Inaugural Wissota Late Model Challege Series Race
Johnson Wins Inaugural Challenge Series Race at NCR
By Mike Spieker
ADA, MN (August 22)- An excited crowd packed the stands for the penultimate night of Thursday Night Thunder at Norman County Raceway which featured the Blaine Brother’s WISSOTA Late Model Challenge Series for the very first time in the track’s history. A season high 85 cars were signed in the pits, adding to the excitement of the night.
Zach Johnson, Cody Skytland, Casey Arneson, and Corry VanMil were at WISSOTA Amsoil Dirt Track Series winners.
The action got started right at the get go in the Northwest Truck & Trailer WISSOTA Midwest Modified feature as Gannon Miller, Rich
Pavlicek, and Casey Arneson battled three wide for the lead on the second lap. Miller prevailed to hang on to the lead, but slipped up the track one lap later and got shuffled back to third. From there the fight for the lead came down to Pavlicek and Arneson. Pavlicek held a slight advantage, but couldn’t hold off the young Fargo, ND driver. Arneson cruised by Pavlicek on lap five and checked out, claiming his second checkered flag of the season at NCR.
Corry VanMil led all 12 circuits in the Finley Motors WISSOTA Mod Four main event. It was also VanMil’s second win at NCR this year. Bryce Bjerken, Aaron Wetterlin, Rob VanMil and Troy Kuehl rounded out the top five.
The Pure Stocks were back in action after having a couple weeks off. Stan Olson led every lap and found himself in KRJB/KRJM Victory Lane. Dean Lundon drove from eighth to second, Tim Shiek came home in third.
Mike Roy extended his points lead by winning another NCR Trophy Class feature. Katie Ahrndt finished runner up, with Tony Amberg, Nick Booth, and Todd Gettel all finishing in the top five.
21 WISSOTA Modifieds made the lineup for the 20 lap feature. Dustin Strand and Michael Greseth led the field to the green, with Greseth grabbing the lead on the outside of turn two. Greseth only had a couple of laps to enjoy the lead because Strand found his line and drove by the Harwood, ND driver to take over the top spot. Meanwhile, U-Motors Racing teammates Cody Skytland and Austin Arneson were making their way through the pack after starting in the middle of the field. With a handful of laps remaining, Skytland found a way by Strand’s RealTruck.com #71 machine on the outside of turn two and never looked back. Skytland’s win was his second in a row at NCR, he was followed by Mike Stearns who wheeled his way from 13th to second, Arneson, Don Shaw, and Strand.
Zach Johnson led 37 of the 40 lap WISSOTA Late Model Challenge Series a-main, but it was anything but easy for the two-time national
champion. With eight laps to go, Johnson was stuck behind the lapped cars of Billy Michaelsohn and Donny Schatz who were battling for position. After having to follow for a couple laps, Johnson saw an opening underneath Schatz and tried to fill it. Schatz simultaneously pitched his car low in an attempt to pass Michaelsohn. Schatz and Johnson made contact with each other which sent Johnson spinning out in turn four. After a few moments NCR race officials determined that Schatz was the cause of the incident which gave back Johnson’s spot in the lead. Johnson held off Pat Doar and Brad Seng in the six lap dash to the finish for the $2,000 victory.
After the race Chris Stepan asked the Kensington, MN driver what he was thinking when his #73 car spun out. Johnson’s response was, “How I was going to clean my shorts out.
“Donny (Schatz) was trying really hard to get by (Michaelsohn) and he looked like he was driving a sprint car. He was really throwing it into those corners and I could get a run on him running the car nice and straight.
“Eventually I was like, ‘I have to get aggressive here.’ I thought I was alongside of him enough where he could see me, but he just pitched it sideways and got into my right front. It was just a racing deal, I know it wasn’t intentional on his part.”
Next week at NRC is Season Championship night. Racing begins at 7:00pm.
Blaine Brother’s WISSOTA Late Model Challenge Series:
Feature- Zach Johnson, Pat Doar, Brad Seng, Lance Matthees, Jake Redetzke, Dustin Strand, Dave Mcdonald, John Kaanta, Jeff Provinzino, Don Shaw, Cody Skytland, Jeremy Keller, Billy Michaelsohn, Donny Schatz, Jordan Yaggy, Nick Herrick, Steve Anderson, Brian Bernotas
All-Star Performance Heat 1- Doar, Shaw, Redetzke, Skytland, Strand, Yaggy, J. Johnson
Performance Auto Heat 2- Matthees, Z. Johnson, Kaanta, Seng, Keller, Provinzio
Wheer’s Machine Heat 3- Michaelsohn, Anderson, Bernotas, Schatz, McDonald, Herrick
Feature- Cody Skytland, Mike Stearns, Austin Arneson, Don Shaw, Dustin Strand, Bryce Borgen, Michael Greseth, Justin Jones, Corky Thomas, Jeremy Nelson, Travis Saurer, Casey Arneson, Rick Jacobson, Jordan Wahl, Michael Johnson, Jamie Trautner, Aaron Olson, Jeff Oden, Jake Bitker, Alex Guthmiller, Tanner Olson
Heat 1- Thomas, Borgen, Greseth, Nelson, Stearns, Jacobson, Johnson
Heat 2- Shaw, Skytland, Trautner, J. Bitker, Wahl, Odden, McDonald
Heat 3- Strand, Saurer, A. Arneson, C. Arneson, Jones, T. Olson, A. Olson
WISSOTA Midwest Modifieds:
Feature- Casey Arneson, Rich Pavlicek, Tyler Peterson, Bryan Kakela, Rob Vanmil, Tyler Hall, Travis Saurer, Jamie Winterquist, Gannon Miller, Robert Bladow, Zach Bruer, Allison Christian, Savanna Johnson, Noah Metzger, Andy Wagner, Dustin Wahl, Christopher Christian
Heat 1- Pavlicek, Hall, Miller, Wagner, A. Christian, Johnson, C. Christian, Wahl, Peterson
Heat 2- Arneson, Kakela, VanMil, Saurer, Bladow, Metzger, Bruer, Winterquist
WISSOTA Mod Fours:
Feature- Corry VanMil, Bryce Bjerken, Aaron Wetterlin, Rob VanMil, Troy Kuehl, Payton Gordon, Derek Vesledahl, Luke Johnson
Heat- R. VanMil, C. VanMil, Wetterlin, Johnson, Kuehl, Bjerken, Gordon, Vesledahl
Feature- Stan Olson, Dean Lundon, Tim Shiek, Ken Crane, Jeremy Anderson, Paul Colvin, Taylor Saari, Jeremy MacAdams, Amy Bruns, Mike Bjorgan, Wade Moerke
Heat 1- Olson, MacAdams, Bjorgan, Saari, Olson, Colvin, Anderson
Heat 2- Crane, Lundon, Shiek, Moerke, Bruns
NCR Trophy Class:
Feature- Mike Roy, Katie Ahrndt, Tony Amberg, Nick Booth, Todd Gettel, Sharnel Bitker, Kalvin Kesselbe, Ross Ronrer, Tori Rhode, Dan Evert
Heat- Roy, Arhndt, Amberg, Booth, Evert, S. Bitker, Kesselbe, Rhode, Ronrer