Saturday, July 18, 2009

Jergens Continues Hot Streak at Fairmont

Last night, Friday July 17th, I ventured my way north as I rode with announcer Blake Anderson to the Fairmont Raceway in Fairmont, Minnesota. Blake was asked to fill in for the regular announcers as they were both gone on separate vacations, so I decided to keep him company on the three-plus hour trip each way.

A good field of cars checked into the pit area tonight as a total of eighty-eight competitors were ready to strap in for action. Jeff Trosin led flag to flag on his way to victory in the junior hornet feature. Amanda Kaltved appeared to be on her way to the hornet win, but Nate Coopman made a charge on the final corner to slip by under her to snag it away at the line.

Thirteen hobby stocks made their way to the track next and pole sitter Nate Manderfield wasted no time in taking the lead. Dustin Wannarka would steal the lead away using the bottom side for the pass on lap three. As the halfway signal was displayed to the drivers, Greg Sidles was closing the gap to the leader. As the field was getting set to take the white flag, Wannarka made a sharp left-hand turn on the exit of turn four and drove down the work area lane and slammed on the brakes. Not sure what the problem was, but he would take his car back to his trailer. Sidles inherited the race lead and crossed the line in front, but would later be disqualified for an illegal flywheel. So that handed the win over to Wed Jahnz. Behind him, Brandon Mosloski apparently was disqualified as well as official results have Dustin Larson finishing second, Nate Darnell third, Nate Manderfield fourth, and Chad Krug in fifth.

Up next would be the bmod (360's) feature. Outside front row starter Travis Deboer led the field at the completion of lap one, but the pace quickly slowed as a ten-car pileup in turn one soon followed. Point leader Josh Ruby and perennial contender Jake Simpson were involved with Ruby's night coming to an end at that point. Simpson would make repairs and tag the tail of the field. During this caution period, race leader Deboer exited the track on the backstretch and went directly to his trailer, ending his night. I didn't see any smoke or steam, so not sure what the reasoning was behind his exit.

Mark Sathoff assumed command as things got back underway, but another caution slowed the field down once again. Tad Reutzel used the restarts to slowly make his way towards the front as he got by Dan Tenold for fourth and a lap later get by Matthew Looft for third. With three laps to go he worked his car under Troy Gochanour's ride to advance his way to second. Reutzel tried the same move on race leader Mark Sathoff, but Sathoff's car was too strong on the high side as he went on to take the checkers. Tad Reutzel settled for second, Troy Gochanour was third, Dan Tenold fourth, and Devin Spoo rounded out the top five.

Nineteen IMCA stock cars were now ready for their main event. Tim Grathwohl would lead the first lap before a caution came out. When racing resumed, many people were focused on Mike Jergens as he was already making strides towards the front. After starting eighth, he got by Brice Bodle for fourth using the low line of the speedway. Unfortunately for him, a caution came out before the lap could be completed and Bodle would be lined up back ahead of Jergens on the restart. Bodle would power his machine on the bottom side in turns one and two and draw even with Elijah Zevenbergen down the backstretch, but Zevenbergen's car was faster in three and four and would regain an advantage at the finish line.

At the halfway point, Jergens made his move as he darted to the inside of Bodle's car coming out of turn four. Jergens would get the advantage exiting turn two and also get by Zevenbergen for the runner up spot. Jergens would continue to use the low line as he made the pass for the lead on Tim Grathwohl at the finish line with a couple laps remaining. Further back in the field, Ken Tietz had a great run going as he moved up to fifth with two laps to go after starting in the fourteenth spot. But it would be Mike Jergens picking up another win after he collected three last weekend. Tim Grathwohl was second, Elijah Zevenbergen was third, Brice Bodle fourth, and Ken Tietz rounded out the top five.

The final event of the night would be the twenty-lap feature for the IMCA modifieds. Pole sitter Travis Peterson jumped out front early on, but Chris Rakness made the pass a short time later. Peterson's car seemed to lose the handle as the laps clicked off, as he pushed up the track in turn two to open the door for Denny Anderson to slip past for the second spot. A caution came out on lap three when Peterson's car spun in turn three. Anderson mounted a challenge for Rakness for the lead before taking command of the race a lap later. Ricky Stephan methodically worked his way towards the front as he was using the bottom groove to get by cars and made his way by Roger Nielsen to move into fourth place after starting tenth. Stephan would later get under Travis Engeman for third, and a few laps later Nielsen would make the pass on Engeman to advance to fourth.

A caution came out with four laps to go to bunch the field up. Eric Dailey, who started 13th, would make his way by Nielsen for fourth. Rakness was unable to make a move on Denny Anderson as Anderson motored home with the win. Chris Rakness was second, Ricky Stephan third, Roger Nielsen fought back to fourth, and Eric Dailey rounded out the top five.

The races were completed around 9:45 and Blake and I were walking towards the car at 10:00. A great night of racing that was completed in about three hours. Blake received several compliments from the fans in the stands for his announcing style. I even had people ask me where he normally announces at and how old he is. Blake and I both had a lot of fun and can't wait to do it again sometime.

- Racing may be a hobby, but it's DEFINITELY addictive!!

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