Bitzan, Satter, Saurer Brothers, Robinson Claim Viking Wins
I made it back to Viking Speedway for the July 3 show. It was another great night weather-wise for the show at the half-mile.
Car counts were solid and the show ran along nicely. The final checkered waved at 9:19 p.m. — meaning the show lasted less than three hours — which is what I really like to see.
Avery Anderson of Alexandria took the lead from the outset of the Wissota Midwest modified feature. Four time national champion Travis Saurer of Elizabeth battled with his dad, Ron for second. Defending Viking champion Shawn Olson of Alexandria settled in fourth.
A two car crash on the front stretch with nine to go ended the night for Connor Busse of Alexandria and Brooke Hellerman of Parkers Prairie, who was making her season debut. Both left on the hook.
On the ensuing restart Travis Saurer made his move and took over the top spot, and Anderson now had to contend with Ron Saurer as Olson followed close.
Taylor Bitzan of Brandon was also having a good run as he moved into fifth. However after an incident in turn four with four to go he suffered a flat and had to go to the pits; I didn’t see what happened but Ron Saurer was sent to the rear.
Travis Saurer reestablished control to pick up the win. Olson made a pass of Anderson for second in what was a good race to the finish. Scott Oeltjen of Villard had a nice run and held off Ron Saurer for fourth.
Point leader Brendan Blascyk had a tough night, dropping out with a mechanical issue earlier in the main event. He told me after that he started having engine issues Friday at I-94 Sure Step Speedway and those continued into Saturday.
The Wolverine Justin Vogel of Brooten did not waste time getting to the front in the Wissota Street Stock feature. He stormed around on the outside from his sixth starting spot and had the lead by the exit of turn two.
Defending Viking champion Ryan Satter was in a group battling for second with Greg Platzer of Robbinsdale and Kyle Howland of Zimmerman.
Vogel had some breathing room by the time Satter cleared Howland for second; his lead was over 1.7 seconds. But a caution waved and erased that advantage and brought Satter right to Vogel’s bumper.
On the restart Satter got a run on the inside and completed the pass entering turn one. With four to go a caution came out and it set up another classic duel between Satter and Vogel.
Vogel found something on a higher lane and pulled beside Satter as the white flag waved. Satter re-took over the top spot entering one and two.
Vogel had one more charge left and had a good run lower out of turn four, but came up a few feet short as Satter picked up the win by .0052 seconds. That win was a milestone as Satter won his 100th career feature race.
Howland ran a nice race to take third with Jason Thimmesh of Garfield, who ran in the top five all night, finishing a solid fourth. Roger Berkness of Eagle Bend also ran well to take fifth.
The Short Trackers were caution-free. Blayne Sweet of Sauk Centre and Nic Hiles of Miltona were the front-row starters.
David Wahl of Fergus Falls would be the early leader, but Shawn Robinson of Dalton was closing quick. It soon turned into a nice race for the lead. Austin Raths of Donnelly and Tristan Raths of Donnelly settled into the third and fourth spots.
Robinson worked past Wahl for the lead, but Wahl didn’t let Robinson get away. The #00 machine didn’t flinch, even in lapped traffic, to record a win by .876 seconds. Wahl was second, with Austin Raths, Tristan Raths and Kevin Wahl of Fergus Falls rounded out the top five.
The Wissota Super Stock feature looked like a runaway for about the first 10 laps. Ryan Kostreba of Elk River had built a nice lead over Bailey Rosch of Alexandria. Jack Koranda of Bluffton settled into third.
Jeff Crouse of Alexandria was battling Trevor Saurer of Dalton in the top five along with Bryan Hellerman of Parkers Prairie, making his season debut.
Kostreba had a decent lead on Rosch, but slowed suddenly on the backstretch with six to go and pulled in. Rosch would inherit the lead. The first caution would wave moments later for a spin in turn four.
Crouse would also pull in during that point with a mechanical issue; he is not having the type of season we are used to seeing from the 29* car.
Rosch would lead on the restart, but now had Koranda and Trevor Saurer on his tail. And it turned into quite a battle. Saurer looked like he had taken over the top spot with a pass on the lower line, but Rosch fought back on the outside. Soon, with two to go, Koranda made it three-wide with a run on the bottom as Saurer went to the middle.
Saurer had the advantage entering turn one, but Rosch looked to make one last charge at his second career win. But he got crossed up in turns three and four and Saurer would go on to win. Koranda finished second.
Matt Miller of Glenwood, who suffered a flat tire in his heat and had to start towards the back in 10th, worked up to third at the checkered. Rosch was fourth and Hellerman fifth.
The Thoennes brothers, Josh and Jason, held the front row of the Wissota Mod feature. Josh took the lead early.
One driver who appeared determined from the outset was Brady Gerdes of Villard, a multi-time Viking track champion. He started fourth on the field but was clearly fast, and would get by Josh Thoennes for the top spot.
Dusty Bitzan of Brandon, who edged Gerdes by inches Friday at I-94, moved into third, and soon would pass Josh Thoennes for second.
Gerdes opened the advantage over Bitzan, who was slowly cutting into Gerdes’s lead. Jason Thoennes settled into third while Travis Saurer soon challenged Josh Thoennes for fifth.
Gerdes looked like he was on his way to the win, but slowed suddenly in turns three and four on the final lap, and Bitzan was able to go around the outside for the win. Jason Thoennes would take second, while Gerdes would manage to finish third. An electrical issue was the culprit for Gerdes.
Saurer was fourth and Josh Thoennes fifth in the caution-free race.
Edginton Wins NLRA Show at Greenbush
Shane Edginton of East. St. Paul, Man., topped Joey Pederson of East Grand Forks for the NLRA Late Model win on Saturday at Greenbush Race Park. Ryan Corbett of Grand Forks was third, Danny Vang of Deerwood was fourth and Brody Troftgruben was fifth.
Dexter Dvergsten of Greenbush topped Alex Truscinski of Greenbush for the POWRi Minn-Kota Lightning Sprint feature. Kelsi Pederson of East Grand Forks was third.
Tyler Peterson of Horace won the Wissota Modified feature Saturday at Greenbush over Shawn Teunis of West. St. Paul, Man. Aaron Holtan of Newfolden was third.
Aaron Blacklance of Thief River Falls won the Wissota Midwest Modified feature. Jerome Berger of Badger topped Weston Ramsrud of Bailey for the Wissota Street Stock win.
Saturday Night Notes
—Fargo IMCA modified driver Casey Arneson, 27, passed away unexpectedly on Friday night. It’s a big loss for the area Red River Valley racing community, which has lost Troy Olson, Bobby Blue, Dave Jacobson and Mike Bruns in recent years. I didn’t know Arneson personally— I had interviewed him briefly after a win at Norman County Raceway a few years ago — but as a driver, he was always a threat to win wherever he unloaded. Prayers and thoughts to the Arneson family.
—Russell Kostreba of Elk River had quite a ride in his Wissota Super Stock heat race. He went off of turn three and ended up in the trees. He was OK, but the right side of his car took a pretty good hit. But the 14 crew worked hard to get the car so it could at least take the green flag for the feature.
—the father/daughter team of Brian and Brooke Hellerman made their season debuts at Viking on Saturday. Brian had a solid run to take fifth in the Wissota Super Stock feature.
—Jamie Thorstad of Morris won the Wissota Midwest Modified feature Saturday night at Madison Speedway.
Kyle Dykhoff of Starbuck topped Eric Riley of Morris for the Wissota Street Stock win with Todd Carter of Lisbon taking third.