Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Barb Nunnenkamp Memorial at Junction Motor Speedway

After attending the USMTS King of America Modified Nationals in Humboldt (KS) on Friday and Saturday, my friend Brett and I took a little detour on our way back home. Sunday we ventured to the Junction Motor Speedway in McCool Junction (NE) for the Barb Nunnenkamp Memorial race. I've tried to attend the early Spring USMTS shows that JMS tries to put on, but sometimes weather doesn't allow for it. That was the case this season, although the events were rescheduled to early June. I was unable to make it and was disappointed, so as I looked at my scheduled I decided I was going to make it out there yet this year.

Once we arrived we picked out our seats, but we didn't stay there long. I found a buddy of mine, Ed Reichert from Wisconsin, sitting a few rows back and opted to go sit with him. We had seen Ed down at Humboldt, but was unable to chat with him. It was good catching up with him and seeing what other races he had left on his calendar. Ed writes a column for several media outlets, one of which is Hawkeye Racing News.

As the racing action got going, it was surprising that not a lot of Iowa guys had made the trip as in years past. Heat races and b-mains (if necessary) would be run to narrow the starting fields down, and after a short break it was time for feature action.

Hobby stocks would be up first. Kyle Bond would set the early pace as he got the jump, but the caution flag would negate the lap being scored. Three cars got tangled up in turn three, including Jason Wilkinson who finished third in IMCA national points this season. When action resumed Lonnie Greuter held down the top spot with Bond giving chase. After transferring out of a B-main, Jeremy Auten was slowly marching forward as he advanced to seventh in just two laps. Anthony Martin used the middle groove to power by Mallet Meyer and Keith Dragoo to move into the third position. Following a debris caution, race leader Greuter would suffer a flat tire and exit the speedway. That handed the reigns over to Kyle Bond, and from that point on he remained out front as he picked up the feature win. He was followed across the line by Brandon Johnsen, Jeremy Auten, R J Macku, and Anthony Martin. Jason Wilkinson rebounded from the early caution to finish sixth.

Up next would be the stock cars. Pole sitter Kyle Dumpert grabbed the early race lead with outside front row mate Jeff Whiting following closely behind. Herb Slough would use the bottom groove to slip under Whiting for second before Andy Wilkinson passed both cars to take over the runner up spot. Five caution flags would plague the race, but Cory Dumpert was able to dissect the field. After starting twelfth, Cory Dumpert found his way to fourth and eventually third after passing Whiting. He was on the rear bumper of Wilkinson as they both chased Kyle Dumpert, but were unable to make a move as Kyle Dumpert took the flag to flag victory. Andy Wilkinson finished second, Cory Dumpert was third, Jeff Whiting fourth, and Justin Bertschinger rounded out the top five.

B-mods would be next up for their feature event. I was looking forward to seeing Tyler Frye and Jesse Sobbing race against each other as they challenged for the IMCA northern sportmod national championship this season. Unfortunately track conditions didn't allow for a whole lot of racing. Pole sitter Max Harder, who had a solid season of his own, took control at the point with Jeremy Leiting just behind. Harder would open up a straight away advantage at the halfway point as he picked up the dominating win. Tony Rost would finish second, Jeremy Leiting was third, Tyler Frye finished fourth, and South Dakota driver Kyle Nordquist rounded out the top five. Sobbing finished sixth after starting twelfth. His win on Saturday was his amazing 54th victory!

The four-cylinder class would come out next. I didn't keep notes on this race as I needed to use the facilities. Michael Boehle would take the win ahead of Kevin Zeitner, who the announcer said is the next up and coming member of the family. Shannon Pospisil finished third, Cameron Meyer fourth, and Scott Spellmeyer rounded out the top five. Forty-one cars had checked in for action on Sunday in this division!

Modifieds would be up next and outside front row starter Tyler Iverson got the quick jump on the field to snare the top spot. While the track appeared to be locked down, Kyle Berck was able to find some racing room as he advanced from tenth to fifth with seven laps remaining. He wasn't done, however, as he passed Shane Hiatt for fourth. That was the brunt of the passing that I saw, though, as Iverson picked up the impressive win. Scott Smith finished second, Jared Hoefelman was third, Kyle Berck fourth, and Dylan Smith fifth.

The finale of the evening was the late model feature. Outside front row starter Les Siebert took the point early on with Josh Krug settling in behind him in second. Following an early restart, Marc Peters dove to the inside of Tad Pospisil for the fourth position. Pospisil would lose another spot as Matt Buller snuck by as well. Jacob Brown used the inside groove to pass Krug for second with eight laps remaining. A late caution bunched the field back up, but it wouldn't make a difference as Les Siebert stayed out front and picked up the win. Jacob Brown was second, Matt Buller third, Josh Krug was fourth, and Marc Peters rounded out the top five.

That concluded the racing action at the Junction Motor Speedway for the 2011 race season, and also put an end to my three-race weekend. I'd like to thank announcer Wayne Dake for the shoutout. I simply went and asked him where the "junior flagman" was that normally sits above the walkway to the grandstands, and he proceeded to inform me that the young man now does some announcing duties for the track. He also writes the highlights for the website as well as runs a video camera for promoter Delmar Friesen. I enjoyed a nice conversation with the young man and wish him the best of luck in the future.

Despite the lengthy trip home and late hour climbing into bed, I'm pretty sure my friend had just as much fun as I did. In fact, he may have had more as he had never been to either track. He's already hoping he can make it to both next year!

While sitting in the grandstands about midway through the evening, I received a text message on my phone. It was a friend of mine, a stock car driver. To make a long story short, he invited me to ride with him out to Las Vegas for the Duel in the Desert race. He said he was driving someone else's toter home out while hauling two cars and said I could join him. Needless to say I was excited as I have heard many great things about that facility and event. I'm currently trying to nail things down in order to make it happen.

Racing action in the upper Midwest may have come to a close, but there are still a few events just south of here left on the calendar. This upcoming weekend, the ASCS sprint cars will be in Little Rock, Arkansas for a three-day affair (Thur-Sat). If that's too far for ya to drive, Springfield (MO) has a special on Saturday that includes a late model challenge race between the ULMA and Show-Me series along with modifieds, b-modifieds, and a few other classes. I had planned on going to Springfield, but my plans will likely change with the invitation mentioned above.

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

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