Wissota 100 Recap: Rodin's Stellar Year Continues
The 2021 Wissota 100 is in the books.
The weather, aside from a gusty wind on Saturday, cooperated well, with no threats of rain. A big thanks to all of the people who worked the event at I-94 Sure Step Speedway — track prep, concessions, security, tickets, tow-truck drivers, scoring, pit-gate — it takes a lot of people to put this event on. The nights get very long — last night was
Congrats to winners Parker Anderson (Wissota Street Stock), Lucas Rodin (Wissota Midwest Modified), Tommy Bawden (Wissota Mod 4), Shane Sabraski (Wissota Super Stock), Dan Ebert (Wissota Modified) and Jimmy Mars (Wissota Late Model). No national points were at stake on Saturday meaning it was all about the money.
Only two of my feature winner predictions happened to win — Sabraski and Ebert. My late model pick was pre-registered but did not attend and had I known Jimmy Mars was coming, my pick would have been different; I picked Skyler Smith to win the Mod 4s and he had a solid top five. I think I jinxed Justin Vogel and Mike Nichols I’m afraid.
I won’t get into the play-by-play of each feature, but let’s start with highlighting the RaceChaser-area drivers.
Rodin is having the best season of his career. He won the qualifying feature on Friday, putting him in the middle of the front row to start the midwest modified feature. He got by early leader Travis Schulte and once there was a long green flag run, checked out to win by five seconds. The win didn’t count towards national points but was worth $3,000, and I would argue it was the biggest of his career.
Rodin has 22 feature wins this year. He’s locked in a fierce national points battle with Wyoming drivers Tony and Troy Leiker and Mike Nichols. Friday’s win was huge.
Aaron Blacklance of Thief River Falls ran second for almost the whole race, battling with Schulte — a dang good runner in his own right — before Schulte capitalized on some lapped traffic to take the runner-up solid. Blacklance is also having a great year with 12 midwest mod wins and eight street stock wins.
Brendan Blascyk of Kensington finished fourth in the midwest modifieds. The only bummer for me was Shane Howell not winning — we missed out on a great post-race interview, and his celebration would have lasted for a week. He finished a solid fifth though.
Jonny Carter of Lisbon led the first portion of the Wissota Street Stock feature, but Parker Anderson, the national point leader, pulled a slider and went on to win the main event. No real big surprise. Jonny Carter ended up third after outlasting Kyle Dykhoff of Starbuck in a good battle. Dykhoff wound up fifth as Kyle Genett of Auburdale, Wis., snuck by at the checkered.
Ryan Satter of Dent ran in the top five much of the night, and finished sixth. He is the I-94 and Viking track champion.
Mike Greseth of Harwood ran in the top five for the first half of the late model feature and was as high as third; he finished eighth. He was the top RaceChaser-area driver; Sam Zender of Fergus Falls and Ryan Mikkelson of Alexandria also finished in the top 10.
Tyler Peterson of Hickson led the modified feature for a long time, but Dan Ebert of Lake Shore made his move with a slider on the restart with 15 to go. Ebert picked up the win. The most impressive showing of the night, to me, was Johnny Broking of Grand Rapids; he started 26th in the mod feature and worked up to second and was right on Ebert’s tail late in the race. Broking drove the wheels off of the #45J.
Peterson finished third, and I know he wanted the 100 win bad. But he had a great week with two feature wins in qualifiers, which helped him as he battles Shane Sabraski for the Wissota Mod national title. He has 18 feature wins and in the last two months, no mod has been faster locally.
Another RaceChaser-area car who ran very well in the mod feature was Zach Johnson of Lowry. He started 15th on the 33-car grid but worked into the top five, and eventually overtook Tim Johnson for fourth. Johnson put some pressure on Peterson for third as the laps waned, but settled for a good fourth-place finish.
A handful of RaceChaser-area super stocks made the big show — Jeff Crouse, Karter Reents, William Lund and Bailey Rosch were included in that group. None finished unfortunately. Sabraski is so dominant and smooth in that #7A super stock, he’s unbeatable when he’s on his A game. Dexton Koch and Kevin Burdick rounded out the top three. Burdick and Sabraski are in a fierce battle for the national point championship.
There aren’t many Mod 4s in my coverage area but Tommy Bawden of Clear Lake topped Keith Thell of Sauk Rapids in what was a great race for the lead. Unfortunately the cautions and delays piled up in that race, leading it to last almost an hour.
Wissota 100 Notes
There were several father-son tandems who qualified for A feature races:
Blake and Chuck Swenson (late model)
Dustin and Robert Holtquist (Mod 4)
Travis, Trevor and Ron Saurer (mid mods, mods, super stock)
Sam and Jimmy Mars (late model)
Jaden and Billie Christ (street stock)
Joe and Corky Thomas (modified)
Tyler and Dean Larson (Mod 4)
Tommy and Justin Pogones (Mod 4, street stock)
As well, there were several siblings who qualified for A mains:
Jordan and Jon Tollakson (late model)
Trevor and Travis Saurer (super stock and midwest mod/mod)
Cory and Justin Tammen (late model and super stock)
Troy and Tony Leiker (midwest modified)
Josh and Jared Zimpel (super stock)
Russell and Ryan Kostreba (street stock, super stock)
Corey and Brandon Mehrwerth (midwest modified)
—I have a suggestion for the Wissota Mod 4 race next year — give it 20 laps or 30 minutes. This year’s marathon lasted nearly an hour, and while it was a very good race for the lead between Tommy Bawden and Keith Thell, back in traffic there were a lot of issues. It seemed like the mid mods were in staging forever as they waited.
—It’s hard to believe former Wissota Mod national champion Kent Arment did not make the field in the modifieds. He seemed to struggle from the get-go all week. He had to make the late model feature through a last-chance qualifier but was a DNF.
—Some pretty good car failed to qualify for the A main in the mods — Arment, Brent Dutenhoffer, Don Eischens, and Race of Champions winner Bob Broking being among them.
—One driver who had a pretty good week, that I don’t get to see race much, was Hunter Domagala of Mandan, N.D. He won the Race of Champions on Thursday, and then went from 18th to seventh in Saturday’s main event. Domagala is a top runner at Dacotah Speedway in Mandan.
—Montevideo driver Jordan Tollakson ran well in the late model feature, going from 15th to fifth.
Four of the top five finishers in the late models were driving MB Customs cars.
—Late model rookie Sam Zender of Fergus Falls did a nice job in his first week in a new car, finishing ninth. The car is a Victory Circle Chassis.
—Josh Long of Canby was the Hard Charger in the street stocks, going from 30th to 11th.
—A pair of RaceChaser-area driers made up some ground in the midwest modified main event. Justin Froemming of Elbow Lake went from 17th to seventh white Brock Gronwold of Fergus Falls went from 26th to 13th.
—Aberdeen driver Chad Becker, the 2019 Wissota 100 winner in the late model and former national champion, did not qualify for the A main on Saturday. He finished fourth in the qualifier on Wednesday but gave up his spot and it was a gamble that didn’t pay off. He seemed to struggle over the final three nights.
—The top two finishers in the mod feature ran Lethal Chassis — Ebert and Broking. Peterson was in a Black Widow Rage Chassis, while Zach Johnson was in an MB Customs.
—you would have had a damn good race with the cars who didn’t finish the mod feature: Landon Atkinson, Jayson Good, Dennis Czech, Dave Cain, Brady Gerdes, Brandon Copp, Jody Bellefeuille and Travis Saurer being among that group.
Triple and Double Duty
Tim Johnson of Brainerd, a former Wissota 100 winner, qualified three cars for main events: street stock, super stock and modified (Don Eischens’s car).
Aaron Blacklance of Thief River Falls qualified in the midwest modified and street stock classes. Scott “Rebel” Bintz qualified in the midwest modified and street stock classes.
Travis Saurer of Elizabeth qualified two cars in the midwest modified and modified classes. Wisconsin driver Tyler Vernon did the same.