Nerves of steel were required of 2013 Traditional 40 champion Jeff Pellersels, as the journeyman sprinter narrowly held off a pair of seasoned veteran racers in a marathon battle during the second annual event and St. Croix Valley Raceway. Other winners on Polk-Burnett Electric Cooperative and Polk-Burnett Propane night included Tim Baxter in the Pure Stocks, Damon Roberts in the Future Four division, Allison Berger in the UMSS Micro Sprints, and Justin Oestreich in the WISSOTA Midwest Modifieds.
The night’s penultimate race had the crowd in awe at the multi-car, multi-groove display put on by the AMSOIL WISSOTA Midwest Modifieds. John Remington and Kevin Marlett paced the field to green with Remington grabbing the early lead. Remington, it seemed, was trying to out run the entire starting grid. From the moment the green light blinked on, the racers fanned out into three, four, and sometimes even five different racing grooves. Fourth starting Tony Schill used a good start to jump to second, while Marlett, Mitch Weiss, second heat race winner Ryan Bowers, Ryan Olson, Josh Bazey and first heat race winner Justin Oestreich gobbled up every square inch of available clay in pursuit of Remington. By lap thee, Marlett had edged a bumper in front Schill with Bowers in tow and Oestreich – who started eighth – cracked the top five by lap four. At the halfway point, Bowers claimed the lead, but only for a lap as Remington charged back to the point on lap eleven. By then Oestreich had clawed his way through the swarm of racers enough to sneak a front bumper into third place. Remington continued his charge at the point, scant inches in front of battle for position between Bowers, Oestreich and Marlett. On the seventeenth circuit, the duo of Oestreich and Olson catapulted to the font leaving Remington and Bowers to battle for third. On the race’s final lap, Remington and Bowers both got back around Olson, but no one could catch Oestreich on this night as he picked up another Valley sticker in the caution-free affair. Remington, Bowers, Olson and Marlett rounded out the top five.
It was a memorable night for Woodbury, Minnesota driver Jeff "Race Doc" Pellersels, as he led all the way in the Traditional 40 with a hearty car count record of seventeen non-winged sprints in the pits for the second annual event.
Pellersels grabbed the early lead from his outside front row starting spot over pole sitter Cam Schafer. There was really only one fast way around the little 1/4 mile oval on this breezy night, as the cushion up top provided the best avenue. Pellersels’ victory did not come without some drama though, as the race was only slowed twice under caution and on two occasions Pellersels found himself in a bit of trouble on the cushion. The first yellow waved when rookie Jake Kouba had a cooling hose blow off his car, dumping water on the track. On the restart, rookie racer
Brian VanMeveren spun in turn two and collected Katrina Sautbine and Doug Taubert. All three cars were out of the race, as Tom Porter also pulled off under the caution. The race would then run 26 laps nonstop to the finish.
Pellersels maintained his lead throughout the race, but twice he bobbled on the cushion and momentarily lost the lead to Rob Caho, Jr. each time. Caho ran third in line until lap 25 when he got by Schafer for the runner-up spot. In the final 10 laps, Caho twice ducked under Pellersels exiting turn four only to see Race Doc return the favor on each occasion to lead at the line by a narrow margin. With a right front tire beginning to lose some air pressure in the final few laps, Pellersels was able to hold off Caho for the win. Caho, Schafer, rookie Mike Mueller and Johnny Parsons III completed the top five. Kevin Bradwell, Lucas Milz, Wes Hendrickson, in his series debut and Denny Stordahl finished the race. Jack Clark rounded out the top ten, although he did not finish. Sautbine, Taubert, Van Meveren, Porter and Kouba were the other DNFs. Joe Jesmore experienced engine issues in his heat race and did not start the feature while Ryan Olson had a radiator break in hot laps and ended up being scratched for the evening.
Allison Berger took over the top spot from Bryan Patrick with less than two laps remaining and went on the record her first ever UMSS micro sprint feature win and her first at the St. Croix Valley Raceway. Berger defeated Ty Sampair, Patrick, Steve Polhill and Grant McIntosh. Sandy Traaseth finished sixth while Tony Duran and Collin Olson dropped out of the race.
Ty Sampair led the first two laps before being involved in an incident in turn two with Tony Duran. Duran's car was pushed back to the pits while Sampair was sent to the tail on the restart. Patrick led laps 3-10 up front with Berger in second. Sampair steadily worked his way forward in the final 10 lap green flag run to the checkers. Coming out of turn 4 to take the white flag, Berger ducked under Patrick for the lead. Sampair did likewise coming to the checkers to place second.
For the first time all season, a driver not named Jason Havel won the Pure Stock feature, with the honor going to Tim Baxter. Baxter shared the front row with pole-starting Jake Silbernagel and Baxter immediately jumped to the point. Silbernagel gave chase for the first five laps while Ben Kaphing and Krysta Swearingen followed in the next two spots. Just prior to the midpoint, Swearingen powered past Silbernagel into second. At the twelve lap mark, Havel had worked around Silbernagel, but took his Thunderbird pit side just a lap later. At the final double checkers, it was Baxter picking up the win over Swearingen, Silbernagel, Jon Wigchers and Kaphing.
Damon Roberts won his heat race and redrew the pole for the Future Fours. Starting the main event alongside Bob Carver Jr., Roberts assumed control at the drop of the green and never looked back. Carver was runner-up the first few laps before being overtaken by Derek Reding. Once in second, Reding made some headway reeling in Roberts for a few laps, but eventually Roberts pulled away winning by a comfortable margin over Reding, Nicki DuBois, Carver and Samantha Yarusso.
The next event scheduled for St. Croix Valley Raceway will celebrate the return of the WISSOTA Modifieds to the quarter-mile with the Thursday night Modified Dawg Days Dash on July 18. Also in action will be The Valley’s regular classes: Pure Stocks, Future Fours, UMSS Micro Sprints, WISSOTA Midwest Modifieds and UMSS Traditional Sprints. No races will be held the following night, Friday July 19. Details are available on the track’s website, www.SCVRaceway.com.
Pure Stocks: Heat 1- Ben Kaphing, Kyle Dahlhiemer, Jon Wichers, Mason McEvers, Jason Havel. Heat 2- Jake Silbernagel, Tim Baxter, Tony DuBois, Krysta Swearingen, Kaylee Remington. Feature- Tim Baxter, Krysta Swearingen, Jake Silbernagel, Jon Wigchers, Ben Kaphing Kyle Dahlhiemer, Kaylee Remington, Jason Havel, Mason McEvers, Tony Dubois.
Future Fours: Heat- Damon Roberts, Dylan Roberts, Bob Carver Jr., Brock Anderson, Derek Reding, Nicki DuBois, Alex Hallin, Samantha Yarusso. Feature- Damon Roberts, Derek Reding, Nicki DuBois, Bob Carver Jr., Samantha Yarusso, Alex Hallin, Brock Anderson, Dylan Roberts
UMSS Micro Sprints: Heat- Tony Duran, Ty Sampair, Grant McIntosh, Sandy Traaseth, Allison Berger, Bryan Patrick, Steve Polhill, Collin Olson. Feature- Allison Berger, Ty Sampair, Bryan Patrick, Steve Polhill, Grant McIntosh, Sandy Traaseth, Tony Duran, Collin Olson
WISSOTA Midwest Modifieds: Heat 1- Justin Oestreich, Kevin Marlett, Tony Schill, John Remington, Doug Toepper, Greg Anderson, Kyle Hallin, Greg Arnt. Heat 2- Ryan Bowers, Ryan Olson, Josh Bazey, Mitch Weiss, Jim Giossi, Kevin Marlett, Jared Gorka. Feature- Justin Oestreich, John Remington, Ryan Bowers, Ryan Olson, Kevin Marlett, Josh Bazey, Tony Schill, Mitch Wiess, David Mastell, Doug Toepper, Kyle Hallin, Greg Anderson, Jared Gorka, Jim Giossi, Greg Arnt.
UMSS Traditional Sprints: Heat 1- Cam Shafer, Jeff Pellerseles, Kevin Bradwell, Lucas Milz, Jack Clark, Wes Hendrickson. Heat 2- Mike Mueller, Katrina Sautbine, Brian VanMeveren, Jake Kouba, Denny Stordahl, Joe Jesmore. Heat 3- Rob Caho Jr., Johnny Parsons, Tom Porter, D Taubert, Ryan Olson. UMSS Traditional 40: Jeff Pellersels, Rob Caho Jr., Cam Shafer, Mike Mueller, Johnny Parsons, Kevin Bradwell, Lucas Milz, Wes Hendrickson, Denny Stordahl, Jack Clark, Katrina Sautbine, D Taubert, Brian VanMeveren, Tom Porter, Jake Kouba, Ryan Olson, Joe Jesmore