Hanson, Schuler, Adams, Nelson, Haben, Olsen and VanDerostyne Win Mad Town Showdowns
I covered Madison Speedway remotely on Sunday for the Madtown Showdown on Sunday. Normally I’m done with race reports at this point of the year, and especially with a show of seven classes, but since the folks at Madison tried so very hard to get a race in this weekend – not to mention I have a soft spot for the place since I grew up going there many years ago.
The weather, the past two weekends, has been miserable for racing from the Dakotas to Minnesota to western Wisconsin. Granite City and Casino got one night in of their doubleheaders last weekend; Jamestown’s Stampede and the Punky Manor were postponed; the Paul Bunyan Stampede in Bemidji was wiped out altogether. This ABC Raceway got the Red Clay Classic in despite rain and very humid conditions – the pits were a complete mudhole there but somehow they got their track in amazing shape for feature racing. This weekend, two-day shows at I-94 and Dacotah Speedway in Mandan were shortened to one night, Madison was able to squeeze in one show out of its doubleheader but tried valiantly to race on Friday and Saturday nights.
I felt for the folks at Madison; they lost their popular Labor Day doubleheader show because of rain, too.
After battling rain the past two nights, Madison’s weather was like this on Sunday: partly sunny, a 15 mph south wind and temps in the 90s. You could see the water standing in the infield at the bottom of the track; and yet the track itself was dry. As far as car counts go, it’s not fair to judge considering this was a rain-date from Friday and Saturday but I thought they were solid.
The Wissota Street Stock national points race took center stage as the top four in the national points were in attendance. Justin Vogel of Brooten had a 11-point lead over Braden Brauer of Eyota heading into the night.
Andrew Hanson of Iron River, Wis., snagged the early lead with Braden Brauer of Eyota and justin Vogel of Brooten, two drivers fighting for the national points lead, giving chase. The caution would wave for Josh Long’s spin in turns one and two.
Things got tense as Vogel, Kolton Brauer and Braden Brauer went three-wide. Tucker Pederson of East Grand Forks, who is third in the national points, was giving chase.
After another caution Hanson resumed up front with Vogel all over him. He got a big run into turns one and two but couldn’t make it stick. The Brauer brothers were running third and fourth with Pederson in fifth.
Hanson pulled away as Kolton Brauer and Vogel fought for second. Vogel was trying diligently to make a higher groove work but it wasn’t coming around as the lower line was quicker.
The caution would wave for Dustin Schultz’s spin in turn one with four to go, which was the last thing Hanson wanted to see after building a 1.441 second lead. On the restart Vogel went back up to a higher lane looking for an opening at the front. It felt like Vogel and Kolton Brauer ran side by side for a majority of the race.
Hanson was flawless up front and picked up the $1,100 win with Vogel settling for second. Kolton Brauer would cross third and Braden Brauer would cross fifth, but both were DQed postrace. That moved Pederson into third at the finish with Zach Flickinger of Madison fourth and Mike Jans of Clarkfield fifth.
Kolton Brauer was third, Pederson fourth and Braden Brauer was fifth. In the bigger picture, Vogel put a wrap on the national championship, according to a very reliable source who calculates the points regularly, as Braden Brauer needed to win on Sunday to keep his hopes alive.
Andrew Hanson is no slouch, he had three feature wins and ran the Dirt Race Central Street Stock Tour pretty regularly. I actually drove through his hometown of Iron River, Wis. – which is east of Superior – on my way to ABC Raceway in Ashland. Interestingly, the closest track to his hometown that races streets is in Rice Lake.
The Madison Pure Stocks did not make it a lap as a car went off turns three and four. Alex Grinager jumped out to a nice lead as Jared Kelm and Coltyn Schuler fought for second. There was contact between those two – a racing deal I’d call it – and it cost Schulter a couple of spots.
The caution would wave as there contact between a few cars, and it left Tad Peterson with a flat right rear and ended the night for Ian Tjaden.
Grinager didn’t have any issues, pulling away on the restart as Kelm settled into second. The Schuler brothers, Coltyn and Ty, were racing hard for third with Jason Best of Clarkfield into fifth.
Things got pretty spread out at the front as Grinager led by 3-4 car lengths. Things were moving along well until a debris caution with four to go.
Grinager did not a get a good restart and that allowed Coltyn Schulter and Kelm to get by in what turned into a fierce fight for the lead. Grinager fought back into second as the top three were in a tight battle but Schuler would survive for the win, his ninth of 2023. Grinager, who has 10 wins this season, was second. Kelm was third, Best was fourth and TJ Brockman – who had gone to the tail for a caution early in the race – made it back to fifth.
Haley Lee of Starbuck jumped out to the lead of the Wissota Midwest Modified feature over the long-time veteran Terry Reilly of Watertown. Soon, Reilly was challenged for second by Corey Storck of Morris. Blake Adams of Cameron, Wis., -- the likely Wissota Midwest Modified Rookie of the Year -- was running fourth.
Storck found something up high and cleared Reilly and set his sights on Lee. Adams moved into third.
Soon, Adams was closing for second and used a lapped car to take over that spot with Storck right behind in third. Both were applying heavy pressure on Lee at the point.
Adams would make the pass for the lead, but the caution would wave to negate that with nine laps to go. A three-car pileup in turns one and two which involved Cory Peterson, Tim Kanten of Milan and Chad Williamson of Watertown, S.D.
Adams made the move for the lead on the restart with Lee running second. Jake Molitor of St. Cloud moved into the top five ahead of Justin VanEps of Kandihoyi.
After a caution with seven to go Adams surged into a big lead as Storck and Lee dueled for second. Reilly was still running well in fourth and soon was challenging Storck for third. After yet another caution Adams resumed the lead up front with Lee running in second and Reilly moving into third.
Adams would prevail by .846 seconds over Lee with Reily third. VanEps made a good run to fourth with Molitor edging Storck for fifth.
Trevor Nelson on the front row of the Wissota Super Stock feature spells trouble for the field, and he stormed out to a commanding lead over Chisholm driver Doug Koski. Karter Reents of Glenwood and Bradyen Hedtke were having a nice battle for third.
Nelson built a 5.504 second with six to go with Koski having to duel with Hedtke. Andrew Hedtke was running in fourth,
Nelson’s lead grew to more than six seconds, but the caution would wave with three to go to erase that huge advantage.
The restart saw Nelson blast out to another advantage as Brayden Hedtke passed Koski for second. Josh Roggatz had gotten by Reents for fifth and those two fought for that spot to the finish.
Nelson would win by 1.285 as he was clearly the class of the field. He is third in the national points and now has 26 feature victories this season. He’s a heck of a runner.
Madison track champion Brian Haben of Appleton quickly jumped out front of the Wissota Modified feature over Jacob Knapper of Montevideo. Ryan Flaten of Madison – who is having a nice season in his 15 machine – soon would move past Flaten for second.
Haben turned this race into a complete domination, leading by a bunch. Nate Heinrich of Bellingham, who had trouble in his heat race, had made headway through the field and was challenging Knapper for third.
Haben’s win came by 6.761 seconds over Flaten, who ran well but needed a caution to close the gap. Heinrich was third, Knapper fourth and Dylan Zabel of Selby, S.D., was fifth. After a caution on the first lap for Gerald Thorstad’s contact with the wall, the race went caution-free the rest of the way.
Teenager Charlie Olsen took the lead from the get-go of the Gen X Late Model feature and he was gone. Brad Staples of Herman was into second with Scott Zimmerman of Rothsay running in third.
A multi-car melee in turn four brought out the first caution, involved were Derek Quinn of Brandon, Bodie Croninger of Watertown and Kirs Wilke of Porter.
Once racing resumed Olsen kept out front with Staples in second. Tony Croninger was battling Zimmerman for third ahead of Trevor Walsh of Watertown.
The caution would fly again as Bodie Croninger and Quinn were turned around on the top of turn three. Quinn is having a nice year with one feature win and 10 top fives in 18 starts on the season but didn’t have the best of luck on Sunday.
The best battle was for second as Croninger and Staples ran side by side. Walsh and Zimmerman were also racing hard for fourth.
Olsen had one major advantage up front – clean air – and that allowed him to extend his advantage quickly. Staples and Croninger resumed their fight for second, and those two were fighting for the Gen X national point lead as well.
Staples slipped up in turn two and Croninger would finally clear him for second. Staples now had to contend with Zimmerman for third.
Olsen breezed to a 4.736 second win, his fifth of 2023. At 15 years old, he is a promising talent in the class and also has raced some Wissota/Cedar Lake late model shows this year. Tony Croninger was second with Staples third and Zimmerman fourth. Kris Wilke of Porter went from 10th to fifth at the checkered to cap off a good run.
The Wissota Hornet main event capped off the season at Madison with Adam VanDerostyne of Canby and Brett Alexander of Brookings battling for the lead early. VanDerostyne, third in the Wissota national points, assumed control.
Alexander, Jeff Rohner of Willmar and Bradley Rossow of Florence, S.D. ran three-wide briefly for second as VanDerostyne pulled away. The race for second was terrific as VanDerostyne opened a straightaway on the field.
VanDerostyne would dominate for the win, his 14th feature victory of 2023. Rohner would prevail in the fight for second with Alexander taking third, Justin Erp of Montevideo taking fourth and Rossow rounding out the top five.