Posts in 'TNT Speedway' Track
July 23rd, 2013
THREE LAKES, Wis. — Racing lore states strange things happen under a full moon.The TNT Pure Stocks confirmed the myth Saturday night. Six caution flags flew as only five of the 12 cars that started made it to the end. Lac du Flambeau’s Shawn Bialas made it through the carnage the best to pick up his first feature win of the season. He took home a big trophy as the Kim Parsons Memorial Trophy Tour made a stop at TNT. Dan Melton of Rhinelander, Jordan Kurtti of Bruce Crossing, Mich., Zach Degner of Merrill and Forrest Crandall of Birnamwood also won trophies Saturday by winning their features. Steve Parson, a longtime track announcer at short tracks across Wisconsin, provided the trophies as he raise awareness about organ and tissue donation as part of his state-wide tour.
It did not take long for the chaos to begin in the Pure Stocks, affectionately called the “Bombers” for their crash-and-bash style. Rick England spun in the middle of the pack on the second lap, collecting John Danielson, who smashed head on into England’s car. The crash knocked Danielson out of the race.
The restart took out a championship contender. Rhinelander’s Tyler Lundberg was battling for the lead when Bialas got into teammate John Johnson Jr. in turn four. The contact launched Johnson’s car up the track into Lundberg’s car. Lundberg
smashed into the retaining wall at the exit of turn four, destroying the front end of the automobile. He entered the night seven points behind John Johnson Sr. for the class points lead.
Johnson Sr. was looking for his fifth consecutive feature victory. Because of the early wrecks, he moved to third on lap two after starting ninth. Johnson quickly rocketed to the lead, passing Frank Gasperini on the restart. Suddenly, Johnson
slowed on the front stretch and shot toward the outside wall, bringing out a caution. The race settled down after lap three. Gasperini restarted as the leader, but Bialas, who quickly rebounded from being sent to the back for a caution took the lead on lap four. Herb Dettman of Pelican Lake moved his way to second and Johnson Sr. rebounded to settle into third by lap five. The trio jockeyed nose-to-tail the next few laps. Johnson passed Dettman for second on lap seven, but Dettman battled back with a strong move on the bottom line in turn three on lap 11 to reclaim the runner-up spot. Dettman had Bialas in the crosshairs, but the complexion of the race changed moments later when Gasperini stalled, bringing out the caution with three laps to go.
Dettman got loose on the restart and spun, collecting Lance Rutledge, bringing out the fifth caution. The sixth and final caution occurred moment later as Johnson broke an axle and stalled right in front of the charging pack, collecting England
and Johnson Jr.
Bialas held off Troy Larock on the final restart to claim the win. Dettman rallied for third. Johnson Jr., who was able to continue following the crash with his father, and Rutledge rounded out the top five. Johnson Sr. finished eighth after his mechanical troubles but extended his lead over Lundberg to 13 points with five races to go.
Melton proved in his three previous feature victories in the WISSOTA/AMSOIL Dirt Track Series in the Midwest Modifieds at TNT Speedway that he is difficult to pass when he gets the lead. That was the case again Saturday as he racked up win No. 4, and his second of 2013. Melton had a full straightaway lead on lap nine when Tad Schoonover spun, bringing out the caution. Points leader Bruce Belland passed Larry Gasperini for the runner-up spot on the restart and settled into Melton’s tire tracks.
With a dry-slick condition taking away traction from most of the racing lines, the drivers clung to the bottom of the 90-foot wide track as they searched for grip in the corners. Several times over the final 12 laps Belland tried to challenge Melton to the inside. Every time Melton held him off. On the final lap, Belland made one last-gasp move on the high line, above the dry slick, but he couldn’t catch Melton. Belland, Gasperini and Schoonover rounded out the running order. Kurtti turned into his third start of the season at TNT into a personal driving clinic in the WISSOTA/AMSOIL Street Stocks. He started from the pole in both the heat and the feature, lead every lap in both races and earned the clean sweep. Derek Eberl passed Todd Brass with three laps to go to finish second. Eberl extended his points lead to 19 points over Jeff Mullins, who finished third. Ron Van Dusen rounded out the top five.
Degner made it back-to-back wins in the Stingers. He passed Louis Malluege on lap seven of the 15-lap main event and cruised to victory. Malluege, who won the heat race, took sole possession of the points lead with a runner-up finish. He’s three points ahead of Brandon Langbecker, who finished third. Degner, with his win, sits third in standings, nine points out of the lead.
Crandall, who will turn 50 on Friday, collected a big trophy as an early birthday present, leading all 12 laps of the Truck feature. It was his sixth win out of seven features in the class this year. Rhinelander’s Cory Allen, Parrish’s Devin Wulf and Rhinelander’s Timothy Mortensen rounded out the running order. Racing continues July 27 at TNT Speedway with hot laps at 6:45 p.m. and racing at 7:15.
July 17th, 2013
THREE LAKES, Wis. — Two more drivers have clinched spots in the AMSOIL Race of Champions at this year’s Speedway Motors WISSOTA 100. Phelps’ Jerry Grasse led wire-to-wire in the WISSOTA AMSOIL Dirt Track Series Midwest Modifies and Tomahawk’s Derek Eberl made a late charge in the WISSOTA/AMSOIL Street Stocks Saturday night to win TNT Speedway’s AMSOIL Race of Champions qualifiers.
Joining Grasse and Eberl in victory lane Saturday were Lac du Flambeau’s John Johnson Sr., who won his fourth consecutive TNT Pure Stock feature, Merrill’s Zach Degner and Birnamwood’s Forrest Crandall. Grasse was slated to start third in the WISSOTA/AMSOIL Midwest Modified main event, but moved to the pole when Larry Gasperini elected to start at the back of the
field. Grasse took the lead on the drop of the green and that’s all he needed as the 20-lap main event clicked by without a caution. Tad Schoonover and Bruce Belland, both of Eagle River, were separated by one point at the top of the class point standings entering the night and battled for second position over the first 12 laps. Belland took the spot for good on lap 12 as Schoonover’s car faded and eventually limped home in fifth position, giving Belland a five-point lead over Schoonover at the halfway point of the 2013 campaign. Last week’s winner, Rhinelander’s Dan Melton, finished third, followed by Gasperini.
Eagle River’s Ron Van Dusen tried to parlay his first start of the year at TNT into victory and was on his way until Eberl’s late-race charge. Van Dusen, who won the heat race, passed Rhinelander’s Dustin Miller for the lead on lap three and opened up about a half-straightaway lead by the time Eberl got around Miller for second. Eberl caught Van Dusen on lap 13 and was about to make a move for the lead when the caution came out for a spin involving Miller and Argonne’s Jeff Mullins. Van Dusen got a good restart and opened a three-car length lead, but Eberl closed in again and made the pass for the lead with four laps remaining. Eberl widened his lead to 15 points over Mullins in the WISSOTA/AMSOIL Street Stocks with his third feature victory of the season. Van Dusen, Mullins and Miller rounded out the four cars on track at the conclusion of the race.
Frank Gasperini of Iron River, Mich. again led the way during the first half of the TNT Pure Stock feature, but the pack reeled him in on lap eight as Rhinelander’s Tyler Lundberg took over the top spot. Lundberg did not enjoy the view from the front for long and Johnson Sr. looked to the inside and made the pass for the lead one lap later and cruised to another feature win. Lundberg, Troy Larock, Dan Schultz and Gasperini rounded out the top five.
The Pure Stocks, TNT’s most action-packed class, nearly went the entire 15-lap feature without a caution, but the one wreck they had was a big one. Rhinelander’s Lance Rutledge made contact with Wabeno’s John Danielson coming down the backstretch on the final lap, sending Danielson’s car into a barrel roll. Danielson took a couple minute to gather himself but climbed out of his No. 57 unharmed and was credited with sixth place — where he was running prior to the accident.
It was the second rollover of the night. The first took place in the Truck heat race, under caution. The yellow flew on lap six when Devin Wulf spun in turn three. Crandall and Erik Kessen were battling for the lead when the yellow came out. Contact was made in turn two as both trucks tried to slow to adhere to the caution. The contact sent Crandall’s truck over 90 degrees onto the driver’s side door. Crandall was able to make sufficient repairs to his truck prior to the feature, but getting to the front was not easy. Thanks to cautions Crandall had to pass Gleason’s Larry Roper Jr. three times for the lead before finally getting making it count.
Crandall’s for the lead was wiped out Kessen — who’s truck was not the same after the heat race accident — stalled on the exit ramp heading toward the pits. Crandall’s second pass was negated as well when Wulf spun at the back of the pack, brining out another caution. Finally on the third attempt, Crandall powered by Roper and cruised to win No. 5 of the season. Roper, Cory Allen, Sean Janssen and Wulf rounded out the top five.
Degner did his best to keep it a three-way battle in the TNT Stinger points, leading all 15 laps of a caution-free feature, but sits 10 points out of the lead after the men he’s chasing — Merrill’s Louis Malluege and Gleason’s Brandon Langbecker finished second and third. Malluege and Langbecker are tied for the class lead halfway through the season.
Racing continues July 20 at TNT Speedway as the Kim Parsons Memorial Trophy Tour makes a stop at the track. Trophies will be given to the feature winners in all five of TNT’s classes that night on behalf of the tour, founded by longtime track announcer and promoter Steve Parsons to raise awareness for organ and tissue donation. The tour was scheduled to stop at TNT June 15, but races that night were rained out.
Hot laps will start at 6:45 p.m. with racing at 7:15.
June 26th, 2013
THREE LAKES, Wis. — Saturday night’s racing program at TNT Speedway had a familiar feel to it.All five feature winners already had a victory to their credit this season at the high-banked 1/4-mile oval. Three of them repeated feature victories from June 8, TNT’s most recent race night.
Eagle River’s Tad Schoonover went back-to-back in the WISSOTA/AMSOIL Dirt Track Series Midwest Modifieds. The same was true for Lac du Flambeau’s John Johnson in the TNT Pure Stocks and Birnamwood’s Forrest Crandall in the TNT Trucks. Tomahawk’s Derek Eberl and Merrill’s Louis Malluege claimed their second wins of the season in the WISSOTA/AMSOIL Street Stocks and TNT Stingers, respectively. Racing anywhere in northern Wisconsin was a questionable proposition over the
weekend following torrential rains Friday, which dumped over two inches in some areas. Track officials caught a break Saturday morning as a storm system dissipated just west of the Three Lakes giving them a chance to get the track into raceable condition.
But the track was rougher than normal, causing a fair amount of flat tires. Tomahawk’s Jeff Klopstein Jr. had flats twice in the WISSOTA/AMSOIL Midwest Modified feature, costing him a chance at victory despite having the fastest car. He was
running second the first time his right front tire went down on lap two, bringing out a caution as he stopped in turn two. He charged from the back to the front by lap 10, but his right front went flat again on lap 16. He could not make it back to the pits and brought out the yellow for the second time, forcing him out of the race.
Schoonover inherited the lead on the restart and distanced himself from Hurley’s John Kallas and Eagle River’s Bruce Belland over the final five laps to claim his second feature win of the season at TNT. Larry Gasperini of Iron River, Mich. and Joe Houle of Crandon rounded out the top five. berl lost a photo finish to Summit Lake’s Todd Brass in the WISSOTA/AMSOIL Street Stock feature June 8. For a while it appeared the two drivers were getting set to stage another great battle.
Eberl passed Rhinelander’s Dustin Miller for the lead on lap five and Brass quickly followed to take second. Brass made his move for the lead on lap nine, but had to jump out of the throttle in the middle of turn three to avoid hitting one of the tractor tires that marks the inside boundary of the race track. He slipped back to fourth because of the mistake, giving Eberl all the room he needed to take the win and extend his point lead in the class to six points over Argonne’s Jeff Mullins, who finished second. Miller finished third as Brass would retire from the race on lap 13 with mechanical problems.
Johnson secured his second consecutive win in the Pure Stocks, and moved into second in the points, thanks to a tremendous restart on lap four. Restarting from third position, Johnson made a three-wide pass on Dan Schultz and Tyler Lundberg, both of Rhinelander, to take a lead that would hold up despite two more cautions. Lundberg closed to Johnson’s back bumper on the final lap, but slipped high coming out of turn two and had to settle for second. He took over the points lead after Schultz had mechanical problems and dropped out of the race. Wabeno’s John Danielson, Rhinelander’s Jason Melton and Tomahawk’s Tyler Musolff rounded out the top five. Malluege started third in the Stinger feature and vaulted to the lead on lap one. He and Gleason’s Brandon Langbecker, who entered the night tied for the points lead in
the class, fought for the lead over the first 10 laps, but Malluege slowly pulledaway for victory. Langbecker, Merrill’s Zach Degner, rookie Matthew Roberts of
Monico and Rhinelander’s Matthew Pauke rounded out the top five.
Crandall’s dominance in the TNT Trucks continued with his fourth feature win in as
many starts. He took the lead from Rhinelander’s Jay Wilberding on lap four of the
feature and never looked back. Wilberding, Rhinelander’s Cory Allen and Parrish’s
Devin Wulf rounded out the running order.
Racing at TNT Speedway is just heating up as we head toward July. TNT WISSOTA/AMSOIL
Race of Champions qualifier will be held July 13. Also one lucky kid will leave TNT
Speedway with a new bicycle each race night during the month of July for the second
straight year. The bikes were donated by WISSOTA/AMSOIL Midwest Modified drivers
Belland, Gasperini, Guy Carley and Joe Kin. Midwest Modified driver Dan Melton and
sponsor Dave’s Crankshaft gave away two bikes Saturday.
Racing at TNT Speedway continues June 29 with hot laps at 6:45 p.m. and racing at
May 11th, 2013
THREE LAKES — Some things will change and some will things stay the same for TNT Speedway in Three Lakes. as the 2013 opener is set for May 18. After leasing out the track to a group of racing enthusiasts for a year, owners Tim and Patti Rutzen return to the helm and will oversee the day-to-day operations of the speedway in 2013. Otherwise, not much else will change for the track entering its 19th season of racing. The track will still feature WISSOTA AMSOIL Dirt Track Series Midwest Modifieds and Street Stocks, to go along with its Pure Stock and Stinger classes.
“The crew that leased the track last year did a great job,” Patti Rutzen said. “(Tim and I) are well rested after a year off and plan for an exciting season.” The 2013 season is slated to begin Saturday, May 18 and continue every Saturday night through Sept. 7, with the exception of Labor Day Saturday.
There are several important dates on the 2013 TNT Speedway calendar. July 13 will be the AMSOIL Race of Champions qualifier night at TNT. The winner of the WISSOTA/AMSOIL Midwest Modified and Street Stock features that night will secure a berth in the 2013 AMSOIL Race of Champions to be held in conjuction with the WISSOTA 100 in September.
Aug. 3 is the date for the fourth annual Jake Mullins Memorial Street Stock special. The first three runnings of “Jake’s Race” have been memorable occasions as the track remembered Mullins, a favorite of fans and drivers alike. The fourth installment promises to be just as exciting.
The Kim Parsons Memorial Trophy Tour will come to TNT Speedway June 15 and July 20. As part of a program taking place all summer at tracks throughout Wisconsin, Kim’s father’s, Steve Parsons — a longtime track announcer and promoter — will donate trophies to TNT’s feature winners those nights in an effort to promote organ and tissue donation.
Season championship night will be Aug. 24 and the annual TNT Fall Special and awards night will be held Sept. 7.
Rutzen said the track is working closely with the Truck division that has run off and on at the track over the past several years in hopes of having that class as part of the weekly racing lineup.
Admission prices remain the same for spectators at $10 for adults, $6 for kids ages 11-17, $2 for kids 6-10 and free for kids 5 and under. Hot laps will start at 6:30 p.m. with racing at 7:15.For more information about the upcoming season, fans and drivers are asked to visit www.TNTSpeedway.com.
TNT Speedway is located six miles south of Three Lakes on U.S. Highway 45.
August 30th, 2012
THREE LAKES, Wis. — The regular season finale at Three Lakes TNT Speedway had drama until the final minute. With four track championships in the balance, it took until the closing laps Saturday to sort everything out.When the dust cleared Argonne’s Jeff Mullins claimed a popular track championship in the WISSOTA AMSOIL Dirt Track Series Street Stocks. Tomahawk’s Jeff Klopstein Jr. denied Eagle River’s Bruce Belland a three-peat in the WADTS Midwest Modifieds. Rhinelander’s Brit Bromann held on to claim the TNT Pure Stock championship and Gleason’s Brandon Langbecker had just enough to secure the TNT Stinger title.Birnamwood’s Sean Thayer, who clinched the TNT Truck championship last week, put a bow on the most dominant single-season performance in TNT Speedway’s 18-year history with his 13th feature win of the year. Phelps’ Jerry Grasse claimed the feature in the WADTS Midwest Modifieds. Sugar Camp’s Ben Pitlik won the Street Stock feature. Laona’s Troy Larock won a wreck fest in the TNT Pure Stocks and Gleason’s Kasey Gross claimed his ninth feature win of the season in the TNT Stingers.
The night began with make-up features for the WISSOTA/AMSOIL Street Stocks and Midwest Modifieds after rain prevented those races from going off as scheduled last week. Rhinelander’s Paul Sowinski won the Street Stock make-up. Belland won the Midwest Modified make-up.Mullins and Jordan Kurtti of Bruce Crossing, Mich., shared the Street Stock points lead entering the night, but the complexion of the battle changed in the make-up feature. Sowinski dominated the race, leading all 20 laps, but Mullins, Pitlik and Kurtti were engaged in a tight battle for second, third and fourth. Mullins kept Pitlik and Kurtti at bay most of the race. Then with two laps remaining, disaster struck for Kurtti. His car slowed drastically and started smoking profusely. The engine grenaded on his No. 26 car. Afterward Kurtti said something let go in the bottom end of the engine. The damage was beyond repair at the track. He was unable to find a backup car to run the rest of the show and his title chances disappeared in a cloud of smoke. All Mullins had to do was stay out of trouble the rest of the night. He won the heat race, and clinched the track championship by rolling onto the grid for the feature. Pitlik took the early lead in the feature. Mullins passed him on lap two, but Pitlik retook the lead on lap five and led the rest of the way. Though Mullins didn’t get his first feature win, he got a track championship for car No. 3, the car his brother Jake drove at TNT until a fatal passenger car accident in August 2010. Jeff Mullins did donuts on the frontstretch to celebrate — to the delight of the near-capacity crowd — and admitted he got choked up when he climbed on top of the car in victory lane and when he got back to the pits to receive congratulations from his father.Belland is accustom to final night comebacks, after winning the 2010 and 2011 track titles despite trailing in the standings at some point on season championship night. Starting eight points behind Klopstein, Belland tried to make one more last night charge. He led all 20 laps of the make up feature, but Klopstein finished second and preserved a six-point lead heading to the heats. Belland and Klopstein were paired in the same heat. Klopstein got out to the early lead and held off Belland for the win, bumping the advantage back to seven points.
Klopstein had the luxury of knowing a sixth place finish or better in the feature would clinch the title, but he had to start at the tail of the field as the inverted points standings were used to set the starting line up for the features. Disaster nearly struck for Klopstein and Belland as Larry Gasperini spun in the middle of the field, collecting four cars, including the two points leaders. But both received minimal damage and were able to continue without a pit stop. By lap 10, Belland had worked his way to second, but Klopstein was not far behind, settling into the third spot. The two stayed in those positions the rest of the race and Klopstein claimed the title by six points. Meanwhile Grasse, who
Belland defeated for the track title on the final night each of the last two seasons, crushed the competition, leading all 25 laps from the pole.
In the Pure Stocks, Bromann entered with an eight point lead over Rhinelander’s Dan Schultz and a 14-point advantage over Lac du Flambeau’s John Johnson Sr. Schultz finished second in his heat race. Johnson and Bromann were paired in the same heat and it looked as though Johnson was going to win while Bromann settled for third, but Johnson’s car slowed with two laps remaining and Bromann made a three-wide pass for the lead, ending Johnson’s title chances in the process.The Pure Stock feature was a demolition derby as six cautions slowed the race, which ended after six of 20 scheduled laps after the 20-minute time limit elapsed. Bromann and Schlutz survived the early carnage and were running third and fourth on the track until Schultz spun unassisted in turn four, bringing out the final caution. Larock held off Bromann in a green-white-checkered finish, but Bromann won the title by 17 points over Schultz, who settled for 10th in the feature.Zach Degner made headway on Langbecker in the Stingers, cutting gap to five-points thanks to a heat race win, but all Langbecker needed was a top-five finish in the feature to claim the title. He did that with a solid fourth place finish. Meanwhile Gross held off Eric LaFreniere for the feature win. Degner finished third and ended four points behind Langbecker.
Thayer passed Judd Skubal for the lead on lap five of the Truck feature and cruised to yet another feature win. In 14 starts this season at TNT, Thayer has claimed 13 feature wins and 12 heat wins.TNT Speedway takes a break over the Labor Day weekend, but will return for a one night grand finale Saturday, Sept. 8. All classes will be in action with state and national points on the line in the WISSOTA/AMSOIL Midwest Modifieds and Street Stocks. In addition, the track will hold its annual exhibition mechanics and powderpuff races. Action will begin 45 minutes early, with hot laps at 6 p.m. and racing at 6:30. After the races, drivers, crew members and fans are invited to stay for the year-end awards party as TNT Speedway hands out its year-end awards.
August 22nd, 2012
THREE LAKES, Wis. — Saturday night’s season championship at Three Lakes TNT Speedway promises to be a great show as the track championships hang in the balance in four of the five classes.Last Saturday night’s races did little to bring the championship picture into focus. In fact, thanks to Mother Nature, the who wins the titles may be even more in doubt.Race officials tried to complete a full show, but heavy rains fell during the features, cutting the night short before the WISSOTA AMSOIL Dirt Track Series Midwest Modifieds and Street Stocks had a chance to run their main events. Their make-up features will be the first races on the track Saturday.In the WADTS Street Stocks it could come down to two men. Defending track champion Jordan Kurtti of Bruce Crossing, Mich., won the heat race last Saturday to pull even in the championship standings with Argonne’s Jeff Mullins. Both sit on 637 points entering this week’s action. But if both have problems, Laona’s Jake Terry is still a dark horse in the title fight, entering 11 points out of first place.
Tomahawk’s Jeff Klopstein Jr. raced to a second place finish in the WADTS Midwest Modified heat. That was good enough to add a point to his advantage over two-time defending track champion Bruce Belland from Eagle River. Belland finished third in the heat and slipped eight points behind Klopstein. Tomahawk’s C.J. Hedges Jr. pretty much saw his title hopes slip away as transmission problems relegated him to last place in the Midwest Modified heat. He is now 22 points out of
Rhinelander’s Dan Schultz continued a late-season surge in the TNT Pure Stocks. He won his second feature in a row. Meanwhile class points leader Brit Bromann opened the door with a rough night. He finished fifth in his heat and seventh in the feature. What was a 20-plus point advantage a few short weeks ago has all of a sudden shrunk to an eight-point lead entering the final night. John Johnson Sr. of Lac du Flambeau finished second in Saturday’s main event and is now 14 points out of first. Gleason’s Kasey Gross won another feature in the TNT Stingers. Despite his scoring his eighth feature victory of the season, it is too little to late for Gross, who sits 57 points behind teammate Brandon Langbecker in the standings. In the WISSOTA point system, which is used by TNT Speedway’s support classes, 57 points is the maximum any driver can earn in one race. Meaning if Langbecker shows up Saturday, Gross will have no mathematical chance of winning the championship.
Langbecker will have plenty of incentive to show up as his lead over second place Zach Degner of Merrill was trimmed to seven points. Degner won his heat race and finished second to Gross in the feature. Langbecker took second in his heat and third in his feature.The only division where there will be little drama is the TNT Trucks. Birnamwood’s Sean Thayer mathematically clinched the 2012 track championship Saturday with his 12th feature win in 13 starts. Thayer is 62 points clear of Erik Kessen entering Saturday night.In addition to all the on-track activities, there will be plenty of off track-activities as well. Because of last week’s impending rain, the autograph session was postponed to this Saturday as fans will get to have a chance to mingle with the drivers before the chase the track championships. There will also be special activities for the kids. Saturday’s races will start at the normal time, with hot laps at 6:45 p.m. and racing at 7:15 p.m.
In other track news, Three Lakes TNT Speedway officials announced that the scheduled race on Saturday, Sept. 1 has been canceled and that the 2012 Fall Special has been condensed to a one-day show Saturday, Sept. 8. This will be a national and state points night for the WADTS classes. All track classes will race that night and there will be exhibition mechanics and powderpuff races. The year-end awards will be given out at the end of the evening. There will be food and beverages during the award ceremonies. Fans, drivers and pit crews are invited to stay and enjoy the festivities.
August 14th, 2012
THREE LAKES, Wis. — It is no guarantee that Eagle River’s Bruce Belland and Bruce Crossing, Mich’s., Jordan Kurtti will win track championships at Three Lakes TNT Speedway in 2012, but both will have to opportunity to race with champions.The drivers won TNT’s WISSOTA AMSOIL Race of Champions qualifying races Saturday, punching their tickets to the AMSOIL Race of Champions during next month’s WISSOTA 100 in Huron, S.D. Belland and Kurtti currently sit second in the WADTS Midwest Modified and Street Stock points, respectively, at TNT, but closed the gap on the drivers they are chasing with two nights remaining.
In other action, Rhinelander’s Dan Schultz scored a win in the TNT Pure Stocks. Gleason’s Kasey Gross scored the victory in the TNT Stingers and Birnamwood’s Sean Thayer scored his 11th feature win in the TNT Trucks. Kurtti entered the night six points behind Argonne’s Jeff Mullins in the Street Stock point standings. He closed the lead to five with a runner-up finish in the heat race.Mullins started the race from the pole, but his rear deck lid became partially detached in the early laps. Kurtti moved from fourth starting position to the lead on lap four. Moments later Paul Sowinski spun,
bringing out the caution. Under the yellow, track officials sent Mullins to the pits to fix the loose sheet metal.Kurtti pulled out to a big lead on the restart, but cut a tire on lap seven, spinning out and bringing out another caution. Rhinelander’s Brit Bromann inherited the lead while Mullins made his way from the back of the pack to second. Kurtti charged through the field as well, passing Bromann for the lead on lap 14. Michael Knab spun to bring out the yellow on lap 16. Kurtti cruised over the final nine laps to take the feature win. Mullins, meanwhile, was slow to get up to speed on the restart, dropping from third to seventh. He worked his way back to fourth by the end of the race. Kurtti trimmed Mullins’ lead to one point with the victory. Bromann, Jake Terry, Mullins and Adam Johnson rounded out the top five.
Belland entered the Midwest Modified feature 10 points behind Tomahawk’s Jeff Klopstein Jr. Klopstein had a chance to solidify his hopes for a track title, starting from the pole for the feature, but Belland passed him for the lead on lap
two and led the rest of the way in the 25-lap feature. C.J. Hedges Jr. passed Klopstein for second on lap five and held off a late Klopstein rally to maintain the second position. Joe Kin and Lance Lau rounded out the top five as Belland trimmed Klopstein’s lead to seven points with two nights remaining.The other close points battle at TNT in the final weeks of the season is in the four-cylinder Stinger division. Gleason’s Brandon Langbecker entered the night with a six-point lead over Merrill’s Zach Degner. He extended the lead to nine points with runner-up showings in the heat and the feature. No one had anything for Gleason’s Kasey Gross, who earned a clean sweep. He took the lead on lap five in the feature and never looked back. Langbecker, Degner, Louis Malluege and Tyler Musolff rounded out the top five.
It was another caution-filled TNT Pure Stock feature. Early leaders Tyler Lundberg and Mike Bukovic both had issues. That handed the lead to Schultz, who led the final eight laps to score the win. Bromann took second, maintaining an 18-point
lead over Schultz. John Johnson, Sr. finished third. 2009 and 2011 TNT Pure Stock track champion Denny Tushoski finished fourth in his first start of 2012. Lundberg recovered from his early trouble to finish fifth.Thayer went to the pits after cutting a tire in a lap one accident, but only needed three laps to retake the lead in the Truck feature. Thayer cruised as it was a battle of attrition behind him. Thayer, Rhinelander’s Jay Wilberding and Birnamwood’s Sean Janssen were the only three finishers of the seven that started the race.
Racing continues next Saturday at Three Lakes TNT Speedway with hot laps at 6:45 p.m. and racing at 7:15 p.m.
July 31st, 2012
THREE LAKES, Wis. — It was an emotional night for Argonne’s Todd Brass Saturday at Three Lakes TNT Speedway.Brass took home over $950 in cash and prizes as the winner of the third annual Jake Mullins Memorial WISSOTA AMSOIL Dirt Track Series Street Stock special, but the significance of the victory meant so much more.Brass was close friends with Mullins, also of Argonne, a well-liked racer at TNT Speedway who died in a passenger automobile accident in August 2010.“I almost starting crying,” Brass said of his emotions after taking the checkered flag in the 25-lap feature. “I wanted to win it for Jake and his family. If (Jake’s brother) Jeff (Mullins) couldn’t win it, I wanted to. Our families are so close, you know. I miss the little guy, as we all do.” The victory was even more poignant for Brass, who had his own brush with death earlier this year, surviving an passenger auto accident in Sugar Camp that led to an extended hospital stay.Brass was the class ofthe field, in just his second start at TNT Speedway since the accident, leading the final 20 laps.
He passed Jordan Kurtti of Bruce Crossing, Mich. on lap six and opened up a full straightaway lead on Tigerton’s Gary Kasperek and Sugar Camp’s Ben Pitlik by the time the race’s second and final caution flag flew on lap 19. Brass felt the heat over the final six-lap dash, but slowly edged away from Kasperek and Pitlik, who finished second and third.“I knew Kasperek was there. I knew Pitlik was there. I just ran my own line,” Brass said.After doing donuts on the front stretch, Brass got out of his car and climbed on top of it, to the delight of the packed house. But Brass was more reflective than jubilant after the race. He recalled how often he thought about Mullins while lying in the hospital bed earlier this year.
“A lot actually, because that could have been me too,” he said. “I was very fortunate, to be out here three months after crushing three vertebrae. You know, it’s very emotional.”Jeff Mullins, the points leader in the WADTS Street Stocks at TNT Speedway, was the sentimental favorite Saturday, but had to scramble to get his car put back together after a heat race accident between himself and Pitlik caused significant front suspension damage. Mullins was not much of a factor from his 13th starting spot and finished ninth. Still, he maintained a nine-point lead of Laona’s Jake Terry, who finished fifth Saturday, and a 13-point lead over Kurtti, who suffered mechanical problems in the feature for the second straight week and finished 13th. The Mullins Memorial was the highlight of a big night of racing that featured a season-high 58 automobiles. Duane Dunbar of Marenisco, Mich. won the WADTS Midwest Modified feature. Lac du Flambeau’s John Johnson Sr. won the TNT Pure Stock feature. Gleason’s Brandon Langbecker claimed victory in a wild finish in the TNT Stingers. Birnamwood’s Sean Thayer claimed his 10th feature win of the season in the TNT Trucks.There were a couple multi-car wrecks in the Midwest Modified feature, the most significant occurred on lap five and involved Eagle River’s Bruce Helland,who entered the race tied with Tomahawk’s Jeff Klopstein Jr. for the class points lead.
Klopstein and Rhinelander’s Dan Melton made contact in a battle for the third position, causing a chain reaction behind them in the tightly-packed field. Belland, running seventh at the time, was hit from behind as he slowed to avoid the potential wreck in front of him. Belland spun in front of the back half of the field and was slammed into by Guy Carley, Travis Friske and Stan Rychlock, none of whom could avoid the wreck. It knocked Belland out of the race in 13th position.
Dunbar picked his way through the field on the restart, taking second by lap six. The field bunched up again following a wreck on lap 12 involving Jack Henricks, Melton and Rychlock. Dunbar blew past Cory Dickman of Bruce Crossing, Mich. on lap 13 and cruised to his second win of the season at TNT. Rhinelander’s Dennis Mikkelson scored his best finish of the season, passing Dickman for second in the waning laps. Joe Kin and Klopstein rounded out the top five. Klopstein opened a six-point lead of Tomahawk’s C.J. Hedges Jr. and a seven-point lead over Belland with four races remaining toward the track championships.There’s a saying in racing, “it’s either checkers or wreckers,” meaning that a driver either wins the race or crashes trying. For Langbecker in the Stingers it was checkers and wreckers. Gleason’s Kasey Gross was well on his way to his third feature victory in a row, with a comfortable four-car length lead on the final lap, but Gross’s car pushed high off turn two and smacked the outside guard rail. As his car came back down the track, it sideswiped Langbecker, who was running second, sending Langbecker’s car momentarily airborne.
The incident brought out the red flag. Because the leader had taken the white, by rule, the race was over. Scoring reverted back to the last completed lap. Gross, who was deemed to be the cause of the accident, was put to the end of the lead lap and Langbecker was credited with the win. His car made it to victory lane, with help from the wrecker. Johnson passed Rhinelander’s Tyler Lundberg for the lead on lap three of the Pure Stock feature, but Lundberg stayed in close proximity most of the race. A caution at the back of the field with two laps remaining set up a green-white-checkered finish. Rhinelander’s Brit Bromann, who rallied from 14th following an early accident to third, passed Lundberg for second on the final restart and set his sights on Johnson. Bromann made a move to the inside on the final lap but ran out of time as Johnson won by less than a car length. Behind Johnson, it was a five-pack of Rhinelander racers — Bromann, Lundberg, Dan Schultz, Austin Henricks and Rick England.Thayer continued his domination in the Trucks, passing Larry Roper Jr. of Gleason for the lead on lap five. He cruised to his tenth win of the season.
Birnamwood’s Erik Kessen, Roper Jr., Birnamwood’s Sean Janssen and Deerbrook’s Ed Andraschko rounded out the top five. Thayer enjoys the largest points lead of any driver at TNT. He is 48 points ahead of Kessen. Thayer is also the first driver to hit the 600-point plateau this season, sitting at an even 600 points after 11 races.Races continue this Saturday at Three Lakes TNT Speedway. In addition to a full race program, there will be an autograph session at intermission where fans will have a chance to meet all their favorite local racers. Hot laps being at 6:45 p.m., with racing at 7:15 p.m.
July 27th, 2012
THREE LAKES, Wis. — The battles for the championships in the tracks five classes are starting to heat up two thirds of the way through the season at Three Lakes TNT Speedway.Eagle River’s Bruce Belland won his second feature in the last three weeks in the WISSOTA AMSOIL Dirt Track Series Midwest Modifieds, but still trails Tomahawk’s Jeff Klopstein Jr. by a point. Belland’s victory was the highlight of Saturday’s race program, sponsored by Auto Value of Eagle River.Sugar Camp’s Ben Pitlik won the feature in the WADTS Street Stocks while Argonne’s Jeff Mullins padded his points lead with a fourth place finish. Hiles’ Mike Bukovic scored his third win in the last four weeks in the TNT Pure Stocks. Rhinelander’s Richard Barlowski earned the win in the TNT Stingers and Birnamwood’s Sean Thayer scored another win in the TNT Trucks.
Belland passed Joe Kin of Greenland, Mich. on lap four of the 25-lap feature and cruised the rest of the way. The field was slowed just once because of the caution, for an incident involving Joe Houle on lap 13. Despite the win, Belland made no headway on Klopstein, who picked his way from eighth starting spot to second by lap seven, a position he would hold over the final 18 laps. Both drivers earned 54 points for the evening as Klopstein won his heat race while Belland finished third in his heat. Tomahawk’s C.J. Hedges Jr. remained within shouting distance for the championship with a third place finish in the feature. He sits six points behind Klopstein with five nights remaining. Kin and last week’s $1,000 Midwest Modified special winner, Dan Melton, rounded out the top five.Argonne’s Todd Brass was back in a race car, slightly two months after an accident in a passenger automobile left him seriously injured.
Brass was in position for a grand comeback as he took the lead on lap eight of the WADTS Street Stock feature, but he lost the lead on a restart with 10 laps remaining as he slipped up the track in turn four, allowing Pitlik to get past. Pitlik, Brass, Paul Sowinski of Rhinelander, Mullins and Brit Bromann of Rhinelander comprised the top five.Mullins entered the night with a five-point lead over Jordan Kurtti of Bruce Crossing, Mich. That lead grew to 13 as Kurtti finished last in the field of 12 after sustaining suspension damage while trying to take the lead on lap four. Barlowski led flag-to-flag in the TNT Stingers, moving back into the championship conversation, 18-points behind Gleason’s Brandon Langbecker. Langbecker finished sixth in the feature after a flat tire knocked him out of the race with four laps remaining. Langbecker maintained his one-point lead over Merrill’s Zach Degner, who went two laps down after an early pit stop and finished fifth.
Bukovic passed Rhinelander’s Dan Schultz for the lead on lap eight of the Pure Stock feature and continued his recent hot streak in the class. Schultz, Rhinelander’s Jesse Dettman, Lac du Flambeau’s John Johnson, Sr. and Bromann, pulling double duty, rounded out the top five. Bromann still holds a comfortable 21-point lead over Schultz for the class championship.
Thayer scored his ninth feature win in 10 chances in the TNT Trucks, executing a bump-and-run move to pass Rhinelander’s Jeff McDonald for the lead on lap nine. McDonald never got close enough to return the favor. Truck rookie Cory Allen of Rhinelander, Deerbrook’s Ed Andraschko and Birnamwoods’s Sean Janssen rounded out the top five. Thayer stretched his lead to 45 points over Erik Kessen, who finished sixth.
Racing continues next Saturday at Three Lakes TNT Speedway highlighted by the third annual Jake Mullins Memorial WISSOTA AMSOIL Dirt Track Series, which will feature an increased purse. Hot laps start at 6:30 p.m. with racing at 7:15.
July 18th, 2012
THREE LAKES Wis. — The Pitlik & Wick/Custom Collision Midwest Modified special at Three Lakes TNT Speedway lived up to the billing as one of the best races this season in northern Wisconsin.Rhinelander’s Dan Melton held off Tomahawk’s Jeff Klopstein Jr. in a thrilling side-by-side battle over the final five laps of Saturday’s main event for the WISSOTA AMSOIL Dirt Track Series Midwest Modifieds, claiming the $1,000 top prize. Other action Saturday saw Rhinelander’s Dustin Miller nearly knock down the turn three guardrail, but rally to win the feature in the WADTS Street Stocks. Lac du Flambeau’s John Johnson Sr. returned to victory lane in the TNT Pure Stocks. Kasey Gross of Gleason win a third consecutive TNT Stinger feature and Birnamwood’s Sean Thayer returned to his winning ways in the TNT Trucks.
Melton led all 25 laps of the Pitlik & Wick/Custom Collision special from the second starting spot. After a couple early cautions, the drivers settled in. Melton’s first big challenge came in the form of Eagle River’s Bruce Belland, the winner of the previous two features at TNT. But on lap eight, Belland spun trying to pull to the inside of Melton, bringing out the caution.Greenland’s Joe Kin held the runner-up spot during the middle portion of the race, but was passed by Klopstein with six laps to go. Klopstein immediately set his sights on Melton.Two distinct grooves formed in the corners by the end of the race as the cars struggled to find traction. Melton chose the high line right next to the cushion of loose clay that defined the outer limits of the groove. Klopstein chose the bottom line, almost clipping the tractor tires that lined the apron of the race track. They battled side by side for the lead over the final five laps. Twice Klopstein pulled ahead, including when the two came around for the white flag. Melton had more traction off turn two on the final lap and edged back into the lead. Klopstein tried one last push on the inside in turns three and four, setting up a drag race to the finish line.“I put the pedal down on the last corner,” Melton said after the race. “I saw him down below and gave her everything I had. At that point, I either hit the wall or I don’t. Klopstein ran me clean. That’s what racing’s all about.”Melton edged Klopstein by less than a foot at the finish line to claim his second feature of the season, and perhaps the biggest win of his career.“It’s unbelievable,” Melton said.
“Just being in the modified and running with these big guys. It’s the greatest thing ever. It’s hard to describe right now.”Klopstein did not win, but took the points lead in the class by one point over Belland, who recovered from his spin to finish fifth. Kin finished third and Tomahawk’s C.J. Hedges Jr. took fourth.Sugar Camp’s Ben Pitlik seemed to be in command of the WADTS Street Stock feature until 10 laps to go. His car pushed up the race track exiting turn two, causing him to slow in order to avoid the guardrail. That handed the lead to Chetek’s Steve Karshbaum, who was in control until four laps remaining, when his wife, Heidi, lost the right front wheel on her sixth place-running automobile, setting up a bizarre chain of events.On the restart, Miller’s car shot up the race track in turn three. Sparks flew as he slammed into the outside guardrail, bringing out the caution. What appeared to be a major mechanical failure turned out to be a temporally stuck throttle. Miller continued.When the race resumed, Pitlik moved into position to take the lead. He attempted to drive through a narrow opening on the inside in turn three, but Karshbaum did not give him much racing room. The two collided, spun and were both sent to the back for bringing out the caution. Osceola’s Kelly Knutson inherited the lead because of the incident, but ran into his own problems on the next restart. His car hit a bump in turn two. As he tried to gather the car, Steve Karshbaum dove to the inside. The two made contact, lifting the rear wheels of Karshbaum’s car off the ground for a moment. The contact eventually knocked both drivers out of the race.
Thanks to all the attrition, only three cars remained on track with three laps to go — Miller, Pitlik and Rhinelander’s Aaron Ehmann. Pitlik had a tough time getting past Ehmann on the final restart, allowing Miller to pull away for his first feature win of the season. Pitlik finally passed Ehmann for second on the final lap.
Argonne’s Jeff Mullins had mechanical problems in the middle of the race and finished seventh, but inherited the points lead as the two men ahead of him entering the night — Jordan Kurtti and Jason Jensen — missed the race.Rhinelander’s Dan Schultz had a commanding lead in the TNT Pure Stock feature with four laps to go when a flat tire caused him to spin out, ending his chances at victory. Johnson inherited the lead and took his third feature win of the season. Points leader Brit Bromann of Rhinelander finished second, followed by two more Rhinelander drivers — Jesse Dettman and Austin Henricks. Schultz recovered from his spin to finish fifth.Gross passed Merrill’s Zach Degner for the lead on the fifth lap of Saturday’s TNT Stinger feature, but Logan Lannet of Bruce Crossing, Mich. stayed in close contact. Lannet threatened on a couple occasions, but could not get around Gross. Gross pulled away over the course of the final three laps for the win. Lannet, Degner, Gleason’s Brandon Langbecker and Rhinelander’s Richard Barlowski rounded out the top five.After losing his first truck feature of the season last week, Thayer was not ready to begin a losing streak. A three-wide maneuver on the opening lap moved Thayer from his fourth starting spot to the lead. He went on to lead all 15 laps for his eighth feature win in nine races this season. Birnamwood’s Forrest Crandall, last week’s winner Jeff McDonald of Rhinelander and Birnamwood’s Erik Kessen were the other finishers.Four wheelers have run at Three Lakes TNT Speedway all season as an exhibition class. Saturday, 10 quads showed up, allowing the entire field to race for pay for the first time this season.
Kyle Stricklin claimed the eight-lap main event on his Honda, holding off a late push from the Suzuki driven by Dave Bower. Dave Clifford, John Johnson and Jessie Sutherland rounded out the top five.Fans are reminded to mark their calendars for Saturday, July 28 when Three Lakes TNT Speedway hosts the third annual Jake Mullins Memorial WISSOTA AMSOIL Dirt Track Series Street Stock Special. The 25-lap main event will feature an increased payout. Racing resumes this Saturday night at TNT with hot laps at 6:30 and racing at 7:15.
July 12th, 2012
THREE LAKES, Wis. – Two weeks ago, it did not look like two-time defending WISSOTA AMSOIL Dirt Track Series Midwest Modified track champion Bruce Belland was going to be in contention for the midseason championship at Three Lakes TNT Speedway. But the Eagle River driver erased a 10-point deficit with his second feature win in as many weeks to claim the midseason crown by one point. Belland’s win highlighted Saturday’s action, sponsored by Miller Beer of the Northwoods. Sugar Camp’s Ben Pitlik held off midseason champ Jordan Krutti in the WADTS Street Stocks. Mike Bukovic of Hiles won his second consecutive TNT Pure Stock feature. Gleason’s Kasey Gross notched his fourth win of the season in the TNT Stingers and Rhinelander’s Jeff McDonald did something no one else has done this season, beat Sean Thayer for a TNT Truck feature victory.
Tomahawk’s C.J. Hedges Jr. had a comfortable six-point lead over Jeff Klopstein Jr. and a seven-point advantage over Belland entering the night, but a flat tire and a seventh place finish for Hedges in his heat race trimmed the gap to two points over both of his rivals entering the feature.Belland survived a big pileup on lap four, one of six yellows that flew during the course of a feature that was cut to 12 of a scheduled 25 laps after the 25-minute time limit elapsed.Following a restart, Stand Rychlock stuck his No. 19R between Belland and Dan Melton in turn three. There was not enough room for them to make it out of turn four. Rychlock and Melton touched, triggering a multi-car accident. Belland got tagged by Rychlock’s car but sustained minimal damage and was able to continue. The cars of Rychlock, Melton and Jason Zdroik became intertwined during the wreck, causing a five-minute delay as track officials worked to separate the vehicles. All three were able to continue. Belland showed no ill-effects from the contact, passing Cory Dickman for the lead on the following restart. Klopstein moved to second and by the time the caution flew on lap seven for Larry asperini’s stalled automobile, Hedges had moved from 14th starting spot up to third. Hedges needed to finish second to clinch a share of the midseason title, while Belland or Rychlock could clinch a piece of the midseason crown with a victory.
The battle never picked up a lot of momentum, cautions on laps nine and 11 slowed the field again and prompted a green-white-checkered finish. Belland tried to distance himself from Klopstein on the final two-lap dash, but could not. Klopstein put a wheel alongside Belland on the final lap, but Belland held on to claim the win and the midseason championship by one point over Hedges, who finished third and by two over Klopstein. Zdroik rebounded to finish fourth in his tuneup for next week’s Midwest Modified special. Dennis Mikkelson finished fifth.The midseason points battle in the TNT Stingers also came down to the wire. Merrill’s Zach Degner and Gleason’s Brandon Langbecker entered the feature tied for the points lead. Degner started third and Langbecker started sixth, but a poor start for Degner and a strong start for Langbecker gave Langbecker the advantage on the race track.
Rhinelander’s Richard Barlowski led the first seven laps of the race, but Gross moved past on lap eight and led the rest of the way in the caution-free main event. Barlowski finished second and Langbecker finished third to secure the midseason title by three points over Degner, who finished sixth. Louis Malluege and Eric LaFreniere rounded out the top five.Kurtti had the midseason title in the Street Stocks all but wrapped up, but he had not visited victory lane at TNT since June 9. He appeared to be well on his way to changing that, opening up a big lead until lap 11 when the caution flew, bunching the field. That allowed Pitlik to restart right behind Kurtti. After stalking for a few laps, Pitlik pulled his No. 190 to the inside on lap 15 and took the lead on lap 17 following a spirited side-by-side battle. The caution slowed the field again with five laps to go. Kurtti made a run at Pitlik on the restart, but before he could make a pass, the yellow flag flew again for an incident involving Jeff Mullins, setting up a three-lap shootout. Jeff Walters joined the battle for the win on the final restart, mixing it up with Pitlik and Kurtti, but he slid up the track in turn one on the final lap, leaving Pitlik and Kurtti to battle for the win. With Pitlik protecting the inside, Kurtti’s only choice was to take the high line through turns three and four. Kurtti got a fender alongside Pitlik but ran out of time as Pitlik grabbed the win. Kurtti, Walters, Jake Terry and Ron Van Dusen were the rest of the top five.
Thayer had been a perfect 7-for-7 in truck features at TNT this season, but McDonald, a longtime modified driver, showed in the heat race his truck was up to the task as he held off Thayer for the win. The 15-lap main event proved to be an instant replay of the heat. McDonald took the lead. Thayer quickly moved to second but was stuck three truck lengths behind McDonald’s No. 4. McDonald got the checkered flag, but Thayer got a nice consolation prize, the midseason championship trophy. Erik Kessen, Larry Roper Jr. and Forrest Crandall rounded out the field.Bukovic took the lead on the second of 20 laps in the Pure Stock feature and cruised to his second win in a row in the class. Rhinelander’s Brit Bromann easily wrapped up the midseason title with a runner-up showing. John Johnson Sr., Dan Schultz and Jesse Dettman rounded out the top five. This Saturday’s racing program will be highlighted by a special for the WATDS Midwest Modifieds. The 25-lap main event will pay at least $400 to the winner, with increased pay to the top five finishers. All five classes will be in action with hot laps at 6:30 p.m. and racing at 7:15.
July 4th, 2012
THREE LAKES, Wis. – Clean was the operative word Saturday, June 30 at Three Lakes TNT Speedway.For several drivers clean meant clean sweep. Mike Bukovic from Hiles won the 25-lap TNT Pure Stock Special. Eagle River’s Bruce Belland took the win in the WISSOTA AMSOIL Dirt Track Series Midwest Modifieds, Eagle River’s Jason Jensen won the WADTS Street Stock feature, Gleason’s Kasey Gross won the TNT Stinger feature and Birnamwood’s Sean Thayer scored the win in the TNT Trucks. All five drivers won heat races earlier in the evening and secured maximum points for the night.Clean meant clean sailing in the features. The five feature winners got to the lead early and stayed there, leading a combined 103 of the 105 laps run in Saturday’s main events.Clean also meant cleaner racing. After a caution-plagued show the week before, drivers were sternly cautioned about rough driving in a lengthy drivers’ meeting Saturday. Track officials followed through on their warning, disqualifying three drivers for overly aggressive maneuvers. The result was a show that moved along smoothly with minimal interruptions for the yellow flag.
The Pure Stocks were racing for nearly three times the usual top prize Saturday. $350 was up for grabs for the winner – $250 from the track and a extra $100 added to the pot by Custom Collision in Rhinelander. Bukovic started on pole, with Logan Lannet of Bruce Crossing, Mich. along side. The two stayed there virtually the entire race. After two early cautions slowed the field on laps 5 and 7, Rhinelander’s Brit Bromann and Lad du Flambeau’s John Johnson Sr. moved into the third and fourth positions. Engaged in their own personal battle, the two made contact out of turn two, sending
Bromann up the track. When the caution flew on lap 12 for a separate incident, Johnson was shown the black flag for a move track officials deemed to be overly aggressive and was disqualified from the event. While that was going on behind him, Bukovic had the field covered. No longer plagued by the mechanical gremlins that knocked him out of the lead of two features earlier in the season, he cruised to a flag-to-flag victory. Lannet held off a charge from Bromann and Rhinelander’s Tyler Lundberg to finish second. Rhinelander’s Alex Durand was awarded fifth place after original fifth place finisher Austin Henricks was disqualified for an illegal rear differental, discovered in post-race inspection.
Henricks received a rough driving penalty earlier in the evening. Belland was lucky to even be racing Saturday, less
than a week removed from a freak campfire accident that sent him to the emergency room with burns to his face, arms and chest. But the only thing on fire Saturday, in the figurative sense, was Belland No. 22B WADTS Midwest Modified. He took the lead on the first lap from the outside pole and led all 25 laps. Cautions slowed the field on laps one and five, but the field clicked by the final 21 laps caution-free.Belland opened up a sizeable lead midway through the race, but lapped
traffic held him up the final 10 laps. That created an opportunity for Tomahawk’s Jeff Klopstein Jr. to close to Belland’s back bumper. He got there, but could not pass him. Belland worked his was back into the title fight with the victory. Klopstein finished second and Tomahawk’s C.J. Hedges Jr. was third. Hedges now leads Klopstein by five points and Belland by six heading into this Saturday’s Midseason Championships. Rhinelander’s Dennis Mikkelson and Eagle River’s Terry Stebbeds rounded out the top five.Jordan Kurtti of Bruce Crossing, Mich. had a 20-point advantage in the WADTS Street Stock points at TNT entering Saturday’s feature, but that large advantage took a major blow before the field completed one lap in the main event. Pole sitter Dustin Miller spun out of the lead in turn two creating a chain-reaction. Kurtti’s car caught the worst of it, sustaining major rear suspension damage when his car was struck from behind. It knocked Kurtti out of the race in last place. Jensen was scheduled to start fifth in the feature, but wound up
on the pole after Miller’s spin and after Jake Terry was sent to the rear for jumping the ensuing restart.After two rocky attempts to start the race, things settled down and the drivers went the full 25-lap distance under the green flag.
A replay of the June 23 feature was going on at the front with Jensen in front and Tomahawk’s Derek Eberl the only driver able to keep pace. The difference, Jensen developed mechanical problems in the June 23 race, but had no such problems Saturday as he scored his second feature of the season at TNT, cutting Kurtti’s points lead to 10 in the process. Eberl, Ben Pitlik of Sugar Camp, Argonne’s Jeff Mullins and Jeff Walters of Rockland, Mich. rounded out the top five.The third and final rough driving penalty on the night was given to Stinger points leader Brandon Langbecker when he hooked Eric LaFreniere coming off turn four in a battle for fourth place on lap six of the Stinger feature.Gross led 14 of the 15 laps in the race, earning his third feature win of the season. Tomahawk’s Rory Radtke finished second. Merrill’s Zach Degner finish third and move into the class points lead by one over Langbecker. Rhinelander’s Bill Martin and Rhianna Carne of Kingsford, Mich. rounded out the top five.Thayer continued his dominance in the TNT Trucks, passing for the lead on lap two and cruising to his seventh feature win in as many chances this season on the 1/3-mile oval. Fellow Birnamwood drivers Erik Kessen and Forrest Crandall finished second and third. Rhinelander’s Jeff McDonald took fourth in his truck debut. Gleason’s Larry Roper Jr. finished fifth.This Saturday is Miller Beer of the Northwoods Night at Three Lakes TNT Speedway as the track hosts its mid-season championships. Hot Laps begin at 6:30 p.m., with racing at 7:15.
June 28th, 2012
THREE LAKES, Wis. – Just about anything that could happen on a race night did at Three Lakes TNT Speedway Saturday, June 23.In one wild night of racing, fans saw a feature winner cross the line sideways, two defending track champions have major problems that knocked them out of features, a one-car rollover, two cars catch fire, crashes galore, tempers flare among crew members, and rain.There was no dust to settle following a 1 hour, 42 minute rain delay, but once things finally sorted themselves out Duane Dunbar of Marenisco, Mich. won the feature in the WISSOTA AMSOIL Dirt Track Series Midwest Modifieds, Tomahawk’s Derek Eberl won the WADTS Street Stock feature, John Johnson Sr. of Lac du Flambeau won his second consecutive TNT Pure Stock feature, Gleason’s Brandon Langbecker took first in the TNT Stinger feature and Birnamwood’s Sean Thayer continued his dominance in the TNT Trucks.The finish in the WADTS Midwest Modified was the wildest of the night.
Dunbar pushed up the track in turns three and four on the final lap, allowing Tomahawk’s C.J. Hedges, Jr. to charge to the inside. The two came off turn four side-by-side, leaning against one another. Hedges hooked Dunbar down the front
stretch, sending Dunbar’s car skidding backward across the finish line, but still in the No. 1 position. The finish summed up a crazy race that more closely resembled a Pure Stock main event. Six cautions flew over the duration of the 25-lap scheduled distance, which was cut to 23 laps after the 25-minute time limit elapsed. Of the 14 cars that started the Midwest Modified feature, only six made it to the finish, leading to several minor altercations in the pits. The disputes were quickly resolved and required no further disciplinary action from track officials. One of the big losers on the night was defending track champ Bruce Belland, who fell out of the race following an incident on lap two. The 14th place finish dropped him from second to fourth in the points, and from one point to 10 points behind Hedges. Hedges opened up a six-point lead in the standings with a runner-up showing. Three Lakes’ Stan Rychlock moved into a tie for second in the standings with a third place finish. Eagle River’s Terry Stebbeds and Hurley’s John Kallas rounded out the top five. Jordan Kurtti was the other defending track champion to have problems. His nine-race winning streak at TNT was snapped when Eagle River’s Jason Jensen won the feature in the WADTS Street Stocks June 9. Now Kurtti is on a three-race losing streak. After a runner-up finish in Saturday’s heat, Kurtti pitted with a flat tire during after a lap one caution. He worked his way back to third place by lap 10, before suddenly pulling off the track with mechanical problems. Meanwhile Jensen had the lead and his sights set on slicing into Kurtti’s 17-point advantage. Jensen changed his number from 01 to 711 for the race, but rolled snake eyes as a mechanical failure knocked him from the lead and out of the race on lap 18.Eberl inherited the lead thanks to Jensen’s misfortune and cruised the final seven laps to victory. Argonne’s Jeff Mullins scored a career-best second place finish in the feature, backing up a heat race victory.
Sugar Camp’s Ben Pitlik, Laona’s Jake Terry and Eagle River’s Ron Van Dusen rounded out the top five. By Saturday’s standards, the TNT Stingers were staging a pretty mundane race, until two laps to go. Merrill’s Zach Degner lost his right rear wheel while cornering turn four, causing the suspension to dig into the race track. That served as a catapult for his No. 77 automobile. The car flipped one and a half times before coming to rest on its roof. Degner climbed out of the car unharmed. Meanwhile, under the red flag to check on Degner, a fire broke out in Richard Barlowski’s No. 31 car on the other end of the track. The fire appeared to begin underneath the hood on the right side of the automobile. Barlowski quickly exited the race car, unharmed, and track official extinguished the blaze. It was the second fire of the evening. Tomahawk’s Travis Friske had a fire under his No. 97 Midwest Modified after a wreck in the middle stages of that class’s feature. Only three cars remained in the Stingers once racing resumed. Langbecker held off Tomahawk’s Rory Radtke on a green-white-checkered finish, padding his point led over Degner and Eric LaFreinere, who was black flagged while leading the race after his window net came unfastened. Gleason’s Charlie Gross finished third.The TNT Pure Stocks flirted with their 20-minute time limit Saturday but were able to complete the scheduled 20-lap distance. Johnson Sr. held of a late charge from Rhinelander’s Dan Schultz. Schultz moved to Johnson’s inside in turns one an two on the final lap, but Johnson came down the track to block, forcing Schultz to get out of the throttle. Jesse Dettman, Rick England and Ron Resse rounded out the top five. Johnson vaulted into a tie for the point lead in the class with Rhinelander’s Brit Bromann, who finished ninth after losing three laps in the pits while replacing a flat tire. It looked like Thayer was going to have a difficult time scoring his sixth feature victory in the trucks. Birnamwood’s Forrest Crandall opened a full straightaway advantage as Thayer tried to work his way from fifth starting spot. Crandall’s lead, and his chance to win, quickly disappeared on lap four when his right front tire exploded entering turn one. As the field worked by Crandall’s crippled truck, Thayer passed Ed Androschko for the lead and cruised to yet another feature victory.Saturday’s heat races turned up some surprize winners.
Larry Gasperini from Iron River, Mich. took the second heat in the WADTS Midwest Modifieds, his first career heat victory. Mullins and Van Dusen scored WATDS Street Stock heat wins. TNT Pure Stock rookie Austin Henricks from Rhinelander
won the second heat in the Pure Stocks.Plenty of hearty race fans stuck around Saturday, despite Mother Nature’s best effort to spoil their evenings. On and off light rain fell most of the afternoon, but the track was in good shape until shortly after 6:30 p.m., when a half-hour rain shower soaked the track. The rain subsided shortly after 7 p.m. and thanks to the work of track officials and the entire field of 53 cars and trucks, the track was ready for hot laps shortly after 8:30. The first race started just before 9 p.m.Racing continues Saturday, June 30 at Three Lakes TNT Speedway. The night will feature a special for the TNT Pure Stock class, with increased pay for the top five finishers. All five classes will be on hand for the show, which begins at 6:30 p.m. with hot laps. Racing will begin at 7:15 pm.
June 13th, 2012
THREE LAKES, Wis. – It was the last race of the night and by far the best. Three Lakes’ own Stan Rychlock held off Tomahawk’s C.J. Hedges, Jr. to score the victory in the WISSOTA AMSOIL Dirt Track Series Midwest Modifieds to cap off the June 9 program at Three Lakes TNT Speedway.Saturday night also saw the dominance end for Jordan Kurtti of Bruce Crossing, Mich. Eagle River’s Jason Jensen became ended Kurtti’s WADTS Street Stock winning streak at nine races.
John Johnson, Sr. of Lac du Flambeau survived a demolition derby to win the TNT Pure Stock feature. Gleason’s Kasey Gross scored his third win of the season in the TNT Stingers and Birnamwood’s Sean Thayer scored his fifth feature victory in the TNT Trucks.Rychlock led all 25 laps of the Midwest Mod main event, but had to hold off a trio of racers who entered
the event tied for the class points lead – Hedges, Tomahawk’s Jeff Klopstein, Jr. and Eagle River’s Bruce Belland.When the caution flew on lap 12 for a majordrivetrain failure on Dennis Mikkelson’s car, those three were able to restart right
behind Rychlock. Rychlock pulled away initially, but the handling on his race car seemed to worsen as the final 14 laps clicked by. A six-car length lead with five laps to go shrunk to four and then two. By the time the white flag flew, Hedges was on Rychlock’s back bumper. Hedges had one last chance to make a move, and drove his car deep into turn three on the final lap. He got inside of Rychlock, whose car pushed up the track slightly, setting up a drag race off the final corner. Rychlock was ahead by less than six inches as they hit the finish line.Hedges did not get the win, but got a nice consolation prize. His runner-up finish moved him into the points lead by one over Belland, who finished third and two over Klopstein, who finished fourth. Joe Kin of Greenland, Mich. rounded out the top five.
Thus far this season Jensen has had the only car capable of keeping pace with Kurtti in the Street Stocks. Kurtti made it nine victories in nine races, winning the heat from the pole, but Jensen had the outside pole for the feature. He took the lead on the start with the idea of putting as much distance as possible between himself and Kurtti, who started fourth. That worked until lap three when Sugar Camp’s Ben Pitlik crashed into one of the large tractor tires marking the inside of the racing surface in turn one. He spun up the track and collected Jim Larsen, Jr. and Jeff Mullins in the wreck. Pitlik was the only one of the three that was able to continue, despite heavy cosmetic damage.The final 23 laps clicked by without a caution. Kurtti quickly moved to second on the restart and the two set sail from the rest of the field. The gap remained 2-4 car lengths for much of the feature. Kurtti made a late race push, but could never get alongside Jensen, who scored his first feature win at TNT. Pitlik recovered from his early mishap to finish third. Laona’s Jake Terry and Eagle River’s Ron Van Dusen rounded out the top five.
After some slamming and some lineup confusion on the drivers’ part in the heat races, Three Lakes TNT track officials called a special drivers’ meeting for the Pure Stock class at intermission. It seemed that the drivers took the sermon to heart, clicking off the first six laps of the feature caution free, but once the first caution flew on lap seven, the class reverted back to its typical crash and bash style. Ron Reese led the first seven laps, but was sent to the back under one of the attempts to complete lap eight because of an improper restart. That handed the lead over to Johnson, who pulled away once they finally managed to complete the lap. The caution flew again on lap 12 for a spin involving Logan Lannet. By that time, the class’s 20-minute time limit had elapsed, setting up a green-white-checkered finish. Johnson edged away from a trio of Rhinelander drivers – Tyler Lundberg, Jesse Dettman and Brit Bromann – to score the victory. Laona’s Mike Terry finished fifth.Gross took the lead on lap four of the Stinger feature and cruised to victory. The battle was for second. Merrill’s Zach Degner held it most of the way, but relinquished the position to Eric LaFreniere from Norway, Mich. with two laps remaining. Stinger rookie Rhianna Carne was impressive in her TNT debut. The Kingsford, Mich. driver finished third.
Gleason’s Brandon Langbecker edged Degner for fourth on the final lap.Thayer again had the dominant truck Saturday night. He passed Gleason’s Larry Roper, Jr. for the lead on the inside down the back stretch on lap five and pulled away over the final 11 laps. Thayer, like Kurtti in the Street Stocks, has won nine races in 10 starts this season at TNT. His only defeat came May 26, when he was caught up in a heat race accident. Roper, Birnamwood’s Kyle Wanta, Wittenberg’s Erik Kessen and Birnamwood’s Forrest Crandall rounded out the top five. Racing resumes June 16 at Three Lakes TNT Speedway, with hot laps at 6:30 p.m. and racing at 7:15
June 6th, 2012
THREE LAKES, Wis. – Rhinelander’s Dan Melton secured his first career WISSOTA AMSOIL Dirt Track Series Midwest Modified victory at Three Lakes TNT Speedway Saturday, June 2, holding off a frantic late rally from Clearwater Lake’s Terry Stebbeds. Melton’s victory highlighted the racing program. Jordan Kurtti of Bruce Crossing, Mich. and Sean Thayer of Birnamwood continued their dominance in the WATDS Street Stocks and TNT Trucks, respectively. Rhinelander’s Brit Bromann and Gleason’s Kasey Gross earned their second feature victories of the season in the TNT Pure Stocks and TNT Stingers.
Melton led every lap of the WADTS Midwest Modified feature. The point was the place to be on lap 12 when a wreck collected six autmobiles. On a restart, Stebbeds and Three Lakes’ Stan Rychlock made contact, sending Rychlock around, collecting point leader Bruce Belland, Jeff Kolpstein, Jr., Larry Gasperini and Joe Kin.Rychlock was Melton’s nearest pursuer until lap 19, when he spun out of second place, bringing out the yellow. On the restart, Stebbeds vaulted from fifth to third and passed Joe Kin of Greenland, Mich. for second with three laps remaining. Stebbeds roared to Melton’s back bumper on the final lap and tried to make a move on the inside in turns three and four, but could not get past. Kin, Gasperini and C.J. Hedges, Jr. rounded out the top five. Belland was unable to continue after the lap 12 accident. He remained the point leader in the class by one over Hedges and Klopstein. After four of 16 races, six drivers are within five points of the lead.
Kurtti had to pick his way from the eighth starting spot in the feature, but took control on lap 10, passing Laona’s Jake Terry for the top spot. It was setting up to be another Kurtti run away until back to back cautions for incidents involving Ben Pitlik and Jeff Mullins slowed the field on laps 14 and 15. Eagle River’s Jason Jensen hung with Kurtti on the restart, at one point putting a fender to the inside of Kurtti’s dominant No. 26. Both drove around the bottom of the race track until lap 20 when Jensen moved up to the cushion, looking for an advantage. Jensen overdrove his No. 01 into turns three and four, jumped the cushion, lost six car lengths and did not challenge again in the final five circuits. Kurtti remained perfect on the season at TNT, with his fourth clean sweep. Jensen finishes second. Pitlik, a Sugar Camp driver making his first start of the season, recovered to finis third. Ron Van Dusen of Eagle River and Kevin Maulson, Jr. from Lac du Flambeau rounded out the top five.The Pure Stocks were the first class on track for the feature. They took a while to find a rhythm, slowed three times for cautions in the first nine laps. The biggest incident occurred on lap nine as a pair of Rhinelander drivers, Dan Schultz and Jesse Dettman battled for second. Schultz passed Dettman on the inside for the spot in turn four and drifted up the track. Dettman got loose on the high line and tagged Austyn Booth’s car in the right rear as he tried to gather the car. Booth’s right rear wheel went flying as he spun up into the wall on the front stretch.
When the race resumed, Bromann and Schultz pulled away. Bromann eventually edged away from Schultz to earn the victory, padding his lead in the points by nine over Schultz and 12 over John Johnson, Sr. who spun out of third on the final lap and finished 10th. Logan Lannet of Bruce Crossing, Mich., Laona’s Mike Terry and Dettman rounded out the top five. Kasey Gross walked away with the Stinger feature, leading all 15 laps. The battle was for second Eric LaFreniere of Norway, Mich. passed Rhinelander’s Richard Barlowski for the runner-up spot on lap 11 and held of Tomahawk’s Adam Johnson for the spot. Barlowski and Gleason’s Brandon Langbecker rounded out the top five.Thayer needed only three laps to pass Birmanwood’s Kyle Wanta for the lead and walked away with his fourth feature win of the season. Wanta, Birnamwood’s Erik Kessen, Wausau’s Dustin Kohn and Gleason’s Larry Roper, Jr. rounded out the top five.Racing continues Saturday, June 9 at Three Lakes TNT Speedway with hot laps at 6:30 p.m. and racing at 7:15.
May 16th, 2012
There are a lot of new things at Three Lakes TNT Speedway this season. New operators, new lighting, new clay, new paint and more. But as the curtain rose on the 2012 season, the old adage “the more things change, the more they stay the same” rang true.Two former track champions, Jason Zdroik and Jordan Kurtti found victory lane in the WISSOTA AMSOIL Dirt Track
Series classes, while a former track championship winning car found the winners’ circle in the TNT Pure Stocks. Brit Bromann of Rhinelander, driving the Bill Slizewski-owned No. 21, edged out former track champ John Johnson, Sr. in the
closest finish of the night. Gleason’s Kasey Gross and Birnamwood’s Sean Thayer were the winners in the TNT Stingers and TNT Trucks, respectively.The luck of the draw put Zdroik, from Eagle River, in the eighth starting position in the WADTS Midwest Modified feature, but it did not take long for him to work his way toward the front.
Tomahawk’s C.J. Hedges, Jr. passed polesitter Terry Stebbeds, from Clearwater Lake, for the lead on lap three. Meanwhile Zdroik quickly made his way to fourth. Zdroik made a move for third on lap eight and got to close in on the leaders when a caution for a spin involving Dan Melton brought out the caution on lap nine.Zdroik, starting on outside the second row in the Delaware-style double file restart, rocketed past Stebbeds and Hedges for the lead and was unchallenged the remainder of the race. Rhinelander’s Dennis Mikkelson worked his way to second in the waning laps, but was force to retire with two laps to go after contact peeled away the sheet metal on the driver’s side of his automobile. Tomahawk’s Travis Friske inherited second and finished there. Joe Kin of Greenland, Mich., Cory Dickman of Bruce Crossing, Mich. and Hedges rounded out the top five.
After spending some of his offseason in Texas, Kurtti, the defending track champ in the WADTS Street Stocks put a Lone Star state-sized beating on the field Saturday night. The Bruce Crossing driver grabbed the lead from the outside pole and led all 25 laps of the main event. He was nearly a half-lap ahead of second place driver Kevin Maulson, Jr. of Lac du Flambeau when the yellow flag flew for a Ron Van Dusen spin. On the restart, Kurtti pulled away from the field again. Eagle River’s Jason Jensen passed Maulson for second on lap 14 and held off Maulson for the position over the final 11 laps. Argonne’s Jeff Mullins scored his career best finish in the Street Stocks, taking fourth. Rhinelander’s
Dave Williams was fifth.Nineteen Pure Stocks showed up for the Three Lakes TNT opener, making it the biggest show of the evening. Hiles’ Mike Bukovic took the lead from the outside pole and held the lead until lap eight when the caution came
out as Tim Miller lost a tire in turn three. As the field was slowing for the caution, Bukovic was tagged from behind, spun and had to go to the pits for repairs.
That handed the lead to Bromann, but it was short lived as Johnson, from Lac du Flambeau took the top spot on lap 10 and Nick Visser, of Elcho, worked his way to second on lap 14. Johnson, Visser, Bromann and Rhinelander’s Dan Schultz were locked in a four-way battle for the lead until lap 19 when Bromann and Visser made contact in turn two, sending Visser around. Visser straightened his car to avoid bringing out the caution. Meanwhile Bromann got a tap from Schultz in turn three, sending him around, setting up a green-white-checkered finish. Johnson pulled out to a lead, but Bromann, who was restored to second place under the caution, stalked. He made his move on the white flag lap, moving to the inside of Johnson in turns one and two. Bromann pulled even down the back stretch and the two went side-by-side into turn three.
The two were still door to door off the final corner and Bromann narrowly won the drag race to the line. Miller recovered from his loose wheel to finish third. Rhinelander’s Tyler Lundberg was fourth and Ron Reese, from Eagle River, took fifth.Gross passed Tomahawk’s Adam Johnson for the lead on lap nine of the Stinger feature. While Johnson stayed within shouting distance the last six laps, he couldnot pass Gross’ No. 19. Tomahawk’s Rory Radtke, Norway, Mich.’s Eric LaFreniere and Merrill’s Zach Degner rounded out the top five.Thayer was unchallenged in the 15-lap Truck main event. Birnamwood’s Forrest Crandall, Wausau’s Dustin Kohn, Birnamwood’s Erik Kessen and Gleason’s Larry Roper, Jr. rounded out the field.All five classes of automobiles will return to Three Lakes TNT Speedway next Saturday night at this year’s new, earlier, start time. Hot laps will begin at 6:30 p.m., with racing at 7:15.
April 27th, 2012
Three Lakes, Wis. – TNT Speedway in Three Lakes will be holding test sessions for drivers in preparation for the upcoming 2012 race season Saturday, April 28 and Saturday, May 5.
Admission is free to drivers, pit crew members and spectators. Concessions will be available in the pits. The test sessions will run from 4 p.m. until dusk.
The 2012 season at TNT Speedway will begin Saturday, May 12 with racing every Saturday night, including Labor Day weekend, through Saturday, Sept. 9. For more information, call (715) 546-2539 or (715) 479-1033.
February 10th, 2012
Three Lakes TNT Speedway, LLC, the new operators of TNT Speedway will be holding a meeting open to all drivers, pit crew members and any other interested parties on Tuesday, Feb. 21 at 7 p.m. at the Oneida Village Inn in Three Lakes.
Anyone interested in racing at TNT Speedway this year is encouraged to attend. During the meeting folks will get a chance to meet the managing partners. Rule changes for 2012 will be discussed along with new procedures and start times. Those interested in competing in the Pure Stock (formerly TNT Bomber) class are urged to weigh in on potential rule changes regarding 305 (and similar) cubic-inch engines.
The 2012 season at TNT Speedway is slated to begin Saturday, May 12, with racing every Saturday, including Labor Day weekend, through Sept. 9. Hot laps will begin at 6:45 p.m, with racing at 7:15 p.m.
Those with questions regarding the upcoming racers meeting should contact Three Lakes TNT Speedway, LLC at (715) 479-1033 or visit www.tntspeedway.com.
December 11th, 2011
THREE LAKES, Wis. – TNT Speedway owners Tim and Patti Rutzen have reached a lease agreement with a group of area race
enthusiasts that will ensure a full season of stock car racing next year on the one-third mile clay oval and a bright future for racing in the Three Lakes area for years to come.Three Lakes TNT Speedway LLC, a group formed by several racing enthusiasts, signed an agreement with the Rutzen family this week.“After 17 years of running the track, we have been wanting to ‘retire’ from the business, knowing that new energy and excitement were something we were lacking to allow TNT Speedway to grow to its full potential,” said TNT Speedway co-owner Patti Rutzen.
“Now we have found people who have all of the qualities needed to keep TNT the place to be.”All members of the new managing group have either raced, or are related to drivers that have raced at TNT Speedway.“We would like to thank Tim and Patti Rutzen for all that they have done for racing in this area over the years,” Three Lakes TNT Speedway, LLC managing partner Junior Stebbeds said. “We’re happy to be taking over such a great tradition from that family and we will strive to maintain the high standards that the Rutzens established.”Said Rutzen, “Our greatest hope is for the group’s success, for the racers to have an awesome track each and every week, and fans to find fun and excitement for the whole family; the qualities that we have based our business on since the beginning. We are confident that the group has all of those qualities and more and we are thankful that they have worked so hard to ensure that racing continues at TNT Speedway long into the future.”No changes are planned regarding the four classes of race cars that compete at the track each week.
Racing will still feature WISSOTA AMSOIL Dirt Track Series (WADTS) Midwest Modifieds and Street Stocks, TNT Pure Stocks (formerly called TNT Bombers) and Stingers.Three Lakes TNT Speedway has announced dates for the 2012 season. The first race at TNT Speedway will be held Saturday, May 12, and the season will conclude with a two-day special for all four classes Sept. 8 and 9. Races will be held every Saturday night during the summer with an earlier start time. Hot Laps will begin at 6:30 p.m, with racing at 7:15.
In addition to the regular racing program, the group has announced the dates for several special races. TNT’s Pure Stock special will take place June 30, the mid-season championships will be held July 7, a WADTS Midwest Modified special will be held July 14 and the third annual Jake Mullins Memorial WADTS Street Stock special will take place July 28. More details regarding these specials will be announced at a later date.“The group that’s in place is very energetic,” said Stebbeds. “Everyone is working hard and everyone is committed to making the racing even better. We are excited and looking forward to the season.”
Three Lakes TNT Speedway, LLC is also excited to announce that longtime announcer Jeremy Mayo will return for an 11th season behind the microphone as the “Voice of TNT Speedway.”“It is a new and exciting time for TNT Speedway,” Mayo said. “The Rutzen family has been a pleasure to work with over the last ten seasons and deserves a lot of credit for what they have done for the sport of auto racing in this area. That being said, the group that is coming in is very familiar with the sport and brings a renewed energy and new ideas to the track. I look forward to working with this group for the upcoming season.”TNT Speedway held its first race in 1995 and has been owned by the Rutzen family since its inception. The Rutzens say that they will assist Three Lakes TNT Speedway up to and beyond the start of the racing season to ensure a smooth transition.“We ask you to continue to support TNT Speedway as you have in the past. Like us, they cannot succeed without you, the racers, who bring the fans a great show every Saturday night. Thank you for all of the support and friendship you
have given us over the years and we look forward to seeing you at the races,” Rutzen said.For more information throughout the offseason regarding TNT Speedway, please visit our website www.tntspeedway.com.
September 12th, 2011
THREE LAKES, WI – For one final time, drivers turned their cars loose at TNT Speedway for the 17th Annual Fall Special and as it has been all year, the racing did not disappoint.
Hurley, WI’s John Kallas won a thrilling non-sanctioned Street Stock feature. Eagle River, WI’s Terry Stebbeds got some vindication for two weeks ago taking the Midwest Modified feature. Rhinelander’s Denny Tushoski put a bow on another championship season with another TNT Bomber victory and Gleason, WI’s Kasey Gross won the finale in the TNT Stingers.
The Street Stock feature was a two-car dual between Kallas and Argonne’s Leif Gunderson, who was racing with a heavy heart following the passing of his father, Dick Gunderson, earlier in the week.
Gunderson held the point for most of the race, but Kallas got along side with six laps to go. The two would remain side-by- side for the final six circuits. Kallas gained the advantage coming to the white flag. Gunderson stuck the nose in
front down the backstretch, going three wide through the middle of lapped traffic. But Gunderson’s stroybook ending came up one corner short as the ring and pinion gear failed off turn four. Kallas won by a just over a foot. Gunderson, Ben Pitlik, track champ Jordan Kurtti and Kevin Maulson Jr. rounded out the top five.
Two weeks ago Terry Stebbeds thought he had won the Midwest Mod Feature, only to have bead-locked right front wheel cause a disqualification and hand the win and track championship to Bruce Belland. Stebbeds redeemed himself on Saturday
leading all 15 laps of the feature. The battle wound up being for second. Belland passed Joe Kin for the spot on a restart with seven laps left, but Duane Dunbar got by Belland with four to go.
None of them were able to catch Stebbeds, who did celebratory donuts on the front stretch upon taking the checkered
flag. Dunbar, Belland, Dennis Mikkelson and Travis Friske rounded out the top five. Denny Tushoski passed John Johnson, Sr.
for the lead in the Bombers with four laps to go, but was not in the clear by any means as Dustin Miller breathed down his neck. Miller stalked the champion’s machine the final four laps, but was unable to get a clean run to the inside. Tushoski, Miller, Johnson, Mike Bukovic and Joe Graveen rounded out the top five.
In the Stingers, Gross passed Zach Degner ending a multiple-lap side-by-side battle with two laps to go and inched away for the win. Louis Malluege, Joe LaFreniere and Rob Schuppler rounded out the top five. Powderpuff and mechanics races rounded
out the racing part of the festivities. The awards followed. Johnson and Bill Martin were awarded for their rollovers during the season, presented trophies crowned by upside down race cars. Dan Melton, Heidi Karshbaum, Dan Schultz and Eric LaFreniere earned Rookie of the Year honors and the top five in the points in each class received trophies.
The Rutzen family would like to thank all the drivers, crew members, sponsors, fans and employees that made the 17th season at TNT Speedway a success. We encourage everyone to go to TNTSpeedway.com in the offseason for news regarding
the 2012 racing season.
August 30th, 2011
THREE LAKES – In perhaps the most bizarre finish to a points race Northern Wisconsin has ever seen, Bruce Belland won the WISSOTA AMSOIL Dirt Track Series Midwest Modified Title by a single point over Jerry Grasse at TNT Speedway Saturday
night. Belland was credited with the feature win, and got the extra point he needed, after the man who came to the checkered first, Terry Stebbeds, was disqualified.
It was the highlight of an unbelievable night of racing at TNT Speedway that saw three points battles come down to the wire and all three eventual track champs finish off their seasons with feature wins. Jordan Kurtti of Bruce Crossing, MI outdueled Hurley’s John Kallas for the win and the title in the WADTS Street Stocks. Denny Tushoski of Rhinelander put an exclamation point on his second TNT Bomber Championship in three years with a dominating feature win.
Eric LaFreniere of Norway, MI won the Stinger Feature but could not make up enough points to catch Rhinelander’s John Barlowski.
The roller coaster that Grasse went on in the feature and afterward is almost indescribable. He entered the main event with a two-point lead over Belland, got into position to secure the title, only to fall back because of a caution. He raced his way back to force what everyone thought was a tie in the standings, only to have a post-race tech inspection change everything.
Grasse cautiously picked his way through the field during the feature, remembering a year ago when a hard-charging move on the first lap of the final feature ended in a wreck that cost him a title. By lap 15 he was in fourth and closing while Bruce Belland sat in second, unable to get by Stebbeds. Belland and Grasse were tied in the points at that moment as they raced on
the track. On lap 17, Belland made his move the the inside of Stebbeds down the back straightaway, only to be rebuked. As the top two slowed, Grasse and Jeff McDonald closed in and Grasse made a three-wide move into turn three. Cars bumped,
Belland went around and the caution went on Grasse. With three laps to go, Belland restarted second and Grasse ninth.
Grasse used the double-file restart to his advantage, picking off cars two at a time and making it to fifth come the white flag lap. On the backstretch, Grasse completed the pass of Joe Kin for fourth while Belland still could not get by Stebbeds, who came across the line first. Grasse started the race two points ahead of Belland. Belland got 33 for second and Grasse 31 for fourth. The two drivers were tied at 525 points for the season and the track was going to have co-champions for the first time in its history…
But in post-race inspection, Stebbeds car was found to run afoul of the clause in WISSOTA AMSOIL Dirt Track Series Midwest Modified Rule 5, Section B that states, “bead locks will be allowed on the right rear wheels only.” Stebbeds had a bead
lock on the right front.
Everybody moved up one position because of the disqualification. Belland now got 35 points for the win, while Grasse got 32 points for third. Final tally – Belland 527, Grasse 526.
The TNT Bomber Feature was just as dramatic. Denny Tushoski entered two points ahead of Todd Brass, but Brass started fifth and Tushoski eighth for the feature after one car on the inside row decided to start the race in the rear.
Brass made a three-wide pass to get up to third on the opening lap while Tushoski charged through the field to fourth. On lap two Joe Graveen got crossed up in turn one battling for the lead. Brass tried to pass on the high side, but Graveen’s car traveled into his path. Brass took evasive action to miss him and Tushoski drove by both into second place.
The next lap, Tushoski passed Dan Schultz for the lead and was in the process of checking out from the rest of the pack when the yellow flag flew. Schultz and Brass started side by side behind Tushoski on the restart and Brass got by for
second. The attention turned to the battle for the lead between Brass and Tushoski with the winner of the race claiming at least a share of the track championship.
Two more cautions slowed the race with eight laps to go and the time limit almost expired. As they came back to speed again, Brass tried a high entry into turn one, hoping he could drive under Tushoski coming out of two. The maneuver failed and Brass spun out, sending him to the back.
The time limit did expire under the caution, prompting a green-white-checkered finish. Brass, desperately trying to race back to the front on the first attempt of a G-W-C, was involved in a four-car wreck down the backstretch, officially putting the nail in his coffin.
Even before the spin, Brass was going to be hard-pressed to catch and pass Tushoski. He had the superior car on Saturday night and won the feature, after a wreck on the final lap of the second G-W-C attempt took out the four cars that were trying to track him down.
The WADTS Street Stock Feature was much more cut and dried. Jordan Kurtti led John Kallas by a point entering the main event so the equation was simple. It was a match race between the two with the winner earning at very least a share of the track title.
Kallas raced by Nick Visser for the lead on a lap four restart, but Kurtti was coming and in second by lap six. The throwdown was on and if they remained first and second, the winner would be the track champion outright. Kurtti moved to the outside and by lap eight, the pass was made.
Kurtti turned the final 12 laps from a barnburner to a cakewalk, gaining a full straightaway advantage and putting the wraps on the track title. After the race, Kurtti did Alan Kulwicki’s patented “Polish Victory Lap” with three fingers out the window, another tip of the cap to Jake Mullins, whose second annual memorial race was run two weeks ago.
In the TNT Stingers Eric LaFreniere won the race, passing for the lead on lap four. John Barlowski’s car suffered transmission problems the night before in Tomahawk, but he was still able to solider the car out for both the heat and the feature. That was all he needed to do to claim his first TNT Speedway track title.
After Saturday night’s action, the Labor Day weekend break is a needed to let everyone catch their breath. The 2011 season ends at TNT Speedway on Saturday, September 10th with the 17th Annual Fall Special. There will be shortened races in all classes, plus mechanics and women’s races with the Award Party to follow. Note an earlier start time for the event with Hot Laps at 6:00 PM and racing at 6:45. The Award Party will be held that night rain or shine. For more information, visit TNTSpeedway.com.
August 22nd, 2011
THREE LAKES, WI – Miller Beer of the Northwoods Night at TNT Speedway in Three Lakes had a little of everything – high drama in the races for the track championships, a couple of first time winners, a couple of big wrecks, even a little rain.
At the end of the night Phelps, WI’s Jerry Grasse claimed another win in the WISSOTA AMSOIL Dirt Track Series Midwest Modified. Argonne, WI’s Leif Gunderson won a wild scramble to the finish in the WADTS Street Stocks. Rhinelander’s Dan
Schultz claimed a win in the TNT Bombers and Rhinelander’s John Barlowski won for the second straight week in the TNT Stingers.
More importantly following the penultimate points-paying night of the season, the separation between first and second is three points or less in three of the four classes.
Bruce Belland entered the WADTS Midwest Modified Feature two points ahead of Jerry Grasse. Both started in the fourth row for the feature. Belland raced for position while Grasse hung back. Grasse’s strategy proved to be the correct one as on lap five Joe Kin spun out of second place, triggering an eight-car wreck.
Belland and Jeff McDonald had no where to go as the accident unfolded and got the worst of it as their wheels interlocked in the crash. Grasse got teed in the right side, but all the damage was cosmetic and he was the first damaged car on and off pit road. Eventually Belland’s and McDonald’s cars were separated, but on the restart Grasse was in fourth and Belland was in ninth.
Grasse picked his way through, passing Dennis Mikkelson for the lead on lap ten and would not be challenged the rest of the way. A lap 16 caution for a spin by Mike Bukovic helped out Belland who came to the final restart in fifth but moved up quickly. In the end Belland got to third, but was unable to pass Mikkelson for second.
Grasse picked up his fifth win in the last six features and enters the final night one point ahead of Belland as he looks to wrap up the championship he let slip away last year in a lap one wreck during the final feature of the season.
Jordan Kurtti started two points ahead of John Kallas in the WADTS Street Stock Feature, but it looked like Kurrti was in big trouble as he got caught up in a wreck not of his doing on lap two. Kevin Maulson, Jr. got into the back of Ron Van Dusen coming out of turn four. Van Dusen spun right into the path of oncoming traffic and was T-boned by Kurtti at the finish line.
Luckily for Kurrti has car was not damaged to badly and he got plenty of time to affix repairs. A light shower passed overhead under the caution and delayed the restart by 15 minutes as the drivers made laps to get the excess moisture off the track.
Kurtti’s incident put Kallas in position to take the point lead. Kallas was fortunate just to be in the race, borrowing Dennis Lacrosse’s car after blowing the motor of his primary car Friday night in Tomahawk. On lap three of the feature, Kallas’s car suddenly slowed in turn two and Kevin Maulson, Jr. hit him from behind, cutting Maulson tire and bringing out another caution.
Once things got sorted out, Leif Gunderson held the lead with Nick Visser and Kurtti right behind him battling side-by-side for second. Gunderson alternated between the high line and the low line to keep the two behind him while slowly Kallas worked his way back into the mix.
That’s the way they would battle until two laps to go when Kurrti got loose in turn four. That gave Gunderson a sizable lead and put Visser and Kallas in a side-by-side battle for second on the final lap. Visser got the better of that battle at the line, while Kurtti settled for fourth. Kurtti’s lead over Kallas is just one point heading to next Saturday.
Dan Schultz led flag-to-flag in the TNT Bomber Feature while Todd Brass tried to track him down. Denny Tushoski had a hard time gaining ground in the feature from his eighth place starting spot and was spun out in the process by Tyler Lundberg on lap seven. Tushoski eventually made it to third and finished there, giving himself a three-point lead over Brass with one night to go.
In the TNT Stingers, John Barlowski took the lead on the second lap and checked out for his second feature win in a row and third of the season in Three Lakes, all but wrapping-up the track championship in the process. Barlowski is 31 points clear of Eric LaFreniere, who finished second on the night. All Barlowski will have to do is start the feature next Saturday night to clinch the track championship.
All of TNT’s points battles will be decided next Saturday in what promises to be the most dramatic Season Championship night in the 17-year existence of the track. Watch the drama unfold as Hot Laps begin at 7:00 PM, with racing at 7:45. Visit TNTSpeedway.com for more information and the latest point standings.
August 15th, 2011
THREE LAKES, WI – With over $1,400 in cash and prizes up for grabs to the winner and a full moon over head, things were bound to get a little crazy during the second annual Jake Mullins Memorial WISSOTA AMSOIL Dirt Track Series Street Stock
Special at TNT Speedway in Three Lakes.
Out front was the place to be as Eagle River, WI’s Jason Zdroik proved. Zdroik hid from the field as they beat and banged on one another to catch him. Their efforts proved to be in vain as several top contenders took themselves out of contention trying to race to the front. In other action on Saturday night, Phelps, WI’s Jerry Grasse pulled to within a point of the lead in the WADTS Midwest Modifies with his fourth feature win in his last five starts. Rhinelander’s Denny Tushoski claimed the TNT Bomber lead his second win in a row. Rhinelander’s John Barlowski took advantage of point leader’s Eric LaFreniere’s absence to sweep the Stingers and put a stranglehold on the lead in that class.
Zdroik would lead all 20 laps of the Mullins Memorial, taking the lead on the drop of the green from the outside pole. For most of the race his best ally proved to be second place runner Ben Pitlik who kept the rest of the field at bay. A caution on lap eight for a spin involving Heidi Karshbaum set the stage for the first race-changing event. On the restart, Pitlik and Nick Visser got loose out of turn two battling for second. The two bumped into each other, triggering a ten-car pileup down the backstretch. Several cars went to the pits because of the wreck. Visser and Leif Gunderson, two of the top contenders, got the worst of it. Both cars were disabled on the backstretch and out of the race.
The wreck moved the two contenders in the TNT points race, Jordan Kurtti and John Kallas, into third and fourth spots. But on the restart, Pitlik went to making passing extremely difficult again while Zdroik pulled away. Kurtti tried high. Kallas tried low,
but nothing they tried worked in terms of passing Pitlik. Coming to four laps to go, Kallas made his move and tried to go through the smallest of openings on the inside in turn four. Pitlik came down to block and the two cars slammed into each other, grinding down the frontstrech before becoming interlocked for a moment in turn one. Both were sent to the back for bringing out the yellow, erasing their chances. Kurtti would get his shot at the win, but Zdroik proved to be too strong on the restarts. He pulled away to a two car length lead before the yellow flew again with two to go for a spin involving Troy LaRock. The green-white-checkered finish proved to be the same with Zdroik getting a big restart and Kurtti having no answer. Kevin Maulson, Jr. and Dennis LaCrosse survived much of the beating and banging to take third and fourth. Kallas came back to finish fifth. While Kurtti did not win, he did take over the point lead by a single point of Kallas with two nights remaining. After Visser’s last place finish, they are the only two drivers left with a realistic shot at the title.
One debris caution is all that slowed the WADTS Midwest Modifieds on Saturday, which proved to be a break for Grasse. Terry Stebbeds had built a sizable early lead before the yellow on lap six. Three laps after the restart, Grassed finally made his way around and was gone. Bruce Belland took second on the same lap, but had nothing for Grasse on this night. Belland, by virtue of a heat race win compared to a second for Grasse, still holds a one-point advantage in the Mods with two nights to go. Jeff McDonald, Stan Rychlock and Joe Kin rounded out the top five. Kallas entered the night trying to pull off a double at TNT. Not only was he entered with his street stock, he borrowed Logan Lannet’s Bomber for the night while Lannet attended a wedding.
But Denny Tushoski proved to be too strong on Saturday. Tushoski took the lead on lap three with Kallas right behind and the two stayed nose to tail for the remainder of the race. Kallas’s last chance came on a caution with five laps to go for a spin involving Chris Nylund, but he could never get along side to challenge Tushoski. Tushoski, the 2009 TNT Bomber Champ, is in position to win another title. He has a four-point lead on Todd Brass with two nights to go. Brass was passed for third by John Johnson on the final restart and had to settle for fourth in the feature. Dan Schultz rounded out the top five.
Appendicitis could be the determining factor in the TNT Stingers this year. Eric LaFreniere had a commanding 27-point lead over John Barlowski entering Saturday night before the illness caused him to miss the race. Barlowski took advantage, leading every lap of the heat and every lap of the feature for a relatively easy clean sweep. More than likely, all Barlowski will have to do is start the heat and feature each of the final two nights to lock up the title.
Racing continues next Saturday night at TNT Speedway. Hot Laps at 7:00 PM, with racing at 7:45. For more information, visit our website at www.TNTSpeedway.com.
August 9th, 2011
THREE LAKES, WI – For the second straight week, Mother Nature defeated man in the battle to stage a race at TNT Speedway in Three Lakes. Rain started around 5:30 PM and picked up in intensity around 5:45. By 6:15, workers had lost the race track and with the rain not relenting, the decision was made to call the program.
Saturday was supposed to be the 2nd Annual Jake Mullins Memorial WISSOTA AMSOIL Dirt Track Series Street Stock Special, honoring the 23-year old TNT Speedway veteran and a favorite among drivers who was killed last August in an automobile accident. The special will be made up next Saturday, August 16. Last year, good friend John Kallas, who would help Mullins wrench on his car between races, won the first race following Mullins’ death and the first annual memorial two weeks later.
Over $400 in cash will go to the winner of the race and the Mullins Family had thrown and extra $100 into the kitty if the winner puts on a good celebration after the fact.
The track will continue to accept cash and prize contributions up until the start of the feature next Saturday night. Contact Tim or Patti Rutzen at the track 715-546-2539 for more information. Hot laps begin at 7:00 PM, with racing at 7:45. Visit our website at www.TNTSpeedway.com for more information.
August 2nd, 2011
THREE LAKES, WI – Racing was not in the cards this past Saturday at TNT Speedway in Three Lakes as a severe thunderstorm on Saturday afternoon dropped torrential rainfall and knocked out power at the track.
With the postponement of Miller Beer of the Northwoods Night, all the attention focuses to the second annual Jake Mullins Memorial WISSOTA AMSOIL Dirt Track Series Street Stock Special, slated for Saturday, August 6, and the final month of the
season at TNT.
Tuesday will mark the one year anniversary of Mullins’ tragic passing in an automobile accident. He was 23, but was already a long-seasoned vet at TNT Speedway and a favorite among drivers and fans. Last year, good friend John Kallas, who would help Mullins wrench on his car between races, won the first race following Mullins’ death and the first annual memorial two weeks later.
Over $400 in cash will go to the winner of the race. In addition to TNT Speedway, Crandon International Off Road Raceway, McDonald Racing, Main Street Ed’s and Kathy’s Inn Bar & Grill have put up money to beef up the purse for the main event.
The track will continue to accept cash and prize contributions up until the start of the feature next Saturday night. Contact Tim or Patti Rutzen at the track 715-546-2539 for more information.
In addition to “Jake’s Race” there are plenty of reasons to come out to the track as the calender turns to August. With four scheduled races left to determine this year’s track champions, TNT Speedway is witnessing some of the closest battles it has seen in its 17-year history.
For the second straight year, it seems that the WISSOTA AMSOIL Midwest Modified fight will come down to the final night between Bruce Belland and Jerry Grasse. Grasse has overcome an 11th place finish in a feature earlier this season by clean-sweeping three of the last four shows to pull within two points of Belland.
Last year Grasse fought to take the points lead from Belland entering the final feature of the season, only to have a first lap crash in the main event dash his championship hopes.
It has been an entertaining rivalry this year between Kallas and Jordan Kurtti in the WISSOTA AMSOIL Street Stocks. No one else has been able to break through for a feature win in that class. Kallas one the first night, then Kurtti won three in a row. Kallas countered with two straight, but Kurtti held him off last week in the AMSOIL Race of Champions Qualifier.
It’s Kallas who has the two-point lead, however, entering the month of August. But don’t count out Nick Visser yet. The sophomore Street Stocker sits just ten points out of first, waiting to strike if either of the top two slip.
Todd Brass and Denny Tushoski are separated by a single point with four races remaining. Brass has won two features to Tushoski’s three. But Tushoski, the 2009 Bomber champ, is used to close point battles. In 2009, Tushoski won a championship that could have went to any one of four drivers entering the final feature of the season.
Eric LaFreniere has a commanding point lead in the TNT Stingers, but any bit of bad luck could change that and John Barlowski would look to capitalize from 27 points back. The bigger question right now in the class is can anyone stop Wausau’s Bo Bennish? While Bennish is not a contender for the title with only three shows to his credit, he’s taken the checkered flag all three times and clearly has the car to beat.
We’ll find out who wins Jake’s Race and who will inch one step closer to a track championship next Saturday night at TNT Speedway. As always, hot laps begin at 7:00 PM, with racing at 7:45. Visit our website at www.TNTSpeedway.com for more information.
July 28th, 2011
THREE LAKES, WI – If the season were to end today, neither Jerry Grasse or Jordan Kurtti would have the title of TNT Speedway track champion this season. But both of them sure drove like champs on Saturday night. Grasse, from Phelps, WI, and Kurrti, from Bruce Crossing, MI, had dominating drives in the WISSOTA AMSOIL Dirt Track Series Midwest Modifieds and Street Stocks, respectively, and won the TNT Speedway’s AMSOIL Race of Champions Qualifiers on Saturday. The two will represent the Three Lakes track at the AMSOIL ROC this September at Dakota State Fair Speedway as part of the WISSOTA 100.
In other action on Saturday night, Rhinelander’s Denny Tushoski claimed the feature win in the TNT Bombers and Wausau’s Bo Bennish won his third straight TNT Stinger Feature. Three cautions in the first six laps of the WADTS Midwest Mods slowed the festivities, but it also sifted the wheat from the chaff with longtime mod veteran Duane Dunbar leading point leader Bruce Belland, Grasse and 2011 feature winner Jeff McDonald to the restart.
Belland made his move, taking the lead and Grasse worked past for second. On lap 11, Grasse made the move past Belland and checked out. Grasse, who also won his heat race, now sits two points behind Belland thanks to a third clean sweep in the
last four races. Belland, Dunbar, McDonald and Joe Kin rounded out the top five. There was no guarantee that Jordan Kurtti was even going to make Saturday’s show at TNT. His car developed a miss while racing the night before and a hard day’s work in the garage was not enough to fix a balky water pump. So after quick call to buddy Leo Nippa, Kurrti was on his way in a borrowed Street Stock.
The way it ran on Saturday, maybe Kurtti should let Nippa at least run hot laps in South Dakota. Following a heat win in a tough field of cars, the luck of the draw put Kurtti on the pole for the feature. That was all the help he needed to dominate a caution-free 20 lap main event. After the race, Kurtti mentioned on Facebook that the winning car is for sale John Kallas, Leif Gunderson and Nick Visser were left to battle for second, which they did for much of the race. Kallas, Gunderson and Visser is how they came across with Ben Pitlik fifth. Kallas still holds a two-point lead over Kurtti with five nights remaining.
A second lap caution involving Mike Bocek was the only yellow of the night for the TNT Bombers. Once they got strung out, Denny Tushoski got past Logan Lannet for the lead on lap five and hid from the field. The battle wound up being for second
where John Johnson held off Todd Brass, cutting Brass’s point lead over Tushoski down to one point. Tyler Lundberg and Dan Schultz rounded out the top five.
Bo Bennish missed the heat race for the Stingers, but was not deterred, working from last starting spot to the lead in just seven laps en route to his third feature win in a row. There was a scary moment on the last lap of the race as Bill Martin lost a right rear wheel coming off of turn two and rolled his automobile while mixing it up in a battle for second. Martin climbed out of the car unscathed after it barrel rolled twice.
Eric LaFreniere continued to pad his points lead with a second place finish, Rob Schuppler was third and Zach Denger was the last car running in fourth.
Racing continues next Saturday at TNT Speedway with the WISSOTA AMSOIL Dirt Track Series Midwest Modifieds and Street Stocks, along with TNT’s Bombers and Stingers.
On Saturday, August 6, it is the second annual Jake Mullins Memorial at TNT, a WADTS Street Stock Special in honor of the Street Stock driver that lost his life in passenger car accident last August. At least $450 will go to the winner and TNT is still excepting sponsorships and donations toward the purse for that evening. Contact Tim or Patti Rutzen at 715-546-2539 for more details.
Hot Laps will start at 7:00 PM, with racing at 7:45 both nights. For more information, log on to www.TNTSpeedway.com.
July 20th, 2011
THREE LAKES, WI – It was clean sweeps all around at TNT Speedway on a steamy Saturday night. That was good news for Eagle River’s Bruce Belland and Hurley, WI’s John Kallas, who padded points leads in the WISSOTA AMSOIL Dirt Track Series
Midwest Modifieds and Street Stocks respectively.
But it was not easy for them or Rhinelander’s Chris Nylund in the TNT Bombers or Wausau’s Bo Bennish as all four feature races were hotly contested.
Belland was slated to start third in the WADTS Midwest Mod feature but moved up to the pole when Terry Stebbeds could not answer the bell. Belland took the lead on the drop of the green, but Jerry Grasse, who had won the two previous features at TNT, was right behind him.
The two would dual the much of the race, which was slowed by five cautions. Belland slowly inched away on the final restart with seven laps remaining to take the win. Grasse, Jeff McDonald, Stan Rychlock and Joe Kin rounded out the top five as Belland’s lead over Grasse stretched to five at the halfway point of the season.
John Kallas rocketed from sixth starting spot to the lead in just three laps in the WADTS Street Stock feature while Kurtti, who started last after a spin in the heat race, worked his way to second by lap nine. A yellow for a spin involving Jeff Mullins and Troy LaRock slowed the field two laps later, setting up a nine lap dash.
Not conceding defeat to the top two in points, Nick Visser decided to make it a three-car fight on the restart. He got a great start, passed Kurtti for second and battled Kallas side-by-side for the lead. Visser took the lead on lap 14, Kallas passed him back on lap 15, but Visser and Kurtti stayed right on his heels. Kallas could not afford to make a mistake and he did not, taking his third win of the season, and second in a row at TNT. Visser, Kurtti and Leif Gunderson were right behind him at the line. Ben Pitlik rounded out the top five.
Despite 14 cars, the TNT Bombers kept on straight and narrow on Saturday. A spin on the first lap involving pole sitter C.J. England brought out the first yellow. The second yellow wouldn’t fly until the final lap.
After dicing for position the first five laps, John Johnson took the lead on lap six with Nylund passing him one lap later. From there things settled out until the last lap when Logan Lannet spun and broke an axle. Nylund held off Johnson to the white flag to take the win. Denny Tushoski beat Todd Brass for third and Dan Schultz was credited for fifth after Tyler Lundberg was
disqualified for an unapproved transmission.
Bo Bennish and John Barlowski staged a battle in the TNT Stingers. Bennish took the lead on lap four, only to have Barlowski root his was past couple laps later. Barlowski’s lead grew during the middle laps of the race to as many as five car lengths, but Bennish saved his car for one more run and erased a three-car length lead in the final three laps. On the final lap, Bennish demonstrated the “eight wheels are better than four” theory, leaning on Barlowski, pushing out of the groove in turns one
and two, passing him for the win. Eric LaFreniere, Ryan Schuppler and Zach Degner rounded out the top five.
Next Saturday at TNT Speedway is the WISSOTA AMSOIL Race of Champions Qualifier at TNT Speedway. The winner of next Saturday night’s features in the WADTS Midwest Mods and Street Stocks will punch their ticket to the AMSOIL Race of Champions at the WISSOTA 100 this September in Huron, South Dakota.
As always, Hot Laps will start at 7:00 PM, with racing at 7:45. For more information, log on to www.TNTSpeedway.com.
July 13th, 2011
THREE LAKES, WI – A week after a hard crash left his car badly damaged, Hurley, WI’s John Kallas was back in victory lane Saturday night at TNT Speedway in Three Lakes, holding off points leader Jordan Kurtti in a spirited battle in the WISSOTA AMSOIL Dirt Track Series Street Stock feature.
It was one of the highlights of another action-packed night on the high banks. Todd Brass of Argonne, WI made a last corner pass on a green-white-checkered finish to win the TNT Bomber main event. Meanwhile Jerry Grasse of Phelps, WI kept his
winning streak going in the WISSOTA AMSOIL Dirt Track Series Midwest Modifieds and Wausau’s Bo Bennish won the TNT Stinger feature in his season debut.
Kallas hit the outside wall hard and did considerable damage to the rear end of his race car in a lap one wreck in last week’s feature that dropped him from first to third in the point standings. Starting fifth in Saturday’s WADTS Street Feature, Kallas’s plan was to get ahead of the trouble early. Kallas charged to the inside on the start, made it three-wide going into turn one and by the time the field came back to the line, Kallas had passed pole sitter Jeff Mullins for the lead.
Kallas built a full straight away lead in the first four laps as the rest of the field tried to get by Mullins. By lap five Leif Gunderson, last week’s runner up, and Kurtti, who had won three straight features at TNT entering the night, had done just that.
The yellow came out on lap seven for a spin involving 2007 WADTS Street Stock track champ Tom Waara. From there, the saying “cautions breed cautions” proved itself with three more yellows slowing the proceedings, including a lap 15 spin
that took away Gunderson’s chances at a win.
Through all the restarts, Kurtti chose the inside line as the second place driver and challenged Kallas but could not pass. On the final restart with five laps left, Kurtti mixed things up and tried the outside line. The plan backfired as Nick Visser passed Kurtti for second. Kurtti would get back by Visser, but ran out of time to catch Kallas, who scored his second win of the season at TNT. Kurtti, Visser, Ben Pitlik and Heidi Karshbaum rounded out the top five.
The Bombers were back in form Saturday night with six cautions slowing the proceedings and forcing a green-white-checkered finish with only seven of the 15 scheduled laps complete.
John Johnson, Sr. led from the drop of the green flag and survived getting spun by points leader Denny Tushoski midway through the race to hold the advantage on the final restart. Brass started right behind Johnson on the restart and Tushoski quickly moved up from fifth to third as they came to the white flag.
Brass closed in on Johnson down the backstrecth and stuck his fender to the outside, setting up the crossover move into turn three. Johnson’s car pushed up the track coming off turn four, allowing Brass and Tushoski to slip to the inside. It became a three-car drag race to the checkered flag with Brass edging Tushoski by a nose and Johnson settling for third. Ron Reese and Mike Terry completed the top five.
After a slow start to the season, Jerry Grasse has found the right combination in the WADTS Midwest Mods at TNT Speedway as he scored his second straight clean sweep.
Grasse carefully picked his way through the field from his sixth starting spot and passed Stan Rychlock for the lead on lap 15. A caution flew two laps later as one of the construction barrels marking the apron of the track was knocked onto the racing surface, but it did not bother Grasse, who pulled away from Rychlock on the restart. The race would end moment later as a spin involving Terry Stebbeds in the back of the back brought out the caution after the leaders took the white flag. Grasse, Rychlock, Alex Van Natta, Bruce Belland and Joe Kin were the top five when the yellow flew.
Bennish was stout in his first start of the season at TNT. After a dominating heat win, he caught leader Bill Martin on the fifth lap of the race. After a couple of laps of side-by-side racing, Bennish took the lead and pulled away for the win. Martin, Eric LaFreniere, Zach Denger and Rob Schuppler rounded out the top five.
Racing returns next Saturday night to TNT Speedway with WADTS Midwest Modifieds and Street Stocks along with TNT’s Bombers and Stingers. On July 23, TNT Speedway is hosting its AMSOIL Race of Champions Qualifier with the winner of the Midwest Modified and Street Stock Features that night earning an automatic bid into the AMSOIL Race of Champions at this year’s WISSOTA 100.
As always, Hot Laps will start at 7:00 PM, with racing at 7:45. For more information, visit our website
July 5th, 2011
THREE LAKES, WI – A challenging dry track led to a lot of fireworks Saturday night at TNT Speedway in Three Lakes and by the end of the night, experience seemed to play a big role a three veterans of the track took home clean sweeps.
Phelps, Wisconsin’s Jerry Grasse was the winner in the WISSOTA AMSOIL Dirt Track Series Midwest Modifieds. Bruce Crossing, Michigan’s Jordan Kurtti made it three feature wins in a row at TNT in the WISSOTA AMSOIL Dirt Track Series Street Stocks, Rhinelander’s Denny Tushoski retook sole possession of the TNT Bomber point lead with a feature win. All three won their heat races earlier in the evening for cleen sweeps. Norway, Michigan’s Eric LaFreniere took the checkered in the TNT Stingers.
Early in the WADTS Midwest Mod feature, it look as though we would be talking about a first time winner. Rookie hotshoe Alex Van Natta got to the lead from the outside pole and maintained a gap on Grasse and defending track champion Bruce Belland.
But halfway through the race, the experience started to show as Grasse closed. Then on lap 11, Van Natta drove too hard on the exit of turn four and washed up the track, allowing Grasse to take the lead. A yellow a couple laps later afforded Van Natta another chance, but his car again washed up the track in four as he tried to close on the leader and it was clear
sailing for Grasse the rest of the way.
Joe Kin worked his was through the field after getting involved in an early wreck and finished second. Last week’s feature winner, Jeff McDonald was third. Belland and Van Natta rounded out the top five.
The point standings in the WADTS Street Stocks got a major shake up on the first lap of the feature when outside polesitter Ron Van Dusen spun in front of the field, triggering TNT’s version of the “big one”. By the time it was said and done, half the field was collected. The two drivers that had it the worst were Neal Slizewski, who saw the right rear of his car demolished, and point leader John Kallas, who got tagged in the rear during the pileup and slammed hard into the outside wall down the
Kallas got out of the car under his own power, but admitted to being very sore afterward on his Facebook page. He was checked over by the EMT’s and cleared, but his car sustained heavy rear end damage.
That opened the door for Kurtti, and Nick Visser to take the point lead and Kurtti wasted no time getting to the front. On the restart he made a bold four-wide moving up the middle down the backstretch and took a lead. But he had company at
the front in the form of Argonne’s Leif Gunderson, who was bent on making a Kurtti three-peat anything but a forgone conclusion.
The race was slowed by several caution flags and came up against the time limit five laps short of completion. On the green-white-checkered finish, Gunderson got a great restart and pulled underneath Kurtti, taking the lead briefly. Kurtti fought back on the outside, taking the lead back going into turn one on the final lap and holding off Gunderson the rest of the circuit to take the win. Gunderson, Ben Pitlik, Heidi Karshbaum and Van Dusen rounded out the top five.
Compared to their Street Stock brethren, the TNT Bomber drivers acted like choir boys Saturday. There were only two cautions slowing the proceedings in the typically rough and tumble class. C.J. England led the first seven laps, but was passed a lap eight restart by Tushoski and the man he was tied with in the points entering the night, Todd Brass.
But Tushoski had the better car on this night and slowly pulled away from Brass and sailed to the victory. John Johnson finished third, an incredible feat considering that his car barrel-rolled three times in turn one during a heat race accident. England and Ron Reese rounded out the top five.
The Stinger feature ran caution free with Bill Martin leading the first ten laps, but as the race went on LaFreniere slowly closed and he made his move on lap 11, passing Martin and holding him off for the final five laps for the checkered flag. Bobby Sheldon outdueled Rob Schuppler in a good battle for third. John Barlowski finished fifth.
Racing continues next Saturday night at TNT Speedway with the WISSOTA AMSOIL Dirt Track Series Midwest Modifieds and Street Stocks along with the TNT Bombers and Stingers. Hot Laps start at 7:00 PM, with racing at 7:45. For more information, visit www.TNTSpeedway.com.
June 14th, 2011
Mother nature greeted race fans and drivers with a clear, but cool night for racing, and with the rain showers the previous evening, the track stayed smooth and fast all night. Midwest modified heats were first on the agenda, with Bruce Belland and Alex Van Natta taking their respective races. Wissota Street heats were taken by John Kallas and Jordan Kurtti, with neither driver having any problems holding onto the lead. In bomber action last weeks feature winner Jason Melton motored to the heat #1 victory with his #7 machine. Todd Brass was on his way to a win, when a flat tire sidelined him in heat #2, allowing Tyler Lundberg and Dan Schultz to battle for the win. Schultz spun out on the white flag lap and Lundberg drove his #98 to the checkered flag first.
The stinger heat started with 6 and only 2 finished. Two right front rim failures, and ignition problem, and one overheating sidelined 2/3 of the field, and in the end John Barlowski was first to the checkered flag.
The Wissota street feature was first after intermission. Lap 2 action found John Kallas on the inside of a 4 wide coming into corner #3, and even as wide as the track is, they couldn’t run 4 wide. Kallas spun out and restarted at the rear, but the veteran driver was even more determined to win another feature. By lap 8, Kallas was back up to the 3rd, and in a couple more 2nd , and working on leader Jordan Kurtti. The Michigan driver did a flawless job holding off Kallas’ high and low attacks and in the end claimed victory.
The bomber feature was lead wire to wire by Denny Tushoski, but the car to watch was the 2T of Todd Brass’.Brass started in the rear and worked his way up, only to be caught in an altercation that would send him to the pits for a sheet metal adjustment. Brass again started at the rear of the field, working his way back thru the pack to finish a strong 2nd.
The Midwest Modified feature was marred with as many yellow flags, as laps ran,..well- almost. Bruce Belland showed that the place to run was upfront, leading the entire 20 lap feature. Dave Dishow had a fast machine, but couldn’t get by Belland, and finished a respectable 2nd.
John Barlowski swept the stinger class, as he won the 15 lap feature, for his 2nd checkers Racing at 7:45.of the night.
Racing action resumes next Saturday with Miller night at the track. Hot laps at 7:00 , racing @7:45.
June 10th, 2011
THREE LAKES, WI – After two straight rainouts, nothing but glorious sunshine gleamed down on TNT Speedway Saturday, June 4 as the Three Lakes race track finally was able to hold and complete a night of racing on its third attempt of the season.
When the dust settled Saturday night, familiar faces found TNT’s Victory Lane in the WISSOTA AMSOIL Dirt Track Series sanctioned classes. Jerry Grasse of Phelps, Wisconsin took the win in the WADTS Midwest Modifieds and Hurley, Wisconsin’s John Kallas was victorious in the WADTS Street Stocks.
Meanwhile, a couple of vets scored breakthrough victories in TNT’s sanctioned classes as Rhinelander, Wisconsin’s Jason Melton scored the win in the TNT Bombers and Bobby Sheldon, also of Rhinelander, claimed TNT Stinger Victory.
Tires seemed to be the predominant story on a racing surface that became dry slick as the night wore on. Grasse, who finished second in track points last year in heartbreaking fashion, started ninth in the Midwest Modified feature after missing the invert with a fifth place heat finish. That did not matter much come money time as within nine laps Grasse had pushed his way to second behind the man who beat him in the points last year, Bruce Belland.
Belland still had control of the race until lap 15 when a right rear tire blew down the front strecth and sent Belland up the hill in turn one, bringing out the caution. Grasse ran away on the restart to claim the win ahead of Joe Kin, Jeff McDonald, Stan Rychlock and George Truscott. Belland restarted tenth after the caution and pushed his way back to sixth by the end of the race.
In the WADTS Streets Stocks, a potential four-car dog fight turned a runaway for Kallas after tire problems took out his top contenders. Kallas, the winner of last year’s Jake Mullins Memorial at TNT, took the lead from the outside pole on the start, passing pole sitter and defending track champion Jeff Klopstein, Jr.
Soon there after the two were joined at the front by Jordan Kurtti and Jason Zdroik. The night nearly ended prematurely for Kallas and Kurtti, who were caught up in an accident on lap nine, started by the spinning car of Jason Jensen, who was on the verge of going a lap down.
Kallas and Kurtti were able to stay in the race and the four main contenders were bunched together for the restart. But one lap later, with Kurtti and Klopstein battling side by side for second, Kurtti developed a flat tire entering turn one, pushed up into Klopstein and sent Klopstein into the outside guardrail. The incident would eventually knock both out of the race.
Under the caution, Jason Zdroik pitted for a flat tire, but his crew was not fast enough to get him off pit road before the race went back to green and he fell one lap down. Kallas cruised the rest of the way. Nick Visser, Ben Pitlik, Neal Slizewski and Kevin Maulson, Jr. rounded out the top five. Zdroik nearly fought his way back on the lead lap. He was the second car to the checkered behind Kallas, but finished a lap down in ninth.
The tire problem in the TNT Bombers happened to Todd Brass, who ducked onto pit road while leading under a second lap caution. That handed the lead of Jason Melton, who spent the final 14 laps making his car as wide as possible.
Denny Tushoski, 2009 TNT Bomber Champ, and Dan Schultz were right on Melton’s back bumper for the first two thirds of the race, but Brass was closing. After restarting 12th, Brass made it back into the top five in just three laps. By lap nine he had rejoined the battle for the lead. On lap 12, he passed Tushoski for second and began to close on Melton. Brass ran out of time, and a last lap caution for a spin in the back of the pack sealed his fate as Melton pulled of the win in the Bombers with Brass, Tushoski, Schultz and John Johnson, Jr. rounding out the top five.
There were no tire problems in the Stinger Feature, where Bobby Sheldon started last but finished first. Sheldon got a great start and rocketed from sixth to second in just a lap. By lap eight, he worked around Eric LaFreniere for the lead. Sheldon held off a hard-charging Adam Johnson on the final lap to claim the win. Johnson, LaFreniere, Brandon Ross and Bill Martin completed the top five.
Racing continues Saturday, June 11 at TNT Speedway with WISSOTA AMSOIL Dirt Track Series Midwest Modifieds and Street Stocks, TNT Bombers and TNT Stingers. Hot laps start at 7:00 PM, with racing at 7:45. For more information, log on to www.TNTSpeedway.com.
May 31st, 2011
THREE LAKES, WI – The green flag dropped on the 2011 racing season at TNT Speedway in Three Lakes, WI on Saturday night. Unfortunately, that was about it.
Before the first heat of the WISSOTA AMSOIL Dirt Track Series Midwest Modified class could turn a lap, Mother Nature struck again with a pop-up thunderstorm that brought torrential rainfall. An hour later, rain returned while track officials and drivers were on the track working to get it back into racing shape, forcing TNT to cancel its opener for a second straight week.
Toivola, Michigan’s Jesse Aho led the field to green in WADTS Midwest Modified heat one, but the drivers couldn’t make it through the first corner before trouble struck.
Three Lakes’ Stan Rychlock spun in the middle of turns one and two, collecting Greenland, Michigan’s Joe Kin to bring out the yellow flag. As the field lined back up for the restart, lightning flashed overhead and winds began to howl, forcing officials to throw the red flag in front of the impending storm.
A sizable opening night crowd scurried for shelter as the skies opened, dropping well over a quarter inch of rain on the racing surface within a ten-minute period.
After the storm passed, racers and track officials agreed that with some work and no more rain, they could get the track packed back in and resume racing. At first track vehicles went out to run laps around the track. Fans cheered as track owner, and former racer Tim Rutzen, treated the water truck like a WADTS Street Stock and kicked the back end out through the wet turns.
Eventually racers joined the party, but with the track minutes away from being raceable, light persistent rain returned. The drivers still made laps, but it soon became apparent that it would be a losing battle. The decision was made shortly after 9:00 PM to pull the plug on the night’s action.
TNT Speedway thanks all the loyal race fans that turned out for the opener and stuck it out through the rain. The third attempt to start the season will take place Saturday, June 4, with hot laps at 7:00 PM, and racing at 7:45. For more information, visit www.TNTSpeedway.com.
September 14th, 2010
THREE LAKES – Mother Nature cut short what was supposed to be a fun doubleheader weekend of racing to end to 2010 season at TNT Speedway in Three Lakes.
Rain hit Wisconsin’s Northwoods shortly after Friday’s show wrapped up and persisted through the morning hours Saturday, rendering the track unraceable for Saturday night’s scheduled finale.
Fans were still treated to a fun awards party Saturday night and great racing on Friday. Jerry Grasse of Phelps took the win in the WISSOTA/AMSOIL Midwest Mods, Hurley’s John Kallas won a duel in the WISSOTA/AMSOIL Street Stocks, Rhinelander’s
Denny Tushoski clean swept the largest TNT Bomber field of the year and Brandon Ross of Bruce Crossing, MI won in the Stingers.
Grasse won his heat race and took the lead of the feature early on leading the rest of the way for the sweep. Joe Kin, track Rookie of the Year Mike Bukovic, track champion Bruce Belland and Geogre Truscott rounded out the top five.
The heat race in the WISSOTA/AMSOIL Street Stocks was a three-way battle between John Kallas and this year’s two hot rookies, Nick Visser and Ben Pitlik. Pitlik got the best of the battle in the heat and the three were battling again in the feature until just past halfway when Visser cut a tire.
Kallas beat Pitlik in the closing laps to take the win. Dennis Lacrosse was third followed by Adam Soltis and Jordan Kurtti.
With 20 Bombers trouble was bound to happen, and it did. The Bombers finally were able to get ten laps in before their race was called because of time, but it took them several attempts to get a single lap complete. Several wrecks plagued the start of the race including a rollover involving Don Scharf.
Scharf’s car rolled multiple times in turns one and two, but he was able to drive the car away and attempt to continue the race after repairing a flat tire.
Tushoski managed to survive the early cautions, take the lead on lap three and lead the remaining laps for the win. Ryan Huff, Leif Gunderson, Steve Karshbaum and Jeremy Melton rounded out the top five.
While it was a large field for the Bombers, it was a small field for the Stingers and Brandon Ross won in survival of the fittest fashion. He was the only car left on the track at the end of the race after contenders Brandon Miller and Bill Martin bowed out with problems.
Saturday night, the top five in each class were presented trophies and Jake Mullins was posthumously awarded this year’s Most Improved Driver award. The Street Stock Driver was running fourth in points when he was killed in an automobile accident in early August.
Mullins’ family presented Jason Zdroik and Kallas with trophies for their Street Stock triumphs this year. Zdroik won the Mullins Memorial on August 21 and Kallas, a close friend of Mullins, won an emotional feature at TNT in the first race following the accident.
Bukovic, Visser and Jason Melton won Rookie of the Year Honors. Lacrosse was named Sportsman of the Year.
The Rutzen Family takes this opportunity to thank the fans, drivers, crews, employees and sponsors that helped make the 2010 race season a success. TNT Speedway wishes everyone a great fall and winter and eagerly awaits the return of racing next spring.
June 17th, 2010
Despite the best efforts of many, TNT Speedway was unable to get the show in last Saturday night. With a full field of cars in the pits, including many visiting drivers whose home tracks had rained out, and the fans streaming in the main gates, it started to drizzle and gradually the rain intensified. With the track already saturated from the heavy rains on Friday, the light rain was enough to force officials to call off the race. It was disappointing for all, and what would have been a great show with close to twenty cars in both the WISSOTA/AMSOIL Streetstock and Midwest Modified classes, will have to wait for another night.
Officials are hoping for better weather this coming weekend for the 16th Annual Keith Van Doren Snap On Tools Night at the track. Always a great night for drivers and fans, Keith Van Doren has been a sponsor at the track since it opened in 1995, and always adds to the show.
As part of the Snap On Tools Night, Keith and TNT Speedway have teamed up for Veterans and Seniors Night. All Vets and Seniors (62 and older) will be admitted Free of Charge. Proper ID will be required at the gate. It is a way to say thank you to our Veterans for their dedication, service, and sacrifices.
The race program begins with Hot Laps at 7:00 and Racing at 7:45. TNT Speedway is located six miles So. of Three Lakes on Hwy,. 45. www.tntspeedway.com
June 3rd, 2010
THREE LAKES, WI – Memorial Day Weekend started off on a good note for Eagle River’s Ben Pitlik, a WISSOTA AMSOIL Dirt Track Series Street Stock Rookie, who took home hist first feature win in a four-car dogfight on Saturday night at TNT Speedway.
The finish highlighted a hot night of racing on the high banks as Eagle River’s Jason Zdroik claimed his second straight WADTS Midwest Mod Feature. Leif Gunderson of Argonne took home the Bomber feature, the Stinger main event went to Bruce Crossing, MI’s Logan Lannet and Bill Schmitz of Mukwanago, WI took the checkered flag in the Milwaukee Stock Car Racing Association’s
Things turned interesting in the Street Stocks on a restart with eight laps to go when last week’s feature winner, and defending track champion Jeff Klopstein had an engine failure while leading, handing the top spot to the Eagle River teenager.
Back-to-back Jake Mullins cautions set up a seven-lap dash for the finish. Pitlik got an initial challenge from Shaina Aho and a second wave from Ron Van Dusen and Nick Visser. Visser pushed his way to second with two laps to go and challenged Pitlik on the outside. The two remained side-by-side until the final corner when Visser pushed off the corner, giving Pitlik the win and Van Dusen second. Visser, Aho and Kevin Hartman rounded out the top five.
It was the Jason Zdroik show for the second straight week in the Midwest Mods. After starting sixth, it only took him two laps to work his way to second and three more laps to work past Jerry Grasse for the lead. Grasse hung close over the next nine laps, but things took a turn following a caution with six laps to go.
Grasse, who chose the outside under WISSOTA’s new double-file restart system was passed by Bruce Belland, who got an excellent restart and stayed right on Zdroik’s rear. Belland challenged for the lead the next lap, trying to pass high. That opened the door for Grasse to attempt to take second back. Thinking he was clear in turn three, Grasse went up the track, caught Belland’s front bumper bar and spun, bringing out the final caution.
Zdroik slowly inched away from Belland to take his second feature in a row. Belland, Jesse Aho, Grasse and Joe Kin rounded out the top five.
It was a matter of role reversal in the TNT Bomber feature. During the heat race Leif Gunderson stalked Lee Bradley for the majority of the ten laps, but could never make the pass. In the feature, Gunderson lead all 15 laps as Bradley found it difficult to take the lead.
Bradley held second for all but a lap. Bo Bennish passed him with three laps to go and attempted to make a late race push, but a slip-up down the backstretch took him out of contention for the win. Gunderson, Bradley, Chris Nylund, Bennish and Chad Rosinski made up the top five.
Logan Lannet also led flag-to-flag in the TNT Stingers. Bill Anderson was his closest competitor, but Anderson could never quite get a run as Lannet kept the momentum and the lead on the higher of the two grooves. Anderson, Martin, Kasey Gross and Steve Melton completed the top five. Bill Schmitz took the early on in the Vintage Modified Feature and cruised to an easy win. After the race, he gave his trophy to a lucky young race fan.
Racing continues next Saturday night as TNT Speedway honors the Class of 2010. There will be free admission to anyone who graduates high school of college this year. Just bring a copy of your diploma. Hot Laps begin at 7:00 PM, with racing at 7:45.
For more information, visit our website at www.TNTSpeedway.com.
May 20th, 2010
THREE LAKES, WI – The 2010 Season at TNT Speedway gets underway Saturday, May 22. There is plenty of excitement in the air as rule changes, track upgrades and a jam-packed scheduled set the table for what promises to be the best season of racing yet on the 1/3 mile dirt track.
Just as NASCAR has breathed extra life into its races with double-file restarts, TNT Speedway will be doing the same. A rule change this year by WISSOTA, the national sanctioning body for TNT’s Midwest Modified and Street Stock Classes, states that restarts in those classes must be double-file.
The restarts will be Delaware style. The race leader will restart alone in the front row, with all other cars double-file. The second place driver will have the option of starting on the inside or the outside of the second row.
TNT’s Pure Stocks (Bombers) and Stingers will complete the program each night. While the ASCI Trucks are not on the schedule this year, there something a little different going on each night.
The season opener on Saturday, May 22 will feature ATV racing on the high banks. The quads have put on shows at other area track over the years with their speed and excitement and will bring those thrills to Three Lakes that Saturday.
Saturday, May 29 the Milwaukee Stock Car Racing Association Vintage Modifieds will be in town. The MSCRA is Wisconsin’s oldest stock car sanctioning body. This will be the first time to the Northwoods for the vintage mods, who put on a fun show that features plenty of side-by-side racing and passing.
As the season goes on, each of TNT’s classes will have its own special night, with increased laps and bragging rights on the line. June 12 is the “Street Treat” for the WISSOTA AMSOIL Dirt Track Series Street Stocks. July 3 is “Pure Magic” for the Pure Stocks, August 7 is WADTS Midwest Mod Madness and August 21 is Stinger Saturday.
The way drivers in the WADTS qualify for the AMSOIL Race of Champions at this September’s WISSOTA 100 has changed. In the past, track champions have received the automatic bid, but this year, the drivers will duke it out in a one-race, winner take all shootout. TNT’s AMSOIL Race of Champions Qualifier is set of June 26.
Drivers and fans alike will notice a few other changes this year when they come to the track, most notably in the pits and parking area. The track entrance has been moved 300 feet further south, allowing the track to expand both the pits area
and spectator parking.
In addition, more fresh clay has been put on the track to further improve the racing surface.
One of the best values in Northwoods entertainment, general admission to TNT Speedway is still only $10 for adults this season. Kids 11-17 at $6, 6-10 are $2 and 5 and under are free.
TNT Speedway is located six miles south of Three Lakes, Wisconsin on Highway 45 and hosts weekly stock car racing every Saturday night through the end of August. Hot Laps start at 7:00 PM, with racing at 7:45.
For more information, visit our website, www.tntspeedway.com.
August 26th, 2009
THREE LAKES, WI – The track championship picture in the TNT Bombers became a lot clearer and a little tighter on Saturday night. A four-way fight for the title was whittled to two and the gap could not get any closer.
Crandon’s Lee Bradley scored his fifth feature win of the season and now sits one point off the lead. Meanwhile, it was a night for first time winners in the WISSOTA AMSOIL Dirt Track Series Classes with Twin Lakes, Michigan’s Jesse Aho took the win in the Midwest Mods and Catawba, Wisconsin’s Jeff Hoogland scored the win thin the Street Stocks. Elcho’s Nick Visser notched yet another win in the Stingers.
But the Bomber track championship battle was the focus Saturday night. Rhinelander’s Denny Tushoski entered the night two points ahead of Jeff Fannin and Ben Pitlik and five points clear of Bradley. The gap from first to fourth was cut to three points following the heat races.
Two drivers’ track championship bids probably came to an end Saturday night. Tushoski and Fannin were battling for fourth on lap six, when Tushoski got into Fannin’s left rear entering turn one. That got Fannin’s car loose, putting extra stress on the right rear wheel, which gave way and flew off the car, knocking Fannin out of the race in 13th.
Tushoski was not penalized for the contact, but a frustrated Fannin made sure his displeasure with the move was known as Tushoski drove by Fannin’s disabled car under caution.
On the restart Bradley put a little distance on Ben Pitlik in second while Tushoski moved to third. Had the drivers finished in those
spots, there would have been a three-way tie for the point lead entering the final night.
But disaster struck for Pitlik with four laps to go. Coming down the front-stretch, Pitlik’s right rear tire went flat. He tried to save
the car, but spun entering turn one. The right rear rim caught the clay, flipping Pitlik’s car over.
Pitlik was okay and miraculously got back into the race, but he could not pick up any positions in the final four laps. He finished ninth, his car not fully up to speed and his engine desperately low on oil, which spilled on the track following the rollover.
Bradley held off Tushoski for the win, but Tushoski held on the point lead by one over Bradley entering next Saturday’s Season
Championships. Pitlik and Fannin will need some major help if they want to win a title this year. Pitlik is eight points out of first. Fannin fell 13 points back.
In the WISSOTA Midwest Mods, Eagle River’s Bruce Belland saw his chance at a championship repeat slip away as he went off line in turn one and smacked the outside guard rail on lap 12. He finished 12th, which proved to be critical as moments later Jason Zdroik stalled while leading under caution and finished 11th. Had Belland been able to stay in the race, he would have had a chance to wrestle away the point lead.
Instead it opened the door for Aho, who took the lead on the restart and held off Chad Boettcher for his first career TNT Speedway feature win. Boettcher finished second and moved into a tie for second with Belland, 13 points behind Zdroik.
Jeff Hoogland was dominant in the WISSOTA Street Stocks. The veteran driver, and current points runner-up in Tomahawk improved upon his second place finish from last week by leading every lap in the heat from the pole and the final 11 laps of the feature. Point leader Jeff Klopstein finished second and enjoys the biggest point lead of any class entering next Saturday’s
championships. He has a 37-point cushion over Ron Van Dusen. Nick Visser notched win number five of the season in the
Stingers, passing Brandon Miller on lap six and cruising the final 0 laps. Brandon Ross finished second, but still lost one point to leader Bill Martin, who finished third in the feature and won his he race. Martin, who is looking for his second consecutive Stinger title, leads Ross by 14 points.
All the track championships will be decided next Saturday night at TNT Speedway. Hot Laps begin at 7:00 PM, with racing at 7:45.
July 1st, 2009
THREE LAKES, WI – With the luck TNT Speedway has had trying to race on Saturday night’s the season, it’s probably a good thing that the Independence Day weekend show will be on a Sunday.
TNT suffered its fourth rainout of the season on Saturday as heavy showers passed through the Three Lakes area in the midday hours and a persistent light rain hung around in the late afternoon.
“The track couldn’t take much more water following the big rainstorm,” TNT Speedway owner Patti Rutzen explained. “With the light rain in the afternoon and the threat of more thunderstorms in the evening, we felt canceling the race would be the best decision for all involved.
Out of seven scheduled race nights this summer, Mother Nature has only allowed three shows to go off without a hitch. Saturday would have been Snap-on Tools night at TNT and the first of two scheduled appearances for the ASCI Truck class.
With the 4th of July falling on a Saturday this year, TNT Speedway is going to take the day and night off as well in celebration of our Nation’s birthday. But there is racing scheduled for the Independence Day Weekend.
TNT Speedway will run a special Sunday night show, complete with the WISSOTA Midwest Mods, WISSTOA Street Stocks, TNT Bombers and TNT Stingers. The times for the show are the same as our Saturday night programs, with Hot Laps at 7:00 PM and racing at 7:45.
For those who need to be to work the next morning, TNT Speedway has been reeling off races with record speed this year, thanks to new line-up and restart procedures that have helped to streamline the show. Racing has been complete by 10:10 PM every night this season.
So enjoy the 4th of July with your friends and family,
do an anti-rain dance and come out to the track Sunday night for exciting
racing on the 1/3 mile high-banked clay oval.
June 4th, 2009
THREE LAKES, WI – Jason Zdroik has left little doubt as to who had the machine to beat in the WISSOTA Midwest Modifieds at TNT Speedway. The Eagle River driver put a hurting on the field in the feature Saturday, winning his second in a row to start the season.
He was the only repeat winner at the high-banks. Jordan Kurtti of Bruce Crossing, Michigan returned to championship form in the WISSORA Street Stocks. Crandon’s Jesse Votis notched his first win in the TNT Bombers and Bruce Crossing’s Shane Johnson won in his first start of the season in the TNT Stingers.
Zdroik started fifth in the feature and needed only five and a half laps to work his way past Chad Boettcher for the lead. From there, the only thing that kept him from a major margin of victory was a caution that came out with three laps to go.
Still, Zdroik took any drama out of a three-lap dash, pulling away from Boettcher and Bruce Belland on the restart for the win. Joe
Kin and John Johnson, Jr. rounded out the top five.
For the second straight week Jordan Kurtti was passed for the win on the final lap of his heat race. Kurtti came into the feature wanting to prove he was still TNT’s top dog.
He ascended to the lead on lap nine, passing John Johnson, who spun moments later with a flat right rear tire.
Kurtti’s main rival was Baraga, Michigan’s Jeff Klopstein, who pulled off the last lap pass in the heat. But Kurtti’s big advantage came on the restarts, which there were several of in a caution-riddled feature.
Kurtti consistently pulled three to four car lengths once the green flag flew every time, including the final restart on lap 19 as he
claimed his first win of 2009. Klopstein finished second. Leif Gunderson finished third in his second Street Stock start at TNT. Ron Van Dusen and Fritz Scharf completed the top five.
Jesse Votis scored a breakthrough win in the TNT Bombers. Votis was dialed in on Saturday, moving from fifth starting spot to the lead in just two laps. Jeff Fannin, who he passed for the lead stayed close and closed to within a half of a car length on the final lap, but had to settle for second. Mike Bukovic, last week’s winner Lee Bradley and Denny Tushoski rounded out the top five.
Curiously enough there was only one caution in the Bomber feature on Saturday after a caution-free feature in the opener. It didn’t appear it was going to be that way during the heats. Ben Pitlik and Dan Melton took each other out with contact battling for the top spot in heat one.
Bradley was penalized for aggressive driving in a final lap attempt to pass Denny Tushoski for the win in heat two. Tushoski hit the wall on the front stretch, came back down the stretch and hit the side of Mike Bukovic, ripping virtually all of the right side sheet metal off of Bukovic’s car.
Shane Johnson led the final 12 laps of the TNT Stinger feature in his first Three Lakes victory. He beat Bill Martin by nearly a full
straightaway. Logan Lannet was third followed by Brandon Ross and David Scott. Last week’s feature winner Nick Visser suffered tired problems and finished tenth.
Racing resumes next Saturday night at TNT Speedway with the WISSOTA Midwest Mods, WISSOTA Street Stocks, TNT Bombers and TNT Stingers back on the high-banked third-mile clay oval. Hot Laps begin at 7:00 PM, with racing at 7:45.
For more information on the track, check out our new website, TNTSpeedway.com. If you are a Facebook user, sign up to become our friend. Go to Facebook and search for TNT Speedway.
May 27th, 2009
THREE LAKES, WI – Dave Dishaw made the jump up from Bombers to WISSOTA Street Stocks and showed in the 2009 Season Opener at TNT Speedway his learning curve was not that steep.
The Ontonagon, Michigan driver passed track champion Jordan Kurtti on the last lap to win his heat and then held of Cliff Houle and Kurtti to win the feature.
He was the one new face to Reliv Victory Lane at TNT Speedway on a night otherwise controlled by the veterans. Jason Zdroik from Eagle River, WI took the win in the WISSOTA Amsoil Dirt Track Series Midwest Modified division. Lee Bradley of Crandon, WI walked away with the Bomber feature and Elcho, WI’s Nick Visser took first in the TNT Stingers.
Dishaw was slated to start sixth in the Street Stock feature, but that became fourth when a Jake Mullins spin brought out a caution before the first lap was complete. From there, Dishaw charged to second on the high side and passed Houle for the lead on lap four.
Kurtti road on the coattails of the leaders for the first half of the race, but slowly began to fade in the final ten laps. Houle never
faded, dogging the 44 Machine the entire race. He could never get past Dishaw though, who held on for his first TNT Speedway Feature. Kurtti, Ron Van Dusen and Jeff Klopstein completed the top five.
Zdroik could not get from the back to the front in the Midwest Mod heat race. After starting eighth, he failed to find a way around Terry Stebbeds for second.
He started fifth right behind Stebbeds in the feature. It only took two laps for Zdroik to dispatch Stebbeds for second and another three for him to pass Bruce Belland, last year’s track champion for the lead.
From there Zdroik put a hurting on the field, leading the last 15 laps and winning by more than a straightaway. Belland, heat race winner Jeff McDonald, Joe Kin and Dennis Mikkelson rounded out the top five. Stebbeds finished sixth after he developed a problem and slowed with two laps remaining.
Bradley got the benefit of an excellent starting position thanks to the opening night redraw format for the feature races. He used the outside pole to his advantage in a rare caution-free Bomber main event.
Bradley quickly passed pole sitter Dan Melton, who was never a factor in the race. He built a large margin on Ben Pitlik while Denny Tushoski, the man who bested him in their heat race, was mired in traffic. Tushoski finally moved to second with three laps to go, but by that time there was no catching Car 28. Pitlik, Jesse Votis and Mike Bukovik completed the top five.
The best feature finish on opening night was saved for last as Visser used lapped traffic and a three-wide maneuver to pass Bruce Crossing, Michigan’s Leo Nippa for the feature win on the last lap.
Visser pulled to the inside coming to the white flag, edged past Nippa on the backstretch as they went three-wide past a lapped car and held on as Nippa pushed up the track in a last ditch effort to get back by in turns three and four.
Bill Martin, last year’s track champion, finished third, followed by Bobby Sheldon and Brandon Ross.
The season opener was worth the wait after cold temperatures and wind postponed the event by one week. Though there was frost in the forecast, the fans enjoyed a wonderful night of racing that was complete by 10:00 PM, before the cold set in.
Racing resumes next Saturday night at TNT Speedway with the WISSOTA Midwest Mods, WISSOTA Street Stocks, TNT Bombers and TNT Stingers back on the high-banked third-mile clay oval. Hot Laps begin at 7:00 PM, with racing at 7:45.
For more information on the track, check out our new website, TNTSpeedway.com. If you are a Facebook user, sign up to become our friend. Go to Facebook and search for TNT Speedway.
Jeremy Mayo Editor-in-Chief, HodagSports.com
September 12th, 2008
THREE LAKES, WI – Several drivers joined the party at TNT Speedway Saturday night in the season-ending Fall Special and several of them had success.
Wakefield, Michigan’s George Dalbeck scored a win the WISSOTA Midwest Mod special in his third start of the season. Hurley’s John Kallas finished one for one on the season at TNT with a win in the WISSOTA Street Stock special and another newbie, Wausau’s J.J. Woller, took first in the Bomber feature.
Track Champions held court in the Stingers and the Trucks as Eagle River’s Bill Martin and Birnamwood’s Forrest Crandall took feature wins.
Dalbeck led flag-to-flag from the outside of the front row. Track champion Bruce Belland was his main competition, closing to within two car lengths by halfway. Belland’s car went away in the second half of the race and he had to fight to hold on to the runner-up spot over Cody Schmidt.
John Johnson, Jr. held the lead early in the WISSOTA Street Stock main event, but dropped quickly through the field after giving up the lead on lap eight. He would have to pit with a tire problem and finished last.
That handed the lead to Chetek’s Steve Karshbaum, but as the race passed halfway Kallas closed in from four car lengths. Kallas wrestled the lead away on lap 15. Two laps later, Karshbaum made contact with Jordan Kurtti in a fight for second bringing out the yellow.
Kallas pulled away from Dennis LaCrosse, who inherited second with the caution, to claim the win. Lee Christjohn finished third.
Woller had the right strategy in the TNT Bombers – get to the front and hide. Woller passed Denny Tushoski on lap three and in short order the crashing and bashing began. Six cautions and a red flag waved during the race.
The red flag came on lap eight as Bomber point runner-up Todd Brass broke a rear axle in turn three and performed the first and only rollover of the season at TNT.
All the cautions led to a green-white checkered finish short of the 15-lap advertised distance. It proved to be a big break for Woller, whose car began to smoke in the final two laps. Coming off of turn four to the checkered, Woller’s engine appeared to let go and he coasted to the line, just ahead of John Johnson.
The Stingers featured a battle between Martin and the winningest driver of the season at TNT, Merrill’s Jason Isaacson. Isaacson led from the outside pole, but Martin closed in quickly. Their side-by-side battle for the lead began on lap seven. It was interrupted on lap 12 with Martin scored as the leader.
That was the break that Martin needed as he edged away from Isaacson in the final laps to take the win.
Crandall led all 15 laps of the truck feature. The 2008 champ kept ’07 champ Jeff Becker at bay throughout the race.
At the end of the night, the trophies for the ’08 season were handed out. WISSOTA Midwest Mod point runner-up Will Roffers was named the track’s Most Improved Driver and Belland was named Sportsman of the year.
On behalf of the Rutzen family, we thank all the fans, sponsors, drivers and employees that made the 2008 season possible. We look forward to May 2009 and the start of the 15th season of racing at TNT Speedway.
August 28th, 2008
Belland took his fourth Midwest Mod victory of the season, but first in over two months, to officially punch a ticket to the WISSOTA 100. Crandall needed a clean sweep to overtake Scott VanProoyen in the standings and claim the ASCI Truck title by two points.
Bill Martin of Eagle River won his heat in the TNT Stingers to clinch his first
track championship. Bruce Crossing, Michigan’s Jordan Kurtti and Lac du Flambeau’s John Johnson both had problems in the main event, but had enough of a cushion to claim the WISSOTA Street Stock and TNT Bomber championships, respectively.
Mark Schuenemann of Boulder Junction and Rhinelander’s Denny Tushoski won the
features in those classes, each scoring a third feature win for 2008. Merrill’s
Jason Isaacson became the winningest driver of the year by claiming his eighth
feature in the Stingers.
Belland clinched the Mod title just by starting the feature and was ready to run away with the regular season finale, but early cautions negated his first two passes for the lead. Finally on lap nine, Belland blew past Jeff McDonald and led the final 12 laps to take the win.
Crandall dominated in the trucks, leading 23 of a possible 25 laps. He led all 10 laps of the heat, tying VanProoyen for the point lead entering the feature. In the main event, it was all Crandall, who passed 2007 champ Jeff Becker on lap three and cruised the rest of the way. Van Prooyen worked his way by Becker late, but had no chance of catching Crandall.
Jordan Kurtti needed an eighth place finish in the WISSOTA Street Stocks to clinch a share of the championship. He led early in the race, but dropped back as the handle went away. On lap 14 the right front tire literally went away and Kurtti was out of the race – in eighth position.
The man chasing Kurtti in the points, Rhinelander’s Dave Williams, could get no
higher than fifth, finished five points short and was the WISSOTA Street Stock
runner-up for the second straight year.
Schuenemann took the lead when Kurtti started to fade. He held of M.J. Witberler in the final 10 laps to take the win.
John Johnson’s championship was secure when his nearest rival, Todd Brass, had
mechanical problems at the start of the feature. It was a good thing for Johnson, who was caught up in several incidents.
Johnson was able to fight back and finish fifth. It was Johnson’s third track title and apparently his last as he confirmed earlier in the day that he planned to make this season his last behind the wheel.
The Bombers only made nine laps in a wreck-fest of a feature. Two drivers were able to keep their noses clean. Tushoski gained the lead on lap seven to claim the win and Sugar Camp’s Ben Pitlik, making his Bomber debut, finished second.
Isaacson led ten of the 13 laps in the Stinger feature to score the win.
TNT Speedway takes the Labor Day weekend off and returns for one more night on
Saturday, September 6 with the annual Fall Special.
The night will include sanctioned racing in the WISSOTA Midwest Mods and Street
Stocks, features for the Bombers, Stingers, and Trucks plus mechanics and powderpuff races. Following the show, everyone is invited to stay for the trophy presentations and corn roast.
The event will be held rain or shine. Hot laps take place at a special 5:30 PM start time with racing at 6:00. In the event of rain, the party will begin at 6:00 PM in the covered concession area.
August 11th, 2008
Terry Stebbeds of Clearwater Lake wrestled back the lead in the final corner to take the WISSOTA Amsoil Dirt Track Series, Midwest Modified division win. Jason Isaacson from Merrill held off two late charges from point leader Bill Martin to capture his seventh Stinger feature.
Boulder Junction’s Mark Schuenemann earned his second win of the season in the
WISSOTA Street Stocks and Crandon’s Lee Bradley took his first Bomber feature of the season.
Mod point leader Bruce Belland was Stebbeds main challenger. Belland took the lead on lap 17, but surprisingly could not close the deal. The handle went away on his car in the final lap.
In turn two, Belland pushed up the track, but Stebbeds could not take advantage. Then in turn four, Belland suddenly lost control, spun to the inside and handed the win to Stebbeds.
Will Roffers finished fourth in the feature and remained 17 points behind Belland with two nights remaining.
Isaacson maybe a long shot to win the Stinger Championship, but he has now tied
Jordan Kurtti for the most feature wins at TNT this season. Win number seven came with a serious challenge from Martin.
Isaacson took the lead under caution on lap 10 when Nick Visser retired with engine problems.
Martin reeled Isaacson in on the restart and pulled to the inside with two laps to go, but his challenge was negated when a caution in the back of the pack set up a green-white-checkered finish.
Martin challenged one more time, going to the inside through turns three and four on the final lap, but his bid fell a half-length short. While Isaacson notched win number seven, he only shaved one point off of Martin’s lead, which now sits at 36 points.
WISSOTA Street Stock Point leader Jordan Kurtti did not race in Three Lakes on
Saturday night, opting the race a special elsewhere. That gave Rhinelander’s Dave Williams a mathematical chance to tie Kurtti for the point lead.
Williams needed to pull off a clean sweep to do it. Those thoughts went by the
boards with a third place finish in his heat.
The feature belonged to Schuenemann, who passed Kevin Maulson, Jr. for the lead on lap 11. Maulson’s chances for a win officially went away four laps later when he spun out of second place. Williams placed fifth in the feature and trimmed Kurtti’s lead to seven.
Lee Bradley won a caution-free TNT Bomber feature, leading every lap along the way. John Johnson finished third in the feature, expanding his lead in the Bomber points to seven over Todd Brass.
Racing resumes next Saturday night at TNT, will Miller Beer of the Northwoods
sponsoring the racing. Hot Laps begin at 7:00 PM, with racing at 7:45.
August 7th, 2008
When the dust settled Lac du Flambeau’s Kevin Maulson, Jr., in the Mole Lake Casino car, won his first Street Stock Feature of the season. Rhinelander’s Will Roffers scored a long awaited triumph in the WISSOTA Midwest Mods. Newcomer Jonathan Pepin from Escanaba, Michigan took home the Stinger feature and Rhinelander’s Denny Tushoski made it two in a row in the TNT Bombers.
The battle for the majority of the WISSOTA/Amsoil Dirt Track Series, Street Stock Division feature was a duel between a pair of drivers looking for their first win of the season. Merrill’s Bill Froehlich took the lead from Dave Williams on lap four and Maulson, Jr. moved to second.
Those two put some distance on the remainder of the field until a lap eight caution. After a couple of green flag laps following the restart, points leader Jordan Kurtti worked his way into third spot and reeled in the leaders, setting up a three-way fight to the finish.
Froehlich and Maulson, Jr. went side-by-side on a number of occasions in the closing laps. Froehlich, using the higher line was able to hold the lead. Then on the final lap, Maulson, Jr. made one more move to the inside. Froehlich pushed a little in turn four, opening the door for Maulson, Jr. to sneak underneath and take the win.
Kurtti had a front row view for all the action, but could not find a way by Maulson, Jr. or Froehlich and had to settle for his second consecutive third place finish. His lead in the standings continued to grow, however, as he sits 56 points clear of second place Dave Williams with three races to go.
Will Roffers made a huge dent in Bruce Belland’s WISSOTA Midwest Mod point lead, trimming it from 30 all the way to 17 thanks to a clean sweep on Saturday night.
Belland was involved in a lap one wreck that caught half of the 10-car field. It was a break for Roffers, who had gotten a poor start from the inside of row two and had drifted back to seventh.
Roffers inherited the pole thanks to the accident and took the lead on the restart. He put some distance on second place Troy Smart in the first ten laps. On lap 11, Jerry Grasse worked his way past Smart for second and Roffers lead began to dwindle.
It turned into the classic battle of youth and exuberance against old age and
treachery as the mod-veteran Grasse closed in. He put pressure on the second year mod driver, but Roffers never blinked, running the higher line to perfection to maintain the lead.
Grasse tried to make a move to the inside on the final lap, al la Maulson, Jr., but Roffers again stayed true to his line and claimed his first feature victory of any kind at TNT Speedway.
You know you’ve had an awesome night when you can say a feature that saw two lead changes in the final four laps and four cars battling two-by-two for the win was the least exciting of all the finishes.
Bobby Sheldon was looking to become a first time feature winner, just like his buddy Roffers had done moments before. He had an excellent shot, leading the first 12 laps of the race. He also had company at the front in the form of Leo Nippa and Pepin. Point leader Bill Martin slowly reeled in the leaders from fourth, making in a four car tussle in the final five laps.
Coming to two laps to go, Nippa made his move, taking advantage as Sheldon went high in turn two and gaining the lead for the first time in the race. That lead was short-lived as Pepin stormed by on the penultimate lap and held off Nippa and Sheldon for the win.
Martin’s fourth place finish, coupled with a 12th place finish for Jason Isaacson gives Martin a big 37-point lead in the standings.
The TNT Bombers perhaps topped them all with their dramatic finish. Ben Hendricksen led from the pole and built a comfortable lead over the first ten laps. Tushoski started seventh but moved into second on lap 11 as Todd Brass popped a right-rear tire.
Things got interesting with three laps to go. Michael Votis spun, bringing out the caution. They got one more lap in before Lee Bradley lost a wheel, setting up a green-white-checkered finish. On the restart Michael Votis lost a wheel, meaning take two on the green-white-checkered.
Hendricksen got a great restart, opening three car lengths on Tushoski, but Tushoski reeled him in again and made his move on the last lap down the backstretch. Tushoski went low as Hendricksen went high through turn three. Hendricksen got loose and spun into the side of Tushoski.
Tushoski was able to keep the car straight and hold off Jake Ison to the line for the win. Hendricksen had to settle for third.
Brass, thanks to all the problems late in the race came back to finish fifth, while John Johnson, who cut a right front tire earlier in the feature, finished eighth. Johnson had the better showing in the heat races and still has a four-point lead over Brass in the race for the championship.
It will be difficult to top this week’s racing action, but TNT Speedway will try again next Saturday night with Yellow Book sponsoring the action. Fans, remember to bring in two non-perishable food items to receive a dollar off admission as TNT Speedway races against hunger in the month of August. Donations will benefit the Three Lakes Food Pantry.
As always, Hot Laps will begin at 7:00 PM, with racing at 7:45.
July 31st, 2008
This time, however, another player was involved. Mass City, Michigan’s Jeff Brown held off both drivers in a mad three-wide dash to the line to highlight the action on 94.5 FM WRJOldies night at the track.
It was Brown’s first win of the season at TNT, in two starts. Two others notched their first wins on Saturday night – Clearwater Lake’s Terry Stebbeds in the WISSOTA Midwest Mods and Rhinelander’s Denny Tushoski in the TNT Bombers.
Merrill’s Jason Isaacson notched his sixth feature win in the TNT Stingers to round out the night’s action.
Schuenemann and Kurtti started in the fourth row of Saturday night’s ten-car Street Stock main event. Both made their way into the top four quickly, but had a difficult time passing Dave Williams, who held down the second spot.
Finally on lap 10, Kurtti made his way past on the high side. He found himself eight car lengths behind Brown who was trying to run away and hide after taking the lead from the outside pole on lap two.
Kurtti had trimmed the lead to five car lengths on lap 12 when the caution flew as John Johnson, Jr. made contact with Bill Froehlich.
Starting on lap 14, Brown and Kurtti waged a side-by-side battle for the lead.
Kurtti was given credit for the top spot on lap 15, but Brown maintained momentum on the high line and fought right back to retake the top spot.
Kurtti challenged again and got ahead of Brown coming to the line for two laps to go, but a caution flag for Jake Mullins’ stalled race car negated the pass and set up a three-lap showdown.
On lap 17, Schuenemann finally passed Williams for third and was in position to
challenge for the win when the green flew again.
Scheuenmann was the first to launch an attack, battling side-by-side with Kurrti for second, just one car length off the lead. It remained that way until the final lap when the two tried to split Brown in turn three. Kurtti when high, Schuenemann went to the bottom. They came to the line three wide with Brown across first. Schuenemann edged out Kurtti for second.
Stebbeds, making his sixth start of the season, took his first win of the year in the WISSOTA Midwest Mods. He wrestled the lead away from Will Roffers on lap two and never looked back. His closest competitors were Jason Zdroik and Jerry Grasse, but they were too focused on racing each other hard. They were both sent to the back of the pack for an incident in turn two at halfway.
From there Stebbeds easily held off Bruce Belland, who maintained a 30-point
advantage over Roffers in the class point standings with four points nights
The TNT Bombers once again ran up against the time limit. It took four tries just to complete two laps. Ben Hendricksen took the early lead, but something went amiss on his car on lap six, sending him to the pits. That opened the door for Denny Tushoski to assume the point.
On lap 11 caution flew yet again setting up a green-white-checkered finish. Tushoski opened up a little gap while Jay Wilberding and John Johnson battled for second. A three-car wreck in the back of the pack put a premature end to the race on the last lap.
Tushoski, making his third start of the season, won with Wilberding holding of
Johnson for second. Todd Brass finished fourth but still trimmed Johnson’s lead in the Bomber points to four by virtue of a heat race win.
There were five lead changes among four drivers in the TNT Stinger Feature. Cory Dickman and Leo Nippa were among the early leaders, but both succumbed to mechanical failures while at the front.
Will Lundberg held the lead for a short while, but Isaacson made the pass on lap nine and led the final seven laps to claim win number six. Bill Martin finished second and put himself in the catbird seat for the Stinger championship. His nearest competitor in the points, Nick Visser, was a no show on Saturday. Now Martin has a 30-point lead over Isaacson.
Racing continues next Saturday at TNT Speedway with Mole Lake Casino & Lodge
sponsoring the action. Hot Laps begin at 7:00 PM, with racing at 7:45.
July 25th, 2008
Both had to hold off strong challenges. Zdroik had to hold off the recently
resurgent Troy Smart, while Kurtti dueled with Mark Schuenemann for the third
Rhinelander’s Will Roffers led the first ten laps of the WISSOTA Midwest Mod
feature, searching for his first main event triumph. But following a caution at the halfway point, Zdroik charged to the inside and assumed the point.
Roffers, point leader Bruce Belland and Smart tussled for second with Smart
eventually winning the battle. Samrt went to work in the final six laps closing in on Zdroik and got to within a car length on the final lap. Zdroik was able to hold Smart off to claim third feature of the season. Roffers held on for third over Belland and Mickey Nosser.
It was Kurtti vs. Schuenemann III in the Street Stock Feature. Kurtti took round one two weeks ago. Schuenemann got the better of Kurtti last week. This time Schuenenmann propelled himself from fourth to the lead in just two laps, but Kurtti was not far behind.
Kurtti passed Kevin Maulson, Jr. for second on lap four and the battle was on.
Schuenemann led until lap ten when Kurtti was able force his way to the inside.
Schuenemann drove a little to deep in turn three allowing Kurtti to finish the pass.
Cautions flew on laps 13 and 16, giving Schuenemann two more chances to make a
comeback. Each time Schuenenmann got a fender to the inside of Kurtti, but could not get by. Kurtti took round three, with a fourth battle likely looming soon. Maulson, Jr., John Johnson, Jr. and Jeff Klopstein rounded out the top five.
13 Bombers appeared to be the recipe for another crash and bash feature. Yet after last week’s seven-caution, nine-lap smash fest, just three cautions flew in a relatively clean feature.
Todd Brass of Argonne was the benefactor, surviving a green-white-checkered finish to score his first win of the season. One of those cautions came just one lap in as point leader John Johnson made contact with Jason Melton.
Johnson was relegated to eleventh as a result of the caution and spent the rest of the race picking his way back through the field. He had made his way up to third with two laps to go when mechanical troubles for Michael Votis brought out the yellow.
Brass gained a bit of advantage on the restart while Johnson roared to the outside of Lee Bradley for second. Johnson finished the pass coming to the white flag, but could not catch Brass, who trimmed Johnson’s lead to seven points with five races remaining. Bradley wound up third with Chad Rosinski and Jake Ison completing the top five.
Merrill’s Jason Isaacson won the Stinger feature, his fifth win in the class this season. He passed Leo Nippa with five laps to go. Bill Martin finished third, but took a huge jump in the point standings as Nick Visser suffered tire problems for a second straight feature. Visser finished 12th as Martin’s point lead ballooned to 13.
The ASCI Truck returned to TNT for the third time the season and finished with a third different winner. Birnamwood’s Forrest Crandall cruised to an easy victory. Crandall’s lone threat came from Scott VanProoyen who was poised to make a charge after getting to second on lap five, but soon there after VanProoyen’s right front tire went flat.
Racing resumes at TNT Speedway next Saturday night with 94.5 FM, WRJOldies serving as the sponsor. WISSOTA Midwest Mods and Street Stocks, and TNT Bombers and Stingers highlight the action with hot laps at 7:00 PM and racing at 7:45.
July 15th, 2008
Boulder Junction’s Mark Schuenemann gave Kurtti a run for his money a week earlier and finished the job this time, scoring his first win of the season at TNT, while denying Kurtti of win number seven.
Kurtti’s miscue came on lap five when he spun in turn four while battling for the lead. On the restart he nearly spun again and fell a half-lap behind.
John Johnson, Jr., Kevin Maulson, Jr. and Schuenemann were staging a good battle for the lead. Schuenemann had just passed Maulson for second when the caution came out for a spin in the back of the pack by Jake Mullins.
Kurtti, though still running ninth at the time of the yellow, quickly picked up
spots on the restart. He moved all the way to fourth by lap 11, when Ron Van Dusen, running third, spun and retired from the race.
That put Johnson, Jr, Schuenemann and Kurtti into a dogfight for the lead. Johnson led until lap 15 when Schuenemann went low and Kurtti went high in turn one. Schuenemann won the three-wide battle and Kurtti, after a little more battling with Johnson, moved to second.
The caution flew one more time, setting up a green-white-checkered finish.
Schuenemann got the break on Kurtti and held on to take the win.
That was just part of a weird night of racing sponsored by Lake of the Torches
Casino, Tushoski’s Collision and Watercraft Sales.
The most “sane” feature of the evening was run by the WISSOTA Midwest Mods. Eagle River’s Jason Zdroik led 19 of 20 laps to claim victory. He felt plenty of heat from Clearwater Lakes’ Terry Stebbeds.
The two cars were apparently setup differently. During the middle of the race,
Stebbeds would close to within a car length through turns one and two and Zdroik would expand the gap through turns three and four.
That continued for about 10 laps, but eventually the handle started to go away on Stebbeds’ car. Zdroik cruised to his second win of the season while Stebbeds and Bruce Belland battled for second. Belland passed Stebbeds coming to the white flag. Stebbeds passed him back on the final lap in turn three. Belland tried to cross over in turn for, but Stebbeds barely won the drag race back to the line.
The TNT Bombers were truly back on their crash and bash form. Seven cautions flew in a race that complete just nine laps due to the time limit. Lee Bradley lead the first three laps but went to the pits and eventually retired with mechanical problems.
John Johnson inherited the lead and went on to claim his second win in a row and third of the season in the class. His lead in the division increased to 10 points as Todd Brass finished seventh, retiring from the race three laps early due to damage suffered in a crash.
The TNT Stingers ran one of the most bizarre races in the 14-year history of the track. 13 cars started, nine suffered some sort of right front tire problem during the course of the race.
It was not a good night to be the leader. Cory Dickman led the first two laps before a tire went flat. Then Fred Feger took the point. He held it until lap seven, when his right front went flat.
From there it was Jason Isaacson’s race to lose. Isaacson led from lap six to lap 13. Then, with a lap and a half remaining, his right front wheel came loose and left the car on the backstretch.
Through all of this, Bill Martin, who admitted to slowing his pace on the rough
track once he saw all the tire problems, took over the lead. Three others followed his strategy, Joe LaFreniere, Brit Bromann and Leo Nippa. Martin pulled away in the final two laps while those three put on a frantic fight for second.
They came across the line three wide with LaFreniere, who fell to last early in the race after nearly getting spun out, taking second. Bromann, making his first start of the year, finished third and Nippa, who ironically has had more tire problems than anyone at TNT this year, came home fourth.
Martin took over the lead in the Stinger points with the win. Nick Visser, whose tire problems came on lap two, returned to the track but finished eighth, seven laps down.
Racing continues this coming Saturday at TNT as the ASCI Trucks make their third appearance of the season, joining WISSOTA/Amsoil Dirt Track Series Midwest Modifieds and Streets Stocks and the TNT Bombers and Stingers. Hot Laps will start at 7:00 PM, with racing at 7:45.
July 7th, 2008
Kurtti, who had already won four features this year on high banks, led 46 out of a possible 50 laps Saturday on NAPA of Rhinelander/Toy Shop of Eagle River Night to capture his fifth and sixth features of the season at TNT.
Kurtti’s conquest began with the make-up of last Saturday’s regularly scheduled
feature. Just by starting the race, he clinched the TNT Midseason Championship.
Starting eighth, Kurtti vaulted to fourth by the end of the first lap, to second after three laps and to the lead on lap four.
From there the question was who would finish second. Bill Froehlich answer that
question, passing Ron Van Dusen for the runner-up spot with four laps to go. Dave Williams also passed Van Dusen and finished third.
After leading all 10 laps of his heat race, Kurtti was back to work in the feature, needing just a lap and a half to move from fifth starting spot to the lead. Kurtti had a formidable challenge in this feature as Mark Schuenemann, making his first start of the season at TNT applied the pressure.
The two battled side-by-side on laps two and three before the caution flew for a spin in the back of the pack. Kurtti was given credit for the lead and stretched his advantage on the restart. The field slowed again after a lap-10 spin by Erik Scharf and Schuenemann launched his best attack.
Getting a great restart, Schuenemann pulled along side Kurtti, and momentarily took the lead. Kurtti fought back on the outside, retook the lead and never let go. Cliff Houle, Froehlich and Dave Williams rounded out the top five.
Midseason championships were also decided in the TNT Bomber and Stinger classes on Saturday. If the fights for the track championships in August are half as good as the battles for the Midseason title were, then it is shaping up to be a great final two months in Three Lakes.
In the Bombers, John Johnson entered four points ahead of Todd Brass and needed to finish third or better to clinch the midseason title. Brass was doing his part. He jumped to the lead on lap seven when Ben Hendricksen retired with mechanical problems. Johnson was doing what he needed to do as well, running third.
That was until lap 12 when Johnson spun out on his own in turn four, bringing out the yellow. Attrition had taken its toll. By this point and only five cars remained on the lead lap, but Johnson needed to pass one of those cars for a tie and two to win the title outright.
He shot past both Ron Resse and Jay Wilberding on lap 13 and held on for the final two laps to take the midseason title. Brass came up one point short, but walked away with a nice consolation prize – his first feature win this year at TNT.
Three drivers had a mathematical chance of winning the TNT Stinger Midseason
Championship. Jason Isaacson was the first to bow out. He was not afraid to rub
fenders as he clawed his way toward the front, but when he and Cory Dickman bashed while battling for the lead, track officials had seen enough and disqualified Isaacson for rough driving.
Ironically, Dickman would receive a rough driving DQ later in the night when he spun Isaacson in a heat race.
Nick Visser, who had a five-point lead over Bill Martin, was the next to blink. He cut down a right front tire with ten laps to go. He would return to the race, but was five laps down. Martin meanwhile had taken the lead and built a big advantage.
The race and the midseason title were Martin’s for the taking, but with four laps to go his right front tire went flat. He went into the pits and finished sixth, one spot ahead of Visser, but four points short.
All the chaos at the front handed the lead over to Pelican Lake’s Fred Feger, who led the final four laps and took his first career feature win at TNT. Will Lundberg posted a career-best second place finish and Bobby Sheldon took third.
Jerry Grasse led the final 15 laps of the WISSOTA Midwest Mod feature to claim his first win of the season at TNT. Grasse made his move in turn four when Troy Smart pushed up the track. Smart recovered to finish second ahead of Jason Zdroik and Terry Stebbeds, who despite picking up five spot in the firth eight laps, could not make it any higher than fourth.
Johnson came back to earn a clean sweep in the TNT Bombers, taking the lead on lap five of the feature and going on for the win. He extended his lead over Todd Brass, who took third in the feature, back to four points.
Isaacson shook off the adversity from the make-up feature to win the rest of his races in the Stingers. He held off a closing Martin in the feature when the caution flag came out on the final lap for a stalled car in turn two.
Racing continues next Saturday night at TNT Speedway, with hot laps at 7:00 PM, and racing at 7:45.
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.
June 23rd, 2008
The ASCI Trucks, making their second appearance at TNT for the year, had just
completed their feature and the WISSOTA Street Stocks were working lap four of their main event when the skies opened up.
The rain stopped and track officials held out hope that the racing surface could be worked back into shape. Five minutes later, another pushed over the track, officially putting the nail in the coffin.
Before the rain, Birnamwood’s Scott Van Prooyen, piloting the 43 truck picked up a dominating clean sweep in the Trucks. Van Prooyen led every lap of the 10-lap heat and the 15-lap feature.
The Trucks got settled in very early Van Prooyen took command of the feature from the pole while the biggest move came from the middle of the pack as Jeff Becker moved from fifth to third on the start.
After that it was single file the rest of the way in a race that went caution-free. How they crossed the line on the first lap was exactly how they cross the line on the final lap. Van Prooyen finished first, followed by Forrest Crandall, Becker, Robin Procknow and Harold Harvey. Dusty Brandt finished sixth, one lap down.
TNT’s own classes put on the most exciting shows in the heat races, beginning with the Bombers. Ben Hendricksen spun and brought out the caution on lap three of the first Bomber heat. He restarted fourth, but made an amazing four-wide pass exiting turn two to take a lead he would not relinquish. Todd Brass followed closely, but could never recover from getting overtaken in spectacular fashion.
Meanwhile the luck of the draw put the top two in the TNT Stinger points on the
front row for heat race number one. Nick Visser and Bill Martin did not disappoint, putting on a great race at the front of the pack. Visser led the first nine laps as Martin tried to pass high and low with no success.
Finally, coming to the white flag, Martin got a run to the outside of Visser. The two stayed side-by-side for the final third of a mile and when they came to the line, Martin edged out Visser by roughly one foot. The result puts Visser and Martin in a tie for the point lead for the second time in three weeks.
Jason Isaacson moved to within 11 points of the Stinger lead by winning the second heat. That race saw a hard wreck near the halfway point. Rookie Shane Johnson punted Randy Charbarneau at the exit of turn two. Charbarneau’s car spun and slammed tail-first into the outside guardrail. Charbarneau was checked over by EMT’s after the incident and was okay, except for needing an ice pack.
John Johnson expanded his point lead to seven in the TNT Bombers with a heat race win. Chad Bottcher, making his second start of the season at TNT in the WISSOTA Midwest Mods took won a heat and Jordan Kurtti continued his stranglehold in the WISSOTA Street Stocks, with another heat race win.
Kurrti started fifth in the feature, but quickly roared to second. He passed Ron Van Dusen for the lead on lap four, but a caution came out negating the pass. On the restart, the drivers got to turn two when the skies opened, ending the race.
That race will be taken from the top next Saturday night at TNT. It will be a
jam-packed night of action on the high banks, featuring two features in all four classes. Next Saturday night is also Midseason Championship night, presented by the Auto Value Part Stores of Eagle River and Rhinelander.
With each class having to run an extra race, even the large point leads Bruce
Belland and Kurtti have built in the WISSOTA Midwest Mods and Street Stocks are not safe. The fun begins with Hot Laps at 7:00 PM, and racing at 7:45 PM.
June 18th, 2008
For Belland, it was his third feature win of the season in the WISSOTA Midwest Mods. Kurtti already has four feature wins to his credit, in just four WISSOTA Street Stock features. Isaacson scored his second win of the season in the TNT Stingers.
It was by no means a Saturday drive for Belland, who lost a wheel in his heat race and finished fourth. Belland was back for the feature, but had to withstand a strong effort from Jerry Grasse.
Grasse started from the outside pole and quickly asserted himself as the leader. Belland came from the back like a rocket ship. He started eighth but had flown all the way to second by lap three.
From there Belland began to reel in Grasse. The two began their side-by-side battle on lap eight, and by lap 11, Belland was in front. Grasse stayed close in the final laps and got back to Belland bumper bar with two laps to go, but could never make the pass.
Kurtti’s road was much easier in the WISSOTA Street Stocks. He lagged behind on the start in a move that proved to be wise. Just three laps later, Ron Van Dusen spun near the front of the pack in turn four and got some air off the infield berm.
Kurtti restarted third and made short work of Dave Williams and then Neal Slizewski to take the lead. Those two battled for second as Kurtti pulled away to the win. Slizewski held second until the final lap when Williams got to the outside in turn two. Williams finished the pass in turn four to take the runner-up spot.
It was a hair-raising TNT Stinger Feature as 17 cars took to the track. They quickly spread out three and four wide. That worked until lap five when Chris Nylund spun, collecting Steve Melton and bringing out the caution.
Cory Dickman led the first six laps of the race, but relinquished it to Isaacson on lap seven. Soon Jay Wilberding, making his 2008 debut, got to second and began to close in. Wilberding slowly chopped into the lead, but ran out of time, finishing three-quarters of a car length behind Isaacson.
The TNT Bombers produced not one, but two first-time winners on Saturday night. In the make-up feature from last week’s rainout, Ben Hendricksen led flag-to-flag from to pole to capture his first career win at TNT. Later in the evening, Rhinelander’s Travis Juedes captured the win, leading the final 12 laps of the race. Jake Ison finished second in both races.
Curiously enough, Juedes’ win broke a long drought for Rhinelander drivers in
victory lane. It had been 22 race nights since Lee Schuppler scored a feature win in the TNT Bombers. He was the last Rhinelander driver to win a feature at TNT. That victory came on August 19, 2006.
Racing continues next Saturday night at TNT Speedway. In addition to WISSOTA AMSOIL Dirt Track Series Midwest Mods and Street Stocks and TNT Bombers and Stingers, the Trucks will return for their second show of the season. Hot Laps will begin at 7:00 PM, with racing at 7:45.
June 10th, 2008
The skies opened shortly before 9:15 local time, with two laps to go in the TNT
Stinger Feature. It was the next-to-last race on the card. There was plenty of great racing before the rains came. Point leaders Bruce Belland and Jordan Kurtti extended their margins in the WISSOTA Midwest Mods and Street Stocks with clean sweeps. Jason Isaacson won the Stinger feature, and got showered
in victory lane – with rain.
With dark clouds closing from the south, the WISSOTA Street Stocks began the feature program with a caution free 20-lap main event. John Johnson, Jr. and Bill Froehlich battled for the lead in the early laps. Johnson led the first three laps. Froehlich had the lead at the line on lap four, but got loose while battling with Johnson on lap five.
That opened the door for Kurtti, who blew by Froehlich for second. Two laps later, the Bruce Crossing, Michigan driver sped past Johnson. Kurtti pulled away in the final 13 laps to take his third feature win in as many chances at TNT in 2008. Froehlich and Johnson resumed their battle in the closing laps. Froehlich made the pass on lap 13 and finished second.
Rhinelander’s Will Roffers started second and led the first six laps of the WISSOTA Midwest Mod feature, but Belland, who needed just two laps to jump from fourth starting spot to second, finally reeled Roffers in and made the pass on lap seven. Belland began to open a lead, but it was erased on lap 13 when the second caution of the race occurred. Belland was able to rebuild his lead on the restart and take his second feature win of the year. Roffers finished was a career-best second in the feature Jeff McDonald held off Troy Smart for third.
Merrill’s Jason Isaacson took the lead on lap thee of the TNT Stinger feature and pulled away as Bill Martin picked his way through traffic from his seventh starting spot. Martin finally got by Cory Dickman for second on lap six and began to reel in Isaacson. The lead was down to a car length and a half as the leaders were coming to the white flag. At the line they were greeted with the yellow flag for debris setting up a green-white-checkered finish.
It never happened as moments later a heavy downpour hit the track, sending fans
scrambling for the covered concessions area and rendering the track unraceable.
Rhinelander’s Travis Juedes and Argonne’s Todd Brass won the heat races in the TNT Bombers. The class will run its make-up feature as part of the first half of the program on Saturday, June 14.
It will be a full night of racing next Saturday night with the added feature.
Snap-On Tools and local dealer Keith Van Doren will serve as the sponsor. In
addition it will be Scout night at the track. Any scout in uniform will get in free and folks accompanying the scout will receive a dollar off admission.
As always, hot laps will begin at 7:00 PM with racing at 7:45.
June 4th, 2008
Chad Boettcher and Jordan Kurtti bested the deeper fields in the WISSOTA Midwest Mods and Street Stocks respectively, highlighting the night’s action.
Boettcher, from Eagle River, rocketed up from his sixth starting spot in the
feature, took the lead on lap three and never looked back. His closest challenger was Phelps’ Jerry Grasse, who was back in the Mods after a year off. Grasse was in contention until lap 16 until a brush with the turn four wall ended his chances.
Young guns turned some heads in the Mod feature on Saturday. Leif Gunderson, making the transition from Bombers to Mods this year, held off veterans Cody Schmidt and Bruce Belland for second. Will Roffers, who won his heat race, finished fifth.
Bruce Crossing, Michigan’s Jordan Kurtti had to overcome a bit of adversity to pull off his second straight Street Stock feature. Kurtti battled with Ron Van Dusen for fourth place on lap five. The two made contact on the backstretch. Kurrti got loose. He saved the car, but spun a half lap later in turn one, brining out the caution.
Kurtti’s front bumper cover was damage in the spin and poked up into his line of sight. He would drive with that apparent distraction for the rest of the race.
Dave Williams held the lead for the first eight laps. He lost it on lap nine as John Johnson, Jr. and Jermey Wolfe got by. Kurtti moved up to third two laps later and took the lead on lap 13. Williams fought his way back to second, but could not catch Kurtti in the waning laps.
Travis Juedes nearly took the same worst-to-first route in the TNT Bomber Feature, but it was Crandon’s Jake Ison that finished in the top spot.
Juedes had the fastest car on the track, but spun early in the race battling Todd Brass for second. Juedes stayed a half lap off the lead until a synchronized spin by Ron Reese and Brass brought out the yellow with six laps to go.
Ison opened up a nice gap on the restart. Juedes needed just a lap and a half to move to second and started to close. Juedes got to Ison’s back bumper on the final lap, but could not make the pass in the closest finish of the night.
20 Stingers flocked to TNT on Saturday, prompting the first semi-feature of the
season. There was no repeat for Shaina Aho as her engine appeared to grenade during the heat race while in the lead. She failed to start the semi-feature.
It looked like another Michigan driver, Leo Nippa, would pick up the slack. He led the first 10 laps of a hotly contested feature. Eagle River’s Bill Martin fought for the lead on lap 11. They came to the line in a virtual dead heat. Moments later the caution flew for a spin involving Steve Melton. Martin was ruled the leader by officials on the track.
Nippa fell off the pace on the restart, moving Nick Visser to second. But Visser, and no one else had anything for Martin, who took home his first feature of the season.
Racing continues at TNT Speedway this coming Saturday night. Hot Laps begin at 7:00 PM, with racing at 7:45.
May 28th, 2008
Conditions were favorable for the sweep as the lineup for the features based on how drivers finished their heat races.
Several new drivers took to the track in the WISSOTA Midwest Mod division, including TNT Bomber graduates Shawn Bialas, Charlie Jackson and Leif Gunderson, but predictably the Mod veterans were the ones that rose to the top.
Belland had the good fortune of drawing the pole for the heat race, and capitalized by leading every lap of the heat and every lap of the feature.
Belland got some late-race pressure from second-year Mod driver Will Roffers, but Roffers’ bid for his best career feature finish fell short with a spin in turn four with two laps to go. Roffers finished eight.
Fellow mod veterans Jeff McDonald and Troy Smart completed the top three for the feature. Leif Gunderson was the best of the newcomers, finishing fourth.
Two-time TNT Bomber Champion John Johnson swapped rides with his son John, Jr. for the 2008 season. That put Johnson back into the Bombers. He returned to the class in championship form.
His third place finish in the heat turned into a first when the top two cars failed to report to the scales. Johnson led every lap of the feature. Early on, Johnson felt the heat from Todd Brass. Brass looked for the lead on lap five but spun to the inside out of turn four. He would eventually make his way back to second place, but did not have enough time to reel in Johnson.
There will likely be a new Truck champion at TNT Speedway in 2008. Jeff Becker moved to the lead of the heat race on lap six, but moments later the engine expired on the 88 truck. Robin Procknow inherited the lead and took the win.
In the feature, Procknow, Harold Harvey and Forrest Crandall battled for the top spot in the final laps. The three were separated by less than two truck-lengths with three laps to go, but Procknow pulled away as Crandall and Harvey went side-by-side for second. Crandall eventually got by, but had no shot to catch Procknow.
Shaina Aho brought her familiar white and pink 22S down from Michigan for the TNT Opener and walked away with another Three Lakes checkered flag, beating up on the 14 men who challenged her in the Stinger feature.
As the winner of the third heat race, Aho started third for the feature. It took her five laps to work around Nick Visser for the lead. Visser hung tight, closing back to two car lengths with two laps to go, but he did not have enough to make a pass. 2007 Stinger Champ Matt Troutman took third.
15 cars took part in the Stinger feature and despite plenty close racing there was only one caution. It occurred on lap eight when Cory Dickman lost a right front tire.
WISSOTA Street Stock driver Jordan Kurtti was the only one to win the feature,
despite losing his heat. He edged out Ron Van Dusen at the line on lap five. Moments later, the caution flew for a problem on the Dave Williams automobile.
On the restart Jermey Wolfe moved to second and quickly challenged for the lead. He and Kurtti battled side-by-side for the next five laps. It was Kurtti who eventually got the best of the battle and pulled away to a four car-length win.
Racing continues at TNT Speedway next Saturday night, sponsored by Coyote 93.7 FM. Hot Laps begin at 7:00 PM, with racing at 7:45.
May 19th, 2008
At 7:20 Saturday evening the decision was made to cancel the night’s program,
sponsored by New Radio Group Northwoods. The decision came down after a special
A heavy shower passed over the track around 6:45 as drivers were attempting to pack in the fresh red clay put on the track for the 2008 season. It forced drivers off the track at 6:55.
Sunshine had greeted the drivers prior to that, but a shower in the four o’clock hour, plus the late precipitation made the track unraceable.
The rain makes next Saturday’s program a super season-opener. UTRA Trucks make their first of five scheduled appearances on the high-banks. WISSOTA AMSOIL Dirt Track Series Midwest Modifieds and Street Stocks will also highlight the program, along with TNT’s Bombers and Stingers.
Hot Laps will start at 7:00, with racing beginning at 7:45.
August 21st, 2007
By virtue of missing last week’s races at TNT, Waara’s once-commanding 47-point lead over Dave Williams was turned into a one-point deficit. He switched it back to a one-point advantage following the heat race.
In the feature, Waara quickly moved from third starting position to the lead by the end of the first lap and waved goodbye to the field as the 20-lap feature clicked by caution free.
The battle was for second as four-time track champion Fritz Scharf hounded Kevin Maulson, Jr. for the majority of the race. Scharf moved to second on lap 11, Maulson Jr. passed him back a lap later, but Scharf got back around with four laps to go and held on to the runner-up spot in his 2007 debut.
Williams wound up in the fifth position and fell six points behind Waara entering next Saturday’s Season Championship.
It was a steady night for Merrill’s Jimmy Barttelt in the WISSOTA Midwest Mods. A heat race win and a fifth place showing in the feature gives him an 11-point edge over Joe Kin.
The feature had a dramatic finish as Jason Zdroik finally got by Cody Schmidt on a second attempt at green-white-checkered finish to take his fifth feature win in his sixth start of the season.
Schmidt would have been the first Rhinelander driver to win a feature at TNT this season if he had triumphed, but his second place finish was good enough to move him four points ahead of Terry Stebbeds for third place in the points.
Fourteen TNT Bombers spelled a lengthy feature that not surprisingly was called
short because of the time limit.
Charlie Jackson had a chance to clinch the track championship by winning the feature and getting some help from Jim Melton. Jackson was in position and battling hard with Wallace Laffin for the lead. After five laps of side-by-side battling, Jackson pushed high out of turn four, got into the side of Laffin and both cars wound up in the outside wall.
Laffin took over the lead with the caution, but did not hold on to it long as Jake Ison drove by Laffin and held on for his second consecutive feature win. Jackson wound up tenth, but still has a 38-point lead over Melton. All Jackson needs to do is finish third or better in his heat race next week to clinch the championship.
Matt Troutman and Jason Issacson leaned on each other in a green-white-checkered showdown in the Stinger feature. Troutman held on for his fifth win of the season, denying Issacson of his third straight win in the process.
Troutman extended his lead to 42 points over Bill Martin and only needs to finish seventh or better in his heat to secure his second track title.
The track championships will all be decided next Saturday night at TNT Speedway. Hot laps will begin at 7:00, with racing at 7:45 PM.
August 14th, 2007
It was part of a wild night of racing at TNT on Saturday, sponsored by Budweiser, that included two first-time winners.
But the big story was the dramatic change at the top of the WISSOTA Midwest Mod and WISSOTA Street Stock Point Standings.
Just a few weeks ago, Greenland, Michigan’s Joe Kin had a 12-point advantage over Jimmy Barttelt of Merrill. A couple of bad finishes erased Kin’s point lead and he and Barttelt entered the night tied. Kin finished ahead of Barttelt in their heat race, giving Kin a two-point lead entering the feature, but things took a dramatic turn on the opening lap of the 20-lap main event.
Cody Schmidt dove to the inside of Neal Dixon and Troy Smart and took the lead going through turn two. Dixon, in the middle of the three-wide sandwich, got loose off of turn two, bounced off of Schmidt and up into Troy Smart sending Smart hard into the outside guardrail.
Kin, who started fourth, had no place to go and plowed into the side of Smart as part of a four-car pile up the brought out the red flag.
Terry Stebbeds was also involved in the wreck. He, Kin and Smart all dropped out of the race as a result. Kin was scored twelfth, leaving the door open for Jimmy Barttelt.
Barttelt drove a steady race and wound up in second place, but no one could catch Jason Zdroik. The Eagle River driver took the lead from Schmidt on lap eight and went on to record his fourth feature win in five starts in Three Lakes.
Barttelt certainly cannot complain about the runner-up showing as it gave him an eight-point edge over Kin with two nights to go.
Work commitments kept WISSOTA Street Stock point leader Tom Waara from attending Saturday. He had a 47-point lead over Rhinelander’s Dave Williams entering the night and had a chance to hold on to the point lead, depending on how the night went.
Williams placed fifth in his heat race, meaning he would have to finish third or better in the feature to take the point lead from Waara.
John Johnson lead the first ten laps of the 20-lap feature but got loose and spun on lap eleven as Jordan Kurtti pressured him for the lead.
Kurtti inherited the lead with the caution, but would not stay there for long. On the restart, Jeff Brown moved past Kurtti to take the lead. Brown pulled away and went on for his first win at TNT Speedway.
Kurtti wound up fourth as Neal Slizewski and Williams passed him in the final laps. Williams wound up third and takes a one-point lead over Tom Waara.
It was a wild finish in the TNT Bombers. Crandon’s Jake Ison had led every lap in a caution-riddled feature. The time limit expired setting up a green-white-checkered finish.
Ison got a slow restart, allowing Ben Hendrickson and Lee Bradley to challenge for the lead. Hedrickson had the lead coming out of turn two, but Bradley and Todd Brass got together and Brass spun out.
It was a second chance for Ison, who got a great restart the next time around while Hendrickson struggled off the line. Ron Resse had worked his way up into third, but spun coming out of turn four coming to the with flag. The yellow came out again. Ison had already taken the white and got credit for his first career feature victory.
Charlie Jackson was charged with two cautions and dropped out of the race in
eleventh place. Despite the poor finish, Jackson still has a comfortable 39-point lead over Jim Melton.
Jason Issacson passed Nick Visser on lap six and went on to claim his second TNT Stinger feature victory in a row and third of the season. Matt Troutman finished third and extended his lead over Bill Martin to 36.
Racing continues next Saturday night sponsored by Yellow Book USA. Hot laps begin at 7:00 PM, with racing at 7:45.
August 9th, 2007
Zdroik had won the feature in each of his last three trips to TNT and looked to be in position for the four-peat, running second for the majority of the race.
Jimmy Barttelt, who entered the feature five points behind Joe Kin for the class lead took the top spot early in the race, but relinquished it to Eagle River’s Bruce Belland on lap four. A couple laps later, Joe Kin spun out of sixth place, bringing out the caution.
Zdroik moved up to second on lap eight and began to pressure Belland for the lead. Zdroik looked to the inside with seven laps to go, and looked to have good chance at taking the lead, but the move was in vain as Will Roffers spun in the back of the pack, bringing out the race’s final caution.
Belland pulled away in the final seven laps and went on to claim his second win at TNT in 2007, holding off Zdroik. Barttelt wound up third while Kin could only recover to finish eighth. With only three nights remaining, Barttelt and Kin are tied for the championship lead.
The rich got richer in both the WISSOTA Street Stocks and the TNT Bombers as class point leaders Tom Waara and Charlie Jackson earned clean sweeps on the night.
Waara wasted little time getting to the lead, passing Kevin Maulson, Jr. on lap five and was pulling away from Cliff Houle and Jeff Brown who were battling hard for second. That battle turned ugly with five laps to go as both drivers banged into one and other and drove down into the infield.
That brought out the caution flag and both were put to the back for their
transgressions, handing second to Dave Williams. Caution would fly one more time, setting up a green white, checkered finish.
Waara held of Williams for the final two-lap dash and claimed his fourth feature win of the season. Williams wound up a bridesmaid for the second consecutive race.
Jackson, meanwhile, was in the right place at the right time. Crandon’s Lee Bradley led the majority of a caution-riddled Bomber feature with Charlie Jackson and Jake Ison, but spun out of the lead on lap 11, collecting Jake Ison in the process.
It was the sixth caution of the feature and set up a green, white checkered finish. Jackson held off Ison on the final restart to claim his fourth feature win of the season.
It was a perfect day for Merrill’s Jason Issacson in the TNT Stingers. He won his heat race and pulled away to win his second feature of the season.
The sweep paled in comparison to what happened to Issacson earlier in the day, when he wed his fiancée Cassie making Saturday, August 4 undoubtedly the most special day of Issacson’s life.
Racing continues next Saturday night at TNT Speedway with hot laps at 7:00 PM and racing at 7:45.
August 2nd, 2007
But one little hole stole defeat from the jaws of victory and North Carolina’s Mark Schuenemann, back home in Wisconsin on vaction, who took the checkered flag.
It was part of a wild, exciting night of racing sponsored by local Snap-On Tools vendor Keith Van Doren. Williams had his car hooked up on the dry racetrack, winning the WISSOTA Street Stock heat race, the first time he had done that in his career.
Williams sat on the pole for the feature and opened up a nice cushion early on but class point leader Tom Waara was quickly closing in. On lap eight, Waara got loose and spun, bringing out the race’s only caution.
Willams kept the lead on the restart with his advantage over Schuenemann ranging from one to three car lengths. The lead was closer to three car lengths with just over two laps to go when Williams’ car slowed and push up the track in turns three and four.
Schuenemann slid under, took the lead and held on for the win, his first of the
Williams was again denied his first career feature win. A small hole began to
develop in turns three and four. Williams’ car hit that hole on lap 18 and that is what caused his car to push up.
It may be a consolation, but Williams solidified his position of second in points. He has close to within 42 points of Warra, and has a 13-point edge over third place Kevin Maulson, Jr.
In the WISSOTA Midwest Mods, it was a father-son moment as Merrill’s Jimmy Barttelt held of Jimmy Barttelt, Jr. for his fourth feature win of the season.
Barttelt passed Will Roffers on lap nine and led the final 12-laps of the race.
Barttelt gained seven points on Joe Kin, trimming the advantage to five points with four nights remaining in the race to the championship.
The most bizarre finish of the night occurred in the Stingers. Rhinelander’s Jay Wilberding was poised to take the win as the stage was set for a
Nick Visser got a great restart and drove to Wilberding’s inside entering turn one. Visser pushed up the racetrack, taking Wilberding with him and opening the door for Joe Dorgan and Bill Martin to get past.
Dorgan and Martin battled side-by-side for the final lap and a half. Martin stayed low while Dorgan went high. At the line Martin took the win by just over a foot.
Jay Wilberding came across the line in third, but instigated some extra curricular activities with Visser following the checkered flag and was disqualified for his actions. Visser wound up limping home tenth.
Chirs Rindfleisch of Merrill scored his second feature win of the season in the TNT Bombers. Rindfleisch got by Jake Ison on lap six and led the final ten laps of the race, holding off class point leader Charlie Jackson.
Racing continues next Saturday night at TNT Speedway. Hot laps begin at 7:00, with racing at 7:45 PM.
July 24th, 2007
It took the Midwest Mods four tries to get their feature underway and four cautions flew before two laps were completed. Several multi-car incidents occurred in the opening minutes of the race and one of the victims was Merrill’s Jimmy Barttelt, who entered the feature tied for the championship lead.
Barttelt wound up 14th, while the man he was tied with Joe Kin survived a wreck on lap two and worked his way to the front of the pack.
After the opening transgressions, the final 19 laps of the race were clean and
green. Jason Zdroik picked his way through the field and began to battle with Kin near the halfway point of the race. On lap 12 Zdroik gave a bump to Kin and took the lead on the inside.
Zdroik held on for his third win of the season. Kin had to settle for second, but despite failing to record his first feature win of the season, he took a big 12-point advantage over Barttelt in the race for the track championship.
Kevin Maulson, Jr. picked up his second feature win of the season in the WISSOTA Street Stocks. The 17-year old from Lac du Fleambeau led flag-to-flag in the caution-free 20-lap event.
Tom Waara battled for a while with John Johnson and Ron Van Dusen for fourth and finally got past with eight to go. Waara closed in on Jeff Brown for third in the final laps and wound up less than a car length short, but padded his commanding lead in the class by two more points over Dave Williams.
Todd Brass scored his first win of the season in the TNT Bombers. Brass and Leif Gunderson appeared to be the cars to beat in the early stages. Gunderson was in the lead and looking for his second consecutive feature win, but his suspension gave way with six laps to go and his right front tire folded under the bodywork.
That handed the lead to Brass who pulled away in the final laps with Michael Diak, Wallace Laffin and Charlie Jackson battling for second. Diak held on for second and Laffin barely edged out Jackson for third.
It was a wild start for to the TNT Stinger feature. Cars jockeyed for position,
often racing three and four wide, amazingly without a caution. When things finally settled down, John Barlowski had the lead with class points leader Matt Troutman second.
With five laps remaining, Troutman slipped past Barlowski and went on to win the feature.
Troutman got an added bonus when teammate Dennis Zuelke failed to make the feature, giving Troutman a stranglehold on the championship lead. That advantage is now 38 points over Bill Martin. Zuelke fell to third in the standings.
Mike Bostwick took the early lead in the Truck feature and never looked back,
leading all 15 laps of the race. Jeff Becker wound up second in the feature and took a seven-point lead over Forrest Crandall. The trucks will decide their championship on August 25 at TNT.
Racing continues next Saturday at TNT Speeway. Hot laps start at 7:00, with racing at 7:45 PM.
May 22nd, 2007
Merrill’s Jimmy Barttelt had a difficult time completing the sweep in the WISSOTA Midwest Mods. Eagle River’s Chad Boettcher, driving the same car that propelled Bob Richardson to the track championship a year ago, dogged Barttelt during both the heat and the feature.
After a couple failed attempts at a start, Barttelt and Boettcher quickly jumped to the top two spots. The two were nose to tail for much of the race. With five laps to go, the fifth caution of the race flew and Boettcher tried to take advantage. On the restart, he pulled along side Barttelt, but could not clear the lead machine.
Another caution set up a four-lap shootout. Boettcher stayed glued to Barttelt’s back bumper until the final lap, when he tried to make a pass on the high side of turn one. Boettcher slipped coming off of turn two and Barttelt went on to win in what was a good night for his family. Barttelt’s son, Jimmy Barttelt, Jr. finished fourth in his TNT Speedway debut.
Lac Du Flambeau’s Shawn Bialas won the TNT Bomber Feature in similar fashion over Charlie Jackson from Land O’ Lakes. Bialas led from flag to flag, but Jackson was right behind until slipping in the waning laps.
Tom Waara pasted the field in the WISSOTA Street Stcoks. The Lake Linden, Michigan driver felt pressure in the first half of the race from Wakefield, Michigan’s George Dalbeck. Those two pulled away from the field early, but Dalbeck cut a tire with eight laps to go, taking away his chance at victory.
Waara would pull away from Jordan Kurtti of Bruce Crossing, Michigan in the final laps to secure the win. Eagle River’s Neal Slizewski ran a solid race finishing third. Dalbeck recovered from his flat tire to finish fifth.
Shaina Truscott of Shawano would not be denied in the TNT Stingers. She forced the issue early on, making a three-wide pass to take a lead she would never relinquish. The battle wound up being for second with Merrill’s Dennis Zuelke hanging on over Eagle River’s Bill Martin.
Truscott needed a little good fortune to pick up her clean sweep. She was running a distant second in her heat race when Matt Troutman’s car broke with a lap and a half to go.
Troutman, last year’s class runner up and the highest-finishing returning driver this year, could not get his car fixed in time for the consolation race and finds himself in a huge hole after the first race of the season.
All four track champions from last season moved up in class for 2007. It proved not to be a good night for the group on Saturday. Terry Stebbeds, last year’s Street Stock Champion, had moved up to fourth in the WISSOTA Midwest Mod Feature, but mechanical problems knocked him out of the race a few laps later. He wound up ninth.
It was pretty much the same story for John Johnson, who moved to Street Stocks after winning the last two Bomber titles. Johnson, however, never really contended. He hung around the back of the pack until retiring his car on lap 11. Car 11 finished eleventh.
Keith Troutman made the big jump from Stingers to Midwest Mods, but did not compete on opening night. Bob Richardson, last year’s Midwest Mod Champion has moved to dirt Late Models and was not in action Saturday.
Racing resumes at TNT Speedway on Saturday, May 26. The Truck class will make its first appearance at the Three Lakes high banks. Hot Laps are at 7:00 PM, with racing at 7:45 PM.
May 16th, 2007
Two of the three specials this year will bring dirt Late Model racing back to the high- banks of TNT for the first time since 2000. Two events sponsored by Seubert Calf Ranches are planned. The fireworks are sure to fly in the first event, set for Thursday, July 5. And when the autumn air begins to nip, the Late Models will warm things up with their second special on Saturday, September 22. The Trucks will also return in 2007. Drivers from the ASCI Truck class at Langlade County Speedway in Antigo supported the class’s return to TNT last year and will be back for four shows during the regular season. The first of which will be Saturday, May 26.
As always, TNT Speedway will have the hot action of WISSOTA Sanctioned Midwest
Modifieds and Street Stocks along with the ever-exciting TNT Bombers and TNT
Stingers. If a record turnout for Saturday’s Tune and Test Night is any indication, a strong field of cars should be present throughout the summer in Three Lakes. The season opener is Saturday, May 19. Once again this year, Hot Laps will begin at 7:00 PM, with racing at 7:45 PM
September 17th, 2006
Bruce Belland used a lap seven caution and restart to get around Duane Dunbar to take the lead in the WISSOTA Midwest Mod Feature. Belland would pull away while Dunbar held off a host of challengers, including Jimmy Barttelt, Chad Boettcher. Belland went on to claim his second consecutive win at TNT.
Jeff Becker won in the Supertruck Feature. Becker started fourth and worked his way to the lead by the end of the first lap. He was gone from there, winning the feature by nearly a half a lap. Forrest Crandall took second in a spirited battle from Harold Harvey.
Tom Waara led flag to flag in the WISSOTA Street Stock feature. Waara’s main contenders seemed to experience problems every time they got close to the lead. Terry Stebbeds was the first to threaten for the lead, but a flat right-rear tire sent him to the pits and to the back of the pack.
After a caution, Dan Wanta challenged for the top spot, but spun coming out of turn four on lap 15. Waara cruised from there as Rob Weber held off Jordan Kurtti for second.
Track Champion John Johnson took the early lead in the TNT Bomber feature and appeared to be on his way to another feature win in the class. But bad luck struck on lap seven as his car began to sputter and fire began underneath the hood. A battery cable was knocked loose, causing the malfunction.
Shawn Bialas and Troy LaRock both went to the pits under the caution, handing the lead over to Jim Melton, who led for three laps before fading and handing over the top spot to track owner Tim Rutzen. From there Rutzen maintained his lead and scored the win. Andy Nylund drove up to finish second.
Jesse Aho won the Stinger feature in dominating fashion. The battle was for second as plenty of paint was traded between John Johnson Jr. and Bill Martin. Martin wound up getting the better of the battle.
During intermission, fans were entertained once again by the Demo Devil Stunt show, and after intermission, powderpuff and mechanics races were held and trophies were presented.
Racing is over for the 2006 season at TNT Speedway. The track will enter its 13th season of operation in May of 2007.
TNT Speedway Results: Fall Special – Saturday, September 16, 2006
WISSOTA Midwest Mod Feature
1st 122B-Bruce Belland; 2nd 7X-Duane Dunbar, 3rd 04-Jimmy Barttelt; 4th 2-Chad Boettcher; 5th 15S-Cody Schmidt; 6th 22B-Dennis LaCrosse; 7th 18N-Nick Dolezal; 8th 8D-Neal Dixon; 9th 28-Mark Rose
WISSOTA Street Stock Feature
1st 06-Tom Waara; 2nd 05R- Rob Weber; 3rd 26-Jordan Kurtti; 4th 27-Dan Wanta; 5th 52-Terry Stebbeds; 6th 9-Brian Slizewski; 7th 5-Ron VanDuzen; 8th 95-Travis Dieck
1st 8-Jeff Becker; 2nd 15-Forrest Crandall; 3rd 88-Harold Harvey; 4th 24-Matt Marco
TNT Bomber Feature
1st 21-Tim Rutzen; 2nd 71-Andy Nylund; 3rd 70-Troy LaRock; 4th 23M-Kevin Maulson Jr.; 5th 2J-Dicky Carlson; 6th 61-Jim Melton; 7th 22-Charlie Jackson; 8th 29-Keith Durand; 9th 8F-Frank Tomlanovich; 10th 8-Jeff Brown; 11th 101-Leif Gunderson; 12th 81-Dan Melton; 13th 57-Lee Schuppler; 14th 72J-Jonathan Collins; 15th 35-Shawn Bialas; 16th 11-John Johnson; 17th 01-John Osterman; 18th 01Z-Ron Reese
TNT Stinger Feature
1st 25X-Jesse Aho; 2nd 27-Bill Martin; 3rd 11-John Johnson Jr.; 4th 58G-Jason Gaylord; 5th 12-Kyle LeSieur; 6th 18-Bobby Sheldon; 7th 7G-Mario Grado
2006 TNT Speedway Trophy Winners
Rookies of the Year: Jimmy Barttelt (Mods), Neal Slizewski (Streets), Dicky Carlson (Bombers), Kevin Bauer (Stingers)
Rollovers: Tom Waara (Streets), Will Roffers (Bombers)
Rollover of the year: Shawn Bialas (Bombers)
Hard Luck: Troy Smart (Mods)
Sportmanship: Harold Harvey (Trucks), Bob Richardson (Mods), John Johnson (Bombers)
Sportsman of the Year: Cody Schmidt (Mods)
Most Improved Driver: Dave Williams (Streets)
August 30th, 2006
Johnson entered the night trailing Troy LaRock by four points for the track title. Johnson won his heat race from the pole and chopped LaRock’s lead to two going into the feature.
A couple of cautions flew before one lap was completed. Once things settled down, Johnson found himself in the third position, while LaRock was fifth. Johnson quickly moved past Kevin Maulson Jr. into second position. Meanwhile, LaRock was the first to blink, nearly spinning out in turn two, losing several positions.
Johnson passed Wallace Laffin for the lead a few laps late, while LaRock continued to have troubles in turn two, nearly spinning out twice more. Johnson earned his second straight track championship with a clean sweep for the evening. LaRock finished seventh in the feature and wound up five points short.
Two other drivers wrapped up titles on Season Championship night at TNT. Clearwater Lake’s Terry Stebbeds clinched his second consecutive WISSOTA Street Stock championship and third track title at TNT in the heat race for the Streets. Stebbeds patiently moved to second in the heat, while Williams struggled and finished ninth to seal the deal for Stebbeds.
Stebbeds struggled in the feature after getting tangled up in an accident with Fritz Scharf, Lee Christjohn and others. Christjohn recovered from the accident and claimed his third feature win of the season.
Keith Troutman of Tomahawk claimed the track championship in the TNT Stingers. Troutman clinched by starting the feature race. It was his first title at TNT, and third in the last four seasons after winning championships in 2003 and 2004 at the now-defunct Pepsi Raceway Park in his hometown.
Troutman went on to dominate the night, claiming his sixth feature win of the season. The battle was for second as Duane Porier held off the challenge of Jesse Aho, Dennis Zuelke and others.
Bob Richardson clinched the WISSOTA Midwest Mod Championship at TNT Speedway last week, and was trying for his tenth feature win of the season. Richardson had some difficulty getting through the field, but worked his way to second by just after halfway and used a caution to erase a large deficit he had to Bruce Belland.
On the restart, Richardson began to apply pressure to Belland and drove to the inside with three laps to go. The two made contact and Richardson spun coming out of turn four. Richardson deemed the cause of the caution and was sent to the back. Belland went on to claim his first feature win of the season at TNT.
The 2006 season at TNT Speedway will wrap-up Saturday, September 16 in the annual Fall Special. It will be a non-sanctioned evening of racing as feature races will be held for all five classes. There will be powderpuff and mechanics’ races, the return of the Demo Devil Stunt Show and the award ceremony at the conclusion of the evening. Action will begin with hot laps at 5:30 and racing at 6:00.
August 20th, 2006
Richardson wrapped up his first track title at TNT by starting the WISSOTA Midwest Mod Feature. From there he went out and won in championship fashion. Richardson patiently picked his way thorough the field and passed Jimmy Barttelt for the lead on lap eight. From there, it was clear sailing as the champ picked up his ninth feature victory of the season.
Jimmy Barttelt finished second. Troy Smart came home third with Cody Schmidt fourth. Schmidt has all but clinched second in the standings, as Guy Carley was one of a couple drivers that decided to attend a special in Ashland Saturday.
Jeremy Dake wrapped up a track title as well in the Supertrucks. The trucks made their fifth start of the season at TNT Saturday night. The win on their final regular season appearance went to Birnamwood’s Forrest Crandall. Crandall led every lap of the feature, but was challenged late by Phil Matucheski and Dake. Dake wound up second as Matucheski spun on the final lap.
The track championship battle is far from decided in the TNT Bombers. John Johnson did his best to make up for last week’s bad luck and work toward his second consecutive track title. Johnson moved to second early on in the Bomber feature, as BJ Slizewski got loose out of turn two. The driver Johnson was chasing in the points was chasing Johnson on the track. Troy LaRock ran third, but had to deal with several drivers that wanted to pass.
The key moment in the race came on lap ten when LaRock spun going into turn three. He was sent to the back of the pack as a result of the caution. On the restart, Johnson could do little to catch leader Lee Schuppler and in the final laps lost second to Slizewski. Schuppler to the win, his first in two starts this season at TNT. Johnson settled for third, while LaRock worked his way back to ninth.
It will virtually be a toss up between LaRock and Johnson for the title on Season Championship Night August 26. LaRock has a four-point lead over Johnson.
Tom Waara won in the WISSOTA Street Stocks. Waara led flag to flag in the feature while Terry Stebbeds passed Fritz Scharf for second late in the race. Stebbeds is in position to repeat as track champion. He has a thirty-point lead over Dave Williams.
In the Stingers, the Troutman brothers had some stiff competition in the form of Robert Carpenter, who drove all the way from Black River Falls had a car that could compete with the Troutman’s. Carpenter held the lead until lap seven of the feature when Keith Troutman accelerated quickly on the restart and passed Carpenter for the lead. Carpenter tried to close back in, by Keith Troutman had just enough to hold on for the win. Carpenter was second, with Matt Troutman third. One thing is for certain; a Troutman will win the Stinger Championship. Keith and Matt are the only two drivers with a mathematical shot at the title. Keith has a big advantage entering the Season Championship, with a 17-point lead over his brother.
Two champions have been crowned. Three more will be crowned and several other points battles will be decided on August 26 on Season Championship night sponsored by Miller Beer of the Northwoods. Hot Laps will be at 7:00 with racing at 7:45
August 14th, 2006
Lac du Flambeau’s John Johnson entered the night one point ahead of LaRock in the Bomber points, but he lost a wheel early in his heat race. A seventh place finish, coupled with a LaRock heat race win gave LaRock a five-point advantage entering the feature.
Kevin Maulson Jr. had the lead early in the feature while the point leaders worked their way through the field. The first twist in the race occurred on lap six as LaRock and Dicky Carlson raced hard for third. LaRock made contact with Carlson in turn two, bringing out a caution. Both were sent to the back for over-aggressive driving. LaRock also made a trip to the pit road after bouncing off the outside guardrail in the incident.
On the restart, Charlie Jackson passed Maulson for the lead and Johnson made his way into the third position. LaRock, meanwhile was charging back through the field, and had worked his way back to sixth by lap ten when Maulson spun out of third place and brought out a caution.
The plot turned again on the restart. Johnson drove to the inside of Jackson on the start, but track officials waived off the restart, saying that Johnson took off too early. Johnson was sent to the rear of the field. On the restart, LaRock worked his way past Ron Reese into second and tried to close in on Jackson.
Johnson meanwhile was on the charge back through the field. He had worked his way back to sixth when bad luck struck again. Reese pushed high in turn two, right into the side of Johnson, bringing out the caution. Johnson was able to get his car re-fired, but had to go to the pit road to repair damage.
On the final restart, Charlie Jackson pulled away, scoring his first feature win of the season. Carlson got by LaRock to finish second. LaRock finished third while Johnson came home tenth. With two nights remaining in the track championship battle, LaRock has a twelve-point advantage.
The driver most likely to clinch a track championship next Saturday will be Eagle River’s Bob Richardson in the WISSOTA Midwest Mods. It was another patented charge to the front for Richardson Saturday night. Eight was Richardson’s lucky number Saturday. He started eighth, and took the lead on lap eight, when he passed Charlie Derickson. Richardson checked out from there and cruised to his eighth feature victory of the season.
Jason Zdroik passed Derickson on the final lap for second. Richardson’s nearest point competitor, Cody Schmidt, finished sixth, and dropped 78 points behind. All Richardson would have to do is start the heat and the feature next Saturday to clinch the WISSOTA Midwest Mod track championship.
Terry Stebbeds is getting closer to wrapping up his second track championship in the WISSOTA Street Stocks at TNT. After two early cautions, Stebbeds pulled away from the pack as Neal Slizewski held of Jordan Kurtti for second through the first third of the race. Kurtti finally made his was past on lap eight, but was already a full straight away behind Stebbeds.
Stebbeds huge lead was erased with three laps to go due to debris for Tom Waara’s car. On the restart, Kurtti threatened to the inside, but Stebbeds eventually pulled away and went on for his second feature victory of the season. For Stebbeds, it was a clean sweep of the heat and the feature, and it allowed him to extend his point lead to 27 over David Williams.
It was another Troutman Brothers show in the Stinger feature. Keith and Matt Troutman got to the front of the field on lap seven and staged a three-lap side-by-side battle for the top spot. It came to an end when a caution came out for an incident toward the back of the pack. Keith Troutman was scored as the leader on the last completed lap before the caution.
On the restart, Keith pulled away from his brother Matt and went on to score his fourth feature win of the season. He now leads his brother by 13 points.
Racing continues next Saturday Night at TNT Speedway. Hot laps begin at 7:00 with racing at 7:45.
July 31st, 2006
Troy LaRock had held the point lead since the opening night of the season and entered Snap-On Tools Night at TNT Speedway nine makers in front of Johnson, but surrendered three of those points in the heat race, following a fourth place finish.
The story at the beginning of the Bomber feature was Johnson’s occasional running mate, Shawn Bialas, who was back at TNT Saturday Night. Jim Melton lead lap one before Bialas worked his way to the top. In the next few laps, Bialas twice spun out of the lead, but was saved by cautions elsewhere on the track.
On lap six, Bialas pushed up the track in turns three and four and Johnson slid underneath to take the lead. Bialas was having a hard time keeping his car under control. The reason became apparent a couple laps later, when something broke in the rear of the racecar, sending Bialas for yet another rollover at TNT.
Bialas is no stranger to going upside down at TNT. He had already done so on the opening night of this season. This time his car was traveling at a high rate of speed going into turn one, before somersaulting into the air and landing hard on its roof. Bialas quickly climbed out of his racecar, but an ambulance was called in as a precaution. After an evaluation, Bialas was deemed okay by the emergency staff.
Following the lengthy red-flag to remove Bialas’ crumpled car and to burn off the fuel it spilt onto the track, Johnson resumed as the leader and checked out to an easy victory of Wayne Nylund, who worked his was to second in the final laps.
While Johnson was winning his second feature of the season, LaRock wound up seventh, giving Johnson a one-point lead in the standing with just four points nights remaining.
It looks like the Bombers will have the most intriguing point battle as the calendar heads into the month of August. There is at least a ten-point separation between first and second place in all other divisions.
That includes the WISSOTA Street Stock, where Lee Christjohn’s chances for a track championship came to an end Saturday Night. A week after being disqualified from the feature for failing to report to the scale for the post-race weigh-in, Christjohn was absent for Three Lakes.
That put Terry Stebbeds into the catbird seat to repeat as track champion. Stebbeds won the heat race, but a couple early cautions knocked him out of contention in the feature. Both occurred on lap three. First, he and Neal Slizewski made contact heading down the backstretch. Track officials deemed Stebbeds responsible for the incident. On the following restart, Stebbeds passed two cars to the inside before the green. He was given his second yellow for jumping the restart.
Meanwhile, at the front Jordan Kurtti and Jermey Wolfe were staging a great battle for the lead. The final seventeen laps of the feature ran caution free, and in those final seventeen laps, Wolfe tried several times to pass Kurtti to the inside, but was unsuccessful. Kurtti took his second feature victory of the season at TNT. Meanwhile, David Williams wound up third in the feature and gained one point on Stebbeds, making it a fifteen-point gap with four nights to go.
Bob Richardson continued his strangle hold on the WISSOTA Midwest Mods at TNT. It was another patented charge to the front for Richardson, who started fifth this time in the feature and needed just seven laps to pass Cody Schmidt for the top spot. Last week’s winner, Jason Zdroik passed Schmidt a couple laps later, but by that time, Richardson was on clear racetrack, pulling away from the field, and en route to his sixth feature victory of the season at TNT.
Zdroik came home second. Schmidt held on for third and moved back into second place in the points, 65 behind Richardson, but just one ahead of Guy Carley.
The Supertrucks were back at TNT Speedway and produced the fourth different winner in four nights. This time, Jon Ripley from Birnamwood came north to race at TNT and had the truck to beat. Ripley started fifth in the feature, and slowly crept his way up the leaderboard. By lap eight, he worked his way around Forrest Crandall to take the lead. Crandall tried to fight back on lap ten, but wound up making contact with Ripley, causing a caution.
Ripley spun in the incident, but was given the lead back. On the restart, Ripley had some pressure from Phil Matucheski, but was able to slowly pull away for the win.
After Saturday night, one thing became perfectly clear – for a second straight season, a Troutman will win the Stinger Championship. Jay Wilberding’s hopes for a track championship went away in the heat race as something in the rear suspension broke, causing his rear tires to rub against the body of his racecar. Wilberding’s crew was unable to make repairs in time for the consolation race, all but mathematically costing him a shot at a chance for the track title.
In the feature, the Troutman Brothers did battle again. Matt held the lead for the majority of the race, but in the final laps, Keith made his move to the outside. He finally cleared Matt heading to the white flag and held on for his third feature victory of the season, while is tied for the class lead, fittingly with his brother Matt. Keith has had the slightly more consistent season this year and leads Matt by ten points.
Racing continues Saturday at TNT Speedway. Hot laps are at 7:00, with racing starting at 7:45.
July 23rd, 2006
It was a bizarre Street Stock Feature. Neal Slizewski held the early lead, but spun in turn four. It looked like it was going to be a one-car accident, but Slizewski stood on the throttle, and wound up collecting Dan Wanta, who was running last at the time. Wanta went into the pits and under caution, and it looked like there was still some animosity between the drivers as Slizewski chased Wanta under the yellow at a high rate of speed. On the restart, Slizewski jumped and was thrown off the track, with his second caution.
It took two more tries to restart the race. Terry Stebbeds, the lead at the time got a slow restart and the pack jammed up behind him. The caution flew again, the on the following restart, David Williams got loose out of turn two, causing a chain reaction that caused Lee Christjohn to spin and hit the outside guard. Christjohn was called for his first caution.
Terry Stebbeds led the race until lap nine, but could not keep his car on the bottom of the racetrack and Wanta was able to get inside and take the lead. A few laps later, Christjohn spun out and brought out his second caution. Christjohn showed some disgust as he drove of the track. His problems were only beginning.
Dan Wanta was able to pull away from Terry Stebbeds and win his third feature of the season. Meanwhile, in post-race scaling, the entire top five weighed in except for Christjohn. It was deemed that Christjohn’s car had the capability to scale, and by not doing so, he was in violation of WISSOTA rules. The penalty for not scaling is disqualification for the race the infraction occurred in. The result, Christjohn lost the points and pay he would have received for finishing fourth. Instead of maintaining an eight-point lead, the penalty has Christjohn third in points, 23 behind Stebbeds.
Bob Richardson has been a magician thus far in the WISSOTA Midwest Mods, as for virtually all of his wins; he has started toward the back and quickly worked his way to the front. Fate caught up with Richardson, however Saturday night. Richardson started eighth and could not make any headway on the opening lap.
On lap three, Richardson and Jason Zdroik made contact, and Richardson was pinned with the caution. Richardson was making his way back through the pack, but had no where to go on lap five when rookie Nick Dolezal, making just his second TNT Speedway start, spun out in front of him. The wreck did damage to the right front of Richardson’s car and knocked him out of the race.
With Richardson out, the race was on for everyone else. Jimmy Barttelt held the lead for the first half of the race, but Bruce Belland and Zdroik both passed on lap 11. Zdroik chopped in to Belland’s lead and made the winning pass with five laps to go. It was Zdroik’s second win of the season at TNT. Despite finishing tenth, Richardson still has a 56-point lead over Guy Carley.
TNT Speedway track owner Tim Rutzen dusted off the old driver’s suit and went to battle in the TNT Bombers Saturday Night. Perhaps it was because the owner was on track, but the Bomber feature was one of the cleanest of the season. John Johnson was catching Dan Melton late in the race, but spun out of turn four, coming to the white flag. Johnson’s position was saved as a separate accident over in turn two caused the caution.
Officials deemed the Melton had already taken the white flag when the yellow came out, and the race was over. Melton took his first win of 2006. Johnson, despite losing control in turn four was given second place back as the scoring reverted back to the last completed lap. Rutzen finished third in the feature, after winning his heat race.
A big wreck occurred in the opening lap of the Stinger feature. Matt Troutman started fifth and was looking for third as the field went down the back straightway. Troutman got loose, however and spun, creating a seven-car pile-up. After two more attempts to complete the first lap, thing finally began to settle down. Kyle LeSieur held the lead for one lap before outside pole sitter Jeff Klopstein took the top spot.
Two laps later, Keith Troutman took the top spot and checked out. Matt Troutman and Jay Wilberding, the drivers trailing Keith Troutman in the points, worked their way from the back of the field to finish second and third.
Racing continues next Saturday at TNT Speedway with the fourth round of the Supertrucks for the season. Hot Laps begin at 7:00, with racing at 7:45.
July 17th, 2006
Stebbeds showed his eagerness to charge to the front on the very first lap of the WISSOTA Street Stock feature. Stebbeds, who started third, drove to the inside of pole sitter Dave Williams at the start of the race, making it three wide into the first turn. Stebbeds and Williams made contact causing Williams to spin, bringing out the caution.
Williams went into the pits with a flat tire, and after discussion Stebbeds and Williams were both sent to the back of the field for their role in the opening lap wreck.
Stebbeds charged right back on the restart, flying past Neal Slizewski, Fritz Scharf and Lee Christjohn in just two laps. It took only two more laps for Stebbeds to work around Mark Schuenemann for the lead.
Stebbeds began to pull away, but a couple of cautions flew on lap six. First, Lee Christjohn was racing in turn three when he made contact with the back bumper of Schuenemann’s car, causing a spin. Then, Dave Williams brought out his second caution and fell out of the race.
On the restart, Stebbeds checked out from Scharf and Christjohn and cruised the final 15 laps for an easy win, his first since August 20, 2005 at TNT. Afterward, Stebbeds celebrated by doing his customary donuts in turns one and four.
Bob Richardson had the car to beat once again in the WISSOTA Midwest Mods. His crew said before the race, that only his sheet metal got damaged in a heavy accident earlier in the week in Eagle River. They were able fix the cosmetic damage and came in to the night with momentum, winning a race in Greenland, Michigan the night before.
Richardson started the feature in the fifth position, thanks to a slight tweak in the WISSOTA Point Average feature line-up system that factors fewer cars into the inversion. From fifth, it only took a lap for him to move in to second, and in just three laps, he was past Guy Carley for the lead.
The race was slowed just after halfway for incidents involving Joe Kin, Mark Rose and Jimmy Barttelt. When green flag racing resumed, Richardson slowed pulled away from new second place driver Bruce Belland. Richardson led the rest of the way for his fifth feature win at TNT on the season.
The TNT Bombers were able to complete their scheduled fifteen-lap distance, but it was a night for the big accident as several wrecks occurred toward to front of the pack. Point leader Troy LaRock was battling with Will Roffers for the lead at the start of the Bomber feature, but spun in turn four on lap two. Several cars were involved in the accident, including second place in points John Johnson. Johnson’s car smashed into the car in front of him, while getting rammed from behind by another driver that couldn’t slow down in time for the accident. LaRock went to the back of the pack, and Johnson dropped out of the race.
Dicky Carlson took control of the race on the restart, but came under heavy pressure from Charlie Jackson. The race was slowed again when LaRock brought out his second caution on lap six, knocking him out of the race. Jackson got a great restart on Carlson and looked for the lead on the high side. Jackson led the six lap, before the caution flew again for an incident involving Leif Gunderson.
When the race resumed, Carlson took the lead back from Jackson, who spun out trying to maintain the lead. Will Roffers and Dan Melton were involved in the resulting accident. Roffers wound up getting the same treatment Johnson got in an earlier accident, as hit him the car in front of him and got slammed from behind almost simultaneously.
With eight laps to go, Carlson pulled away from Roger Wilson and never looked back, scoring his second consecutive feature win at TNT. Wilson held on for second as Charlie Jackson worked his way back to third.
In the Stingers, Matt and Keith Troutman were close at the finish once again; with Matt just barely hold off Keith for position. The only problem was this time the battle was for second as neither could catch Jay Wilberding, who picked up the lead on lap five, and lead the final eleven laps for his second feature win of the season at TNT.
Saturday night marked the halfway point of the season at TNT Speedway. With six nights remaining in the 2006 season, it’s shaping up to be another great run toward the track championships on August 26th. Bob Richardson has firm control of the WISSOTA Midwest Mod point standings, with a 59-point lead, but the other three classes all have good battles shaping up for the second half.
Lee Christjohn continues to lead Terry Stebbeds by eight points in the WISSOTA Street Stocks. Troy LaRock leads by 13 points over John Johnson in the TNT Bombers, but Johnson has made up 17 points on LaRock since missing the feature on the opening night. Charlie Jackson is only 22 points behind despite missing an entire race night. In the Stingers Keith Troutman leads his brother Matt by five points. Following a clean sweep Saturday, Jay Wilberding is within nine points of the lead in the class.
The second half of the season at TNT Speedway begins this Saturday Night. Hot Laps get underway at 7:00. Racing begins at 7:45.
July 11th, 2006
Richardson rolled off eighth in the WISSOTA Midwest Mod feature, but made short work of the field once again. By lap five, Richardson had already moved all the way to second and set his sights on leader Jason Zdroik. He caught Zdroik, and after a couple of laps took the lead.
The caution came out on lap nine for debris and on the restart, Richardson used the clear racetrack to check out and easily win his fourth feature of the season at TNT. It matches his total of four feature victories thus far the season at Riverside Raceway in Three Lakes.
Richardson won his heat race as well and earned maximum points on night. Bad luck for Guy Carley allowed Richardson’s lead in the class to mushroom to 44 points. Carley entered the night 14 points out of the lead, but midway through his heat race, the ominous sign of smoke billowed from Carley’s exhaust. It was another blown engine. The third blow up for Carley in the last two seasons gave Cody Schmidt second place in the points, and, barring problems, made it next to impossible for anyone to catch Richardson for the track championship this season.
It’s turned out to be a nice week for WISSOTA Street Stock Driver Jordan Kurtti from Bruce Crossing, Michigan. Kurtti won a feature race earlier in the week in Eagle River, and he did it again in Three Lakes Saturday. Kurtti took the lead from the pole in the feature, while Terry Stebbeds and Lee Christjohn moved to second and third. Kurtti had open a little gap early in the race, but that was wiped out when Christjohn spun following contact with David Williams.
On the restart, Kurtti came under fire with pressure from Stebbeds and Christjohn. The three staged a battle for a few laps, but the key moment of the race came in the second half of the feature. Lee Christjohn looked inside of Terry Stebbeds for second in turn two. The two got loose and Christjohn wound up in the infield temporarily.
The two held their positions, but the altercation allowed Jordan Kurtti to open a six-car length lead he would never relinquish. Kurtti picked up his first TNT win of 2006. Stebbeds held off Christjohn for second, but it is Christjohn that holds the eight-point advantage in the track championship battle.
It was another crash-and-bash night in the TNT Bombers and in the end a first-time winner broke through. Several cautions marred the beginning of the Bomber feature setting up a green-white-checkered finish. Phelps driver Dicky Carlson led virtually from the drop of the green flag, but contenders Charlie Jackson and John Johnson were right behind on the final restart.
Carlson’s jump on the green was good enough to hold of Jackson and Johnson for his first victory at TNT Speedway. Johnson wound up third, but is now just 13 points behind leader in the class Troy LaRock. LaRock was caught up in an accident late in the race and finished ninth.
It was another large field of TNT Stingers, but it turned out to be another battle of the Brothers’ Troutman, with the same results. Matt Troutman had the better starting position and worked his way to the lead quickly. Keith Troutman had to work his way through the field and worked his way to second when Dennis Charbarneau out of the race under caution after lap 4.
The green flag came back out for short one and two lap stints as Matt held off his brother Keith before the time limit expired, setting up a final green-white-checkered dash. Keith launched his attack on the outside, and the two came out turn two on the final lap side-by-side. Matt was able to make the car stick on the inside in turns three and four and once again beat his brother Keith to the line.
Racing continues next Saturday night at TNT Speedway, sponsored by Classic Hits B93. Hot Laps get underway at 7. Racing is at 7:45.
July 4th, 2006
Two drivers cashed in on that opportunity – Eagle River’s Bob Richardson in the WISSOTA Midwest Mods and Rhinelander Wayne Nylund in the TNT Bombers. The two drivers exemplified the term “domination” Saturday and Sunday in Three Lakes.
Bob Richardson had a difficult road in his features, because he has been running so well at TNT as of late. He started toward the back of his feature both nights, thanks to the new WISSOTA Point Average feature lineup format. That didn’t prove to be much of a challenge for Richardson, who tracked down and passed Bruce Belland each of the two nights and made what turned out to be the winning moves.
Belland held the lead until lap 16 on Saturday night before finally giving way to Richardson. Sunday night, Richardson only needed seven laps to get by Belland for the top spot. The feature wins were Richardson’s second and third on the season at TNT. They also helped him extend his point lead over Guy Carley from one point entering the weekend to 14 points by the end of Sunday’s racing.
Wayne Nylund, is not in the chase for the track championship in the TNT Bombers, but once again the occasional competitor from Rhinelander showed that he has one of the best cars in the class. Nylund had company in the battle for the feature win Saturday night. John Johnson and Charlie Jackson were in pursuit most of the race, but started to battle each other for second, instead, giving Nylund a clear run to the checkered.
Sunday night, Nylund started eighth, but a multi-car wreck occurred on the first lap as polesitter Roger Wilson got hit from behind, triggering a chain reaction. The wreck allowed Nylund to restart fourth. From there, it took just three laps to for him to work past Jeff Brown. While Brown remained in touch with Nylund the rest of the race, he could never get close enough to mount a serious threat.
There were a couple upsets in the making in the WISSOTA Street Stocks at TNT, but neither came true. MJ Witbeuler started from the pole Saturday night in the Street Stock feature. Witbeuler was able to hold off Terry Stebbeds through the first half of the race, but Stebbeds lost second position, in a three-wide pass from Dan Wanta, who worked his way past Witbeuler on lap 12. From there, Wanta held off Stebbeds to claim his second feature of the season at TNT.
The win moved Wanta into the point lead by one over Lee Christjohn, but Wanta was unable to make the race on Sunday, handing the top spot in the points back to Christjohn. Sunday, it was Street Stock veteran David Williams with the shot at the upset. Williams, started out by holding off Terry Stebbeds and Jordan Kurtti in a battle for the lead. With eight laps to go, Stebbeds tried to shoot inside Kurtti for second, and wound up running into the back of Williams, causing the three to get tangled in a wreck. Williams was able to keep going. Kurtti retired from the race shortly after the restart and Stebbeds was sent to the rear of the field for his role.
That shook up the list of contenders late in the race. Williams led Jermey Wolfe, Neal Slizewski and Lee Christjohn on the restart. It looked as though Williams may have had an opportunity to pull away as Wolfe and Christjohn battled for second, but with two laps to go, Willaims got a little loose in turn two and was swallowed up into the battle. Wolfe passed to the inside in a three-wide move and held on for the final lap and a half to take the win. Williams and Christjohn continued to battle for second with Christjohn barely winning the race to the line.
It was an up and down weekend for Woodruff’s Matt Troutman in the TNT Stingers. Matt, and his brother Keith staged another thrilling finish Saturday night. The race was very similar to the one they had two weeks prior. Matt jumped out to the early lead. Keith made a pass for the top spot past halfway, only to see Matt blow back by in the closing laps.
Saturday, the variable was lapped traffic, which the Troutman’s caught in the final half-lap of the feature. Matt was held up a bit as Keith made his move to the outside of turn three. Matt looked to have him held off, but he made contact with lapped car Oliver Shawano on the front stretch. In an evasive move, Matt Troutman crossed the finish line sideways just in front of his brother Keith.
Sunday, Matt’s car was not up to par. He dropped out of his heat race with mechanical problems, which would have meant a start in the back of the feature on most nights. Sunday night, however, a strong force of drivers from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan traveled south to race in Three Lakes. 20 Stingers showed up, meaning a semi-feature was required.
Troutman struggled in the semi-feature, hanging toward the back of the six-car pack. It took a couple incidents further up in the field to move Troutman into the third and final transfer spot for the feature. In the main event, he never was a factor. Troutman had a tire go flat at one point in the race and struggled to an eleventh place finish.
That left the door open for a couple of the U.P. visitors. Shaina Truscott of Greenland, Michigan took the lead early in the going from her fifth place starting spot. Truscott then pulled away as another one of the visitors, Jesse Aho from Ontanogon held off Jay Wilberding for second position in the feature.
There were special attractions both nights of the Dynamite Duo Weekend. The truck class was back for Saturday night’s races. Jeremy Dake of Grand Chute, Wisconsin completed the clean-sweep for the night with easy wins in both the heat and the feature. Sunday night, the “Demo Devil” Stunt show took place and stuntman Scott Barkowicz successfully jumped a 4-cylinder racecar off a fiery ramp, over 60 feet into a waiting bed of cars. There were three cars in the line. Barkowicz left the first two unscathed, but buried his car through the front windshield of the third. He was fine following the jump.
Racing continues at TNT Speedway this Saturday Night. Any area scouts that show up with the scout attire on will get in free, and those accompanying the scouts will receive a dollar off their admission. Racing will be sponsored by NRG Northwoods with hot laps at 7 and racing at 7:45.
June 19th, 2006
Jimmy Barttelt started on pole in the WISSOTA Midwest Mod feature, and held off Troy Smart and Joe Kin in the early going. The top five were already bunched up when a couple cautions flew because of problems with Mark Rose and Cody Schmidt.
Bob Richardson had moved up to third by the second caution, and after a couple laps, slipped by Smart for second. By that time, Barttelt had built a solid lead and Richardson went to work trying to run him down. Richardson continued to close and launched a last ditch effort for the win on the final lap. Barttelt opened the door by drifting high coming of the final corner. Richardson dove to the bottom, and came up less that a half of a length short.
A similar finish occurred in the TNT Stingers. Brothers Matt and Keith Troutman worked their way to the top two positions quickly. Matt held the early lead, but Keith’s car had a little more horsepower and was able to get the lead with 11 laps to go. Keith had built a three car-length advantage when the caution flew with three laps to go.
On the restart, Keith Troutman pushed high in turn two, opening the door for Matt, who took advantage. The two battled side-by-side for a lap before Matt took the lead. On the final lap, Keith tried one last-ditch effort to the inside, and like Richardson in the Mods, came up just short.
Terry Stebbeds and Lee Christjohn looked to be locked in another classic battle in the WISSOTA Street Stocks. On lap five, Dan Wanta brushed the guardrail while leading, opening the door for Stebbeds to take the lead and Christjohn to move to second. On lap ten, Stebbeds and Christjohn went side-by-side in to turn three. The two made contact, and Stebbeds went crashing into the wall coming off turn four.
Stebbeds climbed out of his car all right, but was visibly unhappy with Christjohn. However, track officials determined that Stebbeds, and not Christjohn was at fault for the caution. That allowed Christjohn to stay in the lead, which he would use to lead the rest of the way for a comfortable win over Wanta.
The Supertruck feature belonged to JP Remington, as he led all fifteen laps from his outside pole starting position. Meanwhile, John Johnson started on the pole and withstood several early cautions to take a flag-to-flag win in the Bombers.
Racing continues at TNT Speedway Saturday night. Hot Laps begin at 7:00. Racing at 7:45.