Brauer, Nelson, Tollakson and Sabraski Lead Fiesta City Winners
I said I was going to cover racing at different tracks outside the typical coverage area this year, and some nights, it would be remotely via stream. With all my local tracks raining out and with work preventing me from traveling further, I decided to write about Fiesta City Speedway in Montevideo. That is a track about 15 minutes from my hometown of majestic Clarkfield, Minn.
Fiesta City is a 3/8-mile mile oval, built in a slough area (which I never will figure out). At one point, in the 1970s and early 1980s, I was told the track was as long as 5/8-mile on the outside. It was a ½-mile for a while, shortened to 4/10-mile in the 1990s and a few years ago shortened to 3/8-mile. It has the type of black dirt/gumbo that can really lend itself to good racing when it is in good shape. I’ve heard it compared to Norman County Raceway in Ada in terms of surface and banking.
I admire the folks at Fiesta City for putting a show on in spite of wet conditions and a chance of rain, at least according to the never wrong weather channel app. The infield was very muddy to the point where no cars could pit in there. They did make it drivable for cars to reach the scale and exit the track. The track was fast and sticky to say the least.
They didn’t have huge car counts in some classes but had some decent quality in the mods, supers and late models. The street stocks led the way with a good 18-car field while 12 Midwest modifieds and 12 pure stocks were on hand.
The Wissota Midwest Modified feature got off to a shaky start as things got bottled up in turn four as the green waved, leaving Haley Lee of Starbuck with a flat right front tire and Derek Rieck of Ortonville also suffering damage and went pitside. Rieck would return and came back to finish sixth; Lee returned briefly before pulling in. I don’t know of a driver who has had worse luck the past two years than she has.
Willmar driver Johnny Lindgren took the lead once the race got rolling; the last time I saw him he was in a Gen X late model. Gary, S.D., driver moved into second with Matt Everts of Burnsville surging into second.
Everts would soon overtake both Engesser and Lindgren and surging into the lead. Corey Storck of Morris, in a blue and orange machine this year, moved into fourth ahead of Tracy Johnson of Lake Preston, S.D.
Everts opened a few car lengths on Engesser as Storck moved into third. But Everts was the strongest of the field with a 1.168 win over Engesser. Storck settled for third with Tracy Johnson fourth and Shane DeJong of Boyd fifth.
Mike Jans of Clarkfield has long been a top runner in the Wissota Street Stocks for a long time in the Montevideo/Madison area. And when he’s on the pole, that usually spells a lot of trouble for the field. That was the case on Friday early as he surged out into the lead.
The car I was watching was Braden Brauer of Eyota, who was the 2022 Wissota 100 champion. He started seventh but quickly worked into the top four. He’s been fast wherever he’s unloaded the last few years.
A caution came out with Dale Louwagie of Cottonwood lost a front wheel. On the restart Brauer moved into second and a few laps later was pressuring Jans for the lead. Those two had a huge advantage on the field.
Ross Bjerkeset of Clarkfield, the Week 1 winner at Fiesta City, moved into the top five along with Josh Long of Canby.
Tanner Freese of Maynard was running a strong third but slowed with two laps left to bring out the caution. That brought Brauer and Bjerkeset to Jans’ bumper.
On the restart it seemed like Brauer had one shot at Jans, and that was to make some kind of move on the outside down the frontstretch. Brauer got a great run on the high side and passed Jans in turns one and two to go on his way to the win.
Jans was a strong second with Bjerkeset taking third after starting back in ninth. Long was solid in fourth with Dylan Arndt of Morris rounding out the top five.
The Wissota Super Stocks have never been huge in numbers in that part of Minnesota and just seven were on hand on Friday. But you had the defending national champion – Shane Sabraski of Rice – and the defending Wissota 100 winner Trevor Nelson of Warner on hand, along with Karter Reents of Glenwood, the week 1 winner at Fiesta City Speedway.
Nelson was a rocket from the get-go, surging from third into the lead. Sabraski, who started fifth, moved into third behind heat winner Travis Scott of Glenwood.
Nelson saw a nice lead disappear when a caution waved for debris with nine to go. That brought Sabraski, who beat Nelson by 6.2 seconds last week at I-94 EMR Speedway, to Nelson’s bumper. Reents also worked into the top three.
For a while, Sabraski pressured Nelson, but the South Dakota standout would eventually pull away as the 71N was hauling. He would go on to a 2.62 second win over Sabraski. Reents was a solid third. Nathan Grehl of Hitchcock, S.D., was fourth ahead of Scott.
The Tollakson brothers of Montevideo, Jon and Jordan, led the Wissota Late Models to the green. Jordan surged into the lead ahead of Jon. Blake Swenson of Watertown, who ran away with the heat win, moved into fourth behind Max Nelson of Milaca.
The caution came out when Chuck Swenson’s X machine stalled on the backstretch.
On the restart Nelson moved past Jon Tollakson for second. Jordan Tollakson surged into a nice lead, but this time, Nelson was reeling him in. Blake Swenson settled into third.
Nelson got close on the final lap but as they encountered a lapped car Jordan Tollakson was able to open a few car lengths by the checkered to pick up the win, his second in a row at Fiesta City. Nelson settled for second, Blake Swenson third, Jon Tollakson fourth and Curt Kranz of Watertown was fifth.
The Wissota Modified feature got off to a not very good start as modified rookie Ryan Flaten of Madison hit the wall; I didn’t see the cause of if he had help but he left on the hook.
Brandon Copp of Brule, Wis., took the lead with Brian Haben of Holloway, one of the top mod runners in that region, settling into second. Sabraski, who was third at I-94 last week, moved into second and set his sights on Copp.
With less than four laps left, Sabraski got a run on the bottom and made the pass of Copp for the lead. Sabraski is at more than 825 career feature wins, by the way, and is one of the best all-time in Wissota country. Copp would take second.
Brandon Beckendorf of Danube, a long-time top runner in IMCA modifieds, was fourth behind Haben. Ryan Nelson of Castlewood was fifth.
The Wissota Hornets saw some good, hard racing to conclude the feature. It turned into a four-car fight between Alex Aderman of Big Lake, Brady Albertson of Sauk Rapids, Justin Erp of Montevideo and Adam VanDerostyne of Canby. Aderman had the lead but Albertson, who had his hands full with Erp and VanDerostyne.
You could have thrown a blanket over the top four as the white flag waved. Aderman couldn’t afford to slip up with heavy pressure behind him, and he held on for the win. Albertson was second, Erp was third and VanDerostyne fourth. Despite some hard, close racing, the hornets kept things clean.
The 12-car Pure Stock feature kicked off the evening and saw Ty Schuler of Montevideo take the lead off the green and he literally took off from the field on his way to a straightaway lead.
Tad Peterson, with a good-looking #45 machine, settled quickly into second but soon was pressured by Ian Tjaden of Boyd, who has a very sharp appearing #87 car. Moving into the fourth spot was Coltyn Schuler of Montevideo.
Peterson and Tjaden waged a great battle for second as Ty Schuler had commanding lead. With three to go the caution came out for Joe Arndt’s spin in turn three. That set off a series of cautions.
On the next restart Coltyn Schuler got into Peterson and spun the #45; Schuler was sent to the back.
With two to go Tjaden made a power move on the outside and passed Ty Schuler out of turn two and would go on to the win. Ty Schuler settled for second with Peterson a solid third. Brady Hagen of Montevideo and Arndt rounded out the top five. If the race had went caution free Ty Schuler walks away with the win but the cautions threw a major wrench into that race.
One driver who retired after 2019 was late model racer Brian Schultz of Montevideo, who raced for more than three decades at Fiesta City. He is missed – a good steady veteran who raced clean. He had great success in the Wissota Midwest Modified class. I don’t know how many drivers retired after the track sat idle during the Covid year of 2020.
I am surprised there are not more Hornet cars at Fiesta City, but part of that is drivers have moved up out of the class. That includes Cody Hatch of Olivia, who bought Eric Riley’s street stock after last season. Jacob Aarhus and Payton Asche also have moved up to the streets in recent years.