Sunday, September 20, 2009

Best Ever? Frankel Takes a One-Hundred Lap Thriller at 34 Raceway

"That was the best one hundred lap feature I have ever seen." I heard that statement from at least ten different people Saturday night following the Pepsi USA Late Model Nationals and, you know I might just have to agree with them. Seven lead changes among three drivers, and it would have been eight amongst four had it not been for the last caution on lap fifty-three, and the entire top ten on the same straightaway at the finish does keep you on the edge of your seat after all. Yes, the track locked down late and the leaders got hung up behind lapped traffic causing that tight scenario at the end. Unlike other hundred-lappers we have seen in the past though, one driver not only attempted, but pulled off a thrilling move in the final laps to take the big win and the $10,000 top prize.

A pair of Quincy drivers started on the front row with pole-sitter Lonnie Bailey pacing lap one before yielding to three-time event champion Mark Burgtorf on lap two. If not for a pair of cautions on lap four and lap sixteen Burgtorf would have been long gone as he was definitely the fastest car early on. 2009 Deery Brothers Summer Series champion Jeff Aikey had moved past Bailey into second and on the lap sixteen restart he was now able to keep pace with Burgtorf and started to apply the pressure. As Aikey made constant attempts for the lead using the middle groove of the track, Bailey soon found the very bottom to his liking and he closed back in on the lead duo. They went three-wide through turn four on lap twenty-eight and it was Bailey who regained the lead on lap twenty-nine.

It was about that same time that Terry Neal, running fourth, discovered an even faster line of going into the turns high and then diving to the bottom off two and four as he quickly reeled in the leaders. On lap forty-two the race for the lead went three-wide once again, only this time it was Bailey on the bottom, Neal in the middle and Burgtorf up top and as they stormed into turn three Neal got sideways, but somehow saved it fading back to fifth. Back to a two-car tussle up front Burgtorf nosed ahead at the stripe on lap forty-four only to have Bailey pull ahead on the bottom the following lap, but he had the soon-to-be-lapped car of T.J. Criss just ahead of him running that same bottom line. With Bailey sticking with the same groove Burgtorf again swept by on the high side two laps shy of the mid-race point as Bailey dropped back to fourth before dispensing of Criss.

Aikey was back in the mix now and with Burgtorf now testing out the middle of turn four Jeff went to the cushion and actually crossed the line in the lead for what would have been lap fifty-four. But as the lead pack raced into turn one both Bailey and Neal would go for a spin. Bailey stopped in turn two while Neal remained in motion so when the yellow light came out it was only Bailey that would be sent to the rear for the restart. Reverting back to the previously completed lap Burgtorf took the green out front with a clear track ahead of him and while he looked like he might cruise to his fourth win in this event the racing behind him remained intense.

Jason Frankel had been running around the fifth or sixth spot all race long, but now he was picking his way toward the front and Rob Toland, who always seems to be in contention at the end here at 34, had worked his way into the top five after starting fourteenth. By the time Burgtorf caught a group of five back markers on lap eighty it looked like the track had gone completely one-grooved as everybody appeared to be content to run single-file, including the leader who settled in behind Stephan Kammerer. Anybody who knows Jason Frankel though knows that he is only content when he is out front so it was no surprise when broke ranks and started diving to the bottom in an attempt to move past Aikey for second. He got the job done with about fifteen laps left and he now had fellow Quincy driver Burgtorf in his sights. With about eight laps to go the pack of lapped cars ahead of Burgtorf started racing for position causing a bit of an accordion effect that slowed the leaders and allowed the rest of the top ten to close quickly.

With five laps to go the entire top ten were nose-to-tail in tight formation running behind a group of five slower cars and on the next lap, when Kammerer checked up a bit on the front stretch to keep from getting into the back of the car in front of him, Burgtorf drove to the lower groove going into turn one. This was the opportunity that Frankel was looking for and he seized it by holding his foot to the floor as Burgtorf drifted back up the track side-by-side with him in turn two. Just inches from hitting the backstretch wall Frankel held his momentum and took the lead into three with just three laps remaining. Burgtorf tried to fight back and was able to put his nose under the new leader twice to no avail in the final laps as Frankel staked his claim to the win. Toland slipped by Aikey in that final scramble to finish in the third spot while Terry Neal rounded out the top five. Defending race winner Matt Strassheim ran a solid race to finish sixth while Tony Fraise was seventh after running in the top four through the first half of the race. Jason Hahne had a nice run to take eighth, Ray Guss Jr. was ninth and Boone McLaughlin, who was a big mover early after starting sixteenth, completed the top ten.

Frankel was an easy interview in victory lane as his excitement was genuine and when I spoke with him later that night after the long technical inspection process had been completed the smile still had not left his face. He said that he didn’t want this to sound arrogant, but before the race he told his crew that he knew that they had a great car, a great motor and a great setup, so they should watch for him to take the lead with five laps to go and win this thing. "I missed it by two laps I guess," he beamed. Well Jason, that only added to the excitement in what many will consider the best one-hundred lap feature races that they have ever seen.

Pepsi USA Saturday notes……...The first Late Model B-Main set the tone for the night as five cars battled back and forth for the three transfer positions throughout the fifteen-lap distance. Darrell DeFrance took the win while Boone McLaughlin made a thrilling three-wide move in traffic stick to go from fourth to second at the finish. Friday night’s quick qualifier Colby Springsteen finished third holding off Matt Ryan by a car-length at the checkers…..B-Main number two had Rob Toland and Fred Remley running first and second while Tom Darbyshire was setting the car high and then diving low trying to move forward from third. On lap eight Denny Woodworth was trying to ride the cushion around Darbyshire in turn three when the two made contact sending Darbyshire for a spin. Both drivers would be sent to the rear handing the third spot over to Jay Johnson who then fought off Deery Series Rookie-of-the-Year Justin Kay over the final laps. Darbyshire would earn the 34 Raceway track provisional and start the feature in the twenty-sixth and final spot…..The third B saw Charlie McKenna, Jason Bahrs and Tom Goble get together on the frontstretch on lap three with McKenna smacking the wall. 2009 National Points champ Kevin Blum also went to the pits under caution and while both McKenna and Blum returned before the restart they could not get back to the front. Bahrs, Goble and Keith Pratt would pick up the final transfer spots while McKenna would earn one of the two Deery Series provisionals…..Robby Warner and Ray Guss Jr. both picked up a set of Brodix heads in the drawing that has been held at this event each year since 1997…..Dean Kratzer took the lead from Tanner Thomann on lap two and then cruised to victory over a field of twenty-three Hobby Stocks. Jake Wenig, Thomann, Blaine Dopler and Jeremy Pundt were your top five…..Dennis Schulte fought off the constant challenges from Travis Yakle to win the Four-Cylinder feature race. The wily veteran Wayne Noble came home third ahead of Cedar Rapids driver Bryce Bailey and Wapello’s Darin Smith……Brian Tipps gave the crowd a thrill in one of the Four-Cylinder heats when he was forced up onto the top of the backstretch wall, skidded along it with sparks flying before dropping off of it and rolling over onto his roof. The co-promoter at the CJ Speedway in Columbus Junction, Tipps escaped uninjured and I challenge 34 Raceway promoter Jeff Laue to now go up to CJ next year and do something equally spectacular.

A big thanks to Jeff and Amy Laue, and the entire 34 Raceway staff for their hospitality and for allowing me once again to feel like part of their team for the Nationals weekend. I always have a great time working with track announcer Rich Adams and we somehow made it through the weekend without getting into too much trouble!! The track near Burlington still has two more events on the 2009 schedule including the Sprint Invaders Season Championship on September 26th and the first annual Ice Bowl Thriller on October 17th.

For more news and other views from the Pepsi Nationals weekend check out the thoughts of both Ryan Clark and Brian Neal at

Friday, September 18, 2009

Bailey and Burgtorf Earn Front Row for Pepsi Nationals at 34

Night number one of the Pepsi USA Late Model Nationals at 34 Raceway near Burlington is in the books and it will be the 2009 Late Model track champion at 34, Lonnie Bailey who will set the pace for the 100-lap finale on Saturday night.

Sixty-four IMCA Late Models checked in for the $10,000-to-win two-day event that also serves as the final race for the 2009 Deery Brothers Summer Series and it was local driver Colby Springsteen who topped the charts in qualifying with a lap of 16.253 seconds. While Springsteen was the second car out to qualify the track stayed pretty even throughout as Mark Burgtorf would be second quick despite qualifying in the second half of the field.

Bailey, who captured the track title this year at 34 without even winning a feature race was dominant in the first heat taking the win and the right to start on the pole for Saturday night's main event while Terry Neal picked up the second, and final, qualifying spot out of heat one. Gary Russell did everything he could to try to fight off the challenges of Burgtorf in heat two, but when Mark pulled alongside the leader with two laps remaining, Russell drove it too deep into turn one and spun the car. Burgtorf would go on to win giving him a great opportunity to win this event for the fourth time as he'll start outside of row one on Saturday. Jason Hahne held off Rob Toland to finish in the second spot.

The third heat race was delayed for a bit when a couple of drivers and their crews from mid-pack in the second heat got into a bit of scuffle and blogger, and the voice of the Independence Motor Speedway Ryan Clark had the line of the night when he stated that they must have been discussing if Ellen DeGeneres would be a better "American Idol" judge than Paula Abdul. Once back to racing it was IMCA Late Model rookie Tony Fraise taking the win while Tommy Elston finished second. At the end of this one Elston pulled alongside Fraise and gave him a big thumbs up as both Tony, and his father Steve Fraise, have had a long-time friendship with Elston. In fact, when Tommy started racing several years back he also sported a #45 on his car just like "the Fly'n Iowan" always did.

Former IMCA Late Model National Champion Jason Frankel slipped past T.J. Criss mid-race to take the fourth qualifier while Criss would transfer in second. Heat five belonged to Jeff Aikey as the 2009 Deery Series champion ran uncontested from his front row start. Defending Pepsi USA Nationals champ Matt Strassheim put himself into the show by fighting off Fred Remley over the final laps for second. The sixth and final heat saw Ray Guss Jr. come from fourth to first joining Burgtorf as the only two of the top six qualifiers to advance out of the heat races. Matt Bailey joined his father Lonnie in the A-Main by running second.

The twenty-lap J&J Steel/Ideal Ready Mix "Ironman Challenge" would round out the Friday dance card for the Late Models and Jason Frankel served notice that he will be contender on Saturday night. Pole-sitter Bobby Hansen paced the first two laps before sixth-starting Rob Toland cruised by on lap three. Without any caution flags and once out front you would have expected Toland to drive away for the win, but Frankel tracked him down and passed Rob for the lead on lap twelve. The Quincy driver would then pull away for a convincing victory that paid $750, plus an extra $90 that went to each and every driver in the ten car field when Jay Johnson and the bunch at J&J Steel decided to add even more to the purse money that was already posted. Jeff Aikey started tenth and moved to second at the checkers, Terry Neal passed Toland on the final lap to take third while Ray Guss Jr. completed the top five.

Twenty-six Stock Cars provided some exciting support action tonight running three and four-wide during their heats. Three drivers, Jeff Mueller, Cole Simmons and Sky Griffith crossed the line in a virtual dead heat on lap one of the twenty-lap main event, but then Mueller took over on lap two. As he has been often of late, Mueller was on a rail and pulled away from the field each time a caution would interrupt the action. The race to watch was for second as John Oliver Jr. moved forward from sixth early and then fought off the constant challenges of Abe Huls, Jason Cook and Chris Webb as those four cars went back and forth throughout the final ten laps of the race. In the end it was Oliver who was a distant second to the winner Mueller while Cook, Huls and Webb completed the top five list. Huls, who currently ranks fourth in the All Iowa Stock Car Points, is headed to Marshalltown Saturday night for night two of the "Havoc on the Highbanks" show.

The TQ Midgets were also on the card tonight and it was Bart Andrews of Muscatine taking the win over Steve Foster and Matt Lovedahl.

Hot laps are scheduled for 6:30 Saturday night with racing at 7:00 featuring three B-Mains and the 100-lap feature for the IMCA Late Models, plus a full program of action for both the Hobby Stocks and the Four-Cylinders. Hope to see you out at 34 tonight!

Go Hawks, go Golden Hurricane and my third favorite team this week is Michigan State so lets go Sparty! (think about it) :)

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Plenty of Action In Six Hours at Boone

I know that I say this every year, but I guess that I just feel that it is worth repeating. If you have never been to the IMCA Super Nationals at the Boone Speedway, and you are a race fan, then you have something that you MUST add to your “to do” list. One of my goals is to someday test my endurance and spend the entire six days watching each and every race at this spectacular annual event, but for now I will have to settle for what I have done for the past several years, and what I did again yesterday (Wednesday). In my line of work this is one of the busiest times of the year so it is next to impossible for me to take a full week off to enjoy “America’s Racing Vacation”, but I am able to slip away for one afternoon and make the three hour drive up to Boone. And, with the racing action now getting underway at 3 p.m., I get to see six hours of intense racing action before my self-imposed curfew that puts me at home and in bed by midnight ready for another day of work on Thursday. Drivers come from all across the United States to compete, every position in every race counts, the drivers race hard but know that if they get too aggressive the black flag will fly, the scheduled “farming” sessions keeps the track multi-grooved all night long and the Boone Speedway crew along with the IMCA officials somehow run this behemoth like it is a well-oiled machine. My point is this; as a fan you don’t have to invest a full week to get a taste of this event for the first time, try a six-hour “spoonful” and I’ll bet that you’ll be back for more in the future!

Following are my notes and observations from my six hours at the Super Nationals.

Burlington, Iowa, driver Bill Roberts had the honor of drawing the pole position for the first qualifying heat for the Modifieds at the 2009 Super Nationals and he held on for the second and final transfer to Wednesday’s first Qualifying “A” Main behind Sioux City’s Chris Abelson.

Michael Long of Quincy, Illinois, is at Boone for his first time ever and benefited from a spin by early race leader Jay Goosman to take the win in his qualifying heat.

2007 Super Nationals Modified champion Todd Shute was a rocket coming from the eighth starting spot to win heat race number four.

Veteran drivers Dennis Pittman from Jamaica and Rich Smith of Davenport finished first and second respectively in heat race number six. Announcer Blake Anderson noted that Smith was an A-Main qualifier in the first-ever Super Nationals held in Vinton in 1983. And, while drivers do come to Boone from far off distances, Pittman’s hometown is in Iowa ‘Mon.

Greg Cox knew that he was losing oil pressure mid-race, but as he told infield announcer Terry Hoenig when you are leading a heat race at the Super Nationals you don’t quit until it blows. Unfortunately blow it did with just two laps to go handing the win over to Kansas driver Brian Knoell.

Always a threat to win this event John Logue started on the pole of his heat and was driving away from the competition when mechanical issues forced him to the infield three laps from the checkers. North Platte, Nebraska, driver Jay Steffens stepped up to take the win.

Chad’s pick to win this year (he claims that he has ‘em right every other year and he didn’t pick Kevin Stoa last year) Mark Elliott started dead last in eleventh in the 12th heat race and came up inches short of taking the win as Mike McCarthy of Round Rock, Texas, beat him by a nose.

Young David Mayhew of Bakersfield, California, won the NASCAR Grand National West race at the Iowa Speedway on Friday night and then stuck around to drive a Jet Racing Modified at Boone. Mayhew started in row four and was able to pick his way through the field to take second to Waterloo’s Ed Thomas and move on to the second Qualifying “A” Main of the night.

The first twenty-lap Qualifying “A” Main would lock in the first two drivers to Saturday’s grand finale and this race took the green flag at 6:24 p.m. Michael Long started from the pole and looked like he might run away with an easy win despite a couple of cautions mid-race. Track regular Jake Durbin makes it a habit to qualify for the Super Nationals feature each year and he would do it again tonight as he tracked down Long after starting in row four and made the pass for the lead with a lap and a half remaining for the victory. Long would do something that is virtually impossible anymore and that is to make the Saturday show in his first attempt while Rich Smith’s third-place finish would toss him back into the mix on Thursday. Jay Steffens and Jay Matthias would round out the top five.

Nebraska’s Don Hagan Jr. looked to have things well in control during heat fourteen only to spin out handing the win over to Bob Moore. Brandon Rothzen, a regular competitor at Donnellson and Burlington, recovered from an early mishap to finish second.

Jay Noteboom was hooked up and haulin’ as he started eighth and grabbed the lead on lap five on his way to winning the fifteenth heat race.

Brian Calhoon and Adam Larson were set to start from the front row in the 18th heat, but when they were unable to stay side-by-side coming to the green on two occasions, they were both sent to the rear. Larson then fought his way back to the front as he would finish second to Scott Baker.

Jay Schmidt of Marshalltown won both his Stock Car heat and his Modified heat this evening.

A 25-lap Qualifying Feature for the Stock Cars tonight would determine the final ten competitors for Saturday’s finale and Green Bay, Wisconsin’s John Heinz would go flag-to-flag to take the win. Keith Knop kept the pressure on Heinz throughout, but it looked like the drivers who were running in the top eight knew that they didn’t want to try anything that might knock them out of a qualifying spot. Jeffrey Larson would take third, Josh Hohensee fourth, fifth went to Robert Stofer with Brian Irvine, Jesse Colwell and Jay Schmidt next in line. The racing from ninth on back was intense though as Stock Cars ran three and four-wide around the high banked quarter. Mike Jergens made the big moves coming from row ten to take ninth at the checkers while Nathan Burke and Jason Ward crossed the line in nearly a dead heat for tenth. Burke would take the final spot in Saturday’s feature race by just inches over Ward and Jason showed his sportsmanship by shaking Nathan’s hand as they awaited the verdict in the tech area. The race was red-flagged on lap three when Sean Johnson climbed the wall on the front stretch and rolled one time before being clobbered by Jim Mitchell who had no place to go. Mitchell quickly climbed from his car to check on Johnson who also escaped the wild ride unhurt.

The second twenty-lap Qualifying “A” Feature for the Modifieds got off to a rough start when pole-sitter Jay Schmidt’s steering locked up and he spun in front of the field in turn two on the first lap. Jay Noteboom, Bob Moore and others were collected with Noteboom going to the back of the twenty-car lineup for the restart. Local driver Scott Baker took the lead and opened a bit of an advantage as Noteboom made a spectacular charge all the way up to sixth in just five laps, but just after Mark Elliott spun in turn three Noteboom slid to the apron in turn four and stopped just as the caution waved for Elliott. Since Noteboom was stopped for the second time when a caution was out in the event he was sent to the pits for the evening. Back to racing, Baker was in control throughout as the race to watch was for second with Dave Hardesty applying the pressure to Ronnie Wallace. With two laps to go Hardesty slammed into the side of Wallace ripping the driver-side bodywork off of Wallace’s car and causing one last caution for the debris. On the restart Hardesty took one last shot at Wallace, but he could not get by as “Rockin’ Ronnie” would join Baker as qualifiers for Saturday’s big show. Jeff Emerson of Hobbs, Texas, came from row ten to finsh fourth while Wisconsin driver Brian Mullen rounded out the top five. As I headed to my car in the parking lot I could hear Wallace say that he could feel a big hangover coming on as he had never been able to qualify on the first night before, so a big party would be in order.

A big thanks to fellow bloggers Dick & Joyce Eisle and Kevin Trittien for saving me a spot in the stands and for sharing their line-up sheets with me. They will be in Boone for the entire week so take a look at their thoughts as well. Yes, I know that it may be a pain for some to click a couple of times, but…… (inside joke!)

My next action will be next Friday and Saturday night September 18th & 19th for the Pepsi USA Late Model Nationals at 34 Raceway in Burlington. Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

All Iowa Points Update As We Hit The Homestretch

As we head into IMCA Super Nationals week, if you look at the schedule on Boone Iowa truly is the focus of racing in the state of Iowa this week. But there are plenty of other opportunities for drivers to pick up some more All Iowa Points before the season comes to a close.

Ray Guss Jr. has been on quite a roll lately and has built up what may now be an insurmountable lead of 22 points over Terry Neal in the Late Model standings. Kevin Blum and Mark Burgtorf are tied for third while Andy Eckrich is the only non-spec motor racer in the top ten in fifth.

Jeremy Mills has the All Iowa Points Modified championship locked up as he heads into the Specials season with an eighty-one-point lead over Jay Noteboom. Max Corporan ranks third ahead of Scott Hogan and Adam Larson, while former two-time champion Mark Schulte is now sixth. Defending Modified “Shiverfest” champion Bruce Hanford is seventh while Ryan Dolan, Jason Cummins and Troy Cordes round out the top ten.

Dustin Smith is looking to pick up his second straight All Iowa Points Stock Car title and he has a solid 29-point edge over Mike Jergens right now. Kevin Opheim still has a shot in third, Abe Huls has climbed to fourth while Andrew Burk and Trent Murphy are currently tied for fifth. Damon Murty, former Hobby Stock champion Donavon, two-time Stock Car champion Brian Blessington and Greg Gill fill out the top ten.

Kevin Sather has a 23-point lead over Jesse Sobbing as Sather looks to earn his second straight All Iowa Point Limited Modified championship. Austin Kaplan and Scott Davis are still mathematically in the hunt in third and fourth while northwest Iowa driver Darrin Korthals has climbed to fifth. The rest of the top ten at this point are Adam Ackerman, Luke Wanninger, Brett Meyer, Matt Jones and Dan Tenold.

Shannon Anderson has locked up his second straight All Iowa Hobby Stock title as he holds a 79-point bulge over another of the racing Smith family from Lake City, Devin Smith. Chris Hovden and Dustin Larson are tied for third while Chad Gentz sits in fifth. Rusty Montagne is sixth, John Cain seventh, Nathan Wood ranks eighth, Brandon Hare is ninth and two drivers, Michael Murphy and Stac Schroeder, are tied for tenth.

Minnesota’s Nate Coopman continues to pace the All Iowa Points for the Four Cylinders with Jeremy Campbell in hot pursuit only twelve points back. Gary Peiffer remains in contention for the championship in third while Nathan and Brad Chandler go fourth and fifth respectively. The rest of the top ten includes Justin Wacha, Tim Doocy, Jay DeVries, Joe Bunkofske and Zach Ankrum.

Terry McCarl has won two All Iowa Points Sprint Car titles back in the 1990’s and he’ll make it number three this year as he has a 37-point lead over two-time defending champ Mark Dobmeier. In the 360’s Eagle Raceway champion Mike Boston holds a slim two-point advantage over two-time defending champ Jody Rosenboom and Bobby Mincer continues to lead the 305 standings with not many races left on the schedule for that division.

The September 8th update of the All Iowa Points will be up soon at

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Pinkerton Doesn't Let The Big Money Hit The Road at Oskaloosa

The United States Modified Touring Series (USMTS) kicked off a six-night run in fine fashion Tuesday night at the Southern Iowa Speedway in Oskaloosa drawing an interesting mix of thirty-eight drivers from throughout the middle part of the country. In the end though they were all chasing the local hotshoe who took the $3,000 top prize home to New Sharon about twenty miles up the road.

Al Hejna accumulated the most passing points through the heat races and then drew the number one pill to start from the pole position of the thirty-lap main event. The “A-Train” chugged to the front at the drop of the green with row two starter Brad Pinkerton in hot pursuit. Behind them there were some big time moves being made in the early laps by a couple of drivers. Derek Ramirez had motor problems in his heat and used a provisional to start in row eleven, but by lap five he was already into the top ten. Young Ryan Gustin was also on the charge as he too cracked the top ten quickly after starting in row nine.

Back up front Pinkerton was all over Hejna and when the leader left the cushion open on lap seven, Pinkerton took advantage. A couple of cautions, including one for Gustin who coasted to a halt with a flat tire, kept the field close to the new leader, but on each restart Pinkerton would gradually put some distance between himself and Hejna. On a lap eighteen restart as the field went three and four wide down the back stretch Ron VerBeek got shuffled out and drilled the track tires protecting the start of the turn three guardrail head on. The red flag flew as it appeared that VerBeek had been knocked unconscious and after a few tense moments the veteran driver from Oskaloosa climbed from his mangled car under his own power.

Once back to action Hejna was able to keep pace with Pinkerton and with just seven laps to go he pulled even with the leader as they charged side-by-side into turn one. Pinkerton nailed the cushion perfectly though regaining the advantage exiting turn two and there was no stopping him the rest of the way from collecting big dollar checkered flag. Hejna had a nice cushion on the third-place finisher of Jason Hughes at the checkers while Jason Krohn and Tim Donlinger rounded out the top five. Jon Tesch challenged Hejna for second mid-race only to drop to sixth at the end, Ramirez settled for seventh and another New Sharon resident, Zack VanderBeek, made a nice run coming from row eleven to finish eighth.

The night also served as the season championship event for the track’s other three classes and they provided great support action throughout the evening. Tyler Groenendyk is a youngster to keep your eye on for the future as he walked away from the twenty-four-car B-Modified field to take a dominating win as an exclamation point to his track championship. Andrew Schroeder came from tenth to run second, rookie driver Drew Lawson was solid again in third, Bobby Greene finished fourth and Mike Shelton moved from row six to complete the top five.

The USRA Stock Cars have been a little short on numbers this year at Osky, but in the events that I have seen here in 2009 the class has never been short on action and it was the same story again tonight. The thirteen-car field went three and sometimes four wide with much of that action occurring right up front as Mike VanGenderen held the advantage for lap number one. Brian Mitrisin looked like he was shot out of a cannon as he moved quickly from row four to take the lead from VanGenderen on lap two, but then everybody seemed to be able to keep pace with Mitrisin once out front. Shane Weller started in row five and while his move to the front was not quite as dramatic, it wound up being more effective as he slipped past Mitrisin with four laps remaining to take the lead and the win. Mitrisin fought off several challenges from VanGenderen late to be the runner-up, Kyle Flack made the trip down from Decorah to run a competitive fourth and Matt Greiner was fifth.

Nineteen Hobby Stocks made the call on Championship night and they too provided the fans with some fantastic racing just prior to the Modified finale. Kris Walker looked like he was leading a drafting pack at Talladega for the first seven laps of the fifteen-lapper until “Mighty Mouse” Jason McDaniel was able to slip by. Don Nunnikhoven made a late bid for the lead pulling even with McDaniel with two laps to go, but he couldn’t make it stick to the bottom and had to settle for second at the checkers. Nathan Wood started on row five and finished third, Dustin Griffiths came from the ninth row for fourth, while Danny Thrasher also came from row five to take fifth.

Osky-SIS-USMTS Notes……”The Hunt” for the USMTS championship is sponsored by Casey’s General Stores and continues tonight (Wednesday September 2nd) at the Highway 3 Raceway in Allison. I showed my appreciation by filling my tank at Casey’s on the way to the track and I can personally recommend their pizzas. If you have seen my physique lately you’ll know why I can be considered an expert on pizza……The fast track appeared to be hard on motors early in the night as not only did Ramirez suffer problems but so did Mike Hansen and Texas driver Morgan Bagley…..Rodney Sanders of Happy Texas started in the sixth row of the first Modified B-Main and charged up to the third transfer spot…..Other long distance visitors in the Mod field included R.C. Whitwell of Tucson, Arizona, Darrell Nelson from Hermantown, near Duluth, Minnesota, and Bumper Jones from New Mexico…..Todd Narveson made the trip down from Deer Creek Speedway in Racine, Minnesota, to provide the call for the USMTS Mods joining regular track announcer Tony Paris to form an entertaining duo……Bert McDaniel Jr. was driving the B-Modified #98 formerly driven by Corey Brown tonight and was smooth finishing in the top ten. Bert told me that he might be through racing the Stock Car as he has really enjoyed the couple of nights that he has been in this B-Mod. That may be a tough move to make for a driver who has been so solid in the Stock Cars for the past several years…..Kurt Krauskopf also made the long trip down from Decorah with his Stock Car only to drop out of the main event with mechanical issues…..A big thanks to Todd and Janet Staley and all of their crew at Oskaloosa for the hospitality that they have shown us throughout the 2009 racing season. This was my seventh visit this season to one of their shows and my ninth overall this year to the Southern Iowa Speedway. Obviously one of my favorite stops, the Speedway will close out its 2009 schedule on Friday and Saturday October 9th and 10th with the annual Fall Challenge......For continued coverage of "The Hunt" for the USMTS National Championship be suree to check out TapFan's Tours at