I decided to check out Casino Speedway in Watertown, S.D., online on Sunday, and as an experiment – with the two Sunday tracks I regularly covered cancelled – am recapping the night there. I may had some coverage of Casino this season as I think there is some potential for increased blog traffic.
The thing about a quarter mile track like Casino, you don’t need a ton of cars to have a good competitive race. If you get 12-15 lates and mods to be that’s enough to put on a good show on a bullring track like that. Many nights you will end up with some crunched up sheet metal and quarter panels, but that’s the nature of racing on tracks that size.
I liked that Dirt Race Central had a camera set up next to the front straightaway and in turn one, and the replay was nice, too. Those folks do a great job covering races in the Midwest.
I should mention that defending Wissota Modified national champion Tyler Peterson of Horace absolutely has figured out the bullring. He loves those type of tracks and Sunday was a clear example of that. More on that later.
Let’s start with the Wissota Street Stocks. Andy Rossow of Florence was fighthing for the lead but slid high with a flat tire with 16 to go and retired from the event.
Maria Broksieck of Goodwin, S.D., has been one of the top runners in eastern South Dakota for many years, and she’s dang tough at Casino. She is really tough on the lower line.
Some cautions plagued the street stock main event.
Marko held the lead with Broksieck a car length behind. He eventually opened up a couple of car lengths with six to go, but Broksieck would close the gap again as the laps waned.
Marko manuevered through some lapped traffic effectively didn’t make any mistakes running the lower line, holding on for the win. Broksieck was second. One driver who was lurking near the top two the whole race was Huron’s Matt Goth, and he took home third. The long-time veteran Al Schmidt, 71-years old, was a solid fourth ahead of Brookings driver Dylan Hartley
Marko was pretty emotional in his victory lane interview and it was a well-earned win.
Chad Williamson of Watertown and Lindsey Hansen, formerly of Jamestown and now of Watertown, had the front row for the Wissota Midwest Modified feature. The caution came out on lap one as Hansen went around in turn two, sending him to the back. He did come back to battle for a spot in the top six and finished a solid eighth, a good comeback.
Scott Hansen of Garden City and Chad Williamson of Watertown, two long-time Casino veterans, waged a great battle for the lead. Hansen would take over the top spot down the front stretch after Williamson slowed for a lapped car.
After a restart with 16 to go Hansen opened up some breathing room. Williamson would get crossed up in turn two and that opened the door for Ortonville’s Derek Rieck to move into the second spot.
Rieck was closing the gap and was really good on the bottom and was making a surge on the bottom of turn four with the white flag in hand – when the caution came out for a two-car incident. Cautions always seem to happen when the racing gets close for the lead!
The green-white-checkered finish saw Hansen do a veteran move – he went to the bottom to protect that line. It worked as Rieck, who had one last shot coming out of turn four, was unable to get by as Hansen earned the win. Rieck settled for second with Spearfish, S.D., driver Matt Heizerling, who had tough luck at Viking Speedway the night before, finishing a solid third. Williamson and Huron, S.D., driver Adam Brotherton rounded out the top five.
Only nine Viessman Late Models were on hand but it was a pretty good race. First-year limited late model driver Trajan Schmidt, 21, has a sharp=looking machine. I'd seen him race in the street stocks previously.
Schmidt stuck to the bottom line, but Croninger had another run in him. He went up a lane and closed the gap down the backstretch. Schmidt and Croninger had a good battle for the lead brewing when the caution waved for Scott Borstad’s spin in turn two. Croninger would exit with a mechanical issue at that point.
Todd Stark of Watertown looked to have something for Schmidt late, and got close but couldn’t make enough of a run as Schmidt won. Stark settled for second while Doug Walsh of Watertown, a long-time veteran, was third. Brady Mellendorf was fourth and John Kaiser was fifth.
The Hornet/Short Tracker/Mini Stock numbers seem to be down pretty in the area I cover, and I’m not entirely sure why that is the case. I know a few have moved up to different classes but the drop has been significant. Only seven were in attendance at Casino.
Payton Asche of Granite Falls, who won the Short Tracker feature at Viking Speedway on Saturday, looked quick once again and I thought had the car to beat. But Canby, Minn., driver Adam VanDerostyne weathered a furious late-race charge to pick up the win. Asche looked to be making a move on the final lap but a lapped car became a factor and was enough for VanDerostyne to hold on. Another lap or two, things might have been different.
Superman Mike Stearns of Hecla took the lead from the inside pole of the Wissota Modified feature and checked out to more than a straightaway advantage over the first 12 laps until a caution came out.
With almost everyone running the bottom, defending Wissota and Casino mod champion Tyler Peterson – not one to sit and follow the leader -- ventured to the high side to move up through the field and that line was starting to come in.
After the restart with 12 to go, Peterson went from fifth to second, passing Watertown drivers Lee Grosz, Trevor Anderson and Cayden Schmeling and now set his sights on Stearns.
After a restart with 10 to go, Peterson went up high again – and in turns three and four he was absolutely a rocket on that lane – and got by Stearns to take over the top spot. Stearns was good on the bottom in turns one and two but Peterson just hauled on the top side of turns through and four and opened up a comfortable lead.
Tony Konold of Clear Lake had a nice run going, working past Anderson for third.
Peterson’s margin at the checkered flag was 2.8 seconds over Stearns, who had a top six finish at Viking the night before. Konold, Dale Ames of Huron and Anderson rounded out the top five.
Curt Kranz of Watertown was the early leader in the Wissota Late Model feature, but it was former national champion Chad Becker of Aberdeen who was the class of the field. Becker, who started third went up high and took control on his way to winning by close to a half-lap.
Kranz had his hands full with Watertown veteran Scott Ward as the race wore on. Also on the move was Blake Swenson of Watertown, who started seventh but had worked into the top five.
Becker was never threatened with a winning margin nearly 4.7 seconds over Kranz, who held off Ward for the runner-up spot. Swenson was fourth and last week’s winner Josh Skorczewski of Aberdeen was fifth.