After being rained out weekend on Memorial Day, the NLRA Late Model tour made it’s first stop at the Viking Speedway during the track’s annual Labor Day doubleheader. A total of 30 late models checked in to due battle on the high flyin’ half mile and after a wild 25 lap main event, Zach Johnson claimed his 5th Marthaler Chevrolet WISSOTA Late Model feature win of the season at the track. Other drivers who navigated thier way to victory lane during night one of the double header included: Travis Saurer in the Sower Power WISSOTA Midwest Modifieds, Adam Burrows in the Extreme Auto WISSOTA Street Stocks, Cody Lee in the Alexandria Refrigeration WISSOTA Super Stocks, and Jeff Wildung in the Morris Auto Plaza WISSOTA Modifieds. The nights festivities were sponsored by Bobcat of Morris, Wildung Trucking Inc. of Nassua and Marthaler Chevrolet of Glenwood.
With all the heat race and b main action in the books, twenty six WISSOTA Midwest mods lined up for thier 15 lap feature. The field would come to life with polesitter Darrin Braaten jumping to the lead as the cars entered turn one. Unfortanatly, for Braaten he would lose the bite on his car and spin in front of the field bringing out the first caution of the race. This put Chris Mensen and Tyler Vanderby on the front row for the restart. As the cars entered turn one of the first lap once again, Vanderby slipped off the banking in turn two and brought out another caution. The third time proved to be the charm as the drivers were able to navigate the speedway and complete the first lap with Brett Hoium showing the way. Hoium contined to work the high side of the speedway as heavy hitters Travis Saurer and Dusty Bitzan began thier march to the front. Both drivers were able to work the low side of the speedway and raced up to challenge Hoium. The yellow would fly once again 3 laps in for a multi car spin in turn two, which forced track officals to cut 5 laps from the race. Hoium once again jumped to the lead on the highside of the track with Bitzan, Saurer, and William Lund battling for the second spot. Saurer was able to clear the other two drivers with a handful of laps remaining and moved into the lead and despite heavy pressure from Bitzan and Hoium, Saurer held on for his 8th win of the season at the track. Hoium, driving Dan Rice’s car, came home in the runner up spot, Bitzan continued his string of solid finishes with a third place run, Lund was fourth, and Shawn Olson rounded out the top 5. Heat race wins went to Tyler Vanderby, Olson, and Saurer.
A nice field of 16 WISSOTA Street Stocks were next on the card and points leader Adam Burrows wasted no time getting to the front of the field. Burrows, who started in the 4th spot, worked his way around front row starters Tim Jodsaas and Chris Winter three laps into the event. Burrows would continue to stretch his lead lap after lap, while the real action was found near midpack with several drivers racing 3 and 4 wide for position. A late restart gave new life to the field, but in the end no one had anything for Burrows as he cruised to his division leading fourth win of the season at the track. Justin Tammen ran a solid second, Justin Vogel worked his way up from 8th to finish third, Chris Winter was fourth, and Glenwood’s Mark Blom was fifth. Vogel and Brett Miller tallied heat race wins earlier in the evening.
Two time national champion Zach Johnson and WISSOTA Late Model rookie of the year canidate Dustin Strand shared the front row for the 27 car, 25 lap WISSOTA Late Model feature. Johnson would jump out to an early lead with Strand and Jeff Wildung in tow. The three drivers raced out to a comfortable margin over the fourth through sixth place cars who were battling for position. As the race progressed the running order in the top three would remain the same, but Todd Frank, Ricky Weiss, Seth Brede, and Mike Balcaen were locked in a great battle for the fourth spot. The first caution of the event would fly near lap 5 for Norm Olson, who appeared to lose a motor and came to a stop on the back chute. Once again on the restart Johnson jumped to a lead over Strand and Wildung. The three drivers would once again settle in to thier grooves, but most fan’s eyes were glued to the 12s car of Brad Seng as he worked his way to the front. Seng, who started 13th, cracked the top five near the midway point and set his sights on the the lead trio. Caution would once again fly over the speedway for contract between Strand and Wildung, which resulted in a Strand spin in turn one. Track officals determined that Wildung was at fault and he was sent to the rear of the back, but pulled off due to mechanical issues, ending his night. With order restored, head flagman Mike Commerford dropped the green and Johnson moved into his groove and raced to the lead again. Strand, who was making his first ever visit to the speedway, continued to search for a line to get around Johnson. The final caution of the event would fly with two laps remaining for contact between Frank and Weiss, which sent both cars spinning. Frank was charged with the yellow and tagged the end of the field while Weiss jumped back to his fifth spot on the restart. Johnson now had Strand and Balcaen on his back bumper, for the final restart. Johnson quickly moved to the middle groove, while Strand went to the top side in turn one. Strand would get to high and almost go over the banking, allowing Balcaen and Seng to get by. Johnson would lead the final two circuits and cruised to a hard fought win. Balcaen came home in the runner up spot, Seng turned in a third place finish, Strand was fourth, and Weiss was fifth. Shaun Peterson, Johnson, and Strand each claimed heat race wins and Rick Nelson won the lone B Main for the class.
Danny Bayer and Kyle Koehntop manned the front row for the twenty four car WISSOTA Modified feature. Bayer would quickly jump to the lead in his blue #36 machine, but the driver on the move was Fargo’s Cody Skytland. Skytland quickly moved into the second spot, behind Bayer, and looked to be the fastest car on the speedway. Meanwhile, behind the lead duo, Jeff Wildung continued to pick off car after car on the high side of the speedway. Near the midway point of the race Wildung, in only his third night behind the wheel of his MB Customs modified, worked his way up to Bayer and Skytland as they battled for the lead. After racing with the pair for a couple laps Wildung rocketed by on the outside and raced out to a nice advantage. Skytland was able to clear Bayer a couple laps later and set his eyes on Wildung. On several occasions Skytland would get to the low side of Wildung to challenge for the lead, but was unable to find the bite he wanted on the bottom of the speedway. The yellow would fly with three laps remaing when Bayer, who was running in the third spot, slipped off the banking. Bayer retired pitside and this put Jason Thoennes, who started 14th, and Skytland on Wildung’s back bumper for a 3 lap shootout. The green would fly once again and Thoennes was able to clear Skytland and raced up to battle Wildung. As the cars entered turn three on the final lap, Thoennes went to the extreme low side of the speedway, but was unable to find the grip he wanted. Wildung held on for his first modified win of the season, Thoennes was second, Skytland third, rookie Brady Gerdes was fourth, and Dennis Bitzan rounded out the top five. Jay Richardson, Dwayne Clarke, and Wildung all tallied heat race wins in the class and Cyrus, MN driver Terry Engebretson won the B Main.
The final event of the night belonged to the WISSOTA Super Stocks and Cody Lee wasted no time in jumping to the lead from his pole starting spot. Lee raced out to a large advantage as Matt Miller and Jon Stepan settled into the second and third spots. Meanwhile, back in traffic, Jeff Crouse, Trevor Saurer, and Alan Johnson were locked in a battle for the number 4 spot. The drivers would continue to swap the spot, until Johnson’s car suffered mechanical issues, and he retired pitside. Crouse and Saurer now raced up to challenge Stepan for the number 3 spot. The yellow would fly with 6 laps remaining when Miller spun in turn two and headed to the pits with heavy damage. This put Crouse and Saurer on Stepan’s bumper and the green would fly once more. Again up front Lee raced out to the lead. Crouse was able to get by Saurer and raced up to battle Stepan with a handful of laps remaining, but it was Lee’s night as he cruised to a comfortable win. Stepan held on to the second spot, Crouse was third, Saurer fourth, and Mike Peterson rounded out the top five. Heat race wins in the class went to Stepan and Crouse.
The regular racing season will come to a close on Sunday September 2nd at the high banked half mile track, located at the Douglas County Fairgrounds, with another NLRA Late Model special scheduled. The track will then quiet for a month until FYE Motorsports presents the 10th Annual Viking Fall Classic on October 4th, 5th, and 6th. For all the latest Viking Speedway news, info, and photos please visit the track online at www.vikingspeedway.net. You may also “like” the track on facebook.
WISSOTA Late Models:
Heat 1: S. Peterson, Frank, Brede, Schroeder, Seng, T. Schill, M. Johnson, Olson, Meyer, C. Nelson
Heat 2: Z. Johnson, Wildung, Weiss, Kirwin, Shaw, Emerson, R. Nelson, Washburn, D. Peterson, Virkus
Heat 3: Strand, Balcaen, Anderson, Edginton, Mooney, Grabow, Corcoran, Lehn, Parson, C. Schill
B-Main: Rick Nelson, Tom Corcoran, Clarence Washburn, Dustin Virkus, Scott Lehn, Corey Nelson, Brad Parson, Dusty Peterson, Michael Johnson, Norm Olson, Casey Meyer, Cole Schill
Feature: Zach Johnson, Mike Balcaen, Brad Seng, Dustin Strand, Ricky Weiss, Shaun Peterson, Don Shaw, Shawn Kirwin, Caley Emerson, Seth Brede, Bill Mooney, Rick Schroeder, Shane Edginton, Troy Schill, Steve Anderson, Jason Grabow, Todd Frank, Clarence Washburn, Dusty Peterson, Brad Parson, Dustin Virkus, Jeff Wildung, Tom Corcoran, Scott Lehn, Corey Nelson, Rick Nelson, Norm Olson
Heat 1: Richardson, Gerdes, Gronwold, Schroeder, Esala, Jo. Thoennes, Blascyk, Wilms, Merten, Strachan
Heat 2: Clarke, Skytland, Koehntop, Saurer, Ja. Thoennes, Storck, Engebretson, Olson, Wildman, Nystrom
Heat 3: Wildung, Bitzan, Bayer, Hoium, Lund, Gulbrandson, Heikkinen, Gerke, Reents, Loecken
B-Main: Terry Engebretson, Jason Blascyk, Bobby Gierke, Aaron Olson, Jake Wildman, Scott Heikkinen, Kyle Reents, Kent Wilms, Terry Merten, Glen Strachan, Jim Nystrom, Peter Loecken
Feature: Jeff Wildung, Jason Thoennes, Cody Skytland, Brady Gerdes, Dennis Bitzan, Kyle Koehntop, Dave Schroeder, Travis Saurer, Josh Thoennes, Brett Hoium, Curt Lund, Dallas Gulbrandson, Brock Gronwold, Jason Blascyk, Terry Engebretson, Aaron Olson, Scott Heikkinen, Bobby Gierke, Mark Esala, Danny Bayer, Mike Storck, Jay Richardson, Dwayne Clarke, Jake Wildman
WISSOTA Super Stocks:
Heat 1: Stepan, Johnson, Miller, Lee, Berends, Heikkinen, Hedtke, Cook
Heat 2: Crouse, Peterson, Saurer, Tammen, Lemke, Kluver, Baker, Slinden
Feature: Cody Lee, Jon Stepan, Jeff Crouse, Trevor Saurer, Mike Peterson, Derrick Lemke, Jason Cook, Alan Johnson, Cory Tammen, Chris Slinden, Travis Berends, Dominic Baker, Jay Hedtke, Patrick Heikkinen, Matt Miller, Jeff Kluver
WISSOTA Street Stocks:
Heat 1: Miller, Bangsund, Satter, Winter, Grabow, Knapper, Yeats, Stafford, Maus-Krippner
Heat 2: Vogel, Tammen, Jodsaas, Burrows, Blom, Hedtke, Spanswick, Fischer
Feature: Adam Burrows, Justin Tammen, Justin Vogel, Chris Winter, Mark Blom, Andrew Bangsund, Ryan Satter, Steven Grabow, Brett Miller, Andrew Hedtke, Jake Knapper, Rocky Yeats, Jake Fischer, Tim Jodsaas, Scott Stafford, Tyler Spanswick, Tiffany Maus-Krippner
WISSOTA Midwest Modifieds:
Heat 1: Ty. Vanderby, Braaten, Bitzan, Caul, Kuhnau, Ims, Haack, Strachan, Kerzman
Heat 2: Olson, Lund, Hoium, Froemming, Hintermeister, Karl, Bluhm, Tr. Vanderby
Heat 3: T. Saurer, Hoffman, Mensen, Suckow, Spanswick, Muzik, Reents, Swenson, R. Saurer
Feature: Travis Saurer, Brett Hoium, Dusty Bitzan, William Lund, Shawn Olson, Jason Hoffman, Matt Suckow, Chris Mensen, Brady Caul, Tim Ims, Jeremy Kerzman, Dustin Bluhm, Josh Muzik, Travis Vanderby, Ron Saurer, Justin Froemming, Tyler Vanderby, Kelly Haack, Dennis Kuhnau, Brody Strachan, Brandon Spanswick, Dustin Karl, Zach Hintermeister, Blake Swenson, Kyle Reents, Darrin Braaten