Wissota 100: Day 3 News and Notes
Day 3 of the Wissota 100 is in the books, and the intensity cranked up as it was the final night to qualify for Saturday’s A mains without having to go into a last chance qualifier.
And with the intensity cranking up, so did the cautions, unfortunately in the qualifying features. Some head-scratching moves to say the least let to some wrecks, and several torn up race cars. The bad thing is, I expect to see more on Saturday in the last-chance races, when things really get desperate.
My car counts through the week, if you include all eight classes plus a few newcomers on Friday, are at 351, led by 90 midwest modifieds. There were 60 streets, 60 supers, 45 mods and 41 late models. A total of 32 Wissota Mod 4s joined the show on Friday. There were 28 hornets and 11 pure stocks on hand for Tuesday’s action.
I was thinking 350-360 range for the week so 351 is a decent turnout for the week. And the quality of competition is simply excellent in every class with a lot of depth.
Some compare the Wissota 100 to the IMCA Super Nationals, and it’s not really a fair comparison. IMCA has been around much, much longer — since 1915 — while Wissota began in the 1980s. IMCA also covers many more states than Wissota, which is a regional sanctioning covers six states and parts of Canada. Not taking a side in that ongoing debate in our area, just a point of reference.
Some notes from the 100, by class:
Wissota Midwest Modified
Qualified from Wednesday: Shane Howell, Brendan Blascyk, Corey Storck, Randy Laage, Kylie Kath, Troy Leiker, Brandon Mehrwerth, Jordan Tocci
Qualified from Thursday: Travis Schulte, Aaron Blacklance, Tyler Kintner, Jon Stepan, Travis Saurer, Matt Heinzerling, Adam Brotherton, Derek Rieck
Qualified from Friday: Lucas Rodin, Corey Mehrwerth, Tony Leiker, Tanner Theis, Ron Saurer, Justin Froemming, Wyatt Boyum, Scott Bintz
What a crazy finish. Corey Mehrwerth of St. Stephen, a rookie in the midwest modifieds, led for 13 laps in the caution-filled race. But on the final restart with three laps to go, two national point contenders — Lucas Rodin of Marion and Tony Leiker of Gillette, Wyo., right behind him.
Rodin made a big-time charge out of turn four with two to go and surged past Mehrwerth for the lead, and went on to take what was a huge win — it puts him in the front row for Saturday’s Wissota 100 finale, and also is a big boost to his national title hopes.
Mehrwerth became the second sibling in his family to make the midwest modified show, joining older brother Corey. Older sister Ashley, a really good mid mod driver, will have to go through the last chance qualifier.
One driver who will have to go to the last chance race is 2021 I-94 track champion Brock Gronwold of Fergus Falls. The 2G was in contention for the win but broke with three laps to go and hit the wall in turn two, and now has work to do on Saturday to make the show. It has not been the kind of week Gronwold hoped for at his home track.
Scott “Rebel” Bintz of Jamestown is now qualified in two divisions, joining Travis Saurer and Aaron Blacklance in accomplishing that feat so far.
With 90 cars on hand, there are many, many quality cars out of the show that will need to advance out of the last chance qualifier — Ashley Mehrwerth, Kennedy Swan, Reise Stenberg, Austin Chyba, Gronwold, Kadden Kath, Zach Reinke and Justin VanEps being among the names in that group. Should make for some interesting racing on Saturday.
Wissota Street Stock
Qualified from Wednesday: Parker Anderson, Tim Johnson, Kyle Dykhoff, Kyle Genett, Kyle Anderson, Kolby Kiehl, Kyle Howland, Scott Bintz
Qualified from Thursday: Jeff Nowak, Justin Vogel, Ryan Satter, Tyler Klugman, Billie Christ, Hunter Domagala, Justin Pogones, Scott Witkowski
Qualified from Friday: Jonny Carter, Braden Brauer, Aaron Blacklance, Jaden Christ, Eric Riley, Jay Schlotfeldt, Zach Pollock, Mike Jans
2019 Wissota Street Stock national champion Jonny Carter of Lisbon and teenager Braden Brauer of Eyota put on quite a show in the qualifier, but a late veteran move by Carter helped in move in front for the win. He will start in the middle of the front row with Parker Anderson of Phillips, Wis., on the inside and Jeff Nowak of Wausau, Wis., on the outside.
Aaron Blacklance of Thief River Falls now has two cars qualified; he will run his Wissota Midwest Modified on Saturday in the main event as well.
Mike Jans of Clarkfield, a top runner at Fiesta City Speedway and Madison Speedway, made a late move to take the eighth and final spot.
It is a very deep street stock field on Saturday, and the top three rows are totally stacked. I stand behind my pick of Justin Vogel, but I believe any of the drivers in the top three rows could win this.
Some quality cars not qualified yet in the street stocks include Joe Potter, Jeremy Castro, Robert Petroff, Cory Craver, Chris Serr, Cole Greseth and Daniel Aberle, among others. Castro, Petroff and Craver, all Montana drivers, are all in the top 10 in national points.
Wissota Late Models
Qualified from Wednesday: Don Shaw, Sam Mars, Ryan Mikkelson, Cody Martin, Ben Wolden, Trevor Anderson, Shawn Meyer, Dustin Arthur
Qualified from Thursday: Cole Searing, Jimmy Mars, Jeff Provinzino, Derek Vesel, Jordan Tollakson, Eric Mass, Cory Tammen, Ryan Kereluk
Qualified from Friday: Travis Budisalovich, Dave Mass, Mike Greseth, Chuck Swenson, Sam Zender, Mike Balcaen, Bryce Sward, Mike Prochnow
Travis Budisalovich of Minneapolis is a pretty underrated racer in Wissota country, IMO. He is really tough at Gondik Law Speedway in Superior and at tracks in the Twin Ports. He started fourth on Friday and got to the front to pick up the win — putting him on the front row with Don Shaw and Cole Searing.
Budisalovich won the Silver 1000 at Halvor Lines Speedway a few weeks back. And he capped off a great night with the Race of Champions victory.
Dave Mass of East Bethel, the I-94 champion, topped Mike Greseth of Harwood for second.
Two drivers who came for Friday’s show only made the feature — Mike Balcaen of Winnipeg, who finished sixth, and Mike Prochnow of Menomonie, Wis., a good runner in western Wisconsin.
Two Aberdeen veterans— Chad Becker, the defending Wissota late model and Wissota 100 champion, and former national champion Kent Arment — will be among the cars in the last-chance qualifier. That group will include Shane Edginton, Greg Meyer, Nick Thoreson, Curt Kranz and Blake Swenson.
Edginton can’t catch a break; he was involved with contact down the backstretch and had to pull in.
Wissota Super Stock
Qualified from Wednesday: Dan Nissalke, Brandon Duellman, Tim Johnson, Travis Saurer, Scott Lawrence, Ryan Kostreba, Dylan Nelson, Gary Husmann
Qualified from Thursday: Shane Sabraski, Dexton Koch, Dave Mass, Kevin Burdick, Trevor Nelson, Josh Zimpel, Jake Froemke, Jacob Knapper
Qualified from Friday: Kevin Burdick, Justin Tammen, Tristan LaBarge, Jim Gullikson, Jeff Crouse, Shane Brick, William Lund, Zach Schulz
Kevin Burdick of Proctor moved into a tie — unofficially — with Shane Sabraski of Rice for the national points lead with a victory in the super stock qualifier on Friday. Burdick is the 2019 national champion in the supers. He gambled, giving up his spot after finishing fourth, to chase after a win on Friday for the national points chase. It paid off.
One driver who made a big-time charge through the field was Jeff Crouse of Alexandria, who started 22nd and worked his way to fifth in the checkered. That 29* car made a lot of ground running the inside lane.
Grove City,, Minn, veteran Zach Schultz made a last-lap pass to take the final transfer spot.
Some of the prominent names that are headed to the last-chance races include Austin Niemeyer of Brainerd, Matt Miller of Glenwood, Shawn Fernkes of Pennock, Dalton Carlson of Cohasset, and Trajan Schmidt of Watertown.
Qualified from Wednesday: Dan Ebert, Mike Stearns, Travis Saurer, Brandon Copp, Brandon Dolman, Clayton Wagamon, Dusty Bitzan, Tyler Vernon
Qualified from Thursday: Jimmy Mars, Tim Johnson, Shane Sabraski, Matt Aukland, Zach Johnson, Joseph Thomas, Jody Bellefeuille, Danny Vang
Qualified from Friday: Tyler Peterson, Jayson Good, Dave Cain, Tyler Kaeter, Brady Gerdes, Ryan Gierke, Jeremy Nelson, Josh Beaulieu
Tyler Peterson of Hickson took a gamble after winning the qualifying feature on Wednesday — giving up the inside pole — in order to continue his national points chase. Peterson is in a fierce battle with Shane Sabraski, and was looking to add more wins.
Peterson had an OK night on Thursday and could have made the show in eighth place, but gave that up to chase a win on Friday. And that worked out good for 1TPO — he destroyed the field on Friday to pick up the win. Peterson now has a nine-point lead over Sabraski, unofficially.
The victory was huge in his national points chase, and also put him on the front row for Saturday’s A main where he will start along side Dan Ebert and Jimmy Mars.
Former Wissota national champion and 100 winner Dave Cain will start in the third row. Ryan Gierke of Villard made a big charge going from 16th to sixth.
Bob Broking of Grand Rapids won the Race of Champions over Don Eischens of Cold Spring.
Wissota Mod 4
Top nine starters: Tommy Bawden, Keith Thell, Skyler Smith, Dean Larson, Chad Funt, Josh Litzau, Robert Holtquist, Tyler Larson, Dustin Holtquist
Tommy Bawden of Clear Lake, Minn., the national point leader with 28 feature wins, won a hard-fought dual with defending Wissota 100 champion Keith Thell to win the qualifier. The amount of cautions and banged up cars left a lot to be desired, in my opinion.
Bawden, Thell and Smith will share the front row. Dustin Holtquist of St. Joseph captured the Race of Champions qualifier over Bawden. That was a much cleaner race than the qualifier.
Wissota 100 Notes
—The national points will be well represented during Saturday’s show. To be clear no nationals points will be given out on Saturday — it’s all about the money.
Wissota Street Stock: 9 of top 10 (Jonny Carter joined the field on Friday)
Wissota Midwest Modified: 8 of top 10
Wissota Super Stock: 9 of top 10
Wissota Modified: 8 of top 10
Wissota Late Model 6 of top 10
Wissota Mod 4: 8 of top 10
—Hats off to Sam Zender of Fergus Falls, who qualified his new #44s car for the late model feature with a fifth place finish. As I mentioned Zender sold his midwest modified and bought the Limited Late Model that he had been driving, which was owned by Scott Rachels. Rachels bought the 44s car with plans to have Zender race it at I-94 next year.
—I was really happy to see Jake Wildman of Glenwood get a heat win in the Wissota Modified class. Wildman isn’t one of the higher-budget teams but does well with what he has, and getting a win was a good boost for him.
—In this blog I have been a big proponent of females getting behind the wheel and racing. There are many quality women drivers in the RaceChaser coverage area. At the 100 this year I’ve counted 13 female drivers on hand — if I am missing anyone let me know.
Jenna Hagemann (5th in Wissota 100 feature)
Madison Schreiber (four top 5s in 13 starts)
Wissota Pure Stock
Bonnie Farrington (13 top 10s in 19 starts)
Wissota Midwest Modified
Haley Lee (three top fives)
Ashley Mehrwerth (15th in national points, two wins)
Kennedy Swan (14th in national points, Red Cedar track champion, four wins)
Michelle Hutt (eight top 10s in 18 starts)
Emmalyn Edwards-Bush (10 top 10 finishes)
Wissota Mod 4
Nicole Feda (nine top 10 finishes)
Abby Garin (one win, nine top fives, 17th in national points)
Shelli Lind (15th in national points, 3 wins)