Saurer, Robinson Win Viking Speedway Specials
Viking Speedway held the Kluver Memorial Super Stock Special and Short Tracker Special on Saturday, which was also Kids Night. A whopping 65 bicycles were given away at a lengthy intermission.
Seventy-seven cars were on hand, including 13 supers and 16 short trackers (I expected more in both, but solid counts).. The supers were originally running for $800 to win – and it was announced shortly before the feature that was doubled – while the Short Trackers were running for $300 to win which was also doubled.
Viking ran the Wissota Super Stocks second in a different twist, and Jordan Henkemeyer of Sauk Rapids jumped out to the early lead over Travis Scott of Glenwood. Jeff Crouse of Alexandria, Bryan Hellerman of Parkers Prairie, Matt Miller of Glenwood and Trevor Saurer of Dalton were in a big pack of cars battling for position.
Crouse moved into second but had company as Miller and Saurer were in tow. A spin with 15 left wiped out a 2.588 second lead for Henkemeyer.
The caution brought Miller, Crouse and Saurer right behind Henkemeyer. Miller immediately went to work on Crouse for second, running a lower line, and took over the spot. Saurer soon followed suit into third.
Bailey Rosch of Alexandria was running fifth with Travis Scott and long-time veteran Bryan Hellerman of Parkers Prairie giving chase.
The real battle was between the top two point cars at Viking, Saurer and Miller, as they dueled for second. Rosch was starting to close on Crouse.
Saurer’s 21 car was an absolute bullet on the bottom, and he passed Miller and Henkemeyer to take over the lead.
Henkemeyer’s good run ended with a flat tire and the #11A car pulled in. The caution came out with five to go to tighten the field. Scott Baker’s #9 car also caught fire as he was attempting to exit the speedway; he was OK and pushed in.
The way Saurer’s car worked on the bottom, I thought it was going to take some kind of effort the last five laps to get around him.. I interviewed him last week for a story on the Saurer family and he told me he has two cars – one is a 2012 and the other is a 2010 – showing you don’t need the newest equipment to compete.
Miller found some speed on the restart up high and got to Saurer’s bumper with four to go, but Saurer’s 21 was too strong on the bottom as he went on to win by .468 seconds. Miller gave a valiant chase but didn’t have enough.
Crouse finished third with Rosch capping off a good run in fourth. Scott also ran well all night and rounded out the top five.
Hunter Goulet of Fargo took the early lead in the Short Tracker feature but Shawn Beto of Wahpeton, who entered the night with eight wins in 11 starts, was fast once again and took over the lead.
But this was no runaway for Beto as Goulet would reel Beto back in and edge ahead for the lead. Shawn Robinson of Dalton was closing as well.
It turned into a three-car thriller up front as Robinson worked a higher line and pulled beside Goulet as Beto was right there. On the final corners things went three-wide as Beto took a look down below, but Robinson’s momentum on the high side allowed him to edge Goulet for the win by a matter of feet to pick up the big win.
Goulet and Beto rounded out the top three. Kevin Wahl of Fergus Falls was in the hunt as well and took fourth with Austin Raths of Donnelly taking fifth.
Kyle Preston of Fergus Falls and Randy Laage of Brooten led the Wissota Midwest Modifieds to the green, but both had issues. Laage slid way up high in turn two and lost many spots while Preston pushed up high in turns three and four and dropped back.
Avery Anderson of Alexandria, who started third, passed Preston for the lead, but Taylor Bitzan Of Brandon quickly applied heat. Four-time national champion Travis Saurer started in the fourth row but had snuck into third. Point leader Brendan Blascyk of Hoffman, who had trouble in his heat, started 16th but moved into sIxth and soon joined the battle for a top five spot.
Bitzan passed Anderson, and Anderson now had Travis Saurer to contend with. Saurer moved into second, but Bitzan had some breathing room of 4-5 car lengths.
Buzz Muzik of Alexandria went to work on Anderson for third while Blascyk worked into fifth.
Travis Saurer of Elizabeth drove the wheels off of the 42X and was starting to make up ground on Bitzan as the white flag waved. Bitzan couldn’t afford any slip ups – and he was flawless the final lap as Saurer went in hard in turns three and four, hoping for enough momentum to make the slider. It wasn’t enough as Bitzan picked up his second career win by .156 seconds in what turned into a pretty great finish. Bitzan had to earn that one, and when you beat a four-time national champion.
Saurer was second, while Muzik had a really nice showing in third. Blascyk made it to fourth after starting second to last, with Anderson capping off the night with a fifth place finish.
Sometimes, the midwest modifieds provide a lot of cautions (and headaches for fans in the process) at Viking Speedway, but that was not the case on Saturday as the race went caution free. A nice job by all 17 starters.
The biggest question in the Wissota Street Stocks at Viking Speedway is can anybody beat Ryan Satter, who hadn’t lost at the half-mile since Memorial Day weekend.
Craig Gardner and JJ Nieuwbeerta of Alexandria were having a good duel for the lead as the Wolverine, Justin Vogel of Brooten and Satter.
Vogel stuck the 10 car up high and got around both Gardner and Nieuwbeerta for the lead. He didn’t pull away, however as Nieuwbeerta held his own in second; Satter was pressuring him for second. Gardner, who had a bad crash over at Viking earlier this year, settled into fourth ahead of Jason Thimmesh of Garfield.
Satter was all over Nieuwbeerta for second in what was the best battle on the track. Vogel had opened up about a second lead. But the battle for second was the one to watch.
The Wolverine wasn’t going to be denied as he won by 1.063 seconds for his second Viking win of the year – he also won the Steffes Street Stock Tour on the second night of the Memorial Day weekend doubleheader. He’s in a tense fight for the national title with Kyle Dykhoff of Starbuck and Braden Brauer of Rochester; Vogel was third as of Aug. 7.
Satter won the hard-fought battle for second but saw his winning streak at Viking end at five. Nieuwbeerta looked excellent all night and ended in third. Thimmesh was a solid fourth with Nick Shumansky of Perham capping off a good race in fifth.
Ryan Gierke of Villard won an early tussle with Brian Haben of Appleton to take the lead in the Wissota Modified feature.
Point leader and defending Viking champion Brady Gerdes of Villard had worked into the top five, but his #2x stalled with a mechanical issue with 11 to go. He was pushed pitside, ending his night.
Justin Froemming of Elbow Lake – a rookie in the mods – was awesome on this night. He hasn’t been in the car more than 4-5 times but stuck his #33x to the bottom after starting fifth and would work around Gierke with 10 to go.
Dusty Bitzan of Brandon, who is battling Gerdes for the point lead – moved into third.
Gierke wasn’t done. He went up high and began to close the gap on Froemming. The caution waved when Travis Saurer, who tried hard to run the high line, slid off of turns three and four with seven to go.
Jason Thoennes of Garfield made his presence felt after the restart, passing Bitzan for fourth in what turned into a good. Gierke went back to the high side trying to reel Froemming back in, but the #33x was dynamite to pick up his first career win in a modified.
Gierke settled for second with Bitzan topping Thoennes for third. Blake Jegtvig of Hawley, a former Wissota Mod national champion, quietly ran well and finished fifth after starting in 10th.
Bitzan closed the point gap on Gerdes with one points night left on Aug. 27.
--Jimmy “Nitro” Williams, the all-time street stock wins leader at Viking, debuted a new car on Saturday, and was slated to start on the front row for the feature. But a battery issue wrecked the night for him; he came out late and ran a few laps, but ended up as a DNF.
--Some drivers have bad luck – Avery Wendt has worse. He rolled his #44 street stock in the heat race on Saturday, which was his second rollover of 2022. That’s just plain rotten luck.
--National point leader Kyle Dykhoff of Starbuck won the Wissota Street Stock feature Saturday night at Madison Speedway, topping Eric Riley of Morris for the win. Dykhoff also won Friday at I-94 Sure Step Speedway.
Cole Schill of Horace recorded his third top three finish of the week in the Wissota Late Models Saturday night at Madison. Dave Mass of East Bethel won the feature.
--Matt Schow of McIntosh won the Wissota Midwest Modified feature Saturday nih ght at Devils Lake Speedway. Jory Berg of Grand Forks was third, Jamie Dietzler of Larimore fourth and Nate Reynolds of Hoople fifth.
Seth Klostreich of Grand Forks won the Wissota Street Stock feature over Ryne Uhrich of Langdon.
Adam Sobolik of Grand Forks won the Western Renegade Non-Winged Sprint feature over Myles Tomlinson of Turtle Lake.
--Aaron Blacklance of Thief River Falls won the Wissota Midwest Modified feature Saturday night at Greenbush Race Park. Justin Olson of Thief River Falls, the winner Thursday at Norman County Raceway, was second.
Trey Hess of Grand Forks won the Wissota Street Stock feature at Greenbush for his second feature victory of 2022. Weston Ramsrud of Bagley was second.
Rusty Kollman of Carrington won the Wissota Midwest Modified feature Saturday night at Jamestown Speedway. Cole Neset of Fargo was third.
Kyle Anderson of Jamestown won the Wissota Street Stock feature at Jamestown with Billie Christ taking second.
— Cole Schill of Horace finished second to Dave Mass at the Madison Late Model Special. It was Schill’s third top five of the week.