By Ryan Schmitz All the Dirt Racing News
Current WISSOTA Super Stock national point leader, Shane Sabraski, held of a lap race surge by Jeff Crouse to claim his 14th feature win of the 2013 season during night one of the 9th Annual Minnesota Modified Nationals presented by Performance Auto. Morris & Alexandria Auto Plaza, Wildung Racing, and Alexandria Hospitality also sponsored the nights festivities.
After a rain shower hit the speedway around 4:30, the track prep crew went to work to get the track back into racing shape. With the help of all drivers in attendance the speedway was rolled in and racing action began shortly before 9:00pm.
With the two Super Stock heat races and three Midwest Modified heat races in the books, the fifty seven modifieds in attendance were divided into six heat races. With passing points being used for the weekend, it was critical for drivers to advance their starting positions in order to lock into the twenty four car Modified Qualifying feature, that was to be held later in the evening.
Heat one for the Modifieds rolled onto the speedway and were led to the green by Ham Lake, MN driver Jeremy Houle and local driver Josh Thoennes. At the drop of the green Houle blasted to the lead with Thoennes in tow, while Jeff Wildung settled into the third spot behind the lead duo. As the top five cars began to string themselves out across the speedway, the main battle was for the number eight through ten spots. Tenth starter, Jason Thoennes was able to complete passes on Brandon Aggen and Kyle Koehntop near the midpoint of the heat race. Jason then set his sights on seventh running Corey Sersha, but was unable to complete the pass. Houle cruised to the heat race win, Josh Thoennes was second, and Wildung came home third.
Cody Skytland jumped to the early race lead in the second modified heat race, but before the field could complete a lap, the caution would fly on the speedway for an incident involving Jake Wildman and Gillette, Wyoming driver Tony Leiker. Track officials determined that the contact was initiated by Leiker and he tagged the end of the field. During the yellow flag period, fifteen year old Jeffery Lien Jr. would retire to the pits with mechanical issues. Skytland once again led the field the pack to the green and raced to an advantage over previous Mod National winners Travis Saurer and Dale Mathison. Two laps into the heat, Saurer’s car began to slow as he entered turn three and he would pull to the pits with mechanical issues, ending his evening. Meanwhile, back in traffic Leiker began his march to the front and raced by Wildman, Ryan Kereluk, and Mike Johnson. Up front Mathison continued to close on Skytland, but Skytland would hold on for the heat race win. Mathison was second, and Rick Niemi was third.
Fresh off a win last weekend at the speedway, Dave Schroeder led heat three to the green, Schroeder wasted no time finding the high line on the speedway and opened a large advantage over second running Jeff Flaten. Behind Flaten, Brian Haben, Shane Sabraski, and Bryce Borgen began charging to the front. The red flag would fly over the track on lap five, when Ulen, MN driver Cody Erickson rolled his #1xx machine over the banking in turn one. Erickson would be ok, but his evening would be over. On the restart, Haben was able to clear Flaten and moved into the second spot and on the following lap Sabraski was able to get by as well. As the drivers exited turn four with two laps to go, Haben’s machine would come to a stop on the speedway, bringing out the caution once more. Haben retired to the pits with a flat tire and this moved Sabraski into the second spot behind Schroeder. On the restart Borgen made a move to the low side of the track, but couldn’t make it stick. Schroeder held on for the win, followed by Sabraski, and Borgen.
Bob Broking and former Mod Nationals champ, Dave Cain led heat race four to the green, and Broking blasted to the lead in his MB Customs machine. Broking continued to build his lead lap after lap, while Cain was in an early race battle with Performance Auto driver Dev Malmlov. Cain was able to shake Malmlov and settled comfortably into the second spot. The main battle on the speedway was between Bobby Gierke and Darrell Nelson. Lap after lap Nelson tried to make a low side of Gierke, but could not complete the pass. Broking would cruise to the heat race win, with Cain taking second, and Malmlov finished in the third spot.
Montevideo, MN pilot Matt Gilbertson and Viking Speedway legend Dennis Bitzan manned the front row for heat race five and Gilbertson wasted no time using his outside starting spot to grab the lead. Bitzan was quickly joined by fourth place starter Jason Grimes and the pair squared off in a battle for second. Three laps into the race, Danny Bayer’s machine slowed on the front stretch, and Bayer was able to make it to the pits without the caution being needed. Former Mod Nationals champion Scot Danzeisen, found himself in the fifth spot near the midway point of the race as he continued to try and reel in fourth place running Johnny Broking. Back up front, Gilbertson continued to lead and held of for the dominate win. Bitzan held off Grimes to finish in the number two spot, while Grimes settled for third.
After scheduled pole starter Matt Leer scratched from heat race six with an engine issue, Austin Arneson and Clayton Wagamon led the final heat race to the green. Arneson would jump to the lead and planted his #10 machine on the cushion and started to pull away. Two laps into the heat, the yellow would fly on the track for Skeeter Estey. Skeeter and Matt Smith made contact sending Skeeter’s #137 machine over the banking in turn three, ending his evening. With the green back out, Arneson once again jumped to the cushion and gained the advantage over Kelly Estey. The main battle on the speedway at this point was for the third spot between veteran drivers Mike Storck and Mark Noble. Lap after lap the pair would swap the spot, and with three laps remaining fifth running Wagamon would pull his car to the infield with an issue. Arneson wouldn’t look back and he took home the heat race win, Estey came home in the runner up spot and Storck was able to hold of Noble for the third spot.
Sixteen of the seventeen scheduled starters in the WISSOTA Super Stock class took to the starting grid for their fifteen lap, $500 to win feature. Shane Sabraski used his front row starting spot to get the early lead over Jeff Crouse. The race would be red flagged on lap one for a scary incident involving Jon Stepan. Stepan’s car came to a stop entering turn one and it was reported by track announcer Ron Krog, that a piece of mud hit Jon’s helmet. After the medics had a chance to talk with Stepan, it was determined that he was able to continue and he tagged the end of the field. Sabraski once again moved out to the lead over Crouse and Cory Tammen. Meanwhile, towards the rear of the field, Stepan began to work his way back to the front, passing multi cars on each lap until he would make contact with Rocky Yeats. Stepan’s car slid down the bank sideways and collected Cody Lee and Derek Quinn. Yeats and Lee were able to continue, but Stepan and Quinn’s nights would be over. Sabraski led Crouse and Derrick Lemke to the green this time and again Sabraski jumped to the lead. The main battle on the speedway was for the third spot, as Sabraski and Crouse moved out to a healthy margin on the field. Tammen, Lemke, and Dexton Koch continued to swap the three through five spots lap after lap. The caution would fly for the final time for David Galbraith, whose machine stopped on the back chute. This would give Crouse and Koch one last shot at Sabraski, but to no avail. Sabraski held of for the win, Crouse was second, Tammen third, Koch fourth, and Lemke was scored fifth.
After multiple attempts to complete the Midwest modified feature, the event was suspended with twelve laps to go due to the curfew. Day two of the 9th Annual Minnesota Modified Nationals presented by Performance Auto, will conclude on Sunday with the conclusion of the Midwest Modified feature, then the qualifying feature for the modifieds still to be run. After the completion of Saturday’s events, they will move into Sunday’s show, which includes another full show for Midwest modifieds and the super stocks. The non qualified modified drivers will be divided into b-mains and last chance races. The evening will conclude with the 60 lap, $7000 to win, $700 to start WISSOTA Modified feature. A fireworks display sponsored by the city of Alexandria will begin after the races.
Qualifying Feature: To be run on 7/7/13
Heat 1: Jeremy Houle, Josh Thoennes, Jeff Wildung, Mark Trautner, Ward Imrie, Ryan Mikkelson, Corey Sersha, Jason Thoennes, Brandon Aggen, Kyle Koehntop
Heat 2: Cody Skytland, Dale Mathison, Rick Niemi, Tony Leiker, Mike Johnson, Jake Wildman, Ryan Kereluk, Travis Saurer, Jeffrey Lien Jr.
Heat 3: Dave Schroeder, Shane Sabraski, Bryce Borgen, Jeremy Nelson, Jeff Flaten, Jason Gross, Charlie Hillukka, Brian Haben, Cody Erickson
Heat 4: Bob Broking, Dave Cain, Dev Malmlov, Robert Gierke, Darrell Nelson, Brady Gerdes, Terry Engebretson, Brian Swenson, Brett Hoium
Heat 5: Matt Gilbertson, Dennis Bitzan, Jason Grimes, Johnny Broking, Scot Danzeisen, Scott Tofte, Scott Greer, Jeff Broking, Danny Bayer
Heat 6: Austin Arneson, Kelly Estey, Mike Storck, Mark Noble, Jaime Trautner, Clayton Wagamon, Skeeter Estey, Matt Leer, Matt Smith
WISSOTA Super Stocks:
Feature: Shane Sabraski, Jeff Crouse, Cory Tammen, Dexton Koch, Derrick Lemke, Robert Holtquist, Trevor Saurer, Dominic Baker, Chris Winter, Rocky Yeats, Joe Pellman, Jeff Kluver, David Galbraith, Cody Lee, Jon Stepan, Derek Quinn, Mike Peterson
Heat 1: Sabraski, Koch, Lemke, Pellman, Winter, Kluver, Holtquist, Lee, Peterson
Heat 2: Stepan, Crouse, Saurer, Tammen, Yeats, Quinn, Galbraith, Baker
WISSOTA Midwest Modifieds:
Feature: Suspended with 12 laps to go until 7/7/13
Heat 1: Jason Vandekamp, Mack Estey, Scott Sroufe, Jeremy Kerzman, Andrew Bangsund, Shane Howell, Tyler Vanderby, Mike Schwardt, Brock Gronwold, Casey Arneson
Heat 2: Josh Muzik, Ryan Schleusner, Tim Ims, Jason Hoffman, Kyle Reents, Justin Froemming, Wyatt Ricks, Nick James, Chad VanOverbeke, Haley Lee
Heat 3: Ron Saurer, Corey Storck, Jaime Thorstad, Randy Laage, Dusty Bitzan, Travis Saurer, Jeffrey Lien Jr., Shawn Olson, Chris Mensen