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A Long Time Coming; Gilbertson Steps Up

By Tracy Hager FOUNTAIN CITY (August 28) –
A heavy rain soaked the track as haulers rolled through the pit gate leaving a muddy mess and puddles everywhere. Track work began and something nearly unheard of in a very long time; a call to all drivers to help roll the track in. Nearly two hours later, the first heats pulled onto the track for season championship night at Mississippi Thunder Speedway.

Lou Fegers’ Racing Equipment was the sponsor of the night and provided grab bags to the first 100 drivers in the gate as well as numerous prizes for the fans throughout the night. WISSOTA Street Stock driver Shaun Mann was noted as the previous week’s Driver of the Week and carried the flag for the anthem later that night.

In turn two of the initial start in the WISSOTA Midwest Modifieds, pole sitter Josh Appel slipped sideways with the complete field on its way toward him. With nowhere to go, cars piled into each other leaving a smaller field for the complete restart. Caught in the melee were Brandon Davis, Ben Anderson, Kyle Jumbeck, Chris Creeley, Cory Breitung, and Curt Luhmann. Appel retired for the night as many went pitside which moved Travis Krause into the pole position from his original ninth place starting spot. Paul Neisius proved to be a great challenge to Krause as the race got going, and Creeley fired up his black 90x into third place. Dalton Yohnk also benefited from the first-lap incident and quickly moved into fourth place, but Chris Gilbertson trailed for the spot when the second caution which involved Erik Kanz and Jumbeck occurred. Jumbeck suffered major damage and retired for the evening. Although his second track championship was sealed up, that was not the way Ju! mbeck wanted to end the regular season. Krause continued to fend off Creeley for the lead as Gilbertson settled into third place solo which left Neisius and Yohnk to fight for fourth. Krause was able to shake off Creeley, and then Creeley and Gilbertson ran side by side for second place. Gilbertson shot high and Creeley shot down low as they gave way to some great action for second place. With cautions arriving with 12 laps to go and then 10 laps to go, Gilbertson was able to get around Creeley into second and then with a big move on Krause take the lead. Gilbertson had five laps to settle into the lead when something he did not want to see happened; a caution with only five laps to go. Gilbertson kept his composure through three more cautions in the last five laps to seal the deal. Gilbertson climbed atop his car in victory lane to a round of cheers for his first feature win and clean sweep. Creeley finished a strong second while Yohnk, Jared Happel, and Neisius ro! unded out the top five when a major pile up on the final lap resulted in a caution-checkered situation. Krause was tagged for the caution going into the final stretch causing a return to the white flag lap for placement. Gilbertson also finished second in track points to Jumbeck.

Toby Jahnke and Shaun Mann set the pace for the WISSOTA Street Stock main event, but as the cars rounded turn four, Donny Ganz attempted a slide job in turn four on Danny Hanson and pancaked Kevin Hager into the front stretch wall. A caution emerged as Hager, Jahnke, and Ganz headed to the work area while the others lined back up for a complete restart. Cory Hanson then inherited the pole and took off on the green followed by Dan Bork and Mann. Bork was all over Cory Hanson for the lead and shot under Hanson in turn three, but Hanson shot right back in turn four to regain the lead. Bork was literally on Hanson’s tail and eventually took the lead which left Cory Hanson to battle with Danny Hanson for second place. Fred Prudoehl and Darryl Foegen settled into fourth and fifth while Danny Hanson flew under Cory Hanson into second place. Bork and Danny Hanson moved up on lap traffic as they pulled away from Cory Hanson, Foegen, and Prudoehl. Bork continued his reign in th! e lead followed by Danny Hanson and Cory Hanson when Prudoehl, Hager, and Foegen chimed in for three-wide racing for fourth place. Danny Hanson finally got around Bork for the lead and headed to the finish line to win the feature as well as his second track championship in as many years. Bork finished second followed by Foegen, Prudoehl, and Cory Hanson.

Jay Oricchio and Michael Hofer sat atop the WISSOTA Super Stock 20-lap feature, but Hofer quickly shot to the lead after going three wide with Oricchio and Steve Speltz. Tim Williamson and Troy Langowski raced for fourth place followed by Bob Fort and Dan Nissalke. Only a few laps in, Speltz slowed on the backstretch which moved Williamson, Langowski, and Nissalke into the top four. A caution for a car spun into the mud in turn four reset the field with Hofer on the point. Fort had gained a few spots and took the low side under Langowski. Langowski made a charge outside of Hofer as the two drag raced down the back stretch. Langowski took over the lead followed by Hofer, Fort, Jon Duffy, and Gary Wiersgalla. The cars began to spread out by the half-way mark of the race as they all held their lines and ran the cushion. Wiersgalla heated up the battle for fourth place with Duffy as the laps wound down to six to go. Hofer gained some steam to close in on Langowski, but ! Langowski kept the cruise on and headed to victory lane. Hofer, Fort, Wiersgalla, and Duffy rounded out the top five. Wiersgalla clipped last year’s champion Langowski by 4 points to grab his second championship in three years. If the pattern sticks, it will be Langowski’s turn again next year.

Jay Ihrke pulled to a commanding lead over Jeff Rollinger in the USRA Modified main event. Joel Alberts and Paul Hamernik ran third and fourth, but Hank Rollinger Jr. dove under Hamernik into fourth early on. Kevin Viebrock then shot under Hamernik as the dust began to fly. Three-wide racing down the backstretch continued down the frontstretch as well, but a caution emerged and left Kerry Ledebuhr with only three wheels on his machine. Ihrke resumed the lead position followed by Alberts, Jeff Rollinger, Hank Rollinger, and Viebrock when Josh Angst silently slipped into fifth. Angst kept his energy focused on the top spots as he next moved to third place. The third caution reset the field when Hamernik spun into the mud inside of turn four. Ihrke again manned the lead followed by Angst, Alberts, and Ron Konkel who had worked up from 10th place. Viebrock ran in fifth place followed by a great battle for sixth place amongst Bob Timm and Jeff Rollinger. Viebrock slid wi! de in turn four which gave Timm the chance to move into fifth place. As more cautions waved over the field, Ihrke continued his top performance in the lead spot. Angst worked hard in second place while Alberts and Konkel waged a great fight for third place before Konkel zipped into the spot. With seven laps to go, Ihrke slowed his car due to a broken shock which brought out the final caution as he exited the track. Angst was handed the lead with Ihrke’s exit, but Konkel was on the move. Konkel flew around Angst into the lead and never looked back. As Konkel took home the win, Angst finished second followed by John Doelle, Timm, and Alberts. Doelle was the big winner though when he grabbed the USRA Modified track championship by 13 points over Angst.

Mike Krause led much of the Hornet feature, but it was Johny Severtson to steal the win. Krause finished second, and Kevin Laufenberg, Ashley Wolfe, and Brad Duellman capped the top five.

Jake Timm not only won his feature in the A Midwest Mini Mods but also won the track championship as well. Brandon Reutzel, Alex Williamson, Mike Stevens, and Nia Gardner finished the feature in the top five as only a feature was run due to the rain delay.

B Midwest Mini Mods also ran only a feature due to the rain delay. Dylan Buckland capped the main event followed by Alex Stevens, Mathew Schliesman, Tanner Brown, and Matt Stevens to finish up the track points’ run in that division. Schliesman emerged the track champion in the division.

Jeff Matejka won the 600cc Mini Mods feature followed by Charlie McNally, Brett LaDuke, Don Werner, and Dave Fruechte. Matejka also grabbed the inaugural season championship in the division.

Track points are a thing of the past for the 2009 season, and now it is on to the specials. Friday, September 4th will be the first Pit Stop Challenge event. WISSOTA Super Stocks, WISSOTA Street Stocks, WISSOTA Midwest Modifieds, and USRA Modifieds will be in action for this unique event. WISSOTA National points will be awarded. Features will be 30 laps for the WISSOTA and USRA classes and will consist of two segments of 15 laps each. A mandatory ten-minute pit stop on the front stretch will be allowed for changes of any kind within legality of course, and the driver MUST remain in the car. The leader of the race after segment one is complete will role a dice to determine the number of cars to invert for the second segment. A penalty of two positions per minute for a maximum of five minutes will be assessed to any driver who does not complete all pit activity within the ten minutes allowed. Any pit activities not complete within the extended five-minute penalty perio! d will result in disqualification. The purse will be awarded at 50% to the finishing order of the first segment and 50% to the finishing order of the second segment. A $100 bonus will be awarded to the driver in each class that advances his/her position the most following the pit stop. Check out Mississippi Thunder for this new and unique twist on racing. All three Mini Mod classes will also be racing beginning at 6:15 p.m. Regular racing action starts at 7 p.m. Watch for more details for the season finale at Mississippi Thunder the weekend of October 9th as well.

WISSOTA Midwest Modified Feature – Chris Gilbertson, Chris Creeley, Dalton Yohnk, Jared Happel, Paul Neisius, Josh Crary, Jack Baehman, Pete Bushman, Travis Krause, Ben Anderson, Barry Johnson, Tyler Creeley, Cody Gardner, Don Schaefer, Leigh Volkman, Erik Kanz, Kyle Jumbeck, Cory Breitung, Brandon Davis, Curt Luhmann, Josh Appel Heat 1 – Neisius, Breitung, Davis, Happel, Yohnk, Bushman, Kanz Heat 2 – C. Creeley, Jumbeck, Anderson, Crary, Luhmann, Volkman, Baehman Heat 3 – Gilbertson, Appel, Krause, Gardner, T. Creeley, Schaefer, Johnson

WISSOTA Street Stock Feature –
Danny Hanson, Dan Bork, Darryl Foegen, Fred Prudoehl, Cory Hanson, Dave Smith, Kevin Hager, Rich Theisen, Jane Keating, Lee Hager, Shaun Mann, Toby Jahnke, Lonnie Klonecki, Donny Ganz, Cory Crapser Heat 1 – D. Hanson, K. Hager, Bork, Mann, Smith, Keating, Klonecki, Crapser Heat 2 – Prudoehl, Jahnke, Ganz, C. Hanson, Foegen, L. Hager, Theisen WISSOTA Super Stock Feature – Troy Langowski, Michael Hofer, Bob Fort, Gary Wiersgalla, Jon Duffy, Kevin Hager, Jay Oricchio, Bruce Lutz, Tim Williamson, Adam Kerley, Steve Speltz, Dan Nissalke Heat 1 – Nissalke, Wiersgalla, Langowski, Oricchio, Lutz, Kerley Heat 2 – Fort, Speltz, Williamson, Hofer, Duffy, Hager

USRA Modifieds Feature –
Ron Konkel, Josh Angst, John Doelle, Joel Alberts, Bob Timm, Hank Rollinger Jr., Les Duellman, Jeff Rollinger, Ron Britain, Paul Hamernik, Gary Doelle, Clint Wittlief, Jay Ihrke, Adam Stockhausen, Brian Albrecht, Andy Bohnstengel, Lance Hofer, Kevin Viebrock, Phil Wernert, Jeremy Jonsgaard, Les Jonsgaard, Kerry Ledebuhr, Roger Niederkorn Heat 1 – Konkel, Ihrke, Britain, Viebrock, Duellman, Wernert, J. Jonsgaard, Stockhausen Heat 2 – Hamernik, Alberts, Hofer, J. Rollinger, Bohnstengel, Albrecht, G. Doelle, L. Jonsgaard Heat 3 – Angst, Ledebuhr, H. Rollinger, Timm, Wittlief, J. Doelle, Niederkorn

Hornets Feature –
Johny Severtson, Mike Krause, Kevin Laufenberg, Ashley Wolfe, Brad Duellman, Bonnie Jablonske, Fletcher Milene, Ron Jablonske, Leonard Hicks, Shawn Applen, Corey Wolfe, Becky Feyen Heat 1 – Krause, Severtson, Duellman, Laufenberg, R. Jablonske, Milene Heat 2 – A. Wolfe, B. Jablonske, Hicks, Applen, C. Wolfe, Feyen

A Mini Mods Feature –
Jake Timm, Brandon Reutzel, Alex Williamson, Mike Stevens, Nia Gardner, Mac Alberts, Robert Dyrdal, Gary Kellner, Sydney Alberts, Jerome Kellner

B Mini Mods Feature –
Dylan Buckland, Alex Stevens, Mathew Schliesman, Tanner Brown, Matt Stevens, Matthew LaDuke, Rachel LaDuke

600 Mini Mods Feature –
Jeff Matejka, Charlie McNally, Brett LaDuke, Don Werner, Dave Fruechte, Joe Jasnoch, Joe Provenzino, Bruce Schmitt Heat – Fruechte, Matejka, McNally, LaDuke, Werner, Provenzino, Jasnoch, Schmitt