Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Fort Dodge USMTS Checkers to Gustin

August 3rd saw me travel to the Mineral City Speedway as they hosted a USMTS event. This event was postponed from an earlier date in which Kenny Wallace was scheduled to be on hand. Wallace was scheduled to be on hand last night, but due to the NASCAR Sprint Cup race being postponed from Sunday to Monday he was unable to attend. Nevertheless, the racing would go on without him and prove to be a good race even with a disappointing twenty-three car field. Also racing last night were the stock cars and bmods.

Twenty laps would be the distance for the bmods as they took to the track first. Mike Pruitt jumped out front, but a caution quickly slowed the pace on lap two. That turned out to be the only caution of the race. On the restart Matt Lettow moved into the top five while a lap later Scott Davis found his way to ninth after starting sixteenth. Davis would only be able to gain one more position the rest of the race. Up front Jim Lampe used the high side to make the pass on Pruitt for the lead and then started to pull away. Lettow would work his way by Tim Wilcox to take over the fourth spot while Bryon Weyer got by Pruitt to claim the runner up spot. Lettow would later give up his spot as something broke in the left front suspension. Jim Lampe would suffer the same luck, but his misfortune turned out not to be as costly as he was able to limp his machine around the final lap and take home the win. Bryon Weyer, Mike Pruitt, Tim Wilcox, and Scott Forbes rounded out the top five.

1. 22 Jim Lampe
2. 27 Bryon Weyer
3. 92 Mike Pruitt
4. 7w Tim Wilcox
5. 29 Scott Forbes
6. 21 Matt Lettow
7. 64 Brandon Leeman
8. 81D Scott Davis
9. 20G Mike Grantham
10. 4ord Bob Sutherland
11. 12 Doug Smith
12. 99 Mark Elliott
13. 46 Matt Northrop
14. 20x Luke Wanninger
15. 20 Chad Louk
16. 40 George Gilliland
17. 47 Rodney Slagle
18. 52 Brian Kosiski
19. 321 Andy Tiernan
20. 36 Matt Pittman
21. 63 Daniel Tasler
22. 53 Tim Hanson
23. 59 Eric Puhrmann
24. 57 Doug Bartles
25. 8 Bill Hoover

Stock cars were next up for their twenty lap finale. Jeff Deal took command from the start. Matt Fox was working the low side in the early laps and got freight-trained by four cars on the top side. Deal's night would end early as his motor expired on lap four to bring out the caution. That handed the reigns over to Randy Biederman. Mitchell Griffith took his machine to the bottom side and made it work in a patient manner. He would advance to the third spot and later the runner up spot while further back Mike Jergens had worked his way up to the top five after starting eleventh. Jergens' luck would falter as he had a right rear tire go flat and forced him to the pits. He was able to get it changed and make it back out. Griffith ducked to the inside of Biederman to grab the top spot, but that was short-lived as he and Jason Minnehan got tangled up in turn one that ended both of their nights. Jim Mitchell would inherit the race lead, but Matt Fox would claim the top spot from him as Rod Richards followed him to second. Fox would take home the win followed by Richards, Jim Mitchell, Mike Jergens, and Wayne Crimmins.

1. M2 Matt Fox
2. 23HR Rod Richards
3. M5 Jim Mitchell
4. 37 Mike Jergens
5. 35 Wayne Crimmins
6. R31 Ryan Leeman
7. 43 Calvin Lange
8. z28 Jeff Zehr
9. 24B Randy Biederman
10. 57 Mitchell Griffith
11. 7 Jason Minnehan
12. 57v Mike VanGenderen
13. 32JR Laura Curry
14. 15 Jeremy Crimmins
15. 22 Jeff Deal

The USMTS feature would be the final event of the night as the modifieds were ready for their thirty-lap event. Ryan Dolan raced to the lead from his second starting spot, but the action would get slowed down on lap five when Jon Tesch and Tommy Myer got together and went over the banking in turn one. Tesch would not be able to return. Al Hejna, who started tenth, would take to the high side and make the pass on Zach VanderBeek to take over the fourth spot. Corey Dripps, running second at the time, would drift up in turn two which allowed Kelly Shryock to scoot by under him. That set up a three- car battle for third as Dripps would receive heavy pressure from Hejna and VanderBeek. While that was happening, Shryock appeared to be reeling in Dolan for the lead.

Hejna would get the better end of the three-way battle for the time being, but VanderBeek would get passed by youngster Ryan Gustin. Gustin didn't stay in fourth spot very long as he swung to the inside in turn three and passed both Dripps and Hejna to move into the third spot. VanderBeek would use the low groove to get by Dripps while Gustin caught Shryock. Gustin tried to sneak by on the bottom side, but Shryock used the momentum off the cushion to remain ahead of him. Shryock would take the low side away on the following lap, but Gustin was able to get by on the top side and quickly set his sights on Dolan. Gustin went back to the bottom to make the winning pass, but a caution came out with two laps to go. Shryock used the restart to get by Dolan, but VanderBeek was able to get by both drivers as the checkers waved. But the night belonged to Ryan Gustin as he bagged the $2,000 top prize. Zach VanderBeek was second, Kelly Shryock third, and Al Hejna edged out Ryan Dolan for the fourth and fifth spots, respectively.

1. 19R Ryan Gustin
2. 33z Zach VanderBeek
3. 3 Kelly Shryock
4. 7 Al Hejna
5. 7 Ryan Dolan
6. 1K Pat Graham
7. 4R Dereck Ramirez
8. 31 Corey Dripps
9. 21M Dean Mahlstedt
10. 65 Tommy Myer
11. 35 Jeff Schluetter
12. 4R Ron VerBeek
13. 73 Brad Moriarty
14. 85D Mark Dotson
15. 12H Mike Hansen
16. z3 Mike Albertson
17. 2 Grant Junghans
18. 12 Mark Elliott
19. 42 Jeff Nielson
20. 35 Bill Crimmins
21. 14 Jon Tesch
22. 18 Chase Junghans - DNS
23. 8 Colt Mather - DNS

The racing was some of the best I've seen at Fort Dodge. The bmods only had one yellow and ran through at a quick pace. The stock cars had some troubles, but they were able to widen the groove out for the USMTS feature. Hats off to the track crew at Mineral City Speedway for their efforts and great track last night!

The Mineral City Speedway will be back in action Friday night as they will have kids' night. The USMTS heads east as they invade the Cresco Speedway tonight. NASCAR personalities Kenny Wallace and Michael Waltrip are also slated to be in action in Cresco.

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

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