It’s time for the annual RaceChaser blog Wissota 100 picks for the event, which will be held at I-94 EMR Speedway starting on Wednesday. A year ago, I went a whopping 2-for-6, picking Tyler Peterson to win the mods and Tommy Bawden to win the Mod 4s. I went 2-for-6 in 2021 as well.
This year there are five classes running. The Mod 4s held their event on Sunday, which Tommy Pogones won, so I won’t pick them this year. Pure Stocks and Hornets also ran on Sunday at Bemidji. I will pick the other five classes competing.
Keep in mind, this is totally my opinion and for fun, some food for thought. I don’t know all of the drivers attending, much of this is based on the pre-entry list I got Tuesday morning from Wissota. More will pre-register tonight and many will register the day of the race. So don’t be alarmed or upset if I don’t include all of the contenders or drivers, there are dozens in each class that can win this event.
Wissota Late Model
2022 champion: Jimmy Mars
Contenders: Pat Doar, Tyler Peterson, Chad Becker, Jeff Massingill, Mike Greseth, Shane Edginton
Sleeper: Cole Schill
I don’t know who will be attendance for the full week – taking my best guess. Wednesday night’s late model program is the challenge series finale, so I expect to see Pat Doar, Jake Redetzke and John Kaanta in town for Wednesday at least.
One thing is clear, there will not be back-to-back late model champions at the Wissota 100 as Jimmy Mars has retired from racing. His car will be there, however as Dustin Sorenson will be piloting the #28 late model this week at I-94.
It’s hard to ever pick against Doar in a big race and he’s won a big show at I-94 before. Doar has won about every big race in Wissota -- except for one, and that's the Wissota 100. Hard to believe he's not got one of those wins. Doar is on his way to the challenge series championship.
Peterson was arguably the fastest car for the weekend at the Seitz Memorial but wasn’t able to grab a feature win, and I’m guessing that will stir the fire for him further this week. He’s won late model features at I-94, Casino, River Cities, Norman County, Madison, McLean County Speedway, Brown County Speedway and Ogilvie and has been fast every night he’s unloaded.
I expect to see Chad Becker, a three-time Wissota national champion and former Wissota 100 winner at I-94, in town as he’s in a duel with Peterson for the national championship. Both drivers need feature wins at this point. Becker went from 20th to second at the Seitz Memorial. HE has 17 feature wins in the late model while Peterson has 16; those two are locked in a very close fight for the national title.
Jeff Massingill of Keewatin won a $5,000 feature at Granite City Speedway in August and had two challenge series wins. He has five wins overall, but he usually finds his way to the top five of the bigger events.
Mike Greseth has won six feature this year and captured his third straight NLRA title. He won a $2,500 to win special at Dead Horse Creek Speedway in August. Shane Edginton has five wins this season, but won the biggest prize at the Seitz Memorial, driving a smart, patient race. Momentum, at this point, matters.
My sleeper is Cole Schill. He has two wins this season but was fast all weekend at the Seitz Memorial and recorded a top five. He was plagued with issues earlier in the year – blowing three motors – but seems to be running well at the right time. HE’s also a multi-time track champion at I-94.
My pick: Tyler Peterson. Hard to pick against him, considering the amount of wins he’s had at different tracks. I’m thinking after last weekend’s disappointments in the late model he will be very motivated this weekend.
2022 champion: Tyler Peterson
Contenders: Tyler Peterson, Shane Sabraski, Dave Cain, Brady Gerdes, Dan Ebert, Johnny Broking, Brandon Copp
Sleeper: Don Eischens
Peterson won two of the three features at the Seitz Memorial and has 16 wins on the year. While he won’t three-peat as modified national champion – Shane Sabraski is in control of the national points – he has a good shot at the top five. TPO also isn’t afraid to run up on the top side and that is sometimes key at I-94.
Sabraski is a contender every year in the modifieds. He has 22 mod wins on the year and 46 top fives and is a threat to win everywhere he goes. He’s likely going to be the national champion in the Wissota Modifieds and Super Stocks this year.
Cain is Mr. Smooth and has been a multiple Wissota 100 champion, including a win at I-94. The big races are where he shines. Gerdes has been on fire since late July, with seven wins since July 29. In 12 starts since then, he has finished first or second 11 times. Like Peterson he knows I-94 very, very well.
Ebert is the 2021 Wissota 100 champion and has mainly raced USMTS this year; he has two wins on that series. He gets around I-94 EMR Speedway as well as anybody. Broking was third at the Wissota 100 last year and has 14 wins this season, including a win at the Hibbing Labor Day Shootout earlier this month. Brandon Copp is a sneaky good driver who is seventh in national points and has 10 wins. Eischens is my sleeper – he won the Gierke Memorial at I-94 and Night 2 of the Labor Day Shootout, which are two pretty big wins.
My pick: Dan Ebert. This was a hard pick as all the others I mentioned are very capable of winning. Ebert knows how to get around I-94 and went from 25th to seventh a year ago. I think racing against the USMTS competition benefits him at an event like this.
Wissota Super Stocks
2022 champion: Trevor Nelson
Contenders: Shane Sabraski, Dexton Koch, Trevor Nelson, Dustin Nelson
Sleeper: Dylan Nelson
This is one where I think it’s clearer cut who will contend as there are some drivers who’ve separated themselves from the pack this year. Sabraski was runner-up last year and has won about every big race in a super stock you can. Oh, and he is not far from 900 feature wins for his career. He swept the Labor Day Shootout earlier this month at Hibbing among his many wins.
Koch is having the best year of his career with 24 feature wins and is second in the national points. Trevor Nelson has 24 wins as well and is the defending Wissota 100 champion, edging Sabraski in a hard-fought battle last year. Dustin Nelson has won 10 features and is the track champion at Grand Rapids and North Central Speedway in Brainerd. All are very formidable.
After that, it all depends on who will be in attendance. There usually is someone who emerges this week as a contender. Dylan Nelson is my sleeper, he’s a top runner at North Central in Brainerd and has six feature wins. I’ve seen him run well at Grand Rapids as well.
My pick: Sabraski. It’s a close call over Trevor Nelson and Koch who will contend this week. Experience and long-term consistent success are hard to pick against.
Wissota Midwest Modified
2022 champion: Travis Saurer
Contenders: Zach Benson, Lucas Rodin, Corey Storck, Mike Nichols, Nate Reinke, Tony Leiker
Sleeper: Derek Rieck
I’m unsure if Saurer will hop in a B modified this year – last year he won in one of his dad Ron’s cars. For the sake of this article, we will assume he is not.
I think this is wide open and about 25-30 drivers can be picked to win. Benson is the national point leader and has 19 feature victories this this year, including one at I-94. Rodin has nine wins in the Wissota Midwest Modifieds and is second in the national points and is a former Wissota 100 champion.
Corey Storck is sixth in the national points and has seven wins and usually runs well at I-94. Nichols is the 2023 Wissota Midwest Modified track champion at I-94 and has nine feature wins this summer. Reinke raced strong at I-94 all summer and won there on Sept. 1, and swept the Sauerkraut 500 last weekend at Tri-County Speedway in Wishek.
Wyoming driver Tony Leiker has 13 feature wins and is a very good driver. We don’t hear much about him over this way but I’ve seen him in the past and feel he has a shot.
I like what I’ve seen of Derek Rieck this season, and he’s a top runner at Madison and Fiesta City. He has six feature wins and is my sleeper.
My pick: Lucas Rodin. This is a difficult call with so many contenders. Benson, Storck, Nichols, Reinke or Leiker can certainly win this, as can several others. I’ll go with Rodin, a past Wissota 100 champion at I-94.
Wissota Street Stock
2022 champion: Braden Brauer
Contenders: Justin Vogel, Braden Brauer, Tucker Pederson, Braden Brauer, Kolton Brauer, Nick Traynor, Hunter VanGilder
Sleeper: Kyle Anderson
Remember last year’s race? It was getting crazy late with Brauer leading – and then the rain hit with about four laps left. I think some of the best racing of the week will occur in the street stocks. The national point race is a fierce fight between Justin Vogel, Braden Brauer, Tucker Pederson of East Grand Forks and Kolton Brauer. The top four spots are separated by 44 points as of Sept. 3.
Braden Brauer is the defending champion and has 23 feature wins this season. Vogel went from 27th to third a year ago and after some tough luck at the Seitz Memorial, will be on a mission this week. He has 21 feature wins and is now the two-time Dirt Race Central Street Stock Tour champion.
I don’t know if Pederson will attend but he’s a contender if he does. He has 24 feature victories this summer in what is the best season of his young career. Kolton Brauer has 17 wins and has run well at many different tracks, much like his brother.
Wisconsin driver Nick Traynor ran several Dirt Race Central Street Stock Tour events and is a former Little Dream champion. He has a couple of wins at I-94 and will be a major threat. Another Wisconsin driver, Hunter VanGilder, has five wins this season and is dang tough.
Jamestown’s Kyle Anderson is my sleeper; much like Gerdes in the modifieds, he’s caught fire in August and finished in the top three both nights at the Seitz Memorial.
My pick: There are about 12-15 cars that can contend, including the group I mentioned above. I’m going with Traynor but none of the others winning would surprise me at all.