Wissota 100 News and Notes
RaceChaser was at Night 2 of the Wissota 100 at I-94 Sure Step Speedway.
It is quite a site to walk around the pit area and see drivers from six different states, and Canada, seeing different haulers, car schemes, and meeting some people. I hope to meet more on Friday.
By my count, if you include Wissota Hornets and Pure Stocks that raced on Tuesday, more than 340 drivers have competed so far. I’m expecting around 30 Mod 4s to add to that total on Friday when they qualify for Saturday.
This won't have a play-by-play like normal blogs, but here are some breakdowns and notes form the first two days:
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
Interestingly, Wyoming driver Tony Leiker finished second in the midwest modified feature to Travis Schulte but gave up his spot. He’s locked in an intense national title points battle with Lucas Rodin of Marion, Troy Leiker, Kintner and others.
Lucas Rodin and Justin Froemming of Elbow Lake also gave up their spots in the top eight to try again on Friday. Right now, the top four of Tony Leiker, Rodin, Troy Leiker and Mike Nichols are not qualified for the show on Saturday.
Shane Howell of Buffalo, the inside pole sitter for Saturday, won the Race of Champions over Troy Leiker of Gillette, Wyo. Imagine the celebration and post race interview on Saturday if Howell can win the big show!
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
Jeff Nowak of Wausau, Wis., won the feature on Thursday over two-time defending Wissota 100 winner Justin Vogel.
Braden Brauer of Rochester gave up his spot after finishing fifth, which moved Aberdeen driver Scott Witkowski into the show. Otherwise seven of the top eight finishers kept their spots. My pick, the Wolverine, Justin Vogel, will start on the outside of row two on Saturday.
Mandan, N.D., driver Hunter Domagala outlasted Clarkfield, Minn., driver Mike Jans for the ROC victory.
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
Cole Searing of Huron recorded a big win in the late models as he took another step towards the national title. A couple of drivers elected not to take their spots — Mike Greseth of Harwood and Shane Edginton of Winnipeg — and will try again on Friday. That moved Ryan Kereluk into the final transfer spot.
Searing will be the late model rookie of the year, but a tip of the hat to another rookie Cody Martin of Mitchell, S.D., who qualified during Wednesday’s feature.
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, Trevor Nelson, Josh Zimpel, Jake Froemke, Jacob Knapper, Dustin Nelson
Sabraski winning Thursday’s qualifier should shock no one, and he is is my pick to win on Saturday. Dexton Koch of Becker gave pretty persistent chase on Thursday and Dave Mass of East Bethel also worked into third.
Kevin Burdick of Proctor finished fourth but gave up his spot, moving Dustin Nelson of Ogilvie into the final qualifying spot. Burdick is in a very close race with Sabraski for the national title
Koch topped Trevor Nelson of Warner, S.D., for the Race of Champions victory.
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
Jimmy Mars won the qualifier on Thursday over Brainerd driver Tim Johnson, who is driving one of Don Eischen’s #9 modifieds this week.
Landon Atkinson of Little Falls, who finished sixth, gave up his spot to try and improve on Friday. That moved Duluth driver Jody Bellefeuille into seventh. The next four drivers — Tyler Peterson, Dennis Czech, Dave Cain and Johnny Broking — all declined the eighth spot, moving Danny Vang of Deerwood into the field for Saturday’s finale.
Dan Ebert and Jimmy Mars on the front row could be interesting, with the middle starting spot to be decided on Friday.
Peterson, who won the qualifier on Wednesday but gave up his starting spot, is locked up in a very tight battle with Sabraski for the national crown. Wednesday’s win helped his national title hopes.
Wissota 100 Notes
—The state of Montana is well represented this week at the Wissota 100. By my count, there are 18 drivers from that state competing this week. I think it’s awesome. Many, I’ve never seen race previously. I counted 10 drivers from Wyoming, but that number should increase on Friday when the Mod 4s join the show.
—I haven’t seen Jake Froemke of International Falls race all year — I saw him several times on the Steffes Street Stock Tour in 2020 — but he looked good in his #63 super stock. He went from 16th to seventh in Thursday’s qualifier.
—Rich Thomas of Aberdeen, in his 50th year of racing a late model and 51st overall, is 80 years old. To contrast that, fellow late model competitor Bryce Sward of Nelson, Minn., is only 17. Sward has a bright future ahead of him.
—Kennedy Swan of Chippewa Falls, Wis.,is only 14 years old but her racing career is off to a good start in the midwest modifieds. She has four wins and 25 top five finishes this season and is the 2021 Red Cedar Speedway track champion. I’ve been impressed with her the handful of times I’ve seen her.
—I was pleasantly surprised to see Aberdeen driver Kent Arment in town with his late model and modified. I don’t get to see him race much anymore as my trips to Aberdeen are few and far between. He has three Wissota modified national titles and two late model national titles.
—Andrew Bangsund of Alexandria sold his #70 street stock to Cory Giessinger of Watertown, who is competing at the Wissota 100 this week.
—I talked to Sam Zender of Fergus Falls. He has sold his midwest modified and bought the limited late model he has been driving for Scott Rachels. Rachels has purchased a wissota late model that Zender is driving this week and the plan is to race that car regularly in 2022 at I-94.
—By my count here are the number of national points cars in the top 10 of their divisions at the 100, by class:
Wissota Street Stock: 8 of top 10
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
That number could change if new drivers show up on Friday. Keep in mind, you only have to show up on night to qualify. If you race only and Friday and finish in the top eight in the qualifying feature, you are in the show, plain and simple. So I’d expect a few more drivers to pull in on Friday, as well.
—I talked to Austin Veralrud of Audubon. He’s raced an IMCA Sport Mod in recent years but bought a 2014 GRT to run in the Wissota Modified class this year. The car was previously raced in the Duluth area. He’s admitting a learning curve in the class, which has an incredible amount of competition this week.
—Congrats to Tyler Klugman of Wheaton for qualifying for the 100 in the Wissota Street Stocks. Klugman has raced the lat few years in the class but has made steady progress. Getting in the show with a top five in Thursday's qualifier was a nice achievement.
--The advances in safety are pretty incredible in racing, and they provide a sense of security in bad crashes. Lindsey Hansen's #32 car was destroyed in a hard rollover on Wednesday at I-94. His car is junk, but he was OK. Lindsey made a Facebook post on the safety measures every driver should read.
--Mike Stearns of Hecla, S.D., a former Wissota Mod national champion, took his second-row starting position for Saturday's feature. Peterson and Sabraski both gave up their spots, moving Dan Ebert to the inside pole and Stearns to the inside of the second row.
--Matt Aukland of Glyndon qualified in the Wissota Mods after finishing fourth in the qualifier on Thursday. He's been racing Wissota over the past two months after starting out the year in the IMCA Modifieds. That is a Lethal Chassis; Dan Ebert, Sabraski, Dusty Bitzan and Johnny Broking are among the mod drivers running those.
--Scott Huston of Benson wins the most unique car design award -- his #21H street stock is in the design of a '57 Chevy.
--Wisconsin driver Kolby Kiehl had a bad crash at I-94 over Memorial Day weekend, pretty much destroying his #9K machine. Well, he is back at the 3/8-mile oval this week and made the feature after finishing sixth on Wednesday.
--To tell you how tough it is to qualify for just the qualifying feature in the midwest modifieds, consider this -- Jeff Nelson of Perham passed four cars in his heat, and still did not qualify for the main event. By my count, 91 midwest modifieds have competed so far.