Nelson, Leer Flex Muscles in AMSOIL Speedway RoC QualifiersDarrell Nelson and Matt Leer ran off to dominant feature performances, while Curt Myers, Cody Wolkowski and Michael Blevins worked hard to earn their checkered flags Friday night at the AMSOIL Speedway during which fans got a chance to meet the favorite drivers.
By: By Nick Gima, For The Telegram, Superior Telegram
Darrell Nelson and Matt Leer ran off to dominant feature performances, while Curt Myers, Cody Wolkowski and Michael Blevins worked hard to earn their checkered flags Friday night at the AMSOIL Speedway during which fans got a chance to meet the favorite drivers.
The AMSOIL Dirt Track Series program included a season-high 105 entries competing on a smooth, fast race track during a cool, comfortable night.
The vast majority of those cars were on trackside prior to the start of the program, as fans young and old alike were invited onto the race surface for an up-close look at the cars and get pictures, autographs and other treats from the drivers.
The features held extra significance to the drivers in the WISSOTA-sanctioned divisions, as on this night the winners of those four main events earned the honor of an entry into the prestigious AMSOIL Race of Champions, to be held as part of the WISSOTA 100 in mid-September in Huron, SD.
What Nelson did to the other drivers in the 20-lap WISSOTA Late Model feature could be described as nothing short of embarrassment. The division’s points leader from Hermantown started on the pole, beat Don Copp out of turn 2, and ran away and hid, building up a lead that extended to a full straightaway before the race was half over.
Copp, who was bringing out his car for the first time this summer, entrenched himself firmly in second spot throughout the non-stop affair, but behind him there were several spirited battles, including Dave Esse grabbing third away from Steve Laursen and Todd Gehl during the first few laps.
By the time the checkered flag flew Nelson had become the sixth different Late Model feature winner at Superior in as many shows this season, with Copp at least three-quarters of a lap behind and only six of the 14 starters on the lead lap. Laursen eventually won the argument over third place, while Esse and Travis Budisalovich completed the top five.
What Nelson did to the Late Model field, however, Leer did to Nelson and the rest of WISSOTA Modified feature grid one race later. After EJ Hietala’s hard first-lap hit into the turn 3 concrete delayed the start of the 20-lap “big mod” headliner, the young man from Bruce worked his way around pole starter Kevin Eder and into the lead.
Then, after first-night visitor Brett Hoium spun with one lap in the books, Leer disappeared into the night, opening up a four-second lead before the race reached its mid-point.
Nelson, who also leads the Mod points standings here, used a similar outside move to gain second from Eder just after the restart, and a circuit later Steve Stuart copied the move to take third. It took a few more laps for Jeff Broking to displace Eder in fourth, but with no more caution flags to allow the field to catch up, Leer extended his lead while working his way through slower traffic after mid-race.
The field settled in at a steady, speedy pace for the balance of the run, and the advantage was about five seconds when Leer, who hails from Bruce, crossed the finish line for his first-ever feature win on the big Fairgrounds oval. Nelson had plenty of room between himself and third-finishing Stuart, Broking was a distance back in fourth, and Eder barely held on for fifth by edging Al Uotinen, who extended his track record for consecutive feature laps completed to 750.
The other three feature wins weren’t quite so definitive, although the WISSOTA Super Stocks kept their caution-flag delays just as minimal during their 20-lap A-main.
Pole starter Dave Flynn jumped ahead of a three-wide battle for second on the opening lap, but that battle for runner-up honors got ugly on lap two, when Kevin Burdick, DJ Keeler and others collected in turn two in a crash that eliminated divisional points leader Joe Oliver from the race.
Myers restarted third and edged into the runner-up spot when the green lights came back on, while Donnie Lofdahl and Tristan LeBarge swapped fourth and fifth over the next couple of laps. Myers slowly crept up to the back push-bar of Flynn, and over a ten-lap stretch the veteran from Cameron stayed right in the leader’s tire tracks, occasionally peeking over Flynn’s shoulder for an opening.
With three laps to go Myers tried to make his move by looking to the outside, but lapped traffic and a fast car helped Flynn keep him at bay.
Then Myers used Kevin Salin’s slower ride as a pick and slipped by as the lead pair took the white flag, and over that final lap Myers established a car-length lead for his third straight AMSOIL Speedway feature win.
Burdick also took advantage of the traffic to steal second away coming out of the final turn, while Flynn managed to keep Andy Davey a half a car-length back for third. Thirteenth-starting Scott Lawrence finished a distant fifth.
Action at the AMSOIL Speedway continues with two special nights of racing during the annual Head of the Lakes Fair.
Tonight, the program features the Late Models, Modifieds and Pure Stocks, while on Friday, racing action includes the Super Stocks, Midwest Mods and Pure Stocks.
The show starts at 7 p.m. on both nights.
For more information go to AMSOILspeedway.com.
AMSOIL Speedway (Superior)
Friday, Aug. 9
WISSOTA Late Models (15 Cars)
A-FEATURE: Darrell Nelson, Hermantown; Don Copp, Brule; Steve Laursen, Cumberland; Dave Esse, Cloquet; Travis Budisalovich, Minneapolis; Riley Matthews, Thunder Bay; Cory Jorgensen, Hermantown; T.J. Adams, Hayward; Greg Hill, Eveleth; Trevor Wilson, Superior; Todd Gehl, Solon Springs; Scott Herrick, Proctor; Robbie Cooper, Superior. DNF: Kyle Peterlin, Hibbing, DNS: Harry Hanson, Eveleth.
HEAT 1: Gehl, Peterlin, Copp, Hill, Esse, Wilson, Herrick. DNF: Hanson.
HEAT 2: Nelson, Adams, Budisalovich, Laursen, Jorgensen, Matthews, Cooper.
WISSOTA Modifieds (21 Cars)
A-FEATURE: Matt Lear, Bruce; Darrel Nelson, Hermantown; Steve Stuart, Ashland; Jeff Broking, Grand Rapids; Kevin Eder, Ashland; Al Uotinen, Superior; Kelly Estey, Kelly Lake; Rick Rivord; Deven VanHouse, Silver Bay; Rick Niemi, Eveleth; Nick Musel, Duluth; Scott Hudak, Ashland; Cory Jorgensen, Hermantown; Brian Mikkonen, Iron River; Destin Lorimor, Superior; Neil Balduc, Bessemer; Pat Cook, Washburn; Scott Heikkinen, Eveleth. DNF: Curt Meyers, Cameron; Brett Hoium, Villard; E.J. Hietala, Cloquet.
HEAT 1: Leer, Uotinen, Niemi, Jorgensen, Hietala, Hudak.
HEAT 2: Nelson, Cook, Stuart, Heikkinen, Myers, Hoium, Lorimor.
HEAT 3: Eder, Estey, Broking, Rivord, Cook, VanHouse, Balduc.
WISSOTA Super Stocks (22 Cars)
FEATURE: Curt Meyers, Cameron; Kevin Burdick, Proctor; Dave Flynn, Superior; Andy Davey, Hibbing; Scott Lawrence, Superior; Tristan LaBarge, Kelly Lake; Jim Campbell, Two Harbors; Shawn Rivord, South Range; Nick Oreskovich, Mason; Andy Grymala, Superior; Don Muzzy, Ironwood; Brian Carl, Duluth; Patrick Heikkinen, Eveleth; Kevin Salin, Iron; John Toppozini, Thunder Bay. DNF: D.J. Keeler, Superior; Donnie Lofdahl, Proctor; Dan Tocheri, Thunder Bay; Joe Oliver, Superior; Willie Johnsen, Superior; Keith Kern, Superior; Shane Kisling, Sarona.
HEAT 1: Davey, Keeler, LaBarge, Johnsen, Lawrence, Carl, Rivord. DNF: Kern.
HEAT 2: Burdick, Meyers, Flynn, Kisling, Muzzy, Heikkinen, Toppozini.
HEAT 3: Oliver, Grymala, Lofdahl, Tocheri, Oreskovich, Cambpbell, Salin.
WISSOTA Midwest Modifieds
FEATURE: Cody Wolkowski, Thunder Bay; Danny Vang, Brainerd; Deven VanHouse, Silver Bay; Ross Fuhrman, Ashland; Jake Gondik, Foxboro; Skeeter Estey, Kelly Lake; Mack Estey, Kelly Lake; Jesse Ogston, Duluth; Lance Solem, Duluth; Jason Goldfine, Superior; Cody Carlson, Superior; Tom Smart, Kakabeka Falls; Dan Kingsley, Superior; Ross Siiter, Duluth; Norm Anderson, Jr., Duluth. DNF: Don Craig, Thunder Bay; Justin Bassa, Hermantown; Ricky Davis, Bruno; Chris Bretting, Washburn; Adam Shinn, Duluth; Tyler Luger, Iron River; Dale Suomala, Hermantown; Joe Vork, Cloquet; David Simpson, Thunder Bay.
HEAT 1: Kingsley, Vang, Smart, Craig, Bretting, Luger, Bassa. DNF: Solem.
HEAT 2: Wolkowski, Gondik, Fuhrman, M. Estey, Davis, Simpson, Siiter, Vork.
HEAT 3: VanHouse, Goldfine, S. Estey, Ogston, Shinn, Carlson, Suomala, Anderson.
AMSOIL SPEEDWAY PURE STOCKS (23 Cars)
FEATURE: Michael Blevins, Hibbing; Justin Madsen, Foxboro; MikeSirois, Hermantown; Steve Udeen, Superior; Lucas Carlson, Cloquet; Chad Carlson, Superior; Glenn Dammer, Duluth; Travis Zembo, Superior; Josh Johnson, Superior; Gary Campbell, Duluth; Ryan Savoy, Supeiror; Shaina Rapp, Saginaw; Chad Nikstad, Superior; Jim Cooper, Superior; Tim Ayers, Foxboro. DNF: Gavin Campbell, Duluth; Mark Korte, Duluth; Maurice Campbell, Duluth; Andy Udeen, Superior; Zene Anderson, Superior; Tim Carlson, Superior. DNS: Ryan Madsen, South Range; Dustin Follett, Cloquet.
HEAT 1: Savoy, Blevins, S. Udeen, Rapp, Korte, Johnson, Zembo, Cooper.
HEAT 2: Udeen, Madsen, L. Carlson, C. Carlson, Gary Campbell, Ayers. DNF: T. Carlson.
Sunday, Aug. 11
WISSOTA Late Models (8 Cars)
Feature: Darrel Nelson, Hermantown; Kyle Peterlin, Hibbing; Harry Hanson, Eveleth; Zach Wohlers, Kelly Lake; Aaron Lillo, Duluth; Scott Herrick, Proctor; Dave Esse, Cloquet. DNF: Robbie Cooper, South Range.
Heat 1: Nelson, Peterlin, Hanson, Wohlers, A. Lillo, Esse, Herrick, Cooper.
WISSOTA Modifieds (11 Cars)
Feature: Kelly Estey, Kelly Lake; Deven VanHouse, Silver Bay; Jeff Broking, Grand Rapids; Darrel Nelson, Hermantown; Cory Jorgensen, Hermantown; Brian Mikkonen, Iron River; E.J. Hietala, Cloquet; Neil Balduc, Bessemer; Scott Heikkinen, Eveleth; Justin Jones, Bemidji. DNF: Nick Musel, Duluth.
Heat 1: Balduc, K. Estey, J. Broking, Hietala, Musel. DNF: Nelson.
Heat 2: VanHouse, Mikkonen, Jorgensen, Heikkinen, Jones.
WISSOTA Super Stocks (13 Cars)
Feature: Shawn McFadden, Ashland; Scott Lawrence, Superior; Joe Oliver, Superior; Kevin Burdick, Proctor; Andy Davey, Hibbing; Andy LaBarge, Keewatin; Andy Grymala, Superior; Donnie Lofdahl, Proctor; Kevin Salin, Iron; Patrick Heikkinen, Eveleth; Dan Yrjanson, Carlton; Brian Carl, Duluth; Ronnie Malecki, Superior.
Heat 1: Davey, Lofdahl, Salin, Heikkinen, LaBarge, Malecki, Yrjanson.
Heat 2: Oliver, Lawrence, McFadden, Burdick, Grymala, Carl.
WISSOTA Midwest Modifieds
A-Feature: Skeeter Estey, Kelly Lake; Dan Kingsley, Superior; Deven VanHouse, Silver Bay; Danny Vang, Brainerd; Jake Gondik, Foxboro; Mack Estey, Kelly Lake; Jesse Ogston, Duluth; Chris Bretting, Washburn; Josh Heavirland, Cloquet; John Kallas, Hurley; Jori Hughes, Tower; Cory Ziebol, Cloquet; Norm Anderson Jr., Duluth; Dustin Skorich, Brainerd. DNF: Kyle Inman, Duluth; Cody Carlson, Superior; Justin Bassa, Hermantown; Andrew Inman, Hermantown.
Heat 1: Kingsley, S. Estey, Gondik, M. Estey, VanHouse, Ogston, Hughes, Anderson. DNF: Ziebol.
Heat 2: Vang, Heavirland, Bretting, A. Inman. DNF: K. Inman, C. Carlson, Skorich, Kallas, Bassa.
Proctor Pure Stocks (17 Cars)
A-Feature: Al Rapp, Saginaw; Matt Hammitt, Cloquet; Lucas Carlson, Cloquet; Glenn Dammer, Duluth; Cody Herrick, Hibbing; Justin Madsen, Foxboro; Craig Horak, Grand Marais; Annika Hammitt, Cloquet; Rita Anderson, South Range; Shawn Ziells, Proctor DNF: Jeff Engelmeier, Saginaw; Jon Hammitt, Cloquet; Deven Reynolds, Cloquet; Mike Sirois, Hermantown; Duane Livingoof, Saginaw. DNS: Dustin Follett, Cloquet; Josh Loucks, Carlton.
Heat 1: Madsen, M. Hammitt, J. Hammitt, Loucks, Sirois, Horak, Follett, Reynolds, Livingood.
Heat 2: L. Carlson, Dammer, Engelmeier, Rapp, A. Hammitt, R. Anderson, Herrick.