Street Stock Feature Highlights Saturday at Viking; Schill Picks Up Big Stampede Win
I debated hard between heading to the Jamestown Stampede and the Viking Fall Classic on Saturday, since I had to work at MSU Moorhead earlier in the afternoo. However when I saw modified legend Mark Noble of Blooming Prairie in attendance, that clinched my decision to go to Viking. I also thought it was shorter to go to Moorhead (where I was working) to Alexandria, but later I was proved wrong by Mapquest.
I want to say one thing on the scheduling stuff — there were too many specials all on one week and not enough cars, particularly to go around last weekend. Wissota needs to intervene when this happens. Instead, you ended up with 18 at Jamestown, 21 at Viking and 19 at Casino. If one of those tracks moves to a different weekend, each other track gains 4-5 cars alone. I realize going into October is a major crapshoot with the weather. But, remember this has been the weekend of the Jamestown Stampede (and the Punky Manor in Wisconsin) for a long, long time. Next weekend, the only late model races that I could find are in Winnipeg and the Red Clay Classic in Ashland, Wis.
The Coal Classic in Underwood, N.D., also pulled some mods from Jamestown -- McLean had 50 mods and 26 sport mods on Saturday. It was two separate two day shows.
The big news of the night at Viking, to me, was off the track. Announcer Ron Krog stated that two long-time Viking competitors, Jason Thoennes of Garfield and Shaun Peterson of Alexandria were retiring from racing after last night’s show. Thoennes has raced in the modifieds for 20 years, so that news shocked me. Peterson started in the mod fours and was a good late model competitor before settling into the modified. Both will be missed at Viking in the modifieds; watch for a blog later this week on Thoennes.
Speaking of Krog, I hope the guy never retires. There is nobody better behind the racing mic around, and nobody more prepared with a lot of information about surrounding tracks. Such a joy to listen to.
Noble, by the way — who I have not seen race nearly enough in recent years — did not have a good night on Saturday, as mechanical trouble ended both his heat and feature race. He is in the twilight of a storied racing career, but in his prime, he and Ron Jones set the standard for modified racing in Minnesota.
One other thing about Viking: I'm not sure people realize just how fast that track is. I bought a pit pass and was standing by the pit gate area entering turn one. The late models were absolutely roaring into that turn.
The best race of the night was the Wissota Street Stocks. Justin Vogel of Brooten overtook Jack Koranda of Bluffton early in the event to take the lead, and looked to compete a weekend sweep in the class. But Ryan Satter of Dent had other plans. Satter started ninth and was on a rail, and he passed Vogel late for the lead to pick up the win. To beat Vogel at Viking, especially when he is leading, you’d better be damn good, and Satter was just that. Vogel, Koranda, 2019 champion Andrew Bangsund of Alexandria and Ryan Pommerer of Oriska, N.D., rounded out the top five.
The complexion of Wissota Midwest Modified feature changed quickly after the green flag, as Friday’s winner, Brock Gronwold of Fergus Falls, was hit in the left rear on the first lap and cut a tire. Gronwold was the third starter and it forced him to go to the back of the field after going into the pits to change a tire.
After two early cautions, the raced went without one the rest of the way. It looked like Brendan Blascyk of Kensington might earn the biggest win of his career, but Jason VandeKamp of Scandia had other ideas. VandeKamp, who swept both midwest modified races at Viking over Labor Day, worked past Blascyk and built up a decent lead on his way to the win. Blascyk was second, Cody "the Cobra" Lee of Alexandria third, Travis Engebretson of Cyrus fourth and Justin Froemming of Alexandria fifth. Gronwold worked his way from the back to finish ninth in what was a very good performance, but moving up further was very difficult without a caution.
The only repeat winner from Friday was Dave Mass of East Bethel in the Wissota Super Stocks and that should shock no one. On Saturday he outdueled Brainerd driver Tim Johnson for the win. Justin Tammen of Clara City had a good run, taking third.
I won’t lie, the late model feature was kind of a snoozer, and it was probably over when Don Shaw got the pole on the redraw. Shaw led every lap to pick up the $2,000 win. Jeff Wildung of Nassau was one of the few drivers to pass cars; he worked his way from ninth to second. The field got very strung out with not a lot of side-by-side racing, unfortunately.
Iron Range driver Jeffrey Massingill had a good run, finishing third, with Shane Edginton of Winnipeg taking fourth. Shawn Kirwin of Morris held off Dave Mass for fifth. Dustin Bluhm of Herman finished eighth after starting 14th as he made some headway in the 45.
Jeremy Nelson of Alexandria looked to run away with the Wissota Modified feature but Danny Bayer of Elrosa made sure he didn’t. Nelson had a pretty decent lead erased by Bayer, who was right on his bumper with two laps left and looked to have the quicker lane up high. However, Bayer had to check up briefly which cost him a couple of car lengths, and that was enough for Nelson to weather the storm. Dan Ebert of Lake Shore was third, Don Eischens of Richmond fourth and Blake Jegtvig of Hawley fifth. Again, aside from Bayer’s run at Nelson, not a ton of side-by-side battles and a very strung out field.
Jacob Aarhus of Clara City, the 2019 Wissota 100 Hornet win, won the hornet feature on Saturday over Daniel Harstad of Fergus Falls. Car counts were pretty thin both nights in the class, but they were not advertised to race at Viking, either til late.
Dan Ebert had a big night on Friday, winning both the Wissota Late Model and Modified features. For each win, he took home $2,000.
Also winning on Friday were Gronwold (Wissota Midwest Modified), Vogel (Wissota Street Stock) and Jason Reinke of Moorhead (hornets).
Speaking of the Jamestown Stampede, to me the biggest story of the weekend was Cole Schill of Horace picking up his biggest career win in the late models, capturing his first every Stampede title. Schill took home $4,000 for the win. Derek Vesel of Hibbing, Min., was second, Dustin Strand of East Grand Forks third, Brody Troftgruben of Grand Forks fourth and Howie Schill, Cole’s dad, taking fifth.
There are some pretty big names to have won the late model portion of the Stampede and now Schill joins that club. That includes Mitch Johnson (numerous times), John Seitz, Hank Berry, John Corell, Jeff Wildung, Don Shaw, Strand, Jack McDonald and Bob Sagen, to name a few.
After that, the them was repeat winners from 2018. Preston Carr of Carrington (Wissota Midwest Modified), Casey Arneson of Fargo (IMCA Modified), Luke Krogh of Dickinson (IMCA Sport Mod) and Donavin Wiest of Wishek (INEX Legends) all repeated as champions in their divisions.
Carr topped the Reinke brothers, Zach and Nate, for the midwest modified win to repeat in that division. Dustin Strand finished fourth and Lucas Rodin fifth.
John Nord of Enderlin had an excellent run in the IMCA Modifieds, starting 10th and taking second behind Arneson. Mandan driver Shawn Strand was third, Marlyn Seidler was fourth and Dave Shipley of Argusville fifth. Arneson is the 2019 track champ at Jamestown; his brother Austin Arneson won the Stampede in 2013.
Todd Carter of Lisbon outdueled his nephew, Jonny Carter, for his first Wissota Street Stock Stampede crown. Todd Carter was a past Stampede winner in the super stocks. Jonny did not finish. The national points battle between Jonny Carter and Justin Vogel couldn’t be closer in the street stocks.
Curt Michaelsohn of Wishek topped Dylan Steele of Jamestown for the Bomber win. Bo Gregor of Lisbon started 23rd on the field but worked his way up to sixth.
Neil Walton of Englevale won the Sports Compact feature over Justin Hainline of Lisbon. Gavin Walton of Lisbon, Kevin Youngquist of Barney, N.D., and Zach Muralt of Gwinner rounded out the top five.
—Congrats to Tyler Peterson of Hickson for winning the Wissota Modified feature Friday night at Casino Speedway in Watertown, S.D.
—Maria Broksieck of Goodwin won the Wissota Street Stock feature on Saturday at Casino.
--I talked to Kyle Dykhoff for a few minutes in the pits in Viking. Engine trouble cost him in the Wissota 100 street feature and race of champions; they changed a bunch of parts and put the motor in his midwest modified, but still were having issues on Saturday. Frustrating stretch for him.