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Labor Day weekend kicks off Fall Specials

By Matthew Grage

Post-Bulletin, Rochester MN

LANSING — Labor Day weekend stock car racing traditionally kicks off the start of the Fall Specials at Chateau Raceway.

Such was the case with Friday night’s third annual "Cedar River Races" which featured the top eight on the "USMTS Hunt for the Championship."

Joining the United States Modified Touring Series cars, which featured several local drivers, the track also featured three other classes with the Pure Stocks, Street Stocks, and Midwest Modifieds.

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The USMTS drivers led the way with a nice field of 37 cars on hand to run a five heat, two consy set of preliminaries to set up a 40-lap main event. From the drop of the green flag in the first heat, right through to the checkered flag in the feature, the field put on some of the most exciting racing of the season.

With the 24-car field lined up for the feature according to passing points and their finishes in the consys, the top eight drivers had to step forward to redraw for their starting spots in the first four rows. After the first six pulled their starting spots, then the final two numbers left to be pulled were one and eight. Tim Donlinger and Kelly Shryock were the two left to draw.

One would start on the pole and the other back outside of row four. Donlinger drew first and pulled number eight leaving Shryock to start on the pole for the $2,000 to win main event. For Donlinger, its been an interesting year at Lansing, in five previous stops at the track this season he had finished second in the feature each time.

As the field lined up, it was Brandon Kenny who would start outside of Shryock. The two brought the field to the green and it was Kenny off the outside who took the early advantage with Shryock falling in line second ahead of Zach VanderBeek, Jon Tesch, Mark Noble, and Todd Scharkey.

Donlinger’s tough draw got worse as he was forced up high on the first lap and fell completely out of the top 10 cars. Up front the leaders were picking their lines. Kenny went to the top while Shrike worked down low and the two spent several laps dueling side-by-side. Schryock led lap 11 in one of those battles, but Kenny went back to the point one lap later.

Behind those two Tesch moved ahead of VanderBeek for third and closed up on the top two to make it a three-way race. The caution flag came out on lap 19 when Noble had mechanical problems and his car stalled at the top of turn four. Off the restart, Shryock dug down low again on Kenny and finally on lap 21 he got a gun run off the bottom of turn two and took over the lead.

The third and final caution of the race came out on lap 32 when a slow car was unable to clear the track. Schryock got a good jump on the restart and the trio behind him fanned out three-wide to duel for second. Kenny was eventually shuffled back to fourth with Donlinger getting by Steve Wetzstein for second.

With just seven laps remaining and Shryock off to a nice lead, it looked like it would be six visits and six second-place finishes for Donlinger this season at Lansing. But in just three laps, Donlinger pulled up on Schryock and they were side-by-side finishing the 36th lap.

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It was lining up for a fantastic finish. The two were still running side-by-side as they crossed the line with two laps to go, but as they headed around for the white flag, Donlinger got some good bite and pulled to the front. Donlinger finally got that first feature win of 2008 at Chateau and it came in one of the biggest races of the season.

In the Midwest Modified class, Kenny Wytaske put together a couple of nice runs as he took his heat and the feature for the sweep. For both races he had the benefit of starting on the front row. The set of races ran caution free as Wytaske was able run and hide in leaving the field to duke it out over second-place. It was his third feature win of the season.

AJ Zvorak picked up his sixth feature win of the year as he led flag-to-flag in a very short field for the Street Stock class. Just six cars showed up for the race with Jesse Stahl finishing second in the feature after picking up the classes lone heat win.

Pure Stocks had a field of 12 cars on hand with Billy Steinberg scoring his fourth feature win of the year. He also picked up a heat win giving him a sweep for the first time this season as well. The other heat winner was Wayne Nelson.

The Fall Specials continue on Friday and Saturday at Lansing with the second annual "Buzz Festival." Full shows both nights with the tracks full complement of six classes on hand. It will also host a pair of specials on the last weekend of this month.

CHATEAU RACEWAY

(Late Friday)

Pure Stock

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Feature — 1. Billy Steinberg-Kasson, 2. Tyler Peterson-Hollandale, 3. Stacy Krohnberg-Walters, 4. Brandon Shaner-Owatonna, 5. Brady Krohnberg-Walters, 6. Sammie Fromm-Owatonna, 7. Wayne Nelson-Freeborn, 8. Samantha Stark-Austin, 9. Keith Weber-Austin, 10. James Connors-Waseca. Heat 1 — 1. Nelson, 2. Fromm, 3. B.Krohnberg. Heat 2 — 1. Steinberg, 2. Peterson, 3. Kevin Vogt-Rose Creek.

Street Stock

Feature — 1. AJ Zvorak-Blooming Prairie, 2. Jesse Stahl-Austin, 3. Nathan Schumacher-Blooming Prairie, 4. Jason Barber-New Richland, 5. Matt Paczkowski-Hollandale, 6. Mike Kohn-Hollandale. Heat — 1. Stahl, 2. Zvorak, 3. Schumacher.

Midwest Modified

Feature — 1. Kenny Wytaske-Lansing, 2. AJ Wiste-Adams, 3. Dustin Steinbrink-Austin, 4. Albert Wytaske-Lansing, 5. Greg Pfeifer Jr.-Austin, 6. Brandon Davis-Medford, 7. Bryan Hernandez-Blooming Prairie, 8. Joel Alberts-Mantorville, 9. Jim Arnold-Dodge Center, 10. Joe Horgdahl-Kasson. Heat 1 — 1. Davis, 2. Steinbrink, 3. Pfeifer. Heat 2 — 1. K.Wytaske, 2. A.Wytaske, 3. Wiste.

USMTS Modified

Feature — 1. Tim Donlinger-Rochester, 2. Kelly Shryock-Fertile Iowa, 3. Steve Wetzstein-West Concord, 4. Jon Tesch-Watertown SD, 5. Brandon Kenny-Woodward OK, 6. Zach VanderBeek-New Sharon, Iowa, 7. Jacob Dahle-Morristown, 8. Todd Scharkey-Kasson, 9. Tommy Weder Jr.-Woodward OK, 10. Ryan Gustin-Marshalltown Iowa. Consy 1 — 1. Mike Sorensen-Rochester, 2. Dereck Ramirez-Woodward OK, 3. Ron Ver Beek-Oskaloosa IA, 4. Al Hejna-Clear Lake, Iowa, 5. Bryan Rowland-Woodward OK. Consy 2 — 1. Ry Gustin, 2. Weder Jr., 3. Jake Neal-Omaha Neb., 4. Les Duellman-Winona, 5. Doug Hillson-Blooming Prairie. Heat 1 — 1. VanderBeek, 2. Joe Wernecke-Dodge Center, 3. Dahle. Heat 2 — 1. Scharkey, 2. Tesch, 3. Richie Gustin Jr-Gilman, Iowa. Heat 3 — 1. Scott Green-Derby, Kan., 2. Wetzstein, 3. Duellman. Heat 4 — 1. Mark Noble-Blooming Prairie, 2. Schryock, 3. Ramirez. Heat 5 — 1. Kenny, 2. Donlinger, 3. Sorensen.

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