Sorenson leads wire-to-wire to win Guttormson
By Matthew Grage
For the Post-Bulletin
LANSING — Despite a few sprinkles on Friday, it was a perfect evening for the 12th annual Mike Guttormson Memorial Races at Chateau Raceway.
This is the night that remembers the life of the former driver who had multiple track championships at Lansing and was a former WISSOTA 100 Champion.
Guttormson started racing in the early 1970s at Chateau and worked his way up through several classes, before finally settling into the Modified Division over the final years of his life. Guttormson passed away shortly after winning his final feature on the last Friday of May in 1997 (May 30th).
Over his career, Guttormson missed very few shows at his home track. Heading out to Chateau was as he referred to it, "going out to heaven for the night." During the times when Guttormson used to race, you got the feeling he lived for being at the track with his car, his crew, his family, and the fans.
A nice field of cars rolled in for the night’s action with 18 entered for the USRA Modifieds. Mike Sorensen, who had picked up one of the classes three heat wins earlier in the night, drew the pole for the Guttormson Memorial feature event.
On the parade lap, Sorensen fell back into the second row leaving the pole vacant in memory of Guttormson. However, when the field regrouped for the start of the race, he wasted no time in going straight to the point.
Sorensen stayed there all the way to the end as he stretched his lead out to almost a full straight-away in between the few yellows that fell during the race. The final caution set things up for a wild finish. A spinning car with just two laps to go brought out the caution just as a light rain started to fall.
Officials quickly reset the field and turned the cars loose for the two-lap shoot-out. Todd Scharkey, who had run second since lap four, made a run to the inside of Sorensen on the restart. But Sorensen was up to the challenge and left Scharkey in the middle of a six-car swarm for second-place.
In the Pure Stock feature, a total of 19 cars took the green flag, but just 10 of them were around when the checkers fell. With the track full of cars, the field raced through the first nine laps of the main event clean and green. However, three cautions in the final laps made the finish a bit sloppy.
Kevin Vogt and Brandon Shaner were having a good race for second, but they were involved in some of the late cautions and both of them ended up in the pits relegated to disappointing finishes. Kylie Kath started in row three and took advantage of the restart on lap nine to slip by Vogt. Kath was able to stay out ahead of the carnage over the final laps to score his first feature win of the season and put together a sweep on the night after also claiming a heat win.
The broom also came out in the Street Stock class as Dan Holland put together a pair of wins taking his heat and the feature for the class. After working out of row two to take the lead on lap three of his heat, Holland started on the pole for the feature and led flag-to-flag in the caution-free main event.
Super Stocks have been struggling in their cars counts and had just nine cars on hand for the night’s program. Cole Queensland took advantage of a pair of front row starting spots to run away with a pair of wins.
Bryan Hernandez has been close a couple of times this year to scoring a feature win in the Midwest Modifieds and he was finally able to seal the deal. Hernandez lined up second row outside and after Bobby Kilby, who started just in front of him, slid up into the wall on the initial start he inherited a front row spot for the restart.
There were three cautions before a lap was completed making for a slow start to the race. When the green finally was able to get out there, Beau Lammers grabbed the early lead with Hernandez falling in line second. On lap four, Hernandez found his line all the way down to the bottom of the track, then pulled alongside Lammers and took over the lead.
The Hornets had a pair of familiar faces in victory lane. In the Junior Division, Michael Wytaske completed his fifth sweep in six weeks of racing action with wins in both his heat and the feature.
It was announced at the end of the night that Michael Wytaske will be asked to move up to the Senior Division next week to try and make the Juniors a more competitive division. In the Senior Hornets class, things have been just about as one-sided with Mike Blowers scoring his fifth feature win in six weeks of racing to match the five heat wins he has as well.
Another big night of racing action is set for Friday at Chateau Raceway with the Northern Vintage Race Car Drivers joining the show for the night.