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Big money on the line in coming weeks

Points champions have been determined at area auto racing tracks, which means the 2011 season is winding down, but it also means some big money will be on the line over the next three weekends.

Close to $40,000 total will be paid out to winners of six races at Mississippi Thunder Speedway and Deer Creek Speedway over the next.

The big-money shows begin tonight when the second annual USRA Modified Nationals begin at Mississippi Thunder, in Fountain City, Wis.

Some of the top USRA Modified and USRA B-Modified drivers in the country will be on hand for a $1,000-to-win A Main tonight for the Modifieds, followed by a $10,000-to-win A Main on Saturday. The B-Mods will race for $500 tonight and $1,000 on Saturday.

A year ago, Rodney Sanders of Happy, Texas, topped a star-studded field to earn $12,000 for winning the inaugural USRA Modified Nationals A Main at MTS. Other drivers who finished in the top 10 a year ago and will likely be back this weekend include Jon Tesch, Ryan Gustin and Zack VanderBeek, and talented local drivers Tim Donlinger, Jay Ihrke, Nate Wasmund, Brad Waits and Lucas Schott.

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The United States Modified Touring Series is taking a break this weekend from its Hunt for the National Championship series, so many of the top drivers from that series are expected to be in attendance.

Also in attendance will be NASCAR racer Kenny Schrader. The 56-year-old from Concord, N.C., has four career victories in the Sprint Cup Series (one in 1988, one in 1989 and two in 1991), as well as 64 top-five finishes.

Schrader will race his Modified both nights of the nationals and each night he will give one fan a ride around the track at MTS in a two-seat Modified. A drawing will be held each night to determine the winning fan.

Winona's Erik Kanz is the defending USRA B-Modified champion.

Deer Creek gearing up for two big weeks

After taking this weekend off, Deer Creek Speedway will play host to two of the biggest events to come to the area this summer.

On Sept. 17, the World of Outlaws Sprint Cars series will return for the third annual Clash at the Creek. Attendance records at the track near Spring Valley have been set each of the past two years when the Outlaws have come, drawing about 5,500 people to the 3/8-mile track.

The winner of that night's race will pocket $10,000. Veteran WoO driver Joey Saldana, who has won both WoO Sprint Car races held at the track, will likely not be back to chase a third consecutive victory. Saldana was badly injured in mid-July when he was involved in a multiple-car wreck at the Kings Royal at Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio. He was transported to a hospital in Indianapolis, where he underwent surgery after suffering a broken arm, injured ribs and a collapsed lung.

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Just four days after the Outlaws leave town, the top Modified drivers in the country will converge on Deer Creek for the season-ending USMTS Fall Jamboree. The USMTS national champion will be crowned at the end of the three-day event.

Three separate shows will be held, Sept. 22-24, with the winner's purse increasing each night, from $3,000, to $4,000 and to $6,000 on Sept. 24.

Wissota Midwest Modifieds will also race each night, with the winner on Sept. 24 earning $500.

Border Wars at Chateau

Chateau Raceway in Lansing won't go without a late-season special event of its own.

The track will again play host to the Border Wars, as drivers from across Minnesota, Iowa and Wisconsin, will battle for bragging rights. B-Modifieds from three sanctions — Wissota, IMCA and USRA — will compete.

The winner of the 30-lap A Main will earn $1,000, and drivers who make the A Main are guaranteed at least $100.

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