Sunday, June 24, 2012
NASCAR Results from Raceway Park
by Kevin Busse
SHAKOPEE, Minn. -- Minnesota's Action Attraction, Raceway Park in Shakopee, lived up to its name this past Sunday night with incredible NASCAR Whelen All-American Series action during each and every event.
In the American Short Tracker feature, Justin Schelitzche of Lester Prairie started on the pole next to Plymouth driver Dave Reed, in an event filled with contact and side by side racing. At the green flag, the top drivers stayed in a tight group until 13 laps to go, when Reed went wide out of turn 4 which set up a 3-way battle for 2nd place when others tried to pass on the inside, that resulted in a multi-car spin entering turn one which brought out a caution. At lane choice, Schelitzche was joined at the front by Farmington driver Todd Kamish, who shot to the lead at the restart, but had to regroup when Charlie Pehrson of Prior Lake got together with Hastings driver Mike Dimmick in turn two, sending Pehrson spinning into another caution. Once again it was Kamish and Schelitzche at the restart, with New Prague driver Jeremy Roche in the move to third with 10 laps remaining. The top two drivers extended their lead into the closing laps, until Justin made a last attempt to get to the point with 3 laps to go, when he went to the outside to try and overtake the Farmington racer. At the line it was Kamish crossing just ahead of Schelitzche, with Pehrson finishing in third.
One sentence describes the NASCAR Super Late Model event... "Walen does it again, but this time he had to work at it." At the start, it was Shakopee driver Derek Lemke, making his first appearance behind the wheel at Raceway Park this season, and Joe Prusak of Minnetonka joining him on the front row. Lemke took the early lead, followed closely by Jordan driver Johnny Hentges who moved into second place around Prusak with 28 laps to go. One lap later, Walen began his move, passing Prusak for 3rd, and then working his was around Hentges to take 2nd with 25 laps remaining. On-track action was heating up, when Goodhue racer Bryan Roach spun after trying to pass Prusak on the inside entering turn one, resulting in a caution. Lane choice placed Walen to the outside of Lemke, and at the restart the two drivers battled back and forth for the lead until Walen was barely able to clear with 21 laps to go, as the Shakopee driver stayed on his bumper. Roach was gaining ground from his earlier spin, moving in behind Hentges with 18 laps remaining, and then given third place 2 laps later when Hentges pulled into the pit lane after his car suddenly slowed on the front straight. Both Walen and Lemke continued their battle with 12 laps to go while extending their lead over the Goodhue driver by almost a quarter-track length. Race fans could see Roach frantically moving the steering wheel trying to keep the car under control at full speed, charging forward and trying to close the gap, slowly moving in on the two leaders as 6 laps remained. However, three laps later Walen was able to break free from Lemke, which resulted in Walen getting his 7th feature win of the season at Raceway Park, followed closely by Lemke, Roach in third, with Prusak settling for fourth place.
The Mini Stock feature began with a side-by-side battle for the lead, as pole sitters Jay Heitz of Chaska and Farmington's Mike Arends took turns at the top spot until 17 laps to go, when Bloomington racer Jeff Driver joined the lead group. Heitz locked in the lead and began to pull away as Driver pulled along side of Arends, and then passing the Farmington driver to take second. Positions behind the leader changed rapidly in the following laps, as Todd Tacheny of Mankato passed both Arends and Driver to take 2nd with 13 laps to go, followed quickly by Chaska driver Tom Sibila, who had Jack Purcell of Bloomington tailing his every move on the track. With 8 laps to go, and Heitz starting to lap slower cars, it was a 5-way battle for second place, consisting of Jeff Driver, Joe Tacheny of Mankato, Sibila, Purcell, and Todd Tacheny all weaving back and forth for position in a tight pack of racers. With 5 laps to go, Sibila tried to make his move on the outside, clearing around Driver, as Purcell once again followed, sticking to Sibila's rear bumper. At the checkers it was Heitz crossing with the win, Sibila in second and Purcell a close third.
The Bomber feature had Mike Stoer of Shakopee starting along side of Belle Plaine driver Kyle Campbell, with Stoer taking the lead at the green, as Ramsey's Eric Prindle overtook Campbell to move to second. With 17 laps to go, Tim Hollen of Richfield made the move to third place, leaving the top three drivers in a chase for the lead spot. Hollen made several attempts to take the lead, and was finally able to take the point when the group began to lap slower cars, using the traffic to his advantage to get around. Both Hollen and Stoer were able to build their lead by 5 laps to go, and at the close it was Hollen with the win, Stoer in second, and Prindle several lengths back finishing in third.
The Bandolero division is for drivers 14 years of age and under, and these younger competitors joined the racing action this past Sunday night, putting on a great show for the race fans. Jared Duda of Saint Michael took the opening lap lead over Donovan Michaud of Maple Grove, as a battle for third developed between Grant Brown of Prior Lake and Lakeville driver Brody Wulf. Both drivers were able to pass Machaud with 6 laps to go, moving into second and third, with Brown moving in behind the leader with 4 laps remaining. At the checkers it was Duda with the win, Brown in second, and Wulf taking third just ahead of Derek Miles of Kenyon.
The Great North Legends were also in action this past Sunday, With Buffalo driver Pat Zandstra taking an early lead over Luke Hommerding of Alexandria. Webster driver Tim Brockhouse passed Hommerding with 10 laps to go, moving to second with his sites set on the leader, but just couldn't close the gap enough to make a pass. The Buffalo driver started to build up his lead in the final 3 laps, leading to the win, and leaving Brockhouse to settle for second ahead of Hommerding who finished third.
The first Wild'n'Crazy Figure-8 feature of the evening had action everywhere but the "crossroads of doom" in a caution filled event. Mark Bronstad of Maple Plain started next to Lakeville driver Kari Miller, but as the green flag waved Miller's machine began dumping fluid coming out of the turn, putting her out of the race and leading to a complete restart. Mankato's Todd Tacheny found himself next to Bronstad at the green flag, with the Maple Plain driver moving to the lead and Tacheny giving chase. Caution waved again with 13 laps to go as Rick Martin of Lakeville and Dennis "The Menace" Barta of Richfield tangled in the pit turn, partially blocking the track. It was Bronstad and Tacheny again at the restart, with Burnsville driver Todd Wilson moving to third, and being chased by Shakopee driver Matt Dickey with 11 laps remaining. Ricky Martin of Farmington was moving through traffic quickly and joined up with Dickey 1 lap later. 8 laps to go another caution slowed the field as Barta blew a tire in the highway turn, sending his car to the pits. The restart had Bronstad and Tacheny battling for the lead, but another yellow flag waved when Shakopee driver John Lebens got together with Louie Ansolabehere of Minnetonka in the pit turn. With 6 laps to go and a single-file restart, Ricky Martin was able to move around Tacheny to take second, and 2 laps later had the Farmington driver looking in on Bronstad to challenge for the lead. However, Martin blew a tire in the final 3 laps, resulting in a Bronstad win, Tacheny second, and Lakeville driver Danny Johnson working his way up to a third place finish.
The second Figure-8 feature gave Danny Johnson the chance to finish what he tried to do in the first feature. Taking an early lead over Minneapolis driver Joel Johnston, while Dennis Barta raced Prior Lake's Steve Dahler for the third position. John Lebens joined the group with 13 laps to go, as Johnson began to build his lead. 2 Laps later, Lebens got around Johnston to take 2nd, with Barta settling into third. With 9 laps remaining, the Shakopee driver was closing in on the leader as Ricky Martin, who started the race at the back of the pack, moved up into 6th place, and then worked his way to 4th in the final 4 laps. With 2 laps to go, it was Lebens and Johnson battling for the lead, but the Shakopee driver couldn't get around before the finish. Johnson got the win, Lebens a close second, and Martin in third.
The IMCA Old Timers brought their vintage race cars out in an exibition event that brought back memories of Raceway Park in the 60s and 70s. Paul Dolphy, driving a 1969 Ford Torino that was raced by his father in the 1970's, won heat action earlier in the evening. The feature win went to Mike Hed, who drove a 1966 Chevelle that was a local sportsman car back in the day, followed in second by Jim Heiland of Arlington, who drove the restored 1970 Chevy Nova that was originally driven by Midwest racing legend Bob Jusola "The Flyin' Finn" in the early 70s, with third place going to Terry Bartick in a 1976 Vega Modified.
Raceway Park in Shakopee gets ready for another double-header weekend that will feature plenty of "SPEED," as the national cable and satellite motorsports television network SPEED-TV will be at Minnesota's Action Attraction this coming Friday, June 29th, to record the excitement for their popular motorsports program "...On The Edge!" Friday Night Destruction is presented by Justice Brothers, and will feature the Wild'n'Crazy Figure-8s, Flagpole Race, Mini Stocks, Legends, Bandoleros, Flat Track Motorcycles, Front Wheel Flyers, Spectator Drags and an Oval School Bus Race with an appearance by Captain Justice that you don't want to miss. The action starts at 7pm in an event you'll want to bring the whole family to, and remember to bring your favorite Raceway Park signs out for the television cameras!
The excitement concludes on Sunday, July 1st, at 6pm as Raceway Park kicks off the month with more NASCAR Whelen All-American Series action, featuring a 30-lap Mini Stock feature in an event with the largest group of drivers of the 2012 racing season. Nowhere else in the area are you going to find an action filled affordable family friendly venue like Raceway Park! For more information call 952/445-2257, and check the Internet at www.goracewaypark.com