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  • tombergie01

Previewing the Final Night of the Wissota 100

Travis Saurer has the pole for the Wissota Midwest Modified feature.

The top 24 spots in five divisions are set for tonight’s Wissota 100 finale in five divisions, along with the 22 Wissota Mod 4s.

For the week, including pure stocks and hornets on Tuesday, 343 cars have competed at this year’s 100: 91 midwest modifieds, 66 street stocks, 47 late models, 46 modifieds, 54 super stocks and 22 mod 4s. I think the quality and depth in each class was excellent.

Congrats to Friday’s Race of Champions winners: Josh Skorcewski (late models), Shane Sabraski (modified) and Dustin Holtquist (Mod 4). Sabraski also won the super stocks on Thursday.

I mentioned that the first two nights, aside from Mike Nichols’ rollover and a few other incidents, were fairly clean. Friday night, with the final chance to get into the show without going through a last chance race, the politeness disappeared and was replaced by desperation and aggressiveness. On a fast racetrack that isn’t going to be a good thing in most cases and as a result there were some tore up race cars.

Chuck Swenson of Watertown rolled his late model very hard down the backstretch into turn three in his heat race. Reports are he was OK, but that was as hard a tumble as you will see in a late model. From a distance the car looked like it was junk. Two-time NLRA champion Mike Greseth of Harwood was also involved (a car hit the wall and then came down into him) and also had damage. He had finished eighth on Thursday but gave up his spot, and now his only hopes of qualifying come from the last chance qualifier.

Justin Vogel of Brooten won Thursday’s Wissota Street Stock qualifier, but decided to give up his spot and take another shot at a feature win on Friday; well he was caught up in a wreck in his heat race, not of his doing, and didn’t make the qualifying feature. If you know the Wolverine like I do, this will only fuel his fire for Saturday as he has to go through a last chance qualifier. If he makes the show, he is among a handful of drivers I’d pick to be able to work through the field and contend. It’s not an easy task by any means.

Here is a look at the top 24 for each (and top 22 for Mod 4)

Wissota Street Stock

Inside row (Wednesday qualifiers): 1. Kyle Dykhoff; 2. Scott Bintz; 3. Hunter VanGilder; 4. Justin Pogones; 5. Kaden Woodie; 6. Taylor Garberich; 7. Ross Bjerkeset; 8. Maria Broksieck

Middle row: 1. Braden Brauer; 2. Kyle Anderson; 3. Joey Tinker; 4. Jeff Nowak; 5. Kyle Howland; 6. Michael Brockman; 7. Jordan Johnson; 8. Rex Feller

Outside row (Thursday qualifiers): 1. Kyle Genett; 2. Tim Johnson; 3. Kolby Kiehl; 4. Ty Agen; 5. Jeff Ekdahl; 6. Eric Riley; 7. Greg Jose; 8. Mike Jans

Dykhoff is my pick; he has 26 wins and is the national point leader. But Braden Brauer went from 17th to first during Friday’s qualifier and has 14 wins on the year and will be a force. Kyle Genett is a very solid, steady competitor and starts on the outside of Row 1. That is a strong front row.

One driver who gave up a spot earlier in the week but now will start in the second row is Kyle Anderson of Jamestown, who went from 22nd to second.

Never count out Tim Johnson of Brainerd, either. He’s a former national champion and Little Dream winner and will race as hard as anyone for the win. He’s on the outside of row 2. Hunter VanGilder is a top runner in Wisconsin.

Justin Pogones, Kaden Woodie, Kolby Kiehl, and former Wissota 100 winner Mike Jans are among the drivers I’m keeping an eye on back in the field.

Some good cars not in the show yet include Cole Greseth, Jeremy Castro (who is in top five of national points), Kolton Brauer, Cory Moser, Justin Vogel and Kasey Ussatis.

Wissota Midwest Modified

Inside row (Wednesday qualifiers): 1. Travis Saurer; 2. Michael Truscott; 3. Randy Laage; 4. Shane Howell; 5. William Molter; 6. Greg Pfeiffer Jr.; 7. Justin Froemming; 8. Matt Heinzerling

Middle row: 1. Mike Nichols; 2. Cody Lee; 3. Reise Stenberg; 4. Corey Storck; 5. Brock Gronwold; 6. Scott Bintz; 7. Kyle Langland; 8. Justin Björklund

Outside row (Thursday qualifiers):: 1. Lucas Rodin; 2. Nick Koehler; 3. Travis Schulte; 4. Brendan Blascyk; 5. Brennon Weight; 6. Zach Benson; 7. Tommy Nichols; 8. Nate Reinke

You have a four-time national champion (Travis Saurer) and the defending national champion (Lucas Rodin) on the front row along with up-and-coming talent Mike Nichols of Watertown. Nichols gets the comeback of the week award so far: he rolled his 67 machine in a heat race on Thursday and was pretty beat up but got the car repaired, and now is on the front row after winning Friday’s qualifier. All three of those drivers could easily win this.

Michael Truscott, Cody Lee and Nick Koehler will man the second row. I never count the Cobra in a big race. Truscott is a very good racer from Wisconsin not to be discounted contending for the win. Koehler has 10 wins this season and is a top runner at Eagle Valley Speedway in Wisconsin.

You have a lot of cars starting further back, like Greg Pfeiffer Jr., Corey Storck, Brendan Blascyk, Brennon Weight, Zach Benson and Nate Reinke, who, with a few breaks, could sneak into contention.

Happy for Kyle Langland of Enderlin, putting his #66 Ford in the show on Friday. Keep in mind, there are 91 cars in attendance, meaning about 2/3 will not make the show. Getting in is a big accomplishment.

I picked Benson before the week but he has work to do, starting in the sixth row. I will say of the 24 cars in the show I can’t find many I don’t think can win.

Some good cars not in the field include Adam Brotherton, Taylor Bitzan, Jamie Dietzler, Austin Chyba, Andrew Inman, Zach Reinke, David Simpson (who won the ROC event), Kennedy Swan, Justin VanEps and Jaren Wibstad. The last chance qualifier will be a dogfight.

Wissota Late Model

Inside row (Wednesday qualifiers): 1. Chad Becker; 2. Cole Searing; 3. Danny Vang; 4. Jordan Tollakson; 5. Travis Budisalovich; 6. Blake Swenson; 7. Shawn Meyer (no other drivers took the final spot)

Middle row: 1. Don Shaw; 2. Pat Doar; 3. Bryce Sward; 4. Scott Ward; 5. Jeff Provinzino; 6. Dave Mass; 7. Ryan Mikkelson; 8. Josh Skorczewski

Outside row (Thursday qualifiers): 1. Jimmy Mars; 2. Sam Zender; 3. Shane Edginton; 4. Kevin Burdick; 5. Sam Mars; 6. Cole Schill; 7. Jeff Massingill; 8. Josh Zimpel

Former national champion and Wissota 100 winner Chad Becker of Aberdeen, Don Shaw, the 2022 Seitz Memorial winner, and defending champion Jimmy Mars of Menomonie, Wis. lead a stacked front row.

The second row isn’t shabby, either — defending Wissota national champion Cole Searing, who won the Challenge Series title this year; multi-time Challenge Series champion Pat Doar, my pick; and Sam Zender, who an excellent run in the Thursday qualifier.

There are a lot of cars to watch back in the field — Dave Mass, Ryan Mikkelson, Cole Schill, Jeff Massingill, Kevin Burdick being the ones I’ll watch.

Watertown veteran Scott Ward went from 11th to first in his heat on Friday, and finished fourth in the qualifier. Friday was his first night at the 100 so he made the most of his one-night opportunity.

Some good cars not in the show include Lance Matthees, Trevor Anderson, Matt Aukland, Jon Tollakson, Dustin Arthur, Ben Wolden and Cole Babcock.

Wissota Super Stocks

Inside row (Wednesday qualifiers): 1. William Lund; 2. Trevor Nelson; 3. Dustin Nelson; 4. Brandon Duelleman; 5. Jack Koranda; 6. Gary Husmann; 7. Dylan Nelson; 8. Ryan Kostreba

Middle row: 1. Jim Gullikson; 2. Doug Koski; 3. Austin Niemeyer; 4. Trent Brutger; 5. Justin Tammen; 6. Matt Miller; 7. Matt Sparby; 8. Erick Thiesse

Outside row (Thursday qualifiers): 1. Dexton Koch; 2. Shane Sabraski; 3. Dave Mass; 4. Jacob Knapper; 5. Tim Johnson; 6. James Trantina; 7. Scott Lawrence; 8. Eric Martini

Rarely do you see a Wissota 100 Super Stock feature without Shane Sabraski or Dave Mass on the front row. But that is the case this year.

William Lund of Brandon, Jim Gullikson of Nowthen and Dexton Koch of Becker leads the group to the green. Koch is second in national points and is having a great season.

Sabraski is in row 2 and Mass is in row three. Another driver who is a prime contender is Warner, S.D., driver Trevor Nelson; he has 18 wins in 28 starts this season and starts in row 2.

Austin Niemeyer of Brainerd went from 24th to third in Friday’s qualifier in one of the great runs of the weekend. Dustin Nelson of Ogilvie is another driver to watch from row 3.

Some good cars not in the show include Denis Czech, Jared Zimpel, Shawn Fernkes, Karter Reents and Tristan LeBarge.

Wissota Modified

Inside row (Wednesday qualifiers): 1. Tyler Peterson; 2. Shane Sabraski; 3. Johnny Broking; 4. Landon Atkinson; 5. Jody Bellefeuille; 6. Michael Truscott; 7. Mike Stearns; 8. Dusty Bitzan

Middle row: 1. Justin Froemming; 2. Lee Grosz; 3. Brady Gerdes; 4. Blake Jegtvig; 5. Shane Howell; 6. Kollin Hibdon; 7. Jayson Good; 8. Chris Mensen

Outside row (Thursday qualifiers) 1. Don Eischens; 2. Dave Cain; 3. Zach Johnson; 4. Joseph Thomas; 5. Ryan Gierke; 6. Dale Ames; 7. Josh Thoennes; 8. Ryan Flaten

Tyler Peterson leads the field to the green as he is close to wrapping up his second straight national title. Modified rookie Justin Froemming is in the middle row while Don Eischens of Richmond is on the outside pole.

After the front row, the field is stout. Sabraski and former national champion and 100 winner Dave Cain are in row 2, along with modified rookie Lee Grosz of Watertown, who looked excellent on Friday. Row 3 is interesting: two-time Advantage RV Mod champion Johnny Broking of Grand Rapids, multi-time I-94 champion Brady Gerdes of Villard and the Millennial Farmer, Zach Johnson of Lowry, man that row.

A note on Gerdes: he did not compete on Wednesday or Thursday, meaning he needed a good run on Friday in the qualifier — and he did just that, finishing third. I never count him out at a big race at I-94.

Former Wissota 100 winner Landon Atkinson and former national champion Blake Jegtvig of Hawley are in the fourth row.

I’m really happy for my friend Chris Mensen. He missed much of the season recovery from back surgery but was able to get behind the wheel later in the year. He told me a few weeks ago he needs a lot of help as far as working on the car, which he’s gotten. And he made the show by finishing eighth on Friday. He is driving one of Josh Thoennes’s Lethal Cars.

Kollin Hibdon, who finished second in the IMCA Modified Super Nationals, is in the show in the 48 machine. He finished sixth during Friday’s qualifier.

Some good cars not in the show include Matt Aukland, Josh Beaulieu, Brandon Copp, defending champion Dan Ebert, Brian Haben and Jason Thoennes.

A surprise entrant in the modifieds, to me, was Jason “Big Show” Wolla of Ray, N.D., a former IMCA Mod national champion. He was a DNF in his heat race.

Mod 4s

The long-time veteran Dean Larson topped Tommy Bawden for the wissota mod 4 qualifying win. Robert Holtquist of Milbank was third.

Skyler Smith of Bemidji had a great run on Friday, going from 22nd to fourth.

Only 11 of the 21 starters finished on Friday so it’s hard to get a gauge of which drivers could work through the field.

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