North Central Speedway became the "track too tough to tame" Saturday.
Recent heavy rain and unseasonably cool weather resulted in rough conditions that required more than the usual amount of bravado from drivers.
Wissota Sprint Car drivers accepted the challenge and were often side-by-side on two or less wheels as they resembled dirt track cowboys riding high-speed mechanical beasts. The race was part of what was billed as the August Heat Series for Wissota Championship Sprint Cars and was stop No. 6 on the tour.
Among the heavy hitters in attendance were Larry Ball Jr. of Knoxville, Iowa, Chuck Swenson of Watertown, S.D., and national points leader Loren Langerud of Harwood, N.D.
Minnesota's Jerry Richert Jr. had the most impressive racing resume of those in attendance. He has appeared four times in the A Main of the Knoxville Nationals against the best of the World of Outlaws during the 1990s along with capturing more than 40 feature wins and track championships at Jackson and Husets speedways.
After spending most of his career in the 410-cubic inch Outlaw cars on the legendary Knoxville half-mile, Richert is racing closer to home with his Wissota 360 Sprinter. In addition to Richert were veterans Jimmy and Joe Kouba along with up and coming drivers like Rob Caho Jr.
In spite of the conditions there was plenty of great racing and wild action to the delight of the capacity crowd. Several cars took tumbles, including Ehren Layton in hot laps, John Nelson in his heat and Craig Ludvigson and Sye Anderson of Brainerd in the feature.
Anderson, last year's Wissota Sprint Car Rookie of the Year, was fast and looked to have a shot at the feature win before making hard contact with the turn two concrete.
Three other Brainerd area drivers, Roger Rager, John Franzen and Gary Walton were not in attendance, leaving Anderson and Dave Mass as the lone area representatives.
Rager went to Springfield, Ill., with Franzen as crewman to race a USAC Silver Crown Car. Walton was sitting out while recuperating from injuries suffered two weeks ago while racing in Arcadia, Wis.
In feature action, two red flags waved during the course of the race, first for Craig Ludvigson, who tipped over in turn two, and the second red after Sye Anderson's encounter with the turn two wall. Anderson suffered the most damage. The 37 machine didn't turn over, but had to be removed from the track with a forklift.
Loren Langerud, in his Buffalo Wild Wings sponsored machine, bested the 21-car field to record the win. In victory lane Langerud said Sprint Car area fans can be proud of the four Brainerd area drivers and their showing in the heat series.
Rager, Franzen, Sye Anderson and Mass all had success during the week and should be a factor when the Wissota Sprints make their final appearance of the NCS season Sept. 21-22 in the Mighty Axe Nationals.
At the drop of the green flag in the Wissota Street Stock feature, John Treichler bolted into the lead from his pole position. The caution was displayed once, on lap three, realigning the field single file.
When racing resumed, Donny Thomsen worked his was to the inside of Treichler to challenge for the lead. The two ran side-by-side for a few laps until Treichler pulled ahead to claim sole possession of the top spot while Don Willard Jr. had a solid hold on the third spot. Mark Johnson moved around Dan Beens for fourth.
Leading all 15 laps, Treichler picked up his second win of the season with Thomsen finishing second. Johnson made his way around Willard Jr. in the closing laps to claim the third position.
John Thompson led from the start of the Wissota Midwest Modified feature with Tony Angrimson and Conrad Olson close behind. After an early caution for a spun car, George Mattson climbed from fourth to second by the first turn of the restart.
Moving up from his fifth-row starting spot, Dick Peterson moved to the inside of Mattson for second until Mattson passed him again to reclaim the position. The yellow flag was displayed for the second time for a three-car altercation that left Don Wermter sitting backward in turns three and four.
As the event continued, the battle resumed between Peterson and Mattson for second as Justin Jones moved into the fourth spot after starting eighth. Peterson passed Mattson and was immediately on Thompson's bumper, looking for the lead. The two dueled door-to-door until Peterson edged ahead in turns one and two, making the pass on the white flag lap. Peterson widened his lead to the checkers to claim his first victory at NCS this season. Thompson and Mattson rounded out the top three.
In the NCS Pure Stock feature, Mike Smude moved around Shelley Young for the lead. Greg Miller was hit and sent sideways while Ed Kottschade was a victim of being in the wrong place at the wrong time, piling into Miller with nowhere else to go. The race was red-flagged so the ambulance could make its way to the infield to attend to Kottschade after the head-on impact.
Smude dominated the event, leading every lap but the first, to make his first visit to victory lane. Tony Yezek finished second from his ninth starting spot, while third-place finisher Brian Johnson made his way through the field after starting 17th.
The big story of the night was the points battle between the top two Pure Stocks of Cory Loidolt and Mike Japp. Loidolt had an 8-point lead going into the night. After suffering problems in their heats, both cars failed to qualify for the main event. Japp won the B feature with Loidolt failing to finish. This class will go to the wire as Japp now has a 1-point lead over Loidolt heading into season championships Aug. 24.
NCS PURE STOCKS
Heat 1 - Ed Rolfson Jr., Dan Abear, Buck Smude, Don Welch, Mark Christensen
Heat 2 - Shelley Young, Eric Pryzbilla, Charlie Peterson, Tom Segler, Mike Cash
Heat 3 - Brian Johnson, Chris Dosh, Mike Smude, Trevor Shaw, Greg Miller
Heat 4 - Dusty Paul, Louis Wermter, Ed Kottschade, Tony Yezek, Scott Dillenburg
B Feature - Mike Japp, Dennis Johnson, Phil Schmitz
A Feature M. Smude, Yezek, B. Johnson, Paul, B. Smude
WISSOTA STREET STOCKS
Heat 1 - Shawn Wageman, Don Willard Jr, Donny Thomsen, Bob Young, John Kruchten
Heat 2 - John Treichler, Travis Wermter, Brad Dwyer, Dan Beens, Jim DeRosier
Heat 3 - Dan Severson, Donnie Jensen, Mark Johnson, Randy Sprague, Mark Nielsen
Feature - Treichler, Thomsen, Johnson, D. Beens, Willard Jr.
WISSOTA MIDWEST MODIFIEDS
Heat 1 - George Mattson, John Thompson, Scott Lake, Mike Henning, Jeff Strecker
Heat 2 - Dick Peterson, DJ Dondelinger, Don Wermter, Brandon Mass, Jason Garner
Heat 3 - Jesse Lodermeier, Ed Rolfson Sr., Justin Jones, Larry Menk, Mark Anderson
Heat 4 - Conrad Olson, Tony Angrimson, Wade Bandel, Jeff Innes, Bill Jillson
Consolation 1 - Anderson, Garner, Monte Hall, Brad Feierabend, Eric Burgstaler
Feature - Peterson, Thompson, Mattson, J. Jones, Lake
Heat 1 - Loren Langerud, Raleigh Sandberg, Jerry Richert Jr., Curt Lund, Jimmy Kouba
Heat 2 - Dave Mass, Sye Anderson, Chuck Swenson, Rob Caho Jr., Craig Ludvigson
Heat 3 - Larry Ball Jr., Gene Kelly, Tony Hargrave, Joe Kouba, Dave Glennon
Feature - Langerud, Ball Jr., Swenson, Lund, Hargrave
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