The Wissota 100 concluded Saturday night at I-94 EMR Speedway, capping off a busy four days of racing.
A big thanks to all the workers in all aspects that helped put on this event as it takes a lot of folks to pull this off, many of whom have to take off of work to do so. The weather cooperated with no rainouts all week. If you include the AFCO MPH Invitational to start off the week at Bemidji, there were 350 cars, by my count, participating in the Wissota events.
One thing as a fan I don’t care for much is the three-wide feature starts especially with 33 cars on the track. It just seems like a recipe for pileups at the start of the races -- four of the five features had multi-car incidents on the first lap including a pretty bad wreck to start the late model A main. Maybe it was a fluky thing this year I don't know. Invitationals themselves are prone to wrecks as with a lot of cars, most of whom haven’t raced against each other all year. . Wissota isn’t the only one that does the three-wide starts – USMTS does it for the Jamboree.
Part of the fun of the Wissota 100 is the camaraderie. A ton of people camped and had fires, and it gives drivers a great chance to hang out with their buddies for a few days. ON Thursday and Friday, racing was done by 10 p.m. which gives everyone a chance to drink some beer and have a good time. It’s a long week, and a lot of waiting for drivers, but I think the fun atmosphere is a big plus.
Onto the racing…
Wissota Street Stock
Wissota Street Stock Top 10 Finishers: 1. 51-Eric Riley; 2. 16X-Kyle Genett; 3. 21-Jim Gullikson; 4. 10-Justin Vogel; 5. 11D-Kyle Dykhoff; 6. 12-Cody Kummer; 7. 79-Jeff Nowak; 8. 54-Geoff Hellman; 9. 14-Maria Broksieck; 10. 26-Ty Agen
The Wissota Street Stock feature started out with a big pileup on the backstretch on the opening lap – I have no idea what triggered that one, but it was a big chain reaction – that damaged multiple cars and eliminated Kolton Brauer and Cole Kannegiesser. Mike Jans of Clarkfield had some heavy front-end damage but after some repairs in the work area was able to continue.
After one more caution for Levi Randt’s spin on the backstretch, this race had a blistering pace and went caution free.
Eric Riley of Morris shot out to the lead past front-row starters Jim Gullikson of Nowthen and Andrew Hanson of Iron River, Wis. Kyle Genett of Auburndale, Wis., moved into second.
Hanson and Gullikson battled for third while defending national champion Kyle Dykhoff of Starbuck grabbed fifth.
I was watching the Wolverine Justin Vogel, who started 14th. He had worked up to eighth and was locked in a big battle with Maria Broksieck of Goodwin, S.D., Jeff Nowak of Wausau, Kyle Anderson of Jamestown and Cody Kummer of Medford, Wis., for the sixth and seventh spots.
Riley and Genett were hauling on the 3/8-mile and soon were encountering lapped traffic. Hanson and Gullikson battled for third as Vogel, who had cleared the multi-car battle for sixth, was pressuring Dykhoff.
Hanson would later pull in with a problem, ending his hopes for a top five. Vogel, meanwhile would pass Dykhoff to take over fourth.
The last thing Riley wanted to see was a caution, while guys like Vogel and Kummer wanted to see one bad. After the first two cautions early, the race went 29 laps caution-free.
Riley was flawless through lapped traffic while Genett, who was running a lower line, was slowed by a lapped car. Riley was not going to be denied, winning by 1.706 seconds over Genett, who started fourth. Riley had lapped up through 16th place by the checkered.
Gullikson was solid all night and finished third with Vogel capping off a great run from 14th to fourth. Dykhoff rounded out the top five.
Kummer started way back in 19th but worked up to sixth. Nowak was seventh. Mandan driver Geoff Hellman went from sixth to eighth while Broksieck capped off a great week in ninth. Ty Agen of Chippewa Falls went from 21st to 10th to wrap up a nice race.
Trey Hess of Grand Forks – who was one of three drivers who received the draw into the show at the pit meeting – was the hard charger, going from 33rd to 15th. After the early issue it was a pretty clean race, nice job by those drivers. Twenty-three of the 33 starters finished.
I talked to Riley before the race, and he was confident he was going to have a good car for the feature. It was better than good – it was bad fast. I’m safe in assuming it’s easily Riley’s biggest career win.
Wissota Midwest Modifieds
Wissota Midwest Modified top 10: 1. 28W-Brennon Weight; 2. 2S-Matt Schow; 3. 42X-Travis Saurer; 4. 19R-Lucas Rodin; 5. 18-Tony Leiker; 6. 17B-Zach Benson; 7. 67-Mike Nichols; 8. 40D-Blake Adams; 9. 42TB-Tanner Bitzan; 10. 50H-Haley Lee.
Brennon Weight of LaMoure, N.D., jumped out to the lead in the Wissota Midwest Modified feature over Matt Schow of McIntosh. There were a couple of cautions early, but once things settled down there were some long green flag runs.
Corey Storck of Morris was making his presence felt and moved past Rodin for third as Weight and Schow pulled away.
Defending race champion Travis Saurer of Elizabeth moved into fifth ahead of Dan Ebert. Weight and Schow were setting a feverish pace up front, but Storck was closing on second.
Zach Benson of Princeton, Tony Leiker of Gillette, Wyo., Haley Lee of Starbuck and Travis Schulte were running in the top 10, but things were heating up at the front. Schow was fairly close to Weight but Storck had caught them. The top side was the place to be, but the track was changing.
The caution would wave with 16 to go for Landyn Randt. Ebert would pull in with a mechanical problem. Schulte, who was running in the top 10, slowed on the caution and would go pitside.
On the restart Storck’s left front broke – I think he struck an infield tire with it -- and he was three-wheeling around the track but losing ground and would eventually pull in. It was too bad as I felt he had a winning car potentially.
Saurer was fighting for third with Rodin as Weight and Schow kept battling up front. Benson moved into fifth with rookie Blake Adams running in sixth. Wyoming driver Tony Leiker was enjoying a good race and move into fifth.
Schow would slip up in turns three and four and Saurer would get by briefly, but the 2S recovered to retake the spot. This allowed Weight to pull away and would win by 1.416 seconds. Schow, who won both nights of the Seitz Memorial at River Cities Speedway last weekend, was a strong second with Saurer running third. Rodin, a former Wissota 100 winner, was fourth with Leiker taking fifth.
Wissota Late Model
Wissota Late Model Top 10: 1. 1TPO-Tyler Peterson; 2. 10-Cole Searing; 3. 42S-Cody Overton; 4. 27-Jake Redetzke; 5. 15*-Ryan Mikkelson; 6. 11-Pat Doar; 7. 5E-Shane Edginton; 8. 30-Kevin Burdick; 9. 85-Jayson Good; 10. 28-Jeff Provinzino;
A huge, damaging crash marred the start of the racing, involving Dustin Bluhm of Kindred, Travis Budisalovich of Minneapolis, Chad Becker, Dustin Sorensen, and Michael Leach, and it ruined the night for several drivers before it started. One car got turned around coming out of turn two and that left a bunch of cars with no place to go. Bluhm, Becker and Sorensen had bad damage and left on the hook, Leach was also done. Unfortunately, the race saw a lot of cars get damaged and several others drop out with mechanical.
Cole Searing of Huron jumped out to the lead after that melee as national point leader Tyler Peterson was running second. Jake Redetzke of Eau Claire, Wis., was running third but was challenged by Cody Overton of Evans, Ga., who was driving Don Shaw’s car. Challenge series champion Pat Doar of New Richmond, Wis., was running fifth.
It didn’t take Searing long to encounter lapped traffic and Peterson closed quickly. He would take the lead with 39 to go. Redetzke was closing on Searing for second, as was Overton.
Shane Edginton got by Doar for fifth with 33 to go. The caution would wave when a couple of cars got together on the backstretch with 30 to go.
On the restart Peterson blasted out front with Searing and Overton engaged for second. Jayson Good of Watertown was having a good run from his 19th starting spot.
Doar, Edginton and Redetzke were fighting for the fifth spot. The caution would wave with 25 to go for a multi-car incident in turn three which ended the night for three-time NLRA champion Mike Greseth of Harwood, Dustin Arthur and John Seng of Grand Forks. It wasn’t as hard a crash as the first-lap one but enough to end the nights for a few.
Peterson shot back out to the lead with Overton moving ahead of Searing. Edginton was fourth with Doar on his heels. The 42o car was starting to smoke as Searing would get by him.
Redetzke was making the bottom lane work and moved past Doar for fifth and was fighting with Edginton. Ryan Mikkelson of Alexandria was chasing Doar for sixth.
Peterson’s lead grew to more than two seconds as he and Searing were flying around the outside. Things got very spread out over the top five.
Peterson would control the night and picked up the win by 1.85 seconds over Searing, who was strong all night. Overton was third, Redetzke was fourth and Mikkelson who started 11th, had worked past Doar to snag fifth. Edginton was seventh, while Kevin Burdick of Proctor went from 17th to eighth. Good was ninth and Jeff Provinzino of Hibbing, who started 27th, was hard charger taking 10th. Only 13 of the 33 cars finished, although not all of them wrecked as some pulled in with mechanical issues.
Wissota Super Stock
Top 10: 1. 25-Dylan Nelson; 2. 81-Tim Johnson; 3. 78K-Dexton Koch; 4. 11A-Jordan Henkemeyer; 5. 0-Dave Mass; 6. 71-Trevor Nelson; 7. 44-Maxwell Dondelinger; 8. 2-Denis Czech; 9. 19X-James Trantina III; 10. 54-William Lund
Dexton Koch surged into the lead on the start of the Wissota Super Stock feature with defending champion Trevor Nelson of Warner fighting Dylan Nelson of Merrifield for second. Inside pole sitter James Trantina was running fourth but former Wissota 100 champion Curt Myers of Cameron, Wis., who would get by him. I was watching national point leader Shane Sabraski of Rice, who started 12th but had worked to sixth and was challenging Trantina for a top five spot.
Koch and Dylan Nelson, who got by Trevor Nelson, were pulling away from the pack but the first caution would wave with 31 to go for Trevor Saurer’s spin in turn four.
On the restart Dylan Nelson took a peek under Koch and would take over the lead with 29 laps to go. Trevor Nelson was third with Myers lurking in fourth. Sabraski did not get a good restart.
Koch and Trevor Nelson would get together on the frontstretch with Nelson hitting the wall but both continued. Trevor Nelson and Koch had a great battle for second with Myers closing on both.
Dylan Nelson’s lead grew to nearly two seconds but the caution would wave for Sabraski, who broke something on the right front and slowed, and his night would come to an end.
William Lund of Brandon was running in the top five while Tristan LaBarge of Kelly Lake was also running in the top seven.
On the restart, the supers made it one lap before a big mess in turns one an two collected several cars. Ryan Kostreba was charged with the yellow.
Unfortunately, there was a nasty crash shortly after on the frontstretch where Myers, who was running fifth, rolled very hard entering turn one and destroyed his 1M machine. The crash was so hard it dislodged the fuel cell. He was OK but the car was junk. It was one of the most damaging super stock wrecks I’ve ever seen.
One driver who making a big-time move through the field was the veteran Tim Johnson of Brainerd, who started 19th but had worked up to third by the time the red flag flew for Myers.
Dylan Nelson and Trevor Nelson continued to set the pace as Jordan Henkemeyer and Koch fought for fourth. Johnson would pass Trevor Nelson for second.
The caution would wave with 15 to go when Zach Schultz’s 511 machine stalled in turn four. Another caution would wave for Ryan Kostreba’s second spin of the race.
After things resumed Henkemeyer, who is having a big season, was pressuring Johnson for second as Dyhlan Nelson pulled away. Trevor Nelson was fourth and Koch was fifth.
Trantina was in sixth with former national champion Dave Mass of East Bethel.
Henkemeyer would scrape the wall and lose a spot to Koch but that was it.
Dylan Nelson was on cruise control up front, and his lead grew to more than three seconds. His lead would end up at 3.261 seconds at the checkered. Johnson, who has won a ton of races at I-94 in the supers and streets, went from 19th to second while Koch was third. Henkemeyer, despite hitting the wall, was fourth with Mass capping off a solid night in fifth, ahead of Trevor Nelson.
Top 10: 1. 1TPO-Tyler Peterson; 2. 2C-Dave Cain; 3. 2J-Blake Jegtvig; 4. 18A-Landon Atkinson; 5. 60-Dan Ebert; 6. 12D-Mike Stearns; 7. 45J-Johnny Broking; 8. 33X-Justin Froemming; 9. 10X-Dustin Bitzan;
A big crash on the first lap of the modified feature left a bunch of cars beat up. Brady Gerdes’s 2x slowed with a problem which proved to be terminal, and ahead of him several cars spun and it left a mess. Dusty Bitzan suffered a flat during that mess while several cars were beat up.
Kennedy Swan’s 18S, the likely Wissota Mod rookie of the year, broke on the first lap and veered straight to the right, thankfully avoiding the concrete, and went off on the hook, which was unfortunate. She is a rising talent at just 16 years old.
Two former Wissota 100 winners fought for the lead early as Buzzy Adams of Cameron, Wis., and Dan Ebert of Lake Shore. A multi-time Wissota 100 champion, Dave Cain of Corcoran, settled into third.
Things got crazy on the restart as Adams took the lead. Eischens moved into second. Ebert got crossed up and lost several spots, I didn’t see what happened but it was costly.
Adams would tag the wall in turn four and Eischens would make a surge into the lead. Justin Froemming of Garfield oved past Cain for third.
The Millenial Farmer Zach Johnson was fighting with Tyler Peterson for fifth as both were closing on Cain. Peterson would pass both cars and move into fourth.
Adams had some issues with the wall on multiple occasions which moved Froemming into second. Peterson was closing on Adams. Adams would slow with a flat right-rear tire to bring out the caution with 26 to go. Other cars to drop out early included Shane Sabraski, who did not have a good week in either his super stock or modified, Travis Saurer, Lee Grosz and Adams.
Peterson and Cain got past Froemming on the restart but Eischens was fast again. Superman Mike Stearns, a former national champion, had worked from his 11th spot to fifth. The caution would wave with Blake Boelens’s 15x spinning with 22 to go.
Eischens continued to lead but was stalked by Peterson who was closing. The 9E, however, would slow moments later as something broke and he would pull into the infield, ending his hopes of a Wissota 100 title.
On the restart it was Cain who worked by Peterson on a higher lane and it turned into a big-time duel between those two over the final laps. Former national champion Blake Jegtvig of Hawley had climbed to third.
Former Wissota 100 winner Landon Atkinson started back in 14th but with patience and avoiding some of the trouble ahead of him had moved into the top five.
Peterson would sneak past Cain for the top spot and would go on to complete the sweep in the mod and late model – which was worth $16,000 combined – with a .652 win. Cain, who started fourth, was second. Jegtvig capped off a great week in third with Atkinson fourth and Ebert, who never fully recovered from the early slip up, in fifth.
Stearns was sixth, Johnny Broking of Grand Rapids was seventh, Froemming was eighth, Dusty Bitzan worked back to ninth and Joe Thomas of Fargo was 10th.
Cole Schill of Hawley has had such a roller coaster season in his #44 machine. He has two feature wins and had a really good top five finish at the Seitz Memorial; he’s also blown three motors this year. Again he had motor trouble on Thursday which ended his week. He expects to have it fixed early next week in time for the Jamestown Stampede.
Brock Gronwold of Fergus Falls was a guy in the wrong place at the wrong time most of the weekend. On Friday a car broke an axle and veered to the left in the Wissota Modified feature and Gronwold had nowhere to go. So, he had to put a new side on his 2G machine. He did make the feature from the last chance qualifier.
Matt Schow, the runner-up in the Wissota Midwest Modified feature, is having quite a stretch. He won both features at the Seitz Memorial last week and won the qualifying feature on Wednesday. The 2S has been awful fast lately.
I felt for Casey Steffenson of Great Falls, Mont. He had a pretty fast Wissota Super Stock most of the week, but didn’t get many breaks. He hit the wall in the last chance qualifier and rolled his 67 machine which was left badly damaged.
Sophie Anderson of Chokio raced her pure stock this weekend in the street stock class – which is a tall order in itself – and nearly made the big show. She qualified for the last chance qualifier and finished in ninth, just three spots from a transfer.