Electric City Speedway Hosts Final Race of the Season
The 2011 racing season in Montana is officially in the books as Electric City Speedway hosted the Montana Round Up on September 23rd and 24th. With track championships already decided for the season Cody Ryan and Sean McBee ran in new classes for each of them. Ryan took the opportunity to run with the WISSOTA Street Stocks while McBee joined the WISSOTA Modifieds. Both drivers intend on running a full season in these classes in 2012.
The Not So Pure Stocks started the show on both evenings. Kory Wermling started his night with a heat win. After making the decision to run in a higher class, Ryan decided his car would pull the double duty and put Nicole Pankratz in the driver’s seat. Pankratz took the second heat and would start on the outside of Wermling on the front row. Though the drivers occasionally spun on the track most were able to keep going and the race continued under green. Two cautions for debris and one for a spin attempted to slow Wermling down. However, Wermling grasp the checkered flag and claimed his tenth feature win this season.
Running second the WISSOTA Super Stocks ran caution free heats. With their heat wins, Casey Steffenson and Chuck Fleming secured front row starting positions for the feature. After taking the checkered flag in the second heat Justin Rieker caught fire and had to stop on the track so safety crews could extinguish it. Rieker’s evening didn’t improve either. After an incident on track that had him spinning into the tires, Justin took his frustrations out under caution and was disqualified for rough driving. Ryan Fasching came through the field from mid-pack to claim Friday’s feature victory.
Caution free heats greeted the WISSOTA Modifieds as well. Joey Price and Paul Donnelly claimed the heat victories. Sean McBee lost control during the race and Paul Leach ended up into the tires in turn four. Mark Wermling claimed his fourth victory of the season.
The single heat race in for the WISSOTA Late Models had Kelly Hample and David Smith scrambling to make the feature. Hample suffered some radiator issues and was able to get his car back out for the feature. Smith had engine issues. A slippery track greeted the drivers for the feature. David Smith worked his way through from the seventh starting position to claim the victory.
The WISSOTA Midwest Modified class has grown over the past two seasons. With an average field of over fifteen drivers the class has been able to run three heats most of the season. Tim McCune, Aaron Liscum, and Jake Tacke were the heat winners. The feature was a tough starter as the track was starting to really slicken up. With spins bringing out a majority of the cautions track officials had no choice but to give the yellow and black flag warning. As Joey Ray was slowing to enter the pit area, leader Jack Norris was flying around turns three and four on the bottom groove. Norris was unable to adjust his line and took a hard hit to the nose of his car. This set the field up for a green white checkered finish, but Marty Harvie’s spin held the field under caution for the final time. In the second attempt to get the checkered, Joey Price held off Paul Leach for the victory.
The final class to run was the WISSOTA Street Stocks. Caution free heats had Marvin Gonzales and Dwayne Fowler starting the feature on the front row. Just after taking the green flag, Gonzales gets a little loose and slides up into Fowler. Both cars shoot to the front stretch wall. In a head on collision Gonzales flips bringing out the red flag. With assistance from track officials Gonzales get free from his car and walks away uninjured. Fowler had to make a trip to the pits so his crew could assess the damage and make repairs. The restart had Vance Lorenz and Nick Hunter starting on the front row. Fowler made it back out in time for the start. Paul Lease was on a mission throughout the event. Taking an early lead he started putting distance on the field. Though Hunter made a valiant effort he was unable to catch Lease. Lease claimed his fifth victory of the season.
Not So Pure Stock
Heat #1 – Kory Wermling, Jeremy Ivie, Lonnie Moore, Shane Field, Casey Durand, Joe Davis, Patrick Harvie (DNF)
Heat #2 – Nicole Pankratz, JJ Johnson, Bill Handel, Scott Powers, Randy Carter, Alan Riley (DNF), Greg Azure (DNF)
Feature – Wermling, Pankratz, Johnson, Ivie, Durand, Davis, Field (DNF), Powers (DNF), Riley (DNF), Harvie (DNF), Handel (DNF), Moore (DNF), Carter (DNF), Azure (DNS)
WISSOTA Street Stock
Heat #1 – Marvin Gonzales, Vance Lorenz, Tom Miesmer, Cody Ryan, Gordo Oppelt, Michael Price (DNF)
Heat #2 – Dwayne Fowler, Nick Hunter, Paul Lease, Warren Samoy, Ron Mattern, Mark Mann
Feature – Lease, Hunter, Samoy, Lorenz, Ryan, Mattern, Fowler, Miesmer (DNF), Oppelt (DNF), Gonzales (DNF), Mann (DNS), Price (DNS)
WISSOTA Midwest Modified
Heat #1 – Tim McCune, Kelly Blixt, Paul Leach, Ron Sasek, Jerry Sangrey Jr., Michael Shure, Jonathan Scarber
Heat #2 – Aaron Liscum, Jack Norris, Marty Harvie, Joey Tinker, Jim Myre, David McCune
Heat #3 – Jake Tacke, Tommy Bush, Jeramy Myers, Joey Price, Joey Ray, Josh Ames
Feature – Price, Leach, Myre, Myers, Blixt, Liscum, T. McCune, Scarber, Tacke, D. McCune, Bush, Shure, Sangrey Jr. (DNF), Harvie (DNF), Norris (DNF), Ray (DNF), Tinker (DNF), Ames (DNF), Sasek (DNF)
WISSOTA Super Stocks
Heat #1 – Casey Steffenson, Jordan Tocci, Rich Wermling, Carmi Wells Sr., Jeremy Meirhofer, Mike Pistelak, Pat LaMere, Jake Tucker
Heat #2 – Chuck Fleming, John Lighthizer, Mark Rieker, Ryan Fasching, Carmi Wells, Justin Rieker, Pacer Popham, Rowdy Gillen (DNF)
Feature – Fasching, M. Rieker, LaMere, Popham, Steffenson, Fleming, Lighthizer, Gillen, Wells, Tucker, Tocci (DNF), Meirhofer (DNF), Pistelak (DNF), Wells Sr. (DNF), Wermling (DNF), Justin Rieker (DQ)
Heat #1 – Joey Price, Chad Johnson, Gordie Petersen, Sean McBee, Paul Leach, Gary Hill (DNF)
Heat #2 – Paul Donnelly, Mark Wermling, Dave Azure, Maurice Myre, Rock Degele, Justin Mann, Sean Higginbotham
Feature – Wermling, Johnson, Donnelly, Degele, Myre, McBee, Azure, Petersen, Mann (DNF), Higginbotham (DNF), Price (DNF), Leach (DNF), Hill (DNS)
WISSOTA Late Models
Heat – Rock Degele, Jody Kropp, Dave Freeman, Mick Halverson, Chris Dunn, John Lighthizer, David Smith (DNF), Kelly Hample (DNF), Mark Steven Fowler (DNF)
Feature – Smith, Degele, Hample, Kropp, Dunn, Fowler, Lighthizer (DNF), Halverson (DNF), Freeman (DNF)
With night one complete many drivers spent the better part of Saturday making necessary repairs and adjustments to their cars. Local drivers offered assistance to those who travelled to the track for the race. Welders, frame racks, and parts were offered up and most of the cars were set to race on Saturday evening.
A little more moisture in the track had the Not So Pure Stocks sliding as they started the first of two heats. Randy Carter hit a dip in the track that sent him towards the front stretch wall. Carter’s car went up on the left side wheels along the wall and landed on the driver’s side just in front of the flag stand. A red flag was waved and with assistance, Carter hefted up through the passenger side window. The next step was to get the car back on four wheels. Due to his proximity to the front stretch wall officials had to flip the car onto its roof so wrecker crews could get in and make it upright again. Carter was uninjured in the incident. Lonnie Moore got a left front flat and was the only other caution in the event. Bill Handel claimed the win. Patrick Harvie took the second heat.
After a brief intermission the Not So Pure Stocks took to the track for their feature. The water that was added to the track during the break had not packed in as expected and the class had difficulty getting their race started. After a few extra packing laps the field came to the green for a second time. The second caution came out when drivers started stacking up in turn two. Cody Kuglin suffered rear end damage and was towed into the pits. Greg Azure lost control and came down onto Stephan Foley. Brian Chaon got into Alan Riley sending both drivers into the infield tires. JJ Johnson suffered a left front flat and had to pit. Chaon received an open black flag after racing resumed. Foley spun in turn two and then turn four bringing out the next two cautions ending his bid for a feature win. JJ Johnson had previously pulled back onto the track under green and was sent to the pits for the infraction during Foley’s second caution. Patrick Harvie never gave up through the event and held the lead until the final lap when Kory Wermling found a way around him for the victory. Wermling finished his season with a spectacular last lap pass and eleventh feature win.
The WISSOTA Super Stocks ran their first heat with a pair of 32s at the front as Pacer Popham led Jeremy Meirhofer to the checkers. Ryan Fasching and Casey Steffenson had a close battle in the second heat. After taking the white flag, Fasching lost a tire and Steffenson grabbed the lead just before the flag stand. Chuck Fleming spun in the feature and the first caution flew for the Super Stocks. The second came out for debris on the front stretch. Pacer Popham spun coming out of turn four and had to go to the rear of the field for the restart. A pile up of drivers in turn two and a loose car on the front stretch caused the final two cautions of the race. Ryan Fasching and Casey Steffenson battled through each of the cautions at the restarts but Fasching proved too strong and captured his second victory in as many days.
The WISSOTA Midwest Modifieds switched running order positions from the previous night with the WISSOTA Modifieds. This meant they were the third class to run and the Modifieds would run fifth. Joey Tinker, Jack Norris, and Marty Harvie cruised their way to victory in zero caution heats. As unpredictable as the class has been all season eighteen cars starting the feature was to be an exciting event for the fans. A few spins and flat tires brought out the cautions, but the battle for the lead and longer green flag runs than normal didn’t disappoint. In the final laps of the event it appeared that Marty Harvie would claim another win, but Paul Donnelly’s patience and persistence had him making a late race pass and snatching the victory.
Jody Kropp and Dave Freeman started on the front row in the heat and feature for the WISSOTA Late Models. After a close battle Kropp got to the finish line slightly ahead of pole sitter Dave Freeman. After his heat win Kropp started the feature on the pole with Freeman on the outside of him. In the feature, Chris Dunn’s spin in turn two was the only caution. Track conditions were ideal for Kelly Hample as he rocketed his way to the finish line.
Rock Degele seized the first heat victory. Dave Azure brought out the only heat caution in the second heat with a spin in turn two. Mark Wermling’s first place finish had him set to start the feature on the outside of the front row. The feature was the Degele/Wermling show as the two battled the entire race for the top spot. Sean Higginbotham brought out the first with a spin in turn four. Joey Price was the first driver out of the race after causing the second and third cautions with solo spins in turns one and two. Higginbotham lost it in turn two for caution number four and had to head to the pit area due to the two caution rule. Justin Mann’s spin in turn two was the final caution. Though Degele gained some distance on Wermling occasionally throughout the race, he had to fight to hold onto the lead in the final laps. Wermling found a line that had him under Degele as the laps wound down, but Degele kept shutting the door on him and Mark was unable to complete the pass. Degele claimed his first victory of the season in the final race of 2011.
A spin on the first lap of the WISSOTA Street Stock’s first heat had Vance Lorenz pitting for a flat. Heat one was Dwayne Fowler’s first opportunity to see if the time spent in the Steffenson’s garage earlier in the day was enough to get his car back in race form. Happy with the handling Fowler snatched the first heat win ahead of Nick Hunter. Mark Mann’s night ended on the front stretch during the second heat. Paul Lease continued his streak and took the second heat. In the final feature of the season Paul Lease showed his weekend dominance by taking an early lead. Michael Price spun in turn four and brought out a caution. After going back to green Lease and Hunter were working their way up to lapped traffic when the slower car of Price had to pull into the pits. It appeared Price was going to make it but Hunter came around the corner and clipped the back of his car. Hunter had to pit for a flat tire and made it back out in time for the restart. Tom Miesmer brought out the final 2011 caution with a spin that had him into the tires in turns three and four. Giving his best attempt, Fowler had to settle for second as Lease captured his second win of the weekend.
With the last of the races in the books for 2011 drivers, crews, and families get the opportunity to reflect on the season and begin to prepare for the 2012 season. The racing season is ever dependant on Mother Nature as in recent years snow has prevented the season to start in April as scheduled. With a little good fortune and a lot of luck it is hopeful as when April rolls around in 2012 the speedway will be able to get their next season off and running.
Not So Pure Stock
Heat #1 – Bill Handel, Greg Azure, Jeremy Ivie, Alan Riley, Scott Powers, Lonnie Moore, Jim Potvin, Tim Doyle, Randy Carter (DNF)
Heat #2 – Patrick Harvie, Stephan Foley, Brian Chaon, Kory Wermling, JJ Johnson, Cody Kuglin, Nicole Pankratz, Joe Davis
Feature – Wermling, Harvie, Powers, Azure, Pankratz, Handel, Ivie, Potvin, Davis, Foley (DNF), Moore (DNF), Johnson (DNF), Riley (DNF), Kuglin (DNF), Doyle (DNS), Carter (DNS), Chaon (DQ)
WISSOTA Street Stock
Heat #1 – Dwayne Fowler, Nick Hunter, Warren Samoy, Ron Mattern, Vance Lorenz
Heat #2 – Paul Lease, Cody Ryan, Tom Miesmer, Jim Davis Jr., Michael Price, Mark Mann (DNF)
Feature – Lease, Fowler, Samoy, Lorenz, Ryan, Hunter, Davis Jr., Miesmer, Mattern (DNF), Price (DNF), Mann (DNS)
WISSOTA Midwest Modified
Heat #1 – Joey Tinker, Jerry Sangrey Jr., Tim McCune, Kelly Blixt, Josh Ames, Joey Ray (DNF)
Heat #2 – Jack Norris, Aaron Liscum, Paul Donnelly, Tommy Bush, Jonathan Scarber, David McCune
Heat #3 – Marty Harvie, Ron Sasek, Joey Price, Jake Tacke, Jeramy Myers, Jim Myre, Michael Shure
Feature – Donnelly, Harvie, Norris, T. McCune, Ray, Bush, Blixt, Price, Tacke, Tinker, Sasek, Liscum, Shure, Myers, Myre, D. McCune (DNF), Ames (DNF), Sangrey Jr. (DNF), Scarber (DNS)
WISSOTA Super Stocks
Heat #1 – Pacer Popham, Jeremy Meirhofer, Justin Rieker, Mike Pistelak, Rich Wermling, Rowdy Gillen, Carmi Wells Sr., John Lighthizer (DNF)
Heat #2 – Casey Steffenson, Ryan Fasching, Carmi Wells, Pat LaMere, Mark Rieker, Chuck Fleming, Jake Tucker
Feature – Fasching, Steffenson, Meirhofer, J. Rieker, M. Rieker, La Mere, Fleming, Popham, Wermling, Tucker, Gillen, Pistelak, Wells (DNF), Lighthizer (DNF), Wells Sr. (DNS)
Heat #1 – Rock Degele, Paul Donnelly, Chad Johnson, Sean McBee, Sean Higginbotham (DNF)
Heat #2 – Mark Wermling, Joey Price, Maurice Myre, Dave Azure, Justin Mann, Gordie Petersen
Feature – Degele, Wermling, Johnson, Azure, McBee, Donnelly, Petersen, Mann, Myre (DNF), Higginbotham (DNF), Price (DNF)
WISSOTA Late Models
Heat – Jody Kropp, Dave Freeman, Kelly Hample, Rock Degele, David Smith, John Lighthizer, Chris Dunn, Mark Steven Fowler, Mick Halverson
Feature – Hample, Kropp, Degele, Freeman, Dunn, Smith, Lighthizer, Fowler, Halverson