Gary Hill Three-Peats & Lemley Sweeps CAN/AM Challenge
By Vikki Higginbotham
Very cool temperatures greeted drivers and fans Friday night at Electric City Speedway as it hosted its first night of two for the weekend. The CAN/AM Sprint Challenge was on the slate for both nights. With drivers travelling south from Alberta, Canada they were set to challenge drivers from the Big Sky Sprints. Also running events were the WISSOTA Street Stocks, Midwest Modifieds and Super Stocks.
In three heats the WISSOTA Street Stocks started the evening. Ron Mattern, Paul Lease and Troy Weninger took the top spots. Paul Lease and Marvin Gonzales started in the fourth row. While working his way through the field, Lease lost an engine. Kory Wermling also suffered engine troubles. Gonzales kept a forward motion and after 20 laps finished in front of pole sitter Warren Samoy.
The first heat of the WISSOTA Super Stocks ran caution free with Casey Steffenson coming across the checkered flag in front of the Popham Brothers. In heat two Jake Tucker’s hood flew up at the start and Tucker had zero visibility until he could pull off the track safely. Sharid Lee was declared victorious. The feature held many cautions as Richard Azure had mechanical difficulties, debris and a few spins had the field set up for a Green-White-Checkered restart with Curt Popham in the lead position. As they were coming to green Popham got turned and Mike Pistelak, Clay Irwin and Gordo Oppelt took severe damage eliminating them from the race. John Lighthizer was also involved but able to continue. After the green flew again Pacer Popham and Casey Steffenson were both credited with getting into Curt causing a spin. Curt was able to continue and the field was reset for a third G-W-C restart. Popham held of Sharid Lee and his brother to claim his first victory of the season.
The Sprints ran third in the rotation. Joe Perry, David Hoiness, and Casey Adams took the heats. The feature was red flagged after Cody Brown spun on the front stretch. Mark Sweet failed to stop and hit Brown in the driver’s side causing him to flip over. Brown suffered a few bumps and bruises but would return to racing for Saturday’s events. A spin out by Vernon Hill had the field set up for a Green-White-Checkered. Brock Lemley, driving for local owners Nubby and Richie Peterson, brought the 23N to victory lane in the Big Sky Sprints season opening feature.
The WISSOTA Midwest Modifieds finished off the card. Joey Price and Zach Olson were victorious in their heat races. After six cautions for spins drivers were given the yellow and black flag cross letting them know any future cautions would have the initiator headed to the pits. Leading most of the event, Zach Olson lost the lead to Joey Price. Though it appeared Price would be the clear winner in the event Olson didn’t give in. Coming to the checkers Price and Olson were near side by side. Crossing the line by only 0.123 seconds Price captured the victory.
The weather on Saturday was a slight bit warmer and the track hosted another night of CAN/AM Sprint racing, WISSOTA Street Stock, Midwest Modifieds and Modifieds.
Running first for another night the WISSOTA Street Stocks went caution free in their heats. In the feature the drivers weren’t so lucky. During one of the cautions, BJ Warehime got into the wall on the backstretch. As he came off Brenton Collins wasn’t clear and Ron Weber, Lyle Imberi, and JT No Runner became victims as the field piled up on the back stretch. Brian Barnhart spun up onto the tires bringing out a caution and the time clock continued to tick down on the event. A final caution for a spin on the front stretch had track officials declaring Hunter the winner under caution as the race had already ran over the 25 minute time limit. Rookies Cody Ryan and Kory Wermling had top 5 finishes.
WISSOTA Midwest Modifieds ran second on Saturday. On the start of the first heat the front row drivers spun in turn two and the field was reset with them headed to the back. Chris Hill won the first heat. The second heat ran caution free with Mike Pistelak leading the pack to the finish. Jake Tacke took an early lead but lost it in turn four when he spun out in front of the field. Drivers were able to maneuver around him but Tacke had to restart in the back. Coming from a fourteenth starting position Doug Lapierre claimed his first victory in the class.
The Sprints were back for a second night. While leading the first heat, Jerry Brown Jr. and Phil Dietz got caught behind lapped traffic. As they were exiting turn two Brown ended up on the outside wall. After safety crews assisted the car off the wall Brown was able to continue. Dietz went on to become the winner. The start of heat two had fans on their feet as Josh Ostermiller went up over the tire of Sean MacDonnell. Ostermiller went airborne just before the flag stand and landed after a few tumbles just past it. Ostermiller was alright and working on loading his car into the hauler later in the evening. As the drivers were restarting the race MacDonnell clipped another car and went airborne himself in turn four. MacDonnell was also doing well after his wreck. Joe Ramaker took heat two. Heat three went caution free with Brock Lemley finishing ahead of Trever Kirkland. One final flip for the sprints on the evening happened in the feature as Chris Roberts went airborne in turn two. The safety features in these sprint cars are exceptional and Roberts was also fine. Dennis MacEachern led most of the event with Lemley reeling him in. As cautions flew MacEachern appeared to get a better start and Lemley would catch him as they started getting into lapped traffic. However, Lemley was able to get around MacEachern in the final laps and claim a feature sweep for Peterson Racing.
Closing out the evening were the WISSOTA Modifieds. Chad Johnson and Gary Hill were victorious in the heat races. John Price spun in the feature. Hill spun to avoid him and was able to continue the event. Just past half way Sean Higginbotham spun in front of Pat Wallace and suffered left front damage preventing him from continuing. As the laps ticked off Jody Kropp was creeping up on Hill, but ran out of laps. Gary Hill claimed his third clean sweep victory in a row this season.
Next week the speedway hosts the regular classes of WISSOTA Street Stocks, Midwest Modifieds, Super Stocks and Modifieds.
FRIDAY 05-18-2012 RESULTS
WISSOTA Street Stocks
Heat #1 – Ron Mattern, Marvin Gonzales, Ron Weber, Kory Wermling, Jeff Sekuterski, Lyle Imberi, Shannon Cote
Heat #2 – Paul Lease, Warren Samoy, Brian Barnhart, Brenton Collins, Joseph (JT) No Runner, Stephan Foley
Heat #3 – Troy Weninger, Cody Ryan, Rod Lorenz, Brad Norris, Kyle Jarvey, Bill Handel, Mikey Johnson
Feature – Gonzales, Samoy, Mattern, Sekuterski, Lorenz, Ryan, Weber, Imberi, Weninger, Foley, Handel, Norris, Barnhart, Cote, Jarvey, Wermling, Lease, No Runner, Johnson, Collins
WISSOTA Midwest Modifieds
Heat #1 – Joey Price, Aaron Liscum, Taylor Falkenhagen, Jake Tacke, Ron Sasek, Patrick Harvie, Jim Myre, Michael Shure
Heat #2 – Zach Olson, Tim McCune, Jeramy Myers, Doug Lapierre, Joey Tinker, Chris Hill, Ronnie Harvie
Feature – Price, Olson, Myers, Lapierre, Hill, Liscum, McCune, Falkenhagen, Sasek, Shure, Tacke, Myre, P. Harvie, Tinker, R. Harvie
WISSOTA Super Stocks
Heat #1 – Casey Steffenson, Pacer Popham, Curt Popham, John Lighthizer, Mike Pistelak, Gordo Oppelt
Heat #2 – Sharid Lee, Pat LaMere, Dolan Sevalstad, Clay Irwin, Richard Azure, Jake Tucker
Feature – C. Popham, Lee, P. Popham, Steffenson, Tucker, LaMere, Lighthizer, Pistelak, Oppelt, Irwin, Sevalstad, Azure
Heat #1 – Joe Perry, Josh Ostermiller, Joe Ramaker, Kelly Miller, Colton Akerstrom, Vernon Hill, Jerry Brown Jr.
Heat #2 – David Hoiness, Dennis MacEachern, Sean MacDonnell, Bill Boyce, Calvin Fitch, Cody Brown, Chip Roe
Heat #3 – Casey Adams, Jerry Brey, Trever Kirkland, Brock Lemley, Phil Dietz, Mark Sweet
Feature – Lemley, Ramaker, Ostermiller, Adams, Brey, Hoiness, Kirkland, Dietz, Miller, MacEachern, Boyce, Perry, MacDonnell, Brown Jr., Fitch, Roe, Akerstrom, Hill, C. Brown, Sweet
SATURDAY 05-19-2012 RESULTS
WISSOTA Street Stocks
Heat #1 – Marvin Gonzales, Kyle Jarvey, Nick Hunter, Brian Barnhart, Stephan Foley, Mikey Johnson, Joseph (JT) No Runner, Lyle Imberi
Heat #2 – Ron Imberi, Cody Ryan, BJ Warehime, Ron Mattern, Shannon Cote, Ron Weber, Rod Lorenz
Heat #3 – Warren Samoy, Jeff Sekuterski, Kory Wermling, Bill Handel, Troy Weninger, Brad Norris, Brenton Collins
Feature – Hunter, Gonzales, Ryan, Wermling, Barnhart, Lorenz, Weninger, Foley, Norris, Collins, Handel, Cote, Johnson, No Runner, R. Imberi, Samoy, Warehime, Weber, Jarvey, Mattern, L. Imberi, Sekuterski
WISSOTA Midwest Modifieds
Heat #1 – Chris Hill, Joey Price, Ronnie Harvie, Joey Tinker, Tim McCune, David McCune, Aaron Liscum, Michael Shure, Jeramy Myers
Heat #2 – Mike Pistelak, Tommy Bush, Taylor Falkenhagen, Jake Tacke, Zach Olson, Joey Ray, Doug Lapierre, Patrick Harvie, Jim Myre, Ron Sasek
Feature – Lapierre, Pistelak, Hill, Falkenhagen, Tinker, Olson, P. Harvie, T. McCune, Liscum, Bush, Sasek, D. McCune, Tacke, R. Harvie, Shure, Myre, Ray, Myers, Price
Heat #1 – Chad Johnson, Maurice Myre, Jody Kropp, John Price, Pat Wallace
Heat #2 – Gary Hill, Joey Price, Sean McBee, Paul Leach, Sean Higginbotham
Feature – Hill, Kropp, Johnson, Myre, Joey Price, Leach, McBee, John Price, Wallace, Higginbotham
Heat #1 – Phil Dietz, Dennis MacEachern, David Hoiness, Vernon Hill, Chip Roe, Jerry Brown Jr., Chris Roberts
Heat #2 – Joe Ramaker, Jerry Brey, Joe Perry, Cody Brown, Colton Akerstrom, Sean MacDonnell, Josh Ostermiller
Heat #3 – Brock Lemley, Trever Kirkland, Casey Adams, Kelly Miller, Bill Boyce, Calvin Fitch
Feature – Lemley, MacEachern, Brey, Kirkland, Miller, Hoiness, Dietz, Perry, Adams, Brown Jr., Boyce, Hill, Roe, Fitch, Ramaker, Akerstrom, C. Brown, Roberts, MacDonnell, Ostermiller