the field to finish second. In the second heat, Don Bowman and Tylar Wilson struggled to gain a threshold on each other but Bowman held on through the corners to win it. The feature was a war of attrition as eleven started and only five would finish. Due to the invert, both Messner and Bowman started in seventh and eighth respectively. As the green flag waved, Messner and Bowman started to make passes to the front. Soon, there was a battle between Tylar Wilson and Messner, but bad luck plagued Wilson as his right rear axle broke right off and his tire flew across the track into a neighboring ditch, ending his night early. After the restart, the track was noticeably getting faster with every lap and Messner was clear of traffic with Bowman in second. The race was not over with surprises yet as rookie driver Linz Bourre lost some control of her car as a high flying Tyler Wickstrom drove towards her on the backstretch. Bourre could not hold on to the car and Wickstrom’s rear tire drove over Bourre’s causing him to fly in the air sideways and rollover in dramatic fashion on the track. Thankfully, as the ambulance rushed towards the damaged car, Wickstrom was able to get out on his own power and was checked by the paramedics. Bourre finished her night but found out later there was little damage to her car. The rest of the race was history as Messner and Bowman pulled away from the field. Messner received his second win of the season.
In the chase for the points, it is Greg Ferris in the WISSOTA Modifieds with a strong lead over Brady Caul, while Dwayne Pihulak and Dwayne Pelepetz are only a couple points behind second. But it is in the WISSOTA Midwest Modifieds where the points chase is the tightest ever seen in the class. Three-time defending champion, Kendal Gamsby is in the lead, two points above second place, Tridell Champlin. Third, fourth, and fifth are tied three points behind the leader, while Chuck Lambert is in sixth spot, four points back. It is anyone’s point race currently. In the Street Stocks, Scott Messner of Bemidji, Minnesota is seven points over Richard Visser. The two drivers share the wins so far this season in the division.
It will be interesting to see what happens this weekend. The WISSOTA Midwest Modifieds has had some exciting racing with three different winners so far this season. As the summer draws in, car counts will continue to rise which will result in the opportunity of having many more different winners. On June 13, at the Emo Speedway, action heats up again with Car Rides during intermission! Visit www.borderlandracing.com for more information on events, ticket prices, and other up to date information.