As the "Tapfan Tour" continues on into the Memorial Day weekend, I ventured my way north once again to follow the ground-pounding action of the USMTS tour on Friday. Only thirty-three cars were on hand, but the action was far from disappointing or dull. Both classes of hornets, Wissota midwest modifieds, and Wissota pure stocks were also in action on the tight quarter-mile facility.
Brandon Vogt took the lead early in the junior hornet race, but Michael Wytaske had other ideas as he snagged the top spot away coming to the white flag as Vogt's momentum was slowed temporarily by a lapped car. In the senior hornets, Mike Bowers looked to continue his dominating season as he jumped out front for the ten lap event. Bowers has won every feature event thus far at Chateau Raceway, but his luck would run out tonight as Gary Stahl maneuvered his car to the inside of Bowers as the two exited turn four coming to the white flag. The two swapped racing lanes on the next set of corners and Stahl won the drag race to the checkers for his first win of the season.
A good field of twenty Wissota pure stocks were the next feature to hit the track. Kevin Vogt would take command early on as he got the jump on the field from the pole. A caution flag waved on lap eight, slowing the pace and bunching the cars back up. This restart was exactly what Jason Newkirk needed as he powered his machine to the outside and got by Vogt. Vogt would have an opportunity to do the same maneuver on the next lap as the yellow flag waved again, but Newkirk would have none of it as he cruised home with the win. Vogt finished second, Brady Krohnberg was third, Stacy Krohnberg fourth, and point leader Brandon Shaner rounded out the top five.
The Wissota midwest modifieds provided one of the most exciting finishes of the night as fourteen cars battled it out. Eric Condit paced the field early on from the pole, but a quick caution flag would set up one of the most exciting restarts I've seen in quite some time. Condit didn't get a good jump on the field, allowing Jerry Young to pull to the inside and Greg Pfeifer Jr. to the outside as they came off turn two three-wide for the top spot! Young would motor his machine by both cars and began to pull away from the field as Condit and Pfeifer Jr battled it out behind him. A caution flag erased Young's lead with just a handful of laps remaining. Another caution waved after the field took the white flag, setting up a single file restart for the finish. Bryan Hernandez would be on Young's rear bumper and ducked low to pull even with Young, but Young powered back by as the white flag waved. Hernandez tried to power his car up on the cushion on the final set of turns, but slipped high into the crumbs to allow Pfeifer Jr to get by. Jimmy Davis and Albert Wytaske were side by side under Hernandex as the three cars exited turn four, setting up a three-wide finish at the stripe. Pfeifer Jr was second while Davis was awarded third, Albert Wytaske finished just ahead of Hernandez for fourth and fifth respectively.
Forty laps of ground shaking USMTS action was up next as the field was set for night's finale. As it has been on several occasions so far this week, the front row would consist of Jon Tesch and Jason Hughes. These two started off the current seven-day swing swapping wins at Oskaloosa and Marshalltown, and Friday night's action would be much of the same. Hughes got the jump early on, powering his machine to the outside to set the pace. An early caution bunched the field up and Tesch would decide to give the outside a try as well. The move paid off as Tesch quickly found himself in Hughes' tire tracks, but another caution halted his momentum before he could attempt to make a pass. By this time, Tim Donlinger had made his way from fifteenth to eighth and still charging his way forward. After a few cautions, Steve Wetstein's car would get stronger as he joined the front two cars for the lead. Wetstein powered his way to second on lap twenty-three, but Tesch again put his car on the cushion and snared the second spot back. While Tesch was within striking distance, he was unable to any moves as Hughes took home his eighth win on the USMTS tour this season. Tesch would finish second, Wetstein third, Donlinger advanced a couple more spots to take fourth, and Dereck Ramirez completed the top five. Thursday night's feature winner Zach VanderBeek was sixth.
The racing action was very good tonight. The track was a little slimy to start with, prompting track officials to bring a grader out and skim the top of the track off. This turned out to be a great move as it provided plenty of side by side action throughout the night. A great crowd was on hand as well, as evident by the 50/50 raffle drawing. $783 went to the winning number, and the gentleman who won donated an undisclosed amount back to the charity that raised the money.
The USMTS moves to the Deer Creek Speedway Saturday before finishing the holiday weekend in Kasson (MN) and Fountain City (WIS). If you get the chance, be sure to check out a USMTS show when they come to a track near you.
- Racing may be a hobby, but it's DEFINITELY addictive!!