Darrell Nelson nearly sweeps lates and molds on opening night at AMSOILWhohlers, Flynn, Kingsley and Tody also notch feature wins
By: By Jerry O'Brien, For The Telegram, Superior Telegram
Darrell Nelson's early season roll continued Friday night at AMSOIL Speedway's opening night. Nelson dominated both the Late Model and Modified portion of the show with heat wins in both divisions, but missed the Late Model win finishing second to Zach Wohlers.
A total of 95 cars competed in the opening program, including 20 Midwest Modifieds, 21 Super Stocks, 17 Late Models, 16 Modifieds and 21 Pure Stocks.
Feature action began with a bang and a flare of fire as a nasty wreck occurred in the Midwest Modified 15-lap feature. During the tangle that involved nine cars, the No. 91 of Paul Stusic flipped wildly landing on its roof, and David Simpson's No. 70Jr burst into flames. The flames were extinguished and Stusic's car was gently rolled onto its wheels. Both drivers were unhurt in the melee, but Dan Doran was taken to the ambulance complaining of lower leg pain.
After the mess was cleaned up there were 14 of the original 20 starters to continue.
At the green flag for the restart, Don Craig took the No. 47 to the point leading Dan Kingsley, Jason Goldfine, Brady Caul and Lance Solem. Cody Wolkowski slashed his way through the pack after originally starting 19th and soon appeared in fourth. Kingsley made the pass on Craig for the point as Wolkowski continued his charge making his way to second as the halfway point was quickly reached and was stalking Kingsley when the caution flag appeared for a Brady Caul spin in turn two.
Wolkowski got the jump on Kingsley in the subsequent restart and led Kingsley, Solem, Deven VanHouse and Cody Carlson with seven circuits remaining. Kingsley and Wolkowski battled tooth and nail with Wolkowski prevailing. The front duo widened a huge gap over third and Kingsley managed to retake the lead and recorded his first career Midwest Modified feature win at his home track. Wolkowski, Solem, Craig and 15th starting Dale Soumala finished in the top five.
Next up it was a 20-lap go for the WISSOTA Super Stocks which saw a six-car pileup in the first turn on the first lap. At the restart, fourth starting Scott Lawrence grabbed the lead and the defending track champion began to move away from the pack.
Dave Flynn ran second and tried to run down the leader but to no avail as Kevin Burdick and Andy LaBarge battled for third. They were soon joined by Joe Oliver, who wasted little time taking over third, tracked down Flynn and moved into second. Lawrence expanded his lead but something broke on the No. 77.
Apparently whatever was left on the track did serious damage to Oliver's 5x, which spun in a cloud of smoke. Both drivers were out of the event leaving Flynn in charge at the head of the field. The restart came with 13 laps remaining for Flynn, who was briefly shadowed by Donnie Lofdahl, who had started 18th. Shawn Rivord took over second from Lofdahl and Burdick also got past. Andy Davey, Nick Oreskovich and Jim Campbell were also in the mix.
Just as Davey moved into fourth, the caution flag again flew, this time for an Andy LaBarge spin in turn one with six laps remaining. At this point 14 of the original 20 starters were still in action. Rivord made a charge to second in the waning laps but couldn't muster enough to pass Flynn who went on to take the win. Burdick, Davey and Oreskovich rounded out the top five.
Zach Wohlers made the most of his pole position in the 20-lap Late Model feature by taking the lead at the get go. Veteran Tim McMann ran second while Late Model rookie Trevor Wilson was third followed by Travis Budiaslovich and Darrell Nelson.
Todd Frank spun in turn one bringing out the first caution flag. The green flag came out with no laps recorded and Wohlers resumed the lead only to have several cars tangle on the back stretch resulting in a slow roll over for the No. 24a of Aaron Lillo. All of the drivers were okay and 11 of the starting field were left to continue.
Wohlers got a strong restart and held the lead over McMann while Nelson moved to third past Budiaslovich. Kyle Peterlin was fifth while Terry Lillo and Frank battled for sixth. The field became strung out around the track for a short time as Nelson moved to second and McMann recaptured third. Budiaslovich made his way back to second with Nelson third as McMann, Peterlin and Frank battled for fourth.
With seven laps remaining, Frank put on a surge and got to second but the caution flag would play a part in the finish when, with two laps to go, Budiaslovich's No. 31 broke going down the front stretch setting up a green/white/checkered finish. Wohlers was able to thwart Nelson's plans for another double sweep holding him off to the checkered flag for the win. McMann, Peterlin and Frank finished in the top five.
The final WISSOTA division feature was for the Modifieds with Jody Bellefeuille and Darrell Nelson holding down the front row.
Bellefeuille got a great start and took the lead, but Nelson came back and led the first lap by a half car length. Bellefeuille said wait just a minute, and went back by Nelson the next time by. The caution flag flew for the Rick Niemi spin with one lap of 20 recorded. Nelson got the jump on the restart over Bellefeuille as Cory Jorgenson ran third, Brian Mikkonen fourth and Matt Leer fifth. Just outside the front five were Al Uotinen, E.J. Hietala and Scott Hudack.
Nelson moved out to a 10-car length lead as Bellefeuille and Jorgenson battled for second. At the mid-point of the contest it was a pitched battle between Bellefeuille and Nelson with Bellefeuille regaining the lead. Nelson rebounded and took over the top spot with eight laps to go and drove away from Bellefeuille who fell back into a skirmish with Jorgenson. Behind them Mikkonen and Uotinen battled for position.
Nelson went on to the win while Jorgenson won the second-place battle. Mikkonen was fourth and Uotinen fifth.
Uotinen has now completed 690 consecutive Modified feature laps and is now 31 laps from tying Don Copp's record of 721 consecutive laps completed.
The final event of the evening was the Pure Stock feature scheduled for 15 laps.
Tim Carlson took the early lead with Glenn Dammer, Ken Tody Jr., Brandle Pupp and Justin Madsen in the top five. Carlson raced to a big lead while Tody moved to second and to the bumper of Carlson. With eight laps to go, Tody made the pass but shortly thereafter Carlson's No. 18 gave up the ghost. The restart came with five laps remaining with Tody leading Damer, Pupp, Mike Blevins and Lucas Carlson.
As the pack boiled off turn four an incident occurred with Pupp rolling over and being bumped by Chad Nikstad. Travis Zembo was also involved. The restart was single file and Tody was able to hold off a charging Blevins for the win. Damer Jason Carlson and 2012 track champion Josh Johnson finished in the top five.
AMSOIL Speedway 2013 Opener
Friday, June 7
WISSOTA Late Models (17 cars)
Feature (20 Laps): Zach Wohlers, Hibbing, Darrell Nelson, Hermantown; Tim McMann, Duluth; Kyle Peterlin, Hibbing; Todd Frank, Mellen; Terry Lillo, Duluth; Cory Jorgenson, Hermantown; Chris Olson, Hibbing. DNF: Travis Budiaslovich, Cottage Grove, Minn.; Trevor Wilson, Superior; Gregg Hill, Eveleth; Aaron Lillo, Duluth; Mark Hienle, Warba, Minn.; Tim Lillo, Superior; Harry Hanson, Eveleth; Robbie Cooper South Range; Todd Gehl, Solon Springs.
Heat 1 (10 laps): Peterlin; McMann; Budiaslovich; T. Lillo; Frank; A. Lillo; Olson. DNF: Cooper, Hanson.
Heat 2 (10 laps): Nelson; Wilson; Hienle; Wohlers; Hill; Jorgensen; T. Lillo. DNF: Gehl.
WISSOTA Modified (16 cars)
Feature (20 laps): Darrell Nelson; Jorgenson; Jody Bellefeuille Duluth; Brian Mikkonen, Iron River; Scott Hudack, Ashland; Al Uotinen, Superior; Pat Cook, Washburn. DNF: Hietala; Deven VanHouse Silver Bay; Matt Leer, Bruce; Rick Rivord, Superior; Justin Jones, Bemidji; Curt Myers, Cameron; Rick Niemi, Eveleth. DNS: Neil Balduc, Bessemer, Mich.
Heat 1 (10 laps): Bellefeuille; Jorgenson; VanHouse; Mikkonen; Niemi; Jones; Hudack. DNF: Scott Heikkinen.
Heat 2 (10 laps): Nelson; Uotinen; Leer; Rivord; Myers; Cook. DNF: Hietala. DNS: Balduc.
WISSOTA Super Stock (21 cars)
Feature (20 laps): Dave Flynn, Superior; Shawn Rivord, Superior; Kevin Burdick, Proctor; Andy Davey, Hibbing; Nick Oreskovich, Mason, Wis.; Jim Campbell, Two Harbors; Donnie Lofdahl, Proctor; D.J. Keeler, Superior; Andy Grymala, Superior; Pat Heikkinen, Eveleth; Andy LaBarge, Keewatin, Minn.; Dan Tocheri, Thunder Bay, Ontario; John Toppozini, Thunder Bay. DNF: Willie Johnsen, Superior; Curt Myers, Cameron; Scott Lawrence, Superior; Joe Oliver, Superior; Ronnie Malecki, Superior; Keith Kern, Superior. DNS: Shawn McFadden Jr., Ashland; Kevin Salin, Iron, Minn.
Heat 1 (10 laps): Lawrence; Tocheri; Flynn; Davey; Kern. DNF: McFadden; Campbell.
Heat 2 (10 laps): Burdick; Rivord; Grymala; Keeler; Toppozini; Myers. DNF: Salin.
Heat 3 (10 laps): Oliver; Flynn; Johnsen; Oreskovich; Malecki; Lofdahl; Heikkinen.
WISSOTA Midwest Modfiied (20 cars)
Feature (15 laps): Dan Kingsley, Superior; Cody Wolkowski, Thunder Bay; Lance Solem, Duluth; Don Craig, Thunder Bay; Dale Soumala, Hermantown; Cody Carlson, Superior; Jake Gondik, Superior; Chris Bretting, Ashland; Anderson, Duluth; Brady Caul. DNF: VanHouse; Jason Goldfine, Superior; Tyler Luger, Iron River; Justin Bassa, Duluth; David Simpson, Thunder Bay; Ricky Davis, Bruno, Minn.; Dan Doran, Duluth. DNS: Rick Przyblski, Ashland; Jesse Ogston, Duluth.
Heat 1 (10 laps): VanHouse; Przybylski; Doran; Simpson; Davis; Bretting; Anderson.
Heat 2 (10 laps): Craig; Caul; Bassa; Stuisc; Soumala; Luger. DNF: Gondik.
Heat 3 (10 laps): Solem; Kingsley; Goldfine DNF: Carlson; Ogston; Wolkowski.
Pure Stock (21 cars)
Feature (15 laps): Ken Tody Jr., Ashland; Mike Blevins, Hibbing; Glenn Dammer, Duluth; Lucas Carlson, Cloquet; Josh Johnson, Superior; Chris Johnson, South Range; Chad Carlson, Superior.