Donlinger delivers at Deer Creek

SPRING VALLEY — Only three drivers have captured a national points championship in the 11-year history of the United States Modified Touring Series.

For the first time this season, all three were in a USMTS A Main on Saturday night, at Deer Creek Speedway. And, after 40 laps, Tim Donlinger, Jason Krohn and Kelly Shryock were the three to pull their cars into Victory Lane, with Donlinger — the 2008 USMTS national champion — taking home $2,400 as the winner of the Southern Minnesota Spring Challenge.

Donlinger took an unusual path to victory, running the low side of the track.

"The car's coming around really good," Donlinger said. "I didn't know where everyone else was running, but (the low side) is where my car worked best and I figured (Krohn) was staying up top."

Krohn, who won the national title in 2007, was the runner-up on Saturday after leading 13 of the final 20 laps. Shryock, the nine-time national champion and defending national champ, placed third.


While Donlinger, Krohn and Shryock took the top three spots, two other drivers could make a strong case for having the fastest cars of the night — Ryan Ruter and Zack VanderBeek.

Ruter, of Kanawha, Iowa, won his heat race and was blistering the field in the A Main when his car broke down on the front stretch at exactly the halfway point.

"We'll take (the second-place finish), but it's really too bad," Krohn said. "Ryan Ruter was really, really fast. He was the class of the field."

VanderBeek could make a similar argument. The driver of the No. 33z Victory Junction Gang Camp car started 25th in the 26-car field after earning the final transfer spot out of a B Main. He rocketed through the field, moving into the top five with six laps to go. VanderBeek finished fourth.

Ryan Gustin, the 19-year-old up-and-comer from Marshalltown, Iowa, also had a strong run. He started 15th and finished fifth.

• AJ Zvorak's stellar weekend continued Saturday. The Street Stock driver from Blooming Prairie won a feature for the second time in three nights. He won at Willmar on Thursday and placed second at Chateau Raceway on Friday.

"This is just awesome," he said. "The car worked great. It's been a magical weekend, you could say."

• Another Blooming Prairie driver, Bryan Hernandez, captured a feature win in the Midwest Modifieds class. Hernandez started eighth and took the lead from Stewartville's Cody Gardner with six laps remaining.


• Cole Queensland of Grand Meadow won the Super Stocks A Main, leading 17 of the 20 laps. He held off Rochester's Jeff Brauer on a restart after a lap-eight caution and led the rest of the way.


Doug Hillson has been a steady fixture on the USMTS Tour with more than 100 career starts during the series' 11-year history.

Hillson’s white and orange No. 72 home-made chassis is a familiar fixture on the race track. But Friday night the 53-year-old from Blooming Prairie ventured into unfamiliar territory: Victory Lane.

Hillson gained the advantage entering the first corner and muscled his way past pole-sitter Jason Cummins to lead lap 1. It proved to be the only pass Hillson had to make as he led the final 39 laps and crossed beneath the checkered flags in front of a packed house of racing fans standing and cheering on their local favorite. The win was worth $2,000.

"I wasn’t sure what that line would be like going in the first time, so I took it kind of easy and Jason was able to get a run on me," Hillson said. "When the caution came out, I said ‘Man, this ain’t gonna happen again’ and I was able to make it stick in the turn."




A Main (40 laps) — Tim Donlinger, Jason Krohn, Kelly Shryock, Zack VanderBeek, Ryan Gustin, Nate Wasmund, Mike Sorensen, Jason Cummins, Ryan Ruter, Tommy Myer, Mark Dotson, Colt Mather, Jacob Dahle, Corey Dripps, Steve Holzkamper, Jon Tesch, Bumper Jones, Lucas Schott, Rodney Sanders, Matt Dotson, Tommy Weder Jr., Bobby Swanson, Josh Angst, Bob Timm,

Jay Ihrke, Steve Wetzstein.

Heat winners— Donlinger, Ruter, Mather, Mark Dotson, Wasmund, Sanders.

B Main 1 (Top 6 transfer to 'A')— Gustin, Myer, Timm, Tesch, Wetzstein, VanderBeek, Nick Deal, Dereck Ramirez, Tom Paulson, Al Hejna, Josh Reisch, Tim Thomas, Greg Jensen, Dan Bohr, Mike Albertsen, Jay Poidinger, Mike Hansen, Brandon Davis, Tom Brink, Darrell Nelson.

B Main 2 (Top 6 transfer to 'A')— Weder Jr., Angst, Dripps, Swanson, Jones, Schott, Joel Alberts, Mike Steensma, Johnny Scott, Doug Hillson, Pat Graham, Chris Gilbertson, Chase Junghans, Jeff Schluetter, Mike Weidemann, Andy Bohnstengel, James Parker, Ryan Schaffer, Jeff Larson.


Feature — Bryan Hernandez, Cody Gardner, Dustin Scott, Greg Pfeifer Jr., Jerry Young, Jason Born, Brandon Davis, Jared Happel, Leigh Volkman, Tyron Friese, Patrick McCarthy Jr., Shawn Olson, Travis Krause, Rick Toutges, Jayme Hiller, Mike Hernke, Shaun Walski, Ric Fynbo, Jared Boumeester, Dominic Bjerke, Beau Lammers.

Heat winners— Walski, Pfeifer Jr., Happel.



Feature — AJ Zvorak, Troy Voth, Donny Ganz, Fred Prudoehl, Mike Blowers, Karl Hewitt Jr., Kory Adams, Tyler Peterson, Brent Holland, Briana Grinstead, Kevin Vogt, Cory Asmussen, James Weber, Danny Hanson, Dan Holland, Shaun Mann.

Heat winners— Ganz, Zvorak.


Feature — Cole Queensland, Jeff Brauer, Kevin Hager, Chad Halstrom, Tony Bloom, Dave Solum, Shaun Wehlage, Ryan Siegle, Ross DIxon.

Heat winner— Dixon.

What To Read Next
Get Local