By Ryan Schmitz
ALEXANDRIA, MN (May 19) – Jeff Crouse, the 2011 Viking Speedway WISSOTA Super Stock track champion, picked up right where he left off last season and captured his first Alexandria Refrigeration-sponsored WISSOTA Super Stock win of the season. Meanwhile, Justin Tammen used a late race pass to grab his first Viking Speedway win of the season in the Extreme Auto-sponsored WISSOTA Street Stocks during AMSOIL Dirt Track Series racing.
Other drivers finding their way to victory lane on a cold, windy Saturday night were Jason Hoffman in the Sower Power-sponsored WISSOTA Midwest Modifieds, Cody Skytland in the Morris Auto Plaza-sponsored WISSOTA Modifieds, and Chris Shirek, who reigned supreme in the NOSA Sprint Car finale.
Second year driver Ryan Schleusner and veteran pilot Jason Hoffman led the 24 car Midwest Modified feature to the green for the first feature event of the night. Hoffman jumped out to an early advantage when the green flag flew with Schleusner and Chris Mensen in tow. While Hoffman continued to build his advantage, Mensen and sixth starter Brian Haben began their assault on Schleusner for the runner up spot. The caution flag flew for the first time in the event on lap four when Darin Braaten’s #4a machine slowed on the backstretch with apparent engine trouble.
Once the field was reset, Mensen disposed of Schleusner and raced up to challenge Hoffman for the lead. Behind the two leaders, a fierce battle for third continued while Schleusner battled with Haben, Shawn Olson and eighth starter Ron Saurer. The yellow waved again on lap eight for Dusty Bitzan when his #10b machine spewed smoked and quit on the back straightaway.
The green flag flew and again the caution came out for another engine issue. This time Josh Muzik’s car slowed in turn four and ended his night. With order restored, head flagman Mike Commerford dropped the green once again. This time Hoffman was able to gain an advantage over Schluesner, who moved into second place. In the end, no one was able to run down Hoffman and he cruised to his first win of the season at the big half mile. Following him across the line were Mensen, Schluenser, Haben and Olson.
Ron Saurer, Haben, and Travis Saurer were heat race winners earlier in the evening.
Vern Stewart and Tiffany Maus-Krippner, both looking for their first win, paced the 11 car WISSOTA Street Stock feature to the green. It was apparent the Stewart car had an issue when sixth starter Brett Miller and Fargo, ND driver Adam Burrows jumped to the front of the field. The duo was joined in the battle for the lead by last weekend’s winner, Andrew Bangsund, and Chris Winter. Miller continued to hold his line on the high side of the speedway and held off the charges by Burrows. The yellow flew at the midway point of the feature when there was contact between Bangsund and Burrows that sent Bangsund flying off the track in turn three. Both Burrows and Bangsund retired pitside with damage.
When the green dropped once again it was the Miller and Justin Tammen show. Tammen, who started 10th in the feature, worked his way around the extreme high side of the speedway and up to challenge Miller for the lead with just a handful of laps remaining. While the laps ticked down, Tammen got a run on Miller and shot to the bottom of the speedway to complete the pass and pick up his second win in as many nights. Following Tammen across the stripe were Miller, Jordan Tollakson, Winter and Justin Vogel.
Vogel and Burrows were victorious in heat race action.
Next on deck was the 14 car WISSOTA Super Stock feature. Young driver Cody Lee was joined on the front row by Viking Speedway veteran Jeff Kluver for the 20 lap event. Lee grabbed an early lead and the field began to shake out behind him. Lee continued to lead until Hancock, MN driver Jeff Flaten wrestled the lead from him a few laps into the feature. Meanwhile, back in traffic, Jeff Crouse and Jon Stepan began their charge to the front. A midrace caution for a Jason Cook spin put Crouse on Flaten’s back bumper.
With the field reset, the green came back out and Crouse drove his car hard into turn one under Flaten. As Crouse slid up into the lead, he and Flaten had contact which sent Flaten off the track in turn two and brought out another caution. Flaten was determined to be at fault for the yellow which put Crouse on point with Stepan and Alan Johnson behind him.
When the field came to life again, Crouse jumped out to a big advantage on the top side of the track and led the final circuits en route to his first win of the season. Stepan, Johnson, Larry Lund and 12th starter Derrick Lemke rounded out the top five.
Lee and Larry Lund picked up the two heat race wins.
Defending Jamestown Stockcar Stampede winner and defending Viking Fall Classic winner Josh Thoennes manned the front row for the WISSOTA Modified A-main. Skytland jumped to the high side of the speedway and took a commanding lead while Thoennes settled into second. Back in traffic, Travis Saurer and Jason Thoennes joined Danny Bayer to do battle for the third spot. Saurer cleared the two and made a hard charge on the low side of the speedway in order to catch Josh Thoennes and Skytland. The yellow came out early on in the 20 lap event for contact between Bayer and Jason Thoennes that sent Thoennes into the frontstretch wall. During the caution Jason Thoennes retired pitside with a flat left front tire.
When the field came back to life, Saurer made his way around Skyltand on the low side of the speedway, but Skytland fought off Saurer’s advances and held onto the lead until the yellow came out once again for Nate Heinrich, who came to a stop on the backstretch.
Skytland opened up a nice advantage after the restart and Josh Thoennes cleared Saurer to claim the second spot once again. Meanwhile, back in traffic, Brock Gronwold began his charge to the front by riding the outside cushion. With the laps ticking down, Skytland continued to stretch his advantage over Thoennes and picked up his first Viking win of the season. Josh Thoennes came across the line second followed by Saurer, Gronwold and Bayer rounding out the top five.
Dan Ebert, Heinrich, and Skytland each won a heat race in the division.
The final event of the evening belonged to the NOSA Sprint Cars. Veteran Sprint Car pilot Wade Nygaard jumped out to a huge advantage when the nine car field took the green. Four laps into the event, Nygaard lost the bite on his machine and spun in turn four to bring out the first caution of the event. This opened the door for Thompson, ND driver Chris Shirek and he dominated the event after grabbing the lead early on in the race.
Austin Pierce was the lone heat race winner.
Next weekend promises to be a busy weekend at the high banked half mile track located at the Douglas County Fairgrounds as the NLRA Late Models come to town to do battle in the annual Memorial Day doubleheader. The event should bring in the cream of the crop in WISSOTA Late Model racing, with the action beginning at 5:30 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday night. All other regular WISSOTA classes will be in action as well. For the latest Viking Speedway news, results, point standings and much more please visit us online at www.vikingspeedway.net.
Feature – Skytland, Jo. Thoennes, Saurer, Gronwold, Bayer, Bitzan, Ebert, Engebretson, Koehntop, Hoium, Gulbrandson, Wildman, Heinrich, Storck, Gerdes, Blascyk, Merten, Werk, Schroeder, Imrie, Ja. Thoennes
Heat 1 – Dan Ebert, Dennis Bitzan, Danny Bayer, Kyle Koehntop, Brett Hoium, Mike Storck, Jake Wildman
Heat 2 – Nate Heinrich, Travis Saurer, Jason Thoennes, Ward Imrie, Dave Schroeder, Dallas Gulbrandson, Scott Werk
Heat 3 – Cody Skytland, Josh Thoennes, Terry Engebretson, Brock Gronwold, Jason Blascyk, Terry Merten, Brady Gerdes
WISSOTA Super Stocks:
Feature – Crouse, Stepan, Johnson, Lund, Lemke, Saurer, Baker, Tammen, Miller, Flaten, Cook, Guyot, Kluver, Lee
Heat 1 – Larry Lund, Jeff Crouse, Jeff Flaten, Cory Tammen, Jerome Guyot, Trevor Saurer, Jason Cook
Heat 2 – Cody Lee, Jeff Kluver, Jon Stepan, Alan Johnson, Dominic Baker, Derrik Lemke, Matt Miller
WISSOTA Midwest Mods:
Feature – Hoffman, C. Mensen, Schleusner, Haben, Olson, R. Saurer, Lund, T. Saurer, Reents, Deters, Johnson, Haack, Vanderby, Laage, Greely, T. Mensen, Hintermeister, Karl, Rieck, Bitzan, Muzik, Spanswick, Braaten, Ebert
Heat 1 – Ron Saurer, Darrin Braaten, William Lund, Kyle Reents, Dan Greely, Josh Rieck, Dustin Karl, Dan Ebert
Heat 2 – Brian Haben, Shawn Olson, Chris Mensen, Tyler Vanderby, Kurt Deters, Randy Laage, Zach Hintermeister, Tim Mensen
Heat 3 – Travis Saurer, Jason Hoffman, Ryan Schleusner, Dustin Bitzan, Steve Johnson, Josh Muzik, Brandon Spanswick, Kelly Haack
WISSOTA Street Stocks:
Feature – Tammen, Miller, Tollakson, Winter, Vogel, Maus-Krippner, Stewart, Bangsund, Burrows, Spanswick
Heat 1 – Adam Burrows, Brett Miller, Chris Winter, Tiffany Maus-Krippner, Tyler Spanswick
Heat 2 – Justin Vogel, Andrew Bangsund, Jordan Tollakson, Vern Stewart, Justin Tammen
Feature – Not Available At Press Time
Heat 1 – Austin Pierce, Cory Mack, Casey Mack, Lou Kennedy, Chris Shirek, Wade Nygaard, Chris Ranten, Thomas Kennedy, Mitch Mack