Elizabeth, MN driver Travis Saurer jumped to the lead early on in the 60 lap finale at the 8th Annual MN Mod Nationals and held on to collect his biggest Modified win of his career. Saurer pocketed $7000 for his win and became the eighth different winner of the event, which is held annually at the Viking Speedway in Alexandria, MN. Other drivers finding thier way to victory lane in WISSOTA AMSOIL dirt track series action included: Dan Ebert and Jason Vandekamp in the WISSOTA Midwest Modifieds and Cody Lee in the WISSOTA Super Stocks.
National championship contenders Travis Saurer and Brian Haben led the twenty four car WISSOTA Midwest Modified field to the green for the make up feature from Saturday night. At the drop of the green Saurer jumped out to an early advantage followed by Haben and Dan Ebert. Near the midway point in the event Saurer’s car began to lose power which eliminated him from contention and left Ebert and Haben to battle for the win. With both drivers utilizing Ford power under the hood, they pulled away from the rest of the field. Ebert would pull away in the late stages of the race and collected the $500 payday. Haben crossed the line second, Jamie Thorstad continued his impressive season with a third place run, Dennis Czech was fourth, and Jeremy Houle rounded out the top five.
With only sixteen cars locked into the main event two bmains were run to determine eight of the final ten starting spots in the Modified feature. Local drivers Matt Smith and Dennis Bitzan sat on the front row of the first b-main and at the drop of the green Smith moved up to the high side of the speedway and blasted to the lead. Dave Schroeder jumped up to challenge Smith as the two began to get away from the remaining cars in the field. The real battle on the track was for the final transfer spot between Bitzan, Jeff Broking, and Danny Bayer. In the end both Bayer and Broking were able to get by Bitzan and punch thier tickets for the big dance. Up front Smith held on to win over Schroder, Bayer, and Broking. The fifth through twelveth finishes were entered into the Modified Last Chance race later on in the evening.
B-main number two featured a pair of #2 cars on the front row. Rookie Brady Gerdes and former Mod Nationals champion Dave Cain led the eighteen car field to the green. Gerdes blasted out to the high side of the track and worked his way out to an early advantage over Cain and fourth starter Kelly Estey. The top three cars would remain the same throughout the event, but the car on the move was Steve Arpin. After a heat race incident Arpin was forced to start seventeeth in the bmain. Arpin using both the high and low sides of the speedway worked his way up to grab the final transfer spot to the big show on the final lap. Gerdes held on for the win, Estey was second, Cain was third, and Arpin was fourth.
The last chance qualifier race for the modifeds proved to be one of the better races of the evening as only the winner of the event would get into the amain. Austin Arneson jumped out to an early advantage over Dennis Bitzan and Scot Danzeisen. Arneson would continue to hold the lead and near the half way mark and new driver would come up to challenge the lead pack. Corky Thomas found the bite on the bottom of the speedway and he raced up to challenge Danziesen for second spot. With seven laps to go Thomas and Danziesen would make slight contact and Thomas retired for the event. Back up front Arneson led Danziesen to the green and the duo began to race side by side. With the laps ticking down Danziesen made a charge on the bottom of the speedway and the lead duo would have contact. It was determined the Arneson was at fault for the yellow and he was sent to the rear of the pack. This allowed Danziesen to race unchallenged to the LCQ win and the twenty fifth starting spot in the big show.
Heavy hitters, Shane Sabraski and Jeff Crouse shared the front row in the Super Stock feature. Crouse used his outside starting spot to his advantage and jumped to an early advantage as Sabraski settled into second spot. The duo would break away from the rest of the field and wage a nice battle for the first ten laps of the twenty lap event. At that point Crouse’s car began to expierience engine issues and he slowed allowing Sabraski to take the lead. Sabraski would continue to lead for the next handful of laps until he lost a motor in the #7a machine which caused him to retire pitside. With the front two drivers out of contention, Cody Lee assumed the lead with Mike Peterson and Alan Johnson behind him. Lee would hold on and capture his second win of the season ahead of Peterson, Johnson, eighteeth starter Trevor Saurer was fourth, and Jon Stepan was fifth. Heat wins went to Lee and Sabraski
The next event on the night’s busy schedule was the modified non qualifier feature. The event paid $1000 to win and featured drivers who did not qualify for the big dance. Dennis Bitzan bolted out to an early lead in the fifteen lap event. Jamestown, ND driver Jason Grimes soon raced up to challenge Bitzan for the lead. The duo began to race away from the field until Mike Storck found the bite in his #75 machine and raced up to challenge the lead duo. Storck would get by Grimes with a handful of laps remaining, but could not find his way around Bitzan, as he hung on to win. Storck was second, Grimes finished third, Jason Blasyck was fourth, and Austin Arneson rounded out the top five.
Jason Vandekamp and Jeremy Houle lined up side by side on row one of the night’s scheduled Midwest Modified feature. Head flagman Mike Commerford dropped the green and the two lead drivers flexed thier muscle up front as they raced out to a nice advantage over the rest of the field. Houle would continue to work the low side of the speedway as Vandekamp blasted his car around the banking on the top side. A handful of cautions would stop racing action, but it was clear that it was a two car battle for the win. Vandekamp would hold off Houle in the late stages of the race and picked up the $500 check. Houle was a close second, William Lund third, Jamie Thorstad fourth, and Ryan Schleusner fifth. Heat race winners were Schleusner, Josh Muzik, and Dennis Czech.
With all weekend’s other activity in the books, the twenty six car, star studded, WISSOTA Modified feature lined up on the front stretch. After the drivers were introduced, a nice four wide salute to the fans, and the fireworks were done, the field lined up two by two to do battle for the big prize. Outside pole sitter Jason Thoennes bolted out to the early lead with fifth starting Travis Saurer making his way into second place. The first caution of the feature waved on lap four and Thoennes continued to lead Saurer, Cody Skytland, Josh Thoennes, and Shane Sabraski. Order would be restored and at the drop of the green Saurer made a power move to the low side of the speedway and took the lead from Thoennes on lap six. The front pack would continue to be the same and caution would fly on the half mile speedway again on lap tweleve when five time WISSOTA National Champion Craig Thatcher’s car slowed on the front stretch. At that point Saurer led Thoennes, Skytland, Matt Gilbertson had worked his way into fourth and Josh Thoennes was fifth. The field would be reset and once again Saurer jumped out to a nice advantage as the pack raced at a torrid pace. The yellow would fly again on lap twenty one for an incident involving Dave Schroeder and Steve Arpin. Arpin was able to continue and Schroeder retired pitside with heavy right front damage. Before the field could complete another lap, the caution came out for third place running Cody Skytland as his #19b machine slowed on the front chute with apperant engine troubles. At that point the car on the move was the #99w of USMTS star Ryan Ruter. Ruter found himself in the top five and poised to make a run at the front pack. Scot Danziesen and Jeff Broking were making moves to the front and on lap twenty five the duo came together on the speedway bringing out the next yellow flag of the 60 lap feature. Both cars were able to continue on in the event. As the field lined up, Ruter’s car came to a stop in turn two and the push truck was forced to push the car into the infield. The 99w pit crew went to work, as he was out of fuel and Ruter got back out to claim the tail of the field. The field would fire once more and race to the lap thirty fuel stop. Saurer continued to lead at that point over Thoennes, Thoennes, Mark Trautner had cracked the top five and sat fourth, and number twenty starter Kelly Estey sat fifth in line. After the fuel stop, the field was lined up back up and the green came back out. One lap after the field was restarted, the yellow came back out when Danziesen and Jamie Davis came together in turn one. Both drivers suffered flat tires, but with the help of thier pit crews were able to continue on. Back out front Saurer and Jason Thoennes continued thier battle for the lead spot. Thoennes made a hard charge to the bottom of the track to briefly take the lead with twenty five to go, only to see Saurer power back by on the high side of the track. The final yellow of the event would fly with nineteen laps remaining and Saurer continued to lead the Thoennes brothers, Estey, and twenty fourth starter Steve Arpin. Once the field came back to life, Saurer left no doubts as he put his #21x machine on the high cushion and cruised to victory. Jason Thoennes was second, Josh Thoennes third, Arpin moved up twenty spots to claim fourth, and Estey was fifth.
The staff of Viking Speedway and FYE Motorsports would like to thank all the fans, drivers, and crew for a great show over the weekend. Also, a huge thanks to the nights sponsors: Fat Daddy’s Bar & Grill, Elden’s Food Fair, NAPA, and Apol’s Harley Davidson. The high flying half mile will be back in action next Saturday night with the AMSOIL Race of Champions qualifiers. Race time is at 6 pm at the Douglas County Fairgrounds in Alexandria, MN. For the latest Viking Speedway news please visit the track at www.vikingspeedway.net. For more information on FYE Motorsports please visit them at www.fyemotorsports.com.
B-Main 1: Matt Smith, Dave Schroeder, Danny Bayer, Jeff Broking, Dennis Bitzan, Scot Danziesen, Corky Thomas, Scott Tofte, Dale Mathison, Mike Storck, Corey Sersha, Peter Loecken, Jason Blasyck, Clayton Wagamon, Jason Grimes, Darrell Nelson, Rick Niemi, John Sertich, Billy Byholm
B-Main 2: Brady Gerdes, Kelly Estey, Dave Cain, Steve Arpin, Austin Arneson, Dallas Gulbrandson, Scott Greer, Dano Ostrander, Ben Mickelson, Jamie Trautner, Shawn Keyer, Bobby Gierke, Ryan Canon, Scott Werk, Gary Reents, Curt Lund, Gavin Paull
Last Chance Race: Scot Danziesen, Dennis Bitzan
Non-Qualifying Feature: Dennis Bitzan, Mike Storck, Jason Grimes, Jason Blasyck, Austin Arneson
Feature: Travis Saurer, Jason Thoennes, Josh Thoennes, Steve Arpin, Kelly Estey, Ryan Ruter, Matt Gilbertson, Scot Danziesen, Dan Ebert, Mark Trautner, Jeff Broking, Brett Hoium, Brady Gerdes, Jamie Davis, Kyle Koehntop, Skeeter Estey, Danny Bayer, Matt Smith, Shane Sabraski, Cody Skytland, Craig Thatcher, Dave Schroeder, Dave Cain, Rick Niemi, JB Stortz, Rick Jacobson
WISSOTA Super Stocks:
Heat 1: Sabraski, Flaten, Johnson, Crouse, Winter, Yeats, Dahl, Koch, Saurer
Heat 2: Lee, Stepan, Peterson, Lund, Lore, Weber, Kluver, Holtquist, Miller
Feature: Cody Lee, Mike Peterson, Alan Johnson, Trevor Saurer, Jon Stepan, Steve Weber, Larry Lund, Chris Winter, Robert Lore, Matt Miller, Dennis Dahl, Robert Holtquist, Dexton Koch, Rocky Yeats, Shane Sabraski, Jeff Crouse, Jeff Kluver, Jeff Flaten
WISSOTA Midwest Modifieds:
Heat 1: Schleusner, Thorstad, Laage, Ims, Ebert, Arneson, Sabrask, Olson, Berg, Fuhrman, Byholm, R. Saurer
Heat 2: Muzik, Lund, Vanderby, Vandekamp, Bitzan, Peterson, Haben, Reents, Vetjtruba, C. Mensen, Spanswick, T. Saurer
Heat 3: Czech, Houle, Braatin, Estey, Greeley, Davis, Deters, Haack, Vanderby, Eystad, T. Mensen
B-Main: Peterson, Vejtruba, Tr. Vanderby, Furhman, Haack, Spanswick, T. Mensen, Reents, Byholm, Berg, Olson, Eystad, C. Mensen, Davis, Sabraski, T. Saurer, R. Saurer
Feature: Jason Vandekamp, Jeremy Houle, William Lund, Jamie Thorstad, Ryan Schleusner, Dennis Czech, Mack Estey, Dusty Bitzan, Brian Haben, Dan Ebert, Tyler Vanderby, Kurt Deters, Travis Vanderby, Kelly Haack, Ross Fuhrman, Tyler Peterson, Dan Greeley, Casey Arneson, Randy Laage, Darrin Braaten, Brandon Spanswick, Jason Vejtruba, Josh Muzik, Tim Ims
Make up Feature: Dan Ebert, Brain Haben, Jamie Thorstad, Dennis Czech, Jeremy Houle, Jason Vandekamp, Travis Saurer, Shane Sabraski, William Lund, Tyler Peterson, Ryan Schleusner, Kurt Deters, Mack Estey, Ross Fuhrman, Darrin Braaten, Todd Berg, Josh Muzik, Dusty Bitzan, Tanner Byholm, Corey Eystad, Casey Arneson, Jeff Davis, Ron Saurer, Jason Hoffman