AUSTIN EDITION -- Fireworks display gives Chateau a holiday feeling
By Scott A. Kolb
LANSING -- A fireworks display midway through the feature events highlighted a big Friday night of stock car racing action at the Chateau Raceway.
The paid attendance was 987 and with the season-ticket holders, the crowd total was climbed past 1,000 on the night. With the biggest crowd of the season on hand, the drivers didn't disappoint as the six classes put on a good show.
For most of the evening the track appeared to be in good shape, but it was getting dry during the final features. The dry-slick conditions created a number of delays in the 25-lap Open Modified feature. Five caution flags in the first 12 laps meant a reduction in the length of the race to only 20 laps.
Bobby Sorenson won the Modified Feature for the third week in a row and moved to within just a few points of standings leader, Jimmy Davis. Sorenson, who trailed Davis by 10 points when the night started, picked up ground with a second-place finish in the heat.
The last few weeks have been tough for Davis as he has watched Sorenson make it a two-man race. More ground was gained by Sorenson in the feature as he grabbed the lead on lap 4 and never looked back. Davis put on a good chase, but wound up third behind Todd Stinehart.
"Last year, it was a pretty smooth run to the points championship, but it's been a struggle this season," Davis said. "It was really slick on the turns and that made it tough to catch Sorenson. We'll have to fight it out the rest of the way."
With the change this season from Wissota Modified to a more outlaw or Open Modified format, the tires have become a concern. Last week, Davis blew a tire in the heat and his new rubber hasn't given him a very smooth ride.
"The new rules in the open class means we went from Hoosier tires last year to McCury's this season and it's been a tough change," Davis said. "McCury's have a different compound from the Hoosiers and that has meant a slower ride."
Lyle fans got a big treat in the first feature race of the night, when Josh Mattick won his first main event of the season in the Pure Stock class. Mattick is just 15-years-old and now that he's won in Pure Stocks, a change may be imminent. When Mattick turns 16 in the next few weeks, he may switch to the Street Stocks.
Dan Wendt, who was third in points to start the night, took the Mod Lite feature and tightened up the points race. Brian Shaw, who was second in points, was the runner-up in the feature. Current points leader Jeff Jech placed third on the night.
In the Midwest Modified feature, Bryan Hernandez continued his assault on front runner Matt Stark. Hernandez, who was only four points behind Stark to start the night, finished second behind Jade Anderson. Stark was fourth in the feature.
At this juncture, the racing was stopped and the fireworks began. It was quite a show as the crowd clapped with delight when the sky lit up. The fireworks display went on for about 20 minutes and then, the racing continued.
There were a couple of interesting tales to tell in the Street Stock main event. Jeff Brauer, who won the feature last week, was a late scratch for the main event on Friday night.
Steve Eischens won the feature and tightened up the points race with leader Mitch Thompson, who was third. Mark Zvorak won the second heat and was contending for a high position in the feature when he crashed with Scott Sterling on the first turn. Sterling limped to the pits, while Zvorak continued the race and finished in eighth-place.
The Mini-Sprints were once again dominated by Ken Boeding. The class points leader completed a sweep on the night of his heat and the feature to push his lead over 20 points in the class standings.
First heat -- 1. Josh Mattick, Lyle; 2. Craig Hansen, Ellendale; 3. Korey Ackman, St. Charles. Second heat -- 1. Brad Erickson, Chatfield; 2. Bobby Crews, Austin; 3. Dave Stevens, Albert Lea. Feature -- 1. Mattick; 2. Crews; 3. Stevens; 4. Ackman; 5. Shane Christianson, Elysian; 6. Doug Herrick, West Concord; 7. Troy Wiuff, Owatonna; 8. Hansen; 9. Rod Wehr, Austin; 10. Jason Newkirk, Dexter.
First heat -- 1. Dan Wendt, Spring Valley; 2. Roni Van Riper, Glenville; 3. Tate Bestor, Harmony. Second heat -- 1. Dave Lewison, Adams; 2. Brian Shaw, Brownsdale; 3. Chris Lewison, Rose Creek. Feature -- 1. Wendt; 2. B.Shaw; 3. Jeff Jech, Austin; 4. Van Riper; 5. Randy Bryan, Ames IA; 6. Brian Kiehne, Harmony; 7. Jamey Ulven, Rose Creek; 8. Bestor; 9. Jim Dahle, Hayfield; 10. Jeremy Anderson, Faribault.
First heat -- 1. Jade Anderson, Owatonna; 2. Ryan Weber, Ellendale; 3. Greg Kral, Glenville. Second heat -- 1. Greg Pfeifer Jr, Austin; 2. Pete Wytaske, Lansing; 3. Larry Nelson, Freeborn. Feature -- 1. Anderson; 2. Bryan Hernandez, Blooming Prairie; 3. P.Wytaske; 4. Matt Stark, Austin; 5. Weber; 6. Pfeifer; 7. John Van Willigen, Hollandale; 8. Nelson; 9. Eric Condit, Austin; 10. Ron Skalicky, Claremont.
First heat -- 1. Steve Eischens, Taopi; 2. Wayne Barber, New Richland; 3. Scott Sterling, Faribault. Second heat -- 1. Mark Zvorak, Blooming Prairie; 2. Greg Erickson; 3. Deven Sutter, Lyle. Feature -- 1. Eischens; 2. Barber; 3. Mitch Thompson, New Richland; 4. Tony Shaner, Owatonna; 5. Sutter; 6. Lee Skjerven, Austin; 7. Tom Schwenke; 8. Zvorak; 9. Vern Jenson, Albert Lea; 10. Luke Stevens, Albert Lea.
First heat -- 1. Ken Boeding, New Hampton, IA; 2. Barth Crane, Rochester; 3. Scott Ewart, Rochester. Second heat -- 1. Tom Brown, Wonder Lake Ill.; 2. Randy Kreuger, Rochester; 3. Ryan Payne, Buffalo. Feature -- 1. Boeding; 2. Crane; 3. Brown; 4. Ewart; 5. Kevin Nickle, Vandais Heights; 6. Kreuger; 7. Pat Halsey, Rochester; 8. Pat Quigley, Fredricksburg IA.
First heat -- 1. Dennis Hilson, Blooming Prairie; 2. Bobby Sorenson, Rochester; 3. Denny Barwald, West Concord. Second heat -- 1. Albert Wytaske, Lansing; 2. Bob Fisher, Lyle; 3. Ronnie Ross, Brownsdale. Feature -- 1. Sorenson; 2. Todd Stinehart, Waseca; 3. Jimmy Davis, Janesville; 4. A.Wytaske; 5. Ross; 6. Mike Rumsey, Brownsdale; 7. Barwald; 8. Matt Madsen, Blooming Prairie; 9. Hilson; 10. Dave Wytaske, Mapleview.