For The Telegram
To use a spin off the old TV beer ads, would two friends go at it this hard for a feature win?
If it means getting that elusive first A-main win of the season and standing on the victory stage to receive a $600 winner’s paycheck, then the answer was definitely “yes” on Friday night.
Superior’s Dave Flynn edged his friend and fellow hometown driver DJ Keeler by less than a car-length to capture the win in a thrilling 30-lap FastLane Motorsports Northland Super Stock Series A-main, capping off a full night of racing and other activities at the Gondik Law Speedway.
To kick off the program, five new members were inducted into the track’s Hall of Fame -- former drivers Jim Gaskill, Steve Egersdorf and AJ Foat; current driver Todd Gehl, and contributor Joyce Klick.
Then 124 entries took to the big oval at the western edge of Lake Superior in seven different divisions -- including two classes representing the Northern Vintage Stockcar Racers vintage-car group -- on a track that was wide, fast, smooth and multi-lane throughout the program during a cool, cloudy evening.
For the FastLane Series, the stop at Superior was night number three of five, and 40 entries were on hand.
The field was narrowed through five heats and two B-mains to 24 starters for the feature, where former series champs Scott Lawrence and Curt Myers led the field to the green.
Lawrence spent most of the next seven laps fending off challenges from Nick Oreskovich, but eventually the 2015 track champ took over at the point. Keeler, finding the outside line to his liking, hustled his way up from a fifth-row start into the top five within just a couple of laps, and he held the third spot when Oreskovich took the lead.
By mid-race, Flynn -- who started 12th -- was also into the top five, and not long after that Kevin Burdick, who had started 23rd, took over fifth behind Flynn. Keeler worked hard to get around Oreskovich by lap 16, and with 10 laps to go Flynn and Burdick had displaced Lawrence for third and fourth, respectively.
The top four were a full straightaway ahead of the battle for fifth between Lawrence and Andy Miskowic, with Keeler holding off Oreskovich for the lead and Flynn and Burdick closing.
Once Flynn was close enough, he drove low to get by Oreskovich for second and began to threaten Keeler, while Burdick took up the fight with Oreskovich for third.
Keeler and Flynn raced side-by-side for nearly four full laps before Flynn edged ahead for good while taking the white flag.
Coming out of the final turn Keeler gave it one more try on the outside, and Burdick dove low, but Flynn led the trio under the checkers in tight formation, with Keeler holding his edge over Burdick. Oreskovich was a good distance back of the lead pack, while Miskowic earned fifth.
Burdick went on to win the fourth race of the series Saturday in Ashland, then finished second Sunday in Proctor to become the fourth different champion in the Series’ four years of existence.
“(Winning the Series title) is a pretty awesome feeling,” Burdick said. “There is some very tough competition here -- the best in WISSOTA. We were just hoping to get into the top five, and we’re just happy to finish where we finish.”
Keeler captured second place in the final standings, just a single point ahead of Johnson. Keeler also edged out Burdick for top Hard Charger honors for the tour.
In other action Friday night:
- Travis Budisalovich, who had started inside on Row 3, outran the field in the Late Models for his second feature win of the season;
- Duluth’s Jody Bellefeuille took the Modifieds field to school in their nonstop 20-lap feature;
- Mack Estey held off brother Skeeter Estey to win his first Midwest Modifieds feature of the season at Superior;
- Cory Jorgensen of Hermantown claimed the Pure Stocks feature win;
- In the NVSR full-bodied stock car feature, Duluth’s Bobby LePage powered his Richard Petty-liveried 1970 Dodge Challenger to the front and Brian Vang drove his NVSR super-modified to a slim margin of victory over Mark Peine in that division’s feature.
The Gondik Law Speedway will host a visit by the WISSOTA Wollak Construction Late Model Challenge Series this Friday during its AMSOIL Twin Ports Twin 25s special. WISSOTA Super Stocks and Pure Stocks will join the Late Models, which will run two 25-lap features paying $1,500 to win each.
Gondik Law Speedway
WISSOTA Late Models
Feature: 1-10: Travis Budisalovich, Minneapolis; Mike Prochnow, Menomonie; Darrell Nelson, Hermantown; Kyle Peterlin, Hibbing; Rick Hanestad, Boyceville; Jeff Massingill, Keewatin, Minn.; Mike Keller, Menomonie; Dave Flynn, Superior; Aaron Lillo, Proctor; Tim McMann, Duluth.
11-17: John Toppozini, Thunder Bay, Ontario; Terry Lillo, Duluth; Robbie Cooper, South Range; Chris Lillo, Duluth; Don Shaw, Ham Lake, MN; Steve Laursen, Cumberland; Kevin Carlson, Hermantown.
Heat 1: Shaw; Nelson; Toppozini; Laursen; Flynn; C. Lillo; T. Lillo; A. Lillo; Cooper.
Heat 2: Budisalovich; Prochnow; Keller; Hanestad; Peterlin; Massingill; McMann; Carlson.
Feature: 1-10: Jody Bellefeuille, Duluth; Al Uotinen, Superior; Darrell Nelson, Hermantown; Todd Gehl, Solon Springs; Neil Balduc, Bessemer, Mich.; Skeeter Estey, Kelly Lake, Minn.; Duane Dale, Hibbing; Johnny Broking, Grand Rapids, Minn.; Danny Vang, Deerwood, Minn.; Cody Wolkowski, Thunder Bay, Ontario.
11-16: Jeffrey Lien Jr., Mora, Minn.; Tyler Kintner, Hibbing; Rick Rivord, Superior; Bryan Hessler, Chetek; Jeff Lien, Mora, Minn.; Ryan Garson, Wrenshall, Minn.
Heat 1: Wolkowski; Gehl; Estey; Balduc; Dale; Rivord; Hessler; Garson; Bob Broking, Grand Rapids, Minn.
Heat 2: Nelson; J. Broking; Bellefeuille; Uotinen; Lien; Lien Jr.; Cody Carlson, Superior; Vang; Kintner.
WISSOTA Super Stocks
Feature: 1-10: Dave Flynn, Superior; DJ Keeler, Superior; Kevin Burdick, Proctor; Nick Oreskovich, Mason; Andy Miskowic, Princeton, Minn.; Scott Lawrence, Superior; Dave Mass, East Bethel, Minn.; Dexton Koch, Becker, Minn.; Josh Zimpel, Braham, Minn.; Jeff Klopstein, Tomahawk.
11-20: Kurt Becken, Big Lake, Minn.; Matt Deragon, Ashland; Cory Casari, Montreal; Andy Grymala, Superior; Shawn McFadden, Ashland; Ronnie Malecki, Superior; Jim Campbell, Two Harbors; Rich Bishop, New Richmond; Dan Severson, Ironton, Minn.; Patrick Beeksma, Ironwood, Mich.
21-24: Curt Myers, Cameron; Mike Bellefeuille, Duluth; Tim Johnson, Brainerd; Cole Chernosky, Thunder Bay, Ontario.
Heat 1: Becken; Miskowic; Mass; Chernosky; Klopstein; Keith Kern, Superior; Annika Hammitt, Cloquet; Bob Galovich, Superior.
Heat 2: Bishop; Oreskovich; Flynn; Casari; Bellefeuille; Burdick; Don Eischens, Richmond, Minn.; Brian Carl, Duluth.
Heat 3: Josh Zimpel; Deragon; Grymala; Campbell; Kevin Salin, Iron, Minn.; Johnson; Austin Niemeyer, Brainerd, Minn.; Rita Anderson, South Range.
Heat 4: Lawrence; Severson; Beeksma; McFadden; Brian Mikkonen, Iron River; Doug Koski, Chisholm; Willie Johnsen Jr., Superior; Matt Hammitt, Cloquet.
Heat 5: Myers; Keeler; Koch; Malecki; Jared Zimpel, Braham, Minn.; Jon Hammitt, Cloquet; Joel Snyder, Mora, Minn.
Semi-Feature 1: Klopstein; Burdick; Jared Zimpel; Koski; Niemeyer; Salin; Carl; A. Hammitt; M. Hammitt; Snyder.
Semi-Feature 2: Bellefeuille; Johnson; Eischens; Kern; Johnsen; Mikkonen; Anderson; Galovich; J. Hammitt.
WISSOTA Midwest Modifieds
Feature: 1. Mack Estey, Hibbing; 2. Skeeter Estey, Kelly Lake, Minn.; 3. Gunner Peterson, Mason; 4. Deven VanHouse, Silver Bay; 5. James Trantina III., St Cloud; 6. Jack Rivord, Superior; 7. Dan Kingsley, Superior; 8. Ryan Savoy, Superior; 9. Brandon Copp, Brule; 10 David Simpson, Thunder Bay, Ontario; 11. Tanner Williamson, Fort Frances, Ontario; 12. Craig Lofdahl, Duluth; 13, McLean Andrews, Duluth; 14, Colin Chaschuk, Neebing, Ontario; 15. Dalton Mains, Foxboro; 16. Zach Benson, Princeton, Minn.; 17. Billy Milne, Thunder Bay, Ontario; 18. Wayne Jacques, Thunder Bay, Ontario; 19. Nick Ziegler, Cloquet; 20. Andrew Inman, Hermantown; 21. Nick DaRonco, Britt, Minn.; 22. Carey LePage, Culver, Minn; 23. Michael Blevins, Hibbing.
Heat 1: Rivord; S. Estey; Savoy; DaRonco; Simpson; Copp; Milne.
Heat 2: M Estey; Kingsley; Inman; Benson; Trantina; Lofdahl; Chaschuk; Mains.
Heat 3: Peterson; VanHouse; Blevins; Williamson; Andrews; Ziegler; Jacques.
WISSOTA Pure Stocks
Feature: 1. Cory Jorgensen, Hermantown; 2. Michael Blevins, Hibbing; 3. James Vendela, South Range; 4. Dylan Shelton, Wrenshall, Minn.; 5. Shaina Rapp, Saginaw, Minn.; 6. Josh Miller, Spooner; 7. Aaron Bernick, Duluth; 8. Richard Dzelak Jr., Superior; 9. Trevor Treviranus, Hawthorne; 10. Darrin Lowney, Superior.
Heat 1: Jorgensen; Vendela; Blevins; Shelton; Bernick; Dzelak.
Heat 2: Rapp; Treviranus; Lowney; Miller; Kyle Copp, Brule.
NVSR Vintage Cars
Full-Bodied Feature: 1. Bobby LePage, Duluth; 2. Paul Dolphy, Mounds View, Minn.; 3. Tom Godfrey, Backus, Minn.; 4. Mike Kelly, Spooner; 5. Travis Doyle, Duluth; 6. Mike Hudyma, Duluth; 7. Scott Chilberg, Duluth.
Full-Bodied Heat: Hudyma; Dolphy; LePage; Godfrey; Doyle; Chilberg; Kelly.
Super Modified Feature: 1. Brian Vang, Deerwood, Minn.; 2. Mark Peine, White Bear Lake, Minn.; 3. Butch Bethke, Oakdale, Minn.; 4. Dennis Olson, Braham, Minn.; 5. Mike Bjorklund, Sandstone, Minn.; 6. Dave Whirley, Grand Rapids, Minn.
Super Modified Heat: Olson; Peine; Bethke; Bjorklund; Whirley; Vang; Kevin Lipsky, New Richmond.
Sunday, July 22
Feature: 1. Darrell Nelson, 2. Danny Vang, 3. Jody Bellefeuille, 4. Deven VanHouse, 5. Neil Balduc, 6. Jeff Wood, 7. Adam Ayotte, 8. Donnie Lofdahl, 9. Ryan Garson, 10. Todd Carlson, 11. Paul Schultz.
Heat 1: Nelson, VanHouse, Balduc, Carlson, Schultz, Ayotte.
Heat 2: Vang, Bellefeuille, Lofdahl, Wood, Garson.
WISSOTA Super Stocks
Feature: 1. Scott Lawrence, 2. Kevin Burdick, 3. Dave Mass, 4. DJ Keeler, 5. Andy Miskowic, 6. Tim Johnson, 7. Jeff Klopstein, 8. Nick Oreskovich, 9. Dexton Koch, 10. Jared Zimpel, 11. Jim Campbell, 12. Matt Deragon, 13. Kyle Oman, 14. Ronnie Malecki, 15. Brian Mikkonen, 16. Andy Grymala, 17. Rich Bishop, 18. Brian Carl, 19. Josh Zimpel, 20. Dave Flynn, 21. Don Eischens, 22. Curt Myers, 23. Mike Bellefeuille, 24. Kurt Becken.
B Feature: Keeler, Grymala, Malecki, Carl, Willie Johnsen Jr, Cole Chernosky, Matthew Hammitt, Jon Hammitt, Joel Snyder, Kevin Salin, Patrick Beeksma.
Heat 1: Lawrence, Becken, Johnson, Miskowic, Deragon, Dan Severson, Grymala, Carl, Annika Hammitt.
Heat 2: Burdick, Koch, Mass, Mikkonen, Oman, Chernosky, Malecki, Snyder, J. Hammitt.
Heat 3: Myers, Bellefeuille, Oreskovich, Klopstein, Bishop, Salin, Schmidt, M. Hammitt.
Heat 4: Flynn, Eischens, Campbell, Josh Zimpel, Jared Zimpel, Keeler, Johnsen, Beeksma.
WISSOTA Midwest Modifieds
Feature: 1. Skeeter Estey, 2. David Simpson, 3. Dan Kingsley, 4. Deven VanHouse, 5. Brandon Copp, 6. Gunner Peterson, 7. Andrew Inman, 8. Craig Lofdahl, 9. Josh Heavirland, 10. McLean Andrews, 11. Wayne Jacques, 12. Carey LePage, 13. Billy Milne, 14. Jack Rivord, 15. Michael Blevins.
Heat 1: Peterson, Simpson, Lofdahl, Rivord, Inman, LePage, Andrews, Jacques.
Heat 2: Copp, VanHouse, Kingsley, Estey, Milne, Heavirland, Blevins.
WISSOTA Pure Stocks
Feature: 1. Andrew Hanson, 2. Michael Blevins, 3. Markia Smith, 4. Allen Rapp, 5. Aaron Bernick, 6. Cory Jorgensen, 7. Cody Herrick, 8. Jon Burt, 9. Jeremy Cash, 10. Carter Nelson, 11. Jason Simonson, 12. Mackenzie Bjorklund, 13. Dylan Shelton.
Heat 1: Burt, Hanson, Smith, Rapp, Nelson, Simonson, Bjorklund.
Heat 2: Blevins, Cash, Jorgensen, Bernick, Herrick, Shelton.
Feature: 1. Derek Ament, 2. Jim Ripley, 3. Allen House, 4. Paul Ripley, 5. Hunter McDougall, 6. Tyler Kachinske, 7. Cordell Kylven, 8. Tate Niehaus, 9. Kristy Marken, 10. Ken Hapy, 11. Patrick Passeri, 12. Joseph Fitzsimmons, 13. Wally Ament, 14. Jake Smith, 15. Brittany Smith.
Heat 1: Grayson Pratt, McDougall, Brad House, Niehaus, Marken, Hapy, Fitzsimmons, Passeri, Jason LeDoux.
Heat 2: B. Smith, J. Smith, D. Ament, P. Ripley, A. House, W. Ament, J. Ripley, Kachinske, Kylven.