Casino Speedway in Watertown hosted the Busch Light Draw/Re-Draw Challenge on a hot Sunday evening.
I’m going to be honest, I think this race was a tough sell. For one the heat index in Watertown was 100 degrees at 5 p.m. according to my weather app; second Brown County Speedway had just raced three nights in a row, and I’m guessing some folks needed a break from all that racing. Plus, the Sunday of Labor Day Weekend is a crapshoot, especially when you are running a single show, and not a doubleheader. All of those things factored into the car counts, I feel. I admire those who toughed it out in the pits and in the stands, and the workers who endured the heat.
Car counts were good in the Wissota Street Stocks and Wissota Midwest Modifieds but a little thin in the Wissota Mods and Late Models. There were 57 cars in attendance, and the good news is the show moved along nicely and wrapped up in less than three hours.
Two of the 13 Wissota Street Stocks on hand did not make the feature lineup, shuffling the starting grid. The ageless Al Schmidt, 70, grabbed the lead from the green in the Wissota Street Stock feature. Things got tense for second as Matt Goth of Huron, Tyler Lamb of Clark and Kenneth Clements of Madison, S.D., went three-wide for almost a lap with Goth taking over second.
Andy Rossow of Florence moved into fifth, but soon Kyle Anderson of Jamestown was closing after starting eighth. In fact, there were about six cars fighting for positions second through seventh as Schmidt opened up some breathing room, a group that included Goth, Lamb, Clements, Rossow, Anderson and track champion Maria Broksieck of Goodwin.
Lamb would slow suddenly and drop out, but the race would continue.
Anderson – who went from 23rd to a win at Brown County Speedway on Thursday – went up to the cushion and was starting to make a big charge to the front, passing several cars. He and Goth made contact and Anderson’s 59 scraped the wall but he was able to continue.
Anderson closed the gap on Schmidt quickly and with seven to go took over the lead. Goth and Rossow have a good duel for fourth as Broksieck was all over Schmidt for second.
The caution would wave for the first time with three to go for Cooper Butterfield’s spin in turn four, but Anderson wasn’t deterred in picking up his sixth win of 2023. Since August started, Anderson, who was plagued with mechanical woes early in the season, has found his groove. HE has five wins, including three in a row at Brown County, and has 12 top five finishes in that span. He’s picked a good time to get hot with invitational season beginning. As of Aug. 31 he was sixth in Wissota national points.
The always consistent Broksieck, who started seventh, finished second with Schmidt capping off a good run in third. Rossow, another steady performer at Casino, was fourth ahead of Goth. Broksieck, by the way, has 16 wins and is fifth in national points and in great shape for her first top five finish In national points. She won the Big Buck Nationals finale at Brown County Speedway on Saturday.
Landyn Randt of Siren, Wis., and Mike Nichols of Watertown led the front row of the Wissota Midwest Modified feature. Nichols, who clinched the I-94 EMR Speedway points title on Friday, led early with Randt settling into second.
The veteran Chad Williamson of Watertown moved into third. The caution would wave for a second time as Lane Johnson of Miller tagged the wall in turn four; he would need a tow to the pits.
On the restart Nichols settled to the bottom as Randt and Williamson battled for second. Derek Rieck of Ortonville was running well in fourth. The caution would wave for a third time when Zach LaQua of Watertown broke a driveshaft on the front straightaway.
Nichols set the pace as Randt ran second. Rieck got by Williamson for third by running in the ditch. Luke Johnson of Miller moved into fourth as Tommy Nichols of Watertown, the 2023 Casino track champion, claimed the fifth spot.
Mike Nichols opened a 1.856 lead over Rieck with four to go, while Rieck had to contend with Randt for second. Nichols wasn’t threatened over the final green flag run and cruised to his ninth feature win of 2023. Rieck survived Randt for second. Johnson and Tommy Nichols rounded out the top five.
Bodie Croninger led the Gen X late models early with Scott Harrington of Waubay and Charlie Olsen of Hendricks dueling for second. Tony Croninger of Watertown, who leads the national points, was fighting Doug Walsh of Watertown for fourth.
Olsen was working very hard to make the top side work as Bodie Croninger was running the ditch. A three-car incident in turn two brought out the second caution; all three cars involved – Scott Borstad, Kevin Youngquist and Ryan Shepherd – were able to continue.
Bodie Croninger led but Olsen was getting the high side to come in, and would take over the top spot with seven to go. Tony Croninger and Harrington had a good battle for the third spot.
Olsen opened a 1.2 second lead by the checkered to pick up the win, his fourth victory of 2023. He is only 15 years old by the way; his father, Chad, is a long-time mod and late model racer out of the Hendricks area. Bodie Croninger was second, Tony Croninger was third, Harrington fourth and Doug Walsh of Watertown was fifth.
2023 track champion Joe Thomas of Fargo and Nate Heinrich of Bellingham led the Wissota Mods to green. Thomas, having the best season of his career, entering the night with nine wins, was solid from the start. Heinrich and Ryan Gierke of Villard were having a good battle for the second spot.
Cayden Schmeling of Watertown was running fourth and Tony Konold of Clear Lake was fifth.
By the halfway point Thomas had built a 2.326 lead on Gierke, who still had Heinrich on his tail. Those two were will ahead of Schmeling in fourth, as he was trying to fend off Konold.
Thomas was never threatened – winning by 4.965 seconds --- in picking up his 10th win of the year. Gierke was second, Heinrich third. Konold would clear Schmeling for fourth in a caution-free main event.
Brayden Begalka of Elkton jumped out front in the Wissota Hornet feature with Bradley Rossow of Florence moving int osecond. Adam VanDerostyne of Canby – who is third in the national points, was third.
Rossow would make the pass for the lead and open up 4-5 car lengths on Begalka. VanDerostyne was there as was Nathan Smith in the #81 car. The battle for a second was between those three as Rossow checked out.
Rossow checked out to a comfortable win with Begalka holding on for second. VanDerostyne was third; only three cars finished.
The Wissota Late Models capped off the evening at Casino Speedway with Jayson Good of Watertown leading early. It wasn’t long before Chad Becker of Aberdeen, who trails Tyler Peterson of Hickson in the national points, would move out front.
Matt Gilbertson of Montevideo, who swept the Fiesta City Speedway specials in August, was working the high lane and trying to fight past Good for second. Charlie Olsen was running in fourth with Justin Kreln in fifth.
Becker ran away with this one, winning by 3.539 seconds over Gilbertson. Good was third, Olsen was fourth and Justin Karlen was fifth.
Casino wrapped up its show in less than three hours and kept things moving pretty well. Casino will run the Autumn Classic on Sept. 22-23 to conclude the season.
Vogel, Kostreba, Gerdes Lead Viking Speedway Victors
Justin Vogel of Brooten picked up the win in the Wissota Street Stocks Sunday night at Viking Speedway in Alexandria. Vogel is in a close fight with Braden Brauer of Eyota and Tucker Pederson of East Grand Forks for the Wissota National points lead, and Sunday’s win is huge in that category.
Kolton Brauer was second, Andrew Hanson of Iron River, Wis., was third, Nick Traynor of Barron, Wis., was fourth and Eric Riley of Morris, who won Friday at I-94 EMR Speedway, was fifth after starting 12th.
Ryan Kostreba of Elk River went back to back in the Wissota Super Stocks, winning a hard-fought battle with Karter Reents of Glenwood by .090 seconds. Brandon Duellman of Winona was third, Russell Kostreba of Elk River was fourth and Matt Miller of Glenwood was fifth.
Brady Gerdes of Villard also went back to back in the Wissota Modifieds, making a pass of Brett Hoium on the final restart to take the win. Danny Bayer of Elrosa was third, Brendan Blascyk of Hoffman was fourth and Jason Thoennes of Alexandria was fifth.
Matt Dittman of Lake Lillian topped Kevin Wahl of Fergus Falls for the Short Tracker win. 2023 Viking champion Kole Kampsen was third, Jeff Rohner of Willmar was fourth and Andy Booke of Wahpeton was fifth.
Mark Froehlich of Zimmerman won the Wissota Midwest Modified feature from his ninth starting spot. Travis Engebretson of Cyrus was third, Taylor Bitzan of Brandon was third, Haley Lee of Starbuck was fourth and Ron Saurer of Dalton was fifth.
Sunday Night Notes
--Tucker Pederson of East Grand Forks won the Wissota Street Stock feature on Sunday night at Devils Lake Speedway. Seth Klostreich of Grand Forks was second, Trey Hess of Grand Forks was third, Kasey Ussatis of Nome was fourth and Braden Brauer of Eyota was fifth.
Lucas Rodin of Marion, who won three nights in a row at the Big Buck Nationals at Brown County Speedway, won the Wissota Midwest Modified feature over Jory Berg of Grand Forks. Austin Hunter of Winnipeg was fifth.
--Mike Greseth of Harwood topped Dustin Strand of East Grand Forks for the NLRA Late Model win at Greenbush Race Park on Sunday night. Greseth also won the NLRA show on Saturday at Greenbush. Tyler Peterson of Hickson, the national point leader, was third.
Peterson won the Wissota Modified feature while Justin Olson of Thief River Falls won the Wissota Midwest Modified feature. Alex Truscinski of Greenbush won the POWRi Minn-Kota Lightning Sprint main event.
--It was a good night for the VanMil siblings at North Central Speedway in Brainerd. Chris VanMil of Barnesville won the IMCA Sport Mod feature while Rob VanMil of Barnesville won the IMCA Stock Car main event.
--Rich Pavlicek of Casselton won the IMCA Sport Mod feature Sunday night at Nodak Speedway in Minot.