Doar tops Kaanta for 26th career Challenge Series win
By: By Jerry O'Brien, For The Telegram, Superior Telegram
The WISSOTA Late Model Challenge Series moved southeast from the Grand Rapids Speedway to AMSOIL Speedway for another round of Late Model action Friday night. Two dozen of the high powered track rockets made the trip, more than enough to put on a great show. Also on the card were the WISSOTA Super Stocks, Midwest Modifieds and Pure Stocks.
After qualifying heats were in the book, the top rows for the 40-lap Late Model feature were drawn, as is the Challenge Series policy, by the old standby, the Frisbee draw. As luck would have it, John Kaanta and Lance Matthees who had both won heats drew the front row.
The scramble at the start saw Matthees take the lead from Kaanta with Pat Doar, Kyle Peterlin and Darrell Nelson in the mix. The front pair pulled out to a commanding lead as Peterlin and Doar skirmished for third and Nelson trailed in fifth. Nelson was soon engaged by a very quick Chad Mahder who got around him for fifth.
With six laps complete Kaanta took over the top spot and was putting a whipping on the field. Doar and Mahder, who had moved to fourth, moved in on Matthees for second. Doar moved to second and quickly moving through the field were Zach Wohlers, from 17th, and Jake Redetzke, from 15th.
The first of two caution flags flew when T. J. Adams broke in turn four. At the restart Doar took a shot but Kaanta was able to hold him off. Redetzke increased speed and vaulted to the third spot. Just past the halfway point, Kaanta was in command with Doar, Redwtzke, Matthees and Mahder holding down the top five spots. Peterlin, Wohlers, Nelson, Gregg Hill and Aaron Lillo ran in the top 10.
Kaanta soon began lapping back markers and was able to break away from Doar and Redetzke. For a few laps the top three were spread out in heavy traffic with Kaanta holding almost a straight away lead on Doar. This lead was extended when Redetzke caught Doar and they battled each other while trying to negotiate very heavy traffic. This enabled Kaanta to pick his way carefully and enjoy a huge lead.
With five laps remaining the second caution flag flew for Marshall Fegers as the F-19 rolled to a stop on the front stretch which wiped out Kaanta's seemingly insurmountable lead. Now the Challenge Series point leader had Doar and Redetzke up close and personal right behind him on the restart. As the green flag flew it was a five-lap shootout for the $3,000 win, and the veteran racer got a good start pulling out three car lengths on Doar. Redetzke fell back a car length leaving Doar and Kaanta to duke it out for the win.
Doar was as he said in the post-race interview, "married to the top" meaning it was do or die in the top groove. As they came by the flag stand to take the white, Doar was first across by a nose. Fans were on their feet as the two combatants flew around the track on the last lap. Doar got a run off turn four and it was just enough to nip Kaanta by half a car length for the win.
It was Doar's 26th WISSOTA Challenge Series win, first on the all-time win list. Kaanta was next followed by Redetzke, Peterlin and Mahder. Kaanta's second-place finish was enough to keep him in first place in the 2012 Challenge Series points.
Deven VanHouse of Silver Bay took the lead two laps into the 15-lap feature and was never headed as he raced to his third Midwest Modified feature win of the season at AMSOIL Speedway.
The battle to the finish would come down to VanHouse and Mack Estey at the end but VanHouse just had a little more power and took the win. Dan Kingsley had an up-and-down feature run but rebounded to finish third. Neil Balduc and Dan Larsen finished in the top five. Point leader Cody Wolkowski spun in turn four and did not finish which led VanHouse inch closer to the point leader. Don Craig, first time visitor Dan Wilson, Jake Gondik, Cody Carlson and Chris Bretting rounded out the top 10.
Andy Davey won his first feature of the year at the speedway as he bested point leader Scott Lawrence in the 20-lap Super Stock feature. Trevor Wilson held point in the early going but Davey made his way to second and closed on Wilson. Lawrence was on the move and charged from mid pack to fifth then leap frogged up to third as the caution flag flew for a Pat Heikkinen spin in turn one.
With 12 of 15 laps to go Lawrence got into second on the restart and battled the rest of the way with Davey. Lawrence tried several times to wrest the lead from Davey but he was too strong and went on to the win over Lawrence. Dave Flynn, Wilson and Brian Mikkonen finished top five.
The Pure Stock 15-lap feature saw a tight battle up front at the start between Chad Nikstad, Dustin Follett, Steve Udeen and Justin Bassa but it soon came down to a battle between Follett and Nikstad. They ran side by side for several laps before Follett got the upper hand and went on to win. Bassa, Steve Udeen and Justin Madsen finished top five.
AMSOIL Speedway (Superior)
WISSOTA LATE MODEL CHALLENGE SERIES (24 Cars)
FEATURE: Pat Doar, New Richmond; John Kaanta, Elk Mound; Jake Redetzke, Eau Claire; Kyle Peterlin, Hibbing; Chad Mahder, Eau Claire; Darrell Nelson, Hermantown; Lance Matthees, Winona; Greg Hill, Eveleth; Jordan Yaggy, Rochester; Zach Wohlers, Kelly Lake; Justin Fegers, Minnetonka; Aaron Lillo, Duluth; Harry Hanson, Eveleth; Tim McMann, Duluth; Kyle Gavel, Fort Francis; Robby Bunkalman, Abbotsford; Chris Olson, Hibbing; Greg Ferris, Emo; Todd Frank, Mellen DNF: T.J. Adams, Hayward; Kevin Carlson, Hermantown; Marshall Fegers, Mound; Travis Budisalovich, Cottage Grove. DNS: Steve Laursen, Cumberland.
HEAT No. 1: Frank, Peterlin, Ferris, Lillo, Hill, Wohlers. DNF: M. Fegers, Laursen.
HEAT No. 2: Matthees, Nelson, Budisalovich, Yaggy, Redetzke, J. Fegers, Gavel DNF: Adams.
HEAT No. 3: Kaanta, Doar, Mahder, Carlson, McMann, Bunkalman, Hanson. DNS: Olson.
WISSOTA SUPER STOCKS (18 Cars)
FEATURE: Andy Davey, Hibbing; Scott Lawrence, Superior; Dave Flynn, Superior; Jim Campbell, Two Harbors; Brian Mikkonen, Iron River; Trevor Wilson, Superior; Keith Kern, Superior; Dan Tocheri, Thunder Bay; Patrick Heikkinen, Eveleth; Andy Grymala, Superior; Willie Johnsen Jr., Superior; Ashley Smith, Superior; Steve VanHouse, Silver Bay DNF: Mike Bellefeuille, Duluth. DNS: Joe Oliver, Superior. DQ: Matt Madsen, Superior.
HEAT No. 1: Mikkonen, Davey, Oliver, Johnsen, Grymala, Heikkinen.
HEAT No. 2: Wilson, Campbell, Flynn, Kern, Polonoski, VanHouse.
HEAT No. 3: Bellefeuille, Lawrence, Tocheri, Madsen, Smith, Malecki.
WISSOTA MIDWEST MODIFIEDS(17 Cars)
WISSOTA MIDWEAT MODIFIED FEATURE: Deven VanHouse, Silver Bay; Mack Estey, Kelly Lake; Dan Kingsley, Superior; Neil Balduc, Bessemer; Dan Larsen, Hermantown; Don Craig, Thunder Bay; Dan Wilson, Hibbing; Jake Gondik, Foxboro; Cody Carlson, Superior; Chris Bretting, Washburn; Tyler Luger, Iron River; Norm Anderson Jr., Duluth. DNF: Cody Wolkowski, Thunder Bay; Jason Goldfine, Superior; Kevin Monteith, Thunder Bay; Brain Youderin, Superior. DNS: Pat Cordie, Aitkin.
HEAT No. 1: Estey, Larsen, VanHouse, Wilson, Carlson, Craig, Bretting, Anderson, Gondik.
HEAT No. 2: Wolkowski, Balduc, Kingsley, Goldfine, Monteith, Youderin, Luger. DNS: Cordie.
AMSOIL SPEEDWAY PURE STOCKS (21 Cars)
AMSOIL SPEEDWAY PURE STOCK FEATURE: Dustin Follett, Cloquet; Chad Nikstad, Superior; Justin Bassa, Hermantown; Andy Udeen, Superior; Justin Madsen, Foxboro; Jeff Engelmeier, Saginaw; Josh Johnson, Superior; Mark Smith, Solon Springs; Jeff Christman, Superior; Corey Lonetto, Duluth; Travis Zembo, Superior; Mike Sirois, Hermantown; Tyler Carlson, Duluth; Gavin Campbell, Duluth; Rita Anderson, Superior; Gary Campbell, Duluth; Shaina Rapp, Saginaw; Josh Overn, Mahtowa. DNF: Kayla Anderson, Superior. DNS: Kodi Oliver, Superior.
HEAT No. 1: Smith, S. Udeen, J. Madsen, Overn, Lonetto, Siriois, G. Campbell.
HEAT No. 2: Follett, Bassa, A. Udeen, Engelmeier, S. Rapp, T. Carlson. DNF: Oliver.
HEAT No. 3: Gary Campbell, Johnson, Nikstad, Christman, Zembo, R. Anderson. DNF: K. Anderson.