Garfield, MN driver Jason Thoennes held off a late charge by Kelly Estey and picked up the 25 lap qualifying feature win as night one of the MN Modified Nationals came to a close. Thoennes will sit on the front row on the 60 lap $7000 to win feature on Sunday night as a result of his win. Viking Speedway veteran, Larry Lund, was able to corral the WISSOTA Super Stock feature win during action earlier in the evening.
With the Midwest Modified and Super Stocks heat completed, heat one of five in for the WISSOTA Modifeds came onto to the track. Rick Niemi and Jamie Davis manned the front row for the 15 lap event. At the drop off the green it was apparent that Niemi’s car was off the pace and Davis bolted out to an early advantage. A nice battle behind him insued with Kelly Estey, Josh Thoennes, and Brett Hoium. Hoium ran the high groove and was able to garner the runner up spot early in the event. A caution would fly near the midway point of the race, which erased the large lead that Davis had built up. Once the green dropped Estey jockeyed to the low side of the speedway and got by Davis with Thoennes and Hoium in tow. Estey would hold on to capture the win ahead of Thoennes, Hoium, Davis and Danny Bayer.
Five time WISSOTA national champion, Craig Thatcher and Brooten, MN driver Dave Schroeder paced the field to the green in heat race two. Thatcher moved out to a quick lead only to see the caution fly for an incident that collected Mike Storck, Scot Danziesen, and Austin Arneson in turn two. With the field lined back up, Thatcher and Schroder jumped out to do battle for the top spot. Meanwhile, sixth starter Cody Skytland had other ideas as he bolted his way to the front to race witht he leaders. Near the halfway point of the race Skytland was able to manuver his way around both drivers and overtake the lead. He would never be seriously challenged and went on to score the heat race win. Following him across the line were Thatcher, Schroeder, Matt Smith, and Dallas Gulbrandson.
Fellow “Shaw by Buzzy” pilots Kyle Koehntop and Scott Tofte shared the front row for heat race three of five. At the drop of the green Koehntop put his car on the extreme high side of the speedway and began to pull away from the field. Back in traffic, sixth starter Jason Thoennes and eight starter Dave Cain were on the move. The duo engaged in a great battle with Jeff Broking as all three cars raced for the second spot behind Koehntop. The yellow would fly twice in a two lap period for Pete Loecken, who spun in turn three on both occasions. With the laps ticking down it was clear that Koehntop would not be denied and he cruised to an impressive heat race win over Thoennes, Cain, Broking, and Tofte.
Dan Ebert, who was making his first MN Mod Nationals apperance, and Dano Ostrander sat on the front row for heat race four. Ebert jumped out to an early lead as he raced on the high side of the speedway. The yellow would fly as Ostrander slipped over the banking in turn two just a couple of laps into the race. This put USMTS star Ryan Ruter on Ebert’s back bumper. Mike Commerford brought the field back to life and Ruter wasted no time moving to the low side of the track to dispose of Ebert. Once out front Ruter continued to pour it on as he raced out to a straightaway advantage and crossed the checkers first. Track officials then determined that Ruter jumped the restart and was penalized two positions giving the win to Ebert. Modifed rookie Skeeter Estey was second, Ruter third, Matt Gilbertson fourth, and ninth starter Mark Trautner came home fifth.
Track point leader Travis Saurer sat on the front row, alongside Big Lake, MN driver JB Stortz for the final heat race of the evening. Saurer blasted his #21x machine to the high side of the speedway and left no doubt in the fan’s mind that he was the car to beat as he jumped out to a nearly straightaway lead in the first ten laps. The real battle on the speedway was for the fourth spot between Jason Grimes and former Mod Nationals champion Steve Arpin. The duo battled lap after lap until the two cars came together near the flag stand and Arpin hit the wall. The yellow would fly and both drivers were able to continue, although Arpin’s left front tire was flat. With the green flag back out, Arpin lost control of his Mike’s Hard Lemonade 00eh machine and flew off the track in turn one brining out another yellow. With the field reset, Saurer bolted out to another large lead and never looked back as he claimed the heat race win ahead of tenth starter Shane Sabraski, Stortz, Curt Lund, and Dennis Bitzan.
After all the qualifying events were complete, the twenty five WISSOTA Super Stock field lined up for thier fifteen lap main event. Nineteen time feature win Shane Sabraski and local veteran Larry Lund manned the front row as the field came to life. Lund jumped to the highside of the track and began to pull away as Sabraski settled into the second spot with Cory Tammen and Jeff Crouse in tow. The running order would continue to be the same until lap three when Derrick Lemke lost the bite on his #31x machine and slipped off turn three. The field would be reset and once again Lund bolted out to an advantage over Sabraski. Tammen and Crouse were locked in an epic battle for the third spot, as tenth starter Steve Weber raced up to join the lead pack. Crouse was able to navigate his way around Tammen near the halfway point and began closing on Sabraski for second. The yellow would fly again for an incident that collected track point leader Trevor Saurer and WISSOTA rookie of the year contender Travis Berends. Once more the field would be reset and the green flag dropped. Crouse made a power move to the low side of the speedway in an effort to take the lead with five laps remaining only to see his car slide over the banking in turn two. Lund would continue to pull away and went on to claim the $500 payday for his efforts. Sabraski settled for second, Tammen was third, Weber turned in nice run in fourth, and eleventh starter Cody Lee was fifth.
The final event of the evening was the 25 lap modified qualifying feature. Brothers Josh and Jason Thoennes shared the front row in the event, which would determine the starting order for the 60 lapper on Sunday night. At the drop of the green Jason jumped out to a lead over his brother and Kelly Estey. The field would continue to click off laps at a torrid pace until lap eighteen when caution would fly over the speedway. With the field reset Jason led Estey, Cody Skytland, Josh Thoennes, and Dave Cain. At the drop of the green it was apperant that some contact was made between Skytland and Cain as the duo jockeyed for position. Exiting turn two on the restart, Cain got into the back of Skytland and sent him spinning bringing out the second caution of the event. Cain would drop to the tailend and the field once again came to life with Jason Thoennes leading. Two more yellow flag periods would occur before another lap could be completed. After the two cautions the field lined up single file and Jason Thoennes raced out to a nice cushion over Estey. The final caution of the event flew with two laps remaining when Brady Gerdes’ #2x machine came to a stop on the back stretch. The race was now a two lap shoot out to the checkered and Jason Thoennes was able to hang on for the hard fought win. Estey was scored second, Skytland third, Josh Thoennes fourth, and Sabraski fifth. During a post race inspection it was determined that was Estey had not made weight and he was disqualified from the event, moving Skytland into the runner up spot.
Due to time constraints, the WISSOTA Midwest Modifed feature had to be postponed until the Sunday portion of the Mod Nationals. On behalf of Viking Speedway and FYE Motorsports, we’d like to thank all the drivers, fans, crews, and sponsors that help make this weekend possible. For the latest Viking Speedway news visit the track online at www.vikingspeedway.net and for FYE events please visit www.fyemotorsports.com.
Heat 1: Kelly Estey, Josh Thoennes, Brett Hoium, Jamie Davis, Danny Bayer, Brady Gerdes, Bobby Gierke, Gavin Paull, Rick Niemi, Shawn Kreyer, John Sertich
Heat 2: Cody Skytland, Craig Thatcher, Dave Schroeder, Matt Smith, Dallas Gulbrandson, Corky Thomas, Austin Arneson, Scot Danziesen, Ben Mickelson, Mark Esala, Mike Storck
Heat 3: Kyle Koehntop, Jason Thoennes, Dave Cain, Jeff Broking, Scott Tofte, Dale Mathison, Gary Reents, Bill Byholm, Peter Loecken, Darrell Nelson
Heat 4: Dan Ebert, Skeeter Estey, Ryan Ruter, Matt Gilbertson, Mark Trautner, Rick Jacobson, Scott Greer, Scott Werk, Dano Ostrander, Jamie Trautner
Heat 5: Travis Saurer, Shane Sabraski, JB Stortz, Curt Lund, Dennis Bitzan, Ryan Canon, Corey Sersha, Jason Grimes, Jason Blascyk, Steve Arpin
Qualifying Feature: Ja. Thoennes, Skytland, Jo. Thoennes, Sabraski, Saurer, S. Estey, Thatcher, Gilbertson, Ruter, Ebert, Trautner, Koehntop, Jacobson, Davis, Hoium, Stortz, Gerdes, Bitzan, Lund, Smith, Cain, Schroeder, Broking, K. Estey
WISSOTA Super Stocks:
Heat 1: Jeff Crouse, Mike Peterson, Steve Weber, Trevor Saurer, Alan Johnson, Jeff Flaten, Jay Hedtke, Bob Holtquist, Dennis Dahl
Heat 2: Shane Sabraski, Cory Tammen, Larry Lund, Jon Stepan, Chris Winter, Robert Lore, Jeff Hapala, Jason Cook
Heat 3: Derrick Lemke, Travis Berends, Max Dondelinger, Cody Lee, Matt Miller, Jeff Kluver, Dexton Koch, Dominic Baker
Feature: Lund, Sabraski, Tammen, Weber, Lee, Stepan, Peterson, Flaten, Johnson, Winter, Koch, Miller, Cook, Hapala, Lore, Holtquist, Kluver, Lemke, Hedtke, Crouse, Dahl, Saurer, Berends, Dondelinger, Baker
WISSOTA Midwest Modifieds:
Heat 1: Jamie Thorstad, Dennis Czech, Ryan Schleusner, William Lund, Todd Berg, Ron Saurer, Dusty Bitzan, Kyle Reents, Shawn Olson
Heat 2: Jeremy Houle, Darrin Braaten, Jason Hoffman, Corey Eystad, Josh Muzik, Darrin Smith, Brandon Spanswick, Dan Greeley, Tyler Vanderby
Heat 3: Brain Haben, Dan Ebert, Kurt Deters, Shane Sabraski, Tyler Peterson, Mack Estey, Tanner Byholm, Kelly Haack, Travis Vanderby
Heat 4: Travis Saurer, Jason Vandekamp, Ross Fuhrman, Jeff Davis, Casey Arneson, Hayden Hanson, Tim Ims, Randy Laage
B-Main: R. Saurer, Bitzan, Estey, Peterson, Arneson, Byholm, Olson, Reents, Vanderby, Haack, Smith, Ims, Greeley, Spanswick, Vanderby, Hanson, Laage