Previewing the Wissota 100 Finale
Since I haven’t made it to any racing at the Wissota 100, this blog will turn to previewing tonight based on the lineups. Last night’s show, I was told my reliable sources, was done around 3:45. That’s about nine hours of racing.
So here’s my take on the lineups tonight.
Wissota Street Stock Inside Row 15R Jim Randall, Rice Lake, WI 11 Kyle Dykhoff, Perham, MN 46C Jonny Carter, Lisbon, ND 5R Danny Richards, Mondovi, WI 15 Zach Elward, Hayfield, MN 3 Brett Miller, Alexandria, MN 2K Tyler Klugman, Wheaton, MN 22W Jim Williams, DeGraff, MN
Middle: 27JR Parker Anderson, Phillips, WI 5P Ryan Pommerer, Oriska, ND 20 Andrew Hanson, Iron River, WI 59 Kyle Anderson, Jamestown, ND 97 Hunter Domagala, Mandan, ND 51 Eric Riley, Morris, MN 11* Robert Petroff, Bozeman, MT 19 Cole Kannegiesser, Hancock, MN
Outside: 10V Justin Vogel, Brooten, MN 67 Ryan Satter, Dent, MN 12 Cody Kummer, Medford, WI 21H Scott Huston, Benson, MN 27X Calvin Iverson, Eleva, WI 00G Jim Gullikson, Nowthen, MN 70 Andrew Bangsund, Alexandria, MN 4 Trey Hess, Lakota, ND
Defending champion Justin Vogel is on the outside of the front row and has a great shot of repeating. But, there are quality drivers all over the place in this field. Jim Randall won the Little Dream earlier this year and has the inside pole; Parker Anderson is one of the top runners in Wisconsin and is the middle of row 1.
Row 2 is very intriguing to me. You have Kyle Dykhoff (my pick to win it), Ryan Pommerer and Ryan Satter in that row. What they have in common is a lot of familiarity with I-94 with a lot of feature wins between them. Dykhoff won the King of the Dirt earlier this year and Satter is the track champion. Pommerer is a savvy veteran who doesn’t make many mistakes.
Right behind them is national point leader Jonny Carter, who won the Race of Champions qualifier at I-94. So you talk about seven great cars in the first seven spots.
Danny Richards, who starts fourth row inside, is someone to watch. He was a close second to Vogel last year.
Kasey Ussatis, Cory Craver (third in last chance races), Scott Witkowski and Kory Adams are among the prominent drivers in the last chance races.
Wissota Midwest Modifieds
2G Brock Gronwold, Fergus Falls, MN 28 Brennon Weight, La Moure, ND 5 David Swearingen, Little Canada, MN 66 Kyle Langland, Enderlin, ND 25A Jesse Aho, Toivola, MI 67 Mike Nichols, Watertown, SD 13 Nick Koehler, Bloomer, WI 7S Sam Zender, Fergus Falls, MN
Middle 141 Tony Leiker, Gillette, WY 11 Travis Schulte, Clear Lake, MN 57 Corey Storck, Morris, MN 10S Cole Searing, Huron, SD 28T Jayson Good, Watertown, SD 88XXX Randy Klein, Lisbon, ND 7W Michael Truscott, Chippewa Falls, WI 24D Brandon Dolman, Alexandria, MN
Outside: 27 Matt Baker, St. Joseph, MN 1JR Tim Johnson, Brainerd, MN 23DD George Dalbeck Wakefield, MI 24XS Tom Silver, Glenwood, MN 83 Kylie Kath, Claremont, MN 19R Lucas Rodin, Marion, ND 2S Matt Schow, McIntosh, MN 6 Alex Langland, Enderlin, ND
Brock Gronwold has the pole and has to be the favorite at this point, especially since he knows this track so well. Gronwold won track titles at I-94 and Viking and ever since hopping into Landon Atkinson’s former B mod, has been on fire at I-94. It will take a big-time performance to unseat him in my opinion.
What we know for sure is there will not be a repeat champion as Skeeter Estey is not at this year’s 100; he is at Cedar Lake.
That doesn’t mean there won’t be challengers. Tony Leiker is a driver not many people have heard of this way but is a big-time driver out west. Matt Baker, the outside pole car, has feature wins at I-94 this season as well.
There’s a lot of interesting names that can challenge for this – Corey Storck, Tim Johnson, George Dalbeck, Kylie Kath, Cole Searing, Randy Klein, Lucas Rodin and Michael Truscott among them.
Hats off to the Langland brothers, Kyle and Alex, for racing their way into the show through the qualifiers.
With more than 90 cars in the field, that means there will be a ton of big names in the last chance qualifiers. Cody Lee (former I-94 champ), Haley Lee (one win and nine top five finishes this season), Jim Randall, Tony Konold (seventh in national points), Justin Froemming, Shane Halopka (third in national points), Scott Harrington and Ashley Mehrwerth are among many quality cars that will try to qualify out of those.
Wissota Super Stocks Inside
29* Jeff Crouse, Alexandria, MN 7R Tommy Richards, Mondovi, WI 1JR Tim Johnson, Brainerd, MN 7A Shane Sabraski, Rice, MN 78K Dexton Koch, Becker, MN 21X Trevor Saurer, Dalton, MN 29F Dave Flynn, Superior, WI 71 Trevor Nelson, Warner, SD
Middle (Rows 1-8) 2 Dave Mass, East Bethel, MN 5 Josh Zimpel, Braham, MN 22 Dan Nissalke, Winona, MN 46 Dustin Nelson, Ogilvie, MN 511 Zach Schultz, Grove City, MN 25 Dylan Nelson, Merrifield, MN 66 Jacob Knapper, Montevideo, MN 12K Duane (D.J.) Keeler, Superior, WI
Outside (Rows 1-8) 1M Curt Myers, Cameron, WI 30 Kevin Burdick, Proctor, MN 10 Cole Searing, Huron, SD 27 Jared Zimpel, Braham, MN 77L Scott Lawrence, Superior, WI 55 Gary Husmann, Litchfield, MN 54 William Lund, Brandon, MN 13M Matt Miller, Glenwood, MN
How about this front row: Jeff Crouse, Dave Mass and Curt Myers. And the second row: Tommy Richards, Josh Zimpel and national point leader Kevin Burdick. My pick for the week is Burdick and I stand behind it, but it’s hard to argue against any of the front row starters. I know this, it is going to take a heck of a performance to win this race.
The third row includes Tim Johnson and Cole Searing, and in the fourth row is Shane Sabraski. All are legit contenders for the win.
Eight of the top 10 national point cars – Burdick, Myers, Searing, Sabraski, Mass, Dexton Koch, Crouse and Tommy Richards – are in the A main already.
Don Eischens and Jim Gullikson are two of the more prominent drivers still seeking to make the field.
What I like about the super stock field is the experience. A ton of laps of experience in big races with many of these drivers. Mass, by the way, is the defending champion.
Wissota Mod 4 (lineup)
00T Keith Thell, Foley, MN 5E Matt Halls, Big Lake, MN M16 Mitchell Hribar, Zimmerman, MN 5 Robert Holtquist, Milbank, SD 25 Justin WIll, Sheridan, WY 16 Jamie Flickinger, New London, MN 6SIX Forrest Foster, Belgrade, MN N88 Gerrald Nohner, Onamia, MN 99JR Blake Erickson, Bagley, MN 01 Justin Pogones, Zimmerman, MN 26M Garrett Masurka, Bemidji, MN 42 Stephen Schicketanz II, Casper, WY 74 Todd Pudwill, Rapid City, SD 21F David Fortier, Apple Valley, MN 04 Tommy Pogones, Zimmerman, MN 33 Robert Harley, Casper, WY 70 Steve Schicketanz, Casper, WU 32X Jerry Esler, Staples, MN 32 Dwight Gilyard, St. Cloud, MN 9 Adam Prieve, Litchfield, MN 37 Dean Larson, Pennock, MN 21 Chad Funt, Hillman, MN 30 Dean Shaver, Leonard, MN 41J Josh Jensen, Midland, SD
My pick was Adam Prieve but he has a long ways to go in this field, starting 20th. Thell has to be the favorite now; he is fourth in national points and damn good. Matt Halls and Mitchell Hribar certainly will can make some noise in this race, too as they join Thell in starting from the front row
Some cars I’d keep an eye on further in the field are Justin Pogones and Dean Larson. Dustin Holtquist, who is fifth in the national points, has to go through a last chance qualifier.
Wissota Modified Inside (Rows 1-8) 24S Mike Stearns, Hecla, SD 2C Dave Cain, Corcoran, MN 7A Shane Sabraski, Rice, MN 45 Bob Broking, Grand Rapids, MN 10X Dustin Bitzan, Brandon, MN 2X Brady Gerdes, Villard, MN 5XX Scot Danzeisen, Herman, MN 5H Brett Hoium, Villard, MN
Middle (Rows 1-8) 18A Landon Atkinson, Little Falls, MN 45J Johnny Broking, Grand Rapids, MN 6* Brian Haben, Appleton, MN 2J Blake Jegtvig, Hawley, MN 17 Mike Greseth, Harwood, ND 22T Michael Truscott, Chippewa Falls, WI 57 Mike Anderson, Jim Falls, WI 53 Chris Mensen, Carlos, MN
Outside (Rows 1-8) 9E Don Eischens, Richmond, MN 2 Denis Czech, Rice, MN 51A Alex Guthmiller, Huron, SD 1TPO Tyler Peterson, Hickson, ND 60 Dan Ebert, Lake Shore, MN 21X Travis Saurer, Elizabeth, MN 10W Ward Imrie, Winnipeg, MB 47 Danny Vang, Deerwood, MN
Mike Stearns, Landon Atkinson and Don Eischens will have the front row for tonight’s show. Three great runners will lead the pack and all certainly can win this.
There are former national champions in the field – Stearns, Ward Imrie, Blake Jegtvig and Dave Cain – plus the top five drivers in the current national standings – Sabraski, Imrie, Johnny Broking, Mike Anderson and Dan Ebert. One through 24, it is as good a field as you could ask for. Keep in mind, there are several really good cars not in the show who will run last chance races, too.
My pick earlier in the week was Johnny Broking and I’ll stick to that, but I think about 20 drivers could make a case to win this thing at this point. Watch Brady Gerdes – he is the 2019 I-94 track champ and usually rises to the top of big events – and Dan Ebert, who is fast anywhere. Tyler Peterson is another I’m keeping an eye on, he has been on a roll lately.
A shoutout to Carlos driver Chris Mensen for making the show. He hasn’t had the best luck this season but making the show against that quality of competition is a feat in itself.
There are some very good runners in the last chance races – Jason Thoennes of Garfield (former I-94 champion), Austin Arneson of Fargo, Jayson Good of Watertown, Josh Thoennes of Nelson and Zach Johnson of Lowry being among them. The top three from each last chance race advance while the final three starting spots in the 33-car field.
Dave Cain, who starts fourth, is the defending champion and never should be discounted in a race of this caliber. He is another guy that rises to the top in the big shows.
Wissota Late Model Inside (Rows 1-8) 18A Landon Atkinson, Little Falls, MN 50 Jeff Wildung, Nassau, MN 45 Dustin Bluhm, Herman, MN 4 Shane Edginton, Winnipeg, MB 50W Ben Wolden, Fergus Falls, MN 44M Eric Mass, Rapid City, SD 06 David Smith, Parkland County, AB 03 Casey Meyer, Wahpeton, ND
Middle (Rows 1-8) 12 Chad Becker, Aberdeen, SD 44 Cole Schill, Horace, ND 27 Jake Redetzke, Eau Claire, WI 57 Chad Williamson, Watertown, SD 1-2 Bryce Sward, Nelson, MN X Chuck Swenson, Watertown, SD 58X Blake Swenson, Watertown, SD 28 Jeff Provinzino, Hibbing, MN
Outside (Rows 1-8) 10B Mike Balcaen, Winnipeg, MB 42M Dave Mass, Easy Bethel, MN 32 Jordan Tollakson, Montevideo, MN 6M Jeffery Massingill, Keewatin, MN 85 John Kaanta, Elk Mound, WI 71X Cory Tammen, Moorhead, MN 86 Matthew Smith, Parkland County, AB 76 Blair Nothdurft, Renner, SD
What an interesting front row. Late model rookie Landon Atkinson is on the pole, national point leader Chad Becker is in the middle of the front and long-time Winnipeg veteran Mike Balcaen is on the outside.
Behind them you have some well-established veterans, including Jeff Wildung (former Wissota 100 winner and last year’s runner-up), John Kaanta (multi-time challenge series winner), Jake Redetzke (former challenge series winner). You also have a lot of younger late model talent like Cole Schill, Jordan Tollakson, Bryce Sward, Cory Tammen, Matthew Smith, and Blake Swenson.
My pick was Shane Edginton who has some work to do starting 10th. It’s not impossible but to win tonight in this race you have to be on your A game. Watch out for Kaanta and Redetzke, they know what it takes to get to the front in a big race.
One big name is not in the show – I-94 champion Don Shaw. Shaw finished fourth in the feature on Wednesday but gave up that spot to try and improve his starting position. The gamble – and really that is what it is – didn’t pay off. Shaw was a DNF in his qualifier last night and will start on the pole for one of the last chance races. His best possible starting spot is 25th. It doesn’t mean he won’t be a factor but that’s a lot of quality cars to get by.
Some other prominent names not in include Curt Gelling (former national champ) and Kyle Peterlin (finished in top five a year ago). There will not be a repeat winner in the late models as 2018 winner Ricky Weiss is not in attendance.
There are two father-son tandems in the field -- Chuck and Blake Swenson and Dave and Matthew Smith. Potentially, there is another if Greg Meyer qualifies.