Northern Nationals at AMSOIL Speedway becomes impromptu Knoxville vs. IRA Shootout!
Fans attending the Northern Nationals at the AMSOIL Speedway for the opening night of the two-day show were treated to an impromptu showdown between the finest drivers of the Bumper to Bumper IRA Outlaw Sprints, and the front runners from the renowned Knoxville Raceway.
After 30 laps of hard fought competition Dusty “Zoom Zoom” Zomer, of Sioux Falls, SD stood victorious after outrunning former World of Outlaws star and Knoxville Speedway regular Craig Dollansky.
Zomer, driving the Buffalo Wild Wings car owned by Todd and Susan LaHaise, slipped past the leading IRA rookie of the year contender Bill Rose on lap 19 of the 30-lap contest, and never looked back on chilly Friday evening in Superior.
The Knoxville regulars completed a sweep of the podium with 2014 Knoxville Speedway champion Ian Madsen of St. Mary’s, Australia taking the spot from Rose in the closing stages of the contest.
"It was a nice race track, I had to work my way up there slowly but surely, I figured the lapped cars might help me a little bit with Bill (Rose) out front”, noted Zomer on working his way from the eighth spot on the starting grid. “We got the job done two nights in a row.”
“We have a four-race weekend here, and we are trying to do the best we can. I’m glad all the fans stayed up, I know it’s getting a little on the cool side. Thanks to you guys for showing up and I’m glad we could put a good show on”, as Zomer thanked the fans for watching the show in spite of the late hour with temperatures plummeting into the upper 40-degree range.
The A-main had rolled trackside just before 11 p.m., and the tacky racing surface allowed the 410 winged sprints to utilize all 900 horsepower as the 23-car starting grid accepted the green flag.
Defending event champion Scotty Neitzel, who was flawless in his drive to victory at the show last season started on the pole for this year’s event. Dollansky, already graced victory lane in Bumper to Bumper IRA Outlaw Sprint series competition this year, with a win at the Oshkosh Speedzone back in May found himself on the outside of the front row.
At the drop of the green flag, Neitzel got the advantage. Rose who had started inside the second row slipped past Dollansky into the second spot.
Paige Polyak of Tiffin, OH the evening’s fastest qualifier, rolled to a stop in turn two forcing the first slowdown of the contest with two laps in the books. Zomer had already made his way into the fourth spot.
Zomer found his way past Dollansky on the restart he then began to chase down the lead duo of Neitzel, and Rose.
The caution flew a second time on lap five when Jordan Goldesberry was involved in a grinding crash which completely destroyed his sharp looking number 65 machine. Goldesberry had tagged the wall while attempting to avoid slowing cars in front of him. He then tumbled violently down the front stretch into turn one coming to a rest upside down. After several anxious moments he climbed from his battered machine unhurt but obvious done for the evening.
An open red flag was allowed, which gave teams an opportunity to fuel up their cars to go the remaining distance. On the restart Rose found room at the bottom of the track to make his way by Neitzel for the top spot.
On lap seven a twin spin in turn two involving rookie contender Ben Schmidt, and Wayne Modjeski created another slowdown.
Underway again Rose set the pace with Neitzel in tow. Zomer continued to challenge from the third spot closing in on Neitzel. That battle allowed Rose to extend his lead on the field.
Zomer was able to sneak past Neitzel for the second spot just past the halfway point, and now set out to catch Rose who had built a commanding lead.
Zomer was successful in closing the gap Rose had built, and the pair was soon to tail. Zomer had opted to try the high line, and drew even with Rose when the caution waved yet again.
This time it was for six-time, and defending series champion Bill Balog who had been seeking his fourth straight series victory. Balog came to a halt in turn two on lap 19 with a broken front axle after having just secured the third spot from Neitzel.
When action resumed Rose found himself under immediate pressure from Zomer who managed to throw a slider on Rose briefly taking the top spot. Rose was able to cross over, and briefly retake the lead before Zomer finally gained the upper hand.
Dollansky was next to apply the pressure to Rose who had now chose to hug the inside line around the track. Dollansky rim riding the raceway was able to find the speed to power past Rose on lap 26.
Out front Zomer had checked out on the field, with Dollansky giving chase a dozen car length behind. With two laps to go Rose vacated the final podium spot as Ian Madsen worked into the third position.
The checkered flag came out with Zomer still holding fast to a comfortable lead. Dollansky would settle for second followed by Madsen, Rose and Neitzel in the top five slots.
Davey Heskin would lay claim to sixth followed by Russel Borland who turned in a strong showing this evening challenging Heskin for the sixth spot throughout the closing stages of the race. Two-time IRA champion Travis Whitney finished in eighth followed by 2013 IRA Rookie of the Year Jeremy Schultz. Scotty Thiel completed the top ten finishers.
Thirteen cars finished on the lead lap, with 17 of the 23 starters still on the track when the checkered flag waved.
Heat race victories went to Neitzel, Madsen and Schmidt.
Twenty-three cars clocked in for qualifying, with Paige Polyak netting the quickest time. In doing so she became the first female to capture fast qualifying honors in a race that was solely sanctioned by the Bumper to Bumper IRA Outlaw Sprints. She had turned a lap of 13.713 seconds to earn that honor. Zomer was second quick on the evening with a lap of 13.789 seconds followed by Balog whose 13.794 second lap was good for third quick.
Twenty-two of the 23 cars on hand qualified within one second of the fastest qualifying mark.
The series now packs up and makes a two-hour trip back south to Cedar Lake Speedway for the running of the 14th annual Jerry Richert Memorial event tonight. The program showcase the Bumper to Bumper IRA Outlaw 410 winged sprints along with the UMSS 360 winged sprints and the Northern Vintage Stockcar Racers. The Richert Memorial is always one of the premier sprint car racing events held each season and should see a strong field of cars in both divisions.
Day two of the Nortern Nationals is tonight in Superior.
IRA Sprint Cars - IRA Interstate Racing Association
Friday, Sept. 5
Bumper to Bumper Auto Parts
A Feature (30 Laps): 1. 82-Dusty Zomer; 2. 7x-Craig Dollansky; 3. 18-Ian Madsen; 4. 6r-Bill Rose; 5. 2w-Scotty Neitzel; 6. 56-Davey Heskin; 7. 23-Russel Borland; 8. 16-Travis Whitney; 9. 5j-Jeremy Schultz; 10. 64-Scotty Thiel; 11. 7-Scott Uttech; 12. 44-Jason Johnson; 13. 68-Dave Uttech; 14. 19 Ryan Wilson; 15. 4b-Scott Bietzer; 16. 14aj-Wayne Modjeski; 17. 79-Blake Nimee; 18. 5w-Byron Walters; 19. 17b-Bill Balog; 20. 35-Ben Schmidt; 21. 19p-Paige Polyak; 22. 65-Jordan Goldesberry; 23. 85m-Steve Meyer.
Heat 1 (10 Laps): 1. 2w-Scotty Neitzel; 2. 56-Davey Heskin; 3. 19p-Paige Polyak; 4. 23-Russel Borland; 5. 79-Blake Nimee; 6. 19-Troy Wilson; 7. 4b-Scott Biertzer; 8. 64-Scotty Thiel
Diversified Machine Inc. Heat 2 (10 Laps): 1. 18-Ian Madsen; 2. 82-Dusty Zomer; 3. 14aj-Wayne Modjeski; 4. 16-Travis Whitney; 5. 6r-Bill Rose; 6. 5w-Byron Walters; 7. 44-Jaosn Johnson; 8. 85m-Steve Meyer
All Star Performance
Heat 3 (10 Laps): 1. 35-Ben Schmidt; 2. 7x-Criag Dollansky; 3. 17b-Bill Balog; 4. 68-Dave Uttech; 5. 65-Jordan Goldesberry; 6. 7-Scott Uttech; 7. 5j-Jeremy Schultz
Osborn & Son
Qualifying: 1. 19p-Paige Polyak, 13.713; 2. 82-Dusty Zomer, 13.789; 3. 17b-Bill Balog, 13.794; 4. 64-Scotty Thiel, 13.796; 5. 6r-Bill Rose, 13.878; 6. 7x-Craig Dollansky, 13.991; 7. 2w-Scotty Neitzel, 13.994; 8. 85m-Steve Meyer, 14.033; 9. 65-Jordan Goldesberry, 14.104; 10. 19-Ryan Wilson, 14.105