Gopher 50: Simpson has career night, sets track record

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Eric Wells of Hazard, Ky., gets ready to race in the World of Outlaws Late Model race on Saturday at Deer Creek Speedway in Spring Valley.

Chris Simpson has had some big nights at Deer Creek Speedway.

The driver from Oxford, Iowa, has won Wissota Challenge Series and Corn Belt Clash Late Models Series races at the track.

But his third-place finish on Saturday has likely become his favorite memory of racing at Deer Creek. It came against some of the best drivers in the country, as the World of Outlaws Late Model Series made its annual stop at the track for the 34th annual Gopher 50.

Simpson started the night by setting a track record for fastest lap during time trials. He was in the second three-car group to take the track and he turned a lap of 14.097 seconds. That topped the previous mark of 14.130 seconds, set by former WoO driver Steve Francis on July 8, 2009.

Simpson backed up his track-record pace in time trials by winning his second-ever WoO heat race.


Then he started on the outside pole and led the first 10 laps of the Gopher 50 before eventual winner Darrell Lanigan shot past him. WoO series points leader Josh Richards finished second, followed by Simpson.

"To come out, set the track record, win my heat and finish in the top five, I'm very happy," Simpson said. "This is the best I've ever done against the Outlaws guys."

Davis dominates Mods feature

Brandon Davis turned the USRA Modifieds feature into a battle for second place. The driver from Medford started on the pole and bolted out to a big lead early.

He built a full-straightaway lead over his closest challengers by the halfway point of the race and breezed to his second consecutive Gopher 50 Modifieds victory.

Mike Sorensen finished second and Rodney Sanders placed third.

Davis earned $3,700 for the victory, including sponsor bonuses.

Wells back after wreck


Outlaws' Rookie of the Year points leader Eric Wells returned to action over the weekend after he was in a scary-looking crash during the Firecracker 100 on June 29 at Lernerville Speedway in Sarver, Pa.

The 25-year-old Wells, from Hazard, Ky., crashed out of the prestigious Firecracker with just six laps to go. He slid into the thick cushion on the high side of Turn 3 and dug into some mud, which caused his car to flip through the air before settling over the outside berm near the grandstand by Turn 4.

"I just closed my eyes and rode it out," said Wells, who had never flipped before during his 10-year racing career. "When I stopped I just opened my eyes and was like, 'I think I'm OK.'"

Wells escaped the accident with only a sore left arm and a bruise on the inside of his left thigh. X-rays were negative on his arm.

Wells' car, a Team Zero by Bloomquist chassis, survived the crash with no frame damage.

Wells entered Saturday's Gopher 50 in seventh place in the Outlaws points standings. He has one victory and five top-five finishes through 26 races this season.

T-Mac gets son a b-day present

Tim McCreadie won the Gopher 50 in 2010, just two days after the birth of his son, Gavin. A year later, in an interview with the Post-Bulletin, McCreadie called it one of the most emotional victories of his racing career.


Friday, McCreadie scored another emotional win, and another birthday present for his now-3-year-old son.

McCreadie grabbed the lead on lap 15 during the World of Outlaws race at Amsoil Speedway in Superior, Wis., and led the rest of the way. He can buy plenty of nice presents for Gavin after picking up a check for $10,650.

Gavin is home with his mother, Karen, during the Outlaws' Wild West Tour.

"This one's for you, Gavin," McCreadie said from Victory Lane on Friday. "It's cool to win on his birthday. I wish they could be here with me, but when I get home we'll have (Gavin's birthday) party next weekend."



Time trials—1. Chris Simpson (Oxford, Iowa) 14.097;2. Darrell Lanigan (Union, Ky.) 14.141;3. Tim McCreadie (Watertown, N.Y.) 14.217;4. Clint Smith (Senoia, Ga.) 14.226; 5. Josh Richards (Shinnston, W.Va.) 14.242; 6. Brian Birkhofer (Muscatine, Iowa) 14.244;7. Eric Wells (Hazard, Ky.) 14.262;8. Scott Bloomquist (Mooresburg, Tenn.) 14.271;9. Rick Eckert (York, Pa.) 14.361;10. Shane Clanton (Fayetteville, Ga.) 14.373;

11. Morgan Bagley (Longview, Texas) 14.376;12. Jake Redetzke (Eau Claire, Wis.) 14.393; 13. Tim Fuller (Watertown, N.Y.) 14.405;14. Bub McCool (Vicksburg, Miss.) 14.497;15. Brady Smith (Solon Springs, Wis.) 14.527;16. Chub Frank (Bear Lake, Pa.) 14.530;17. Lance Matthees (Winona) 14.567; 18. Pat Doar (New Richmond, Wis.) 14.567; 19. Rick Wendling (Hazleton, Iowa) 14.608;20. John Winge (Sioux Falls, S.D.) 14.744;


21. Charlie McKenna (Clear Lake, Iowa) 14.746;22. Tim Isenberg (Marshfield, Wis.) 14.755;23. John Mason (Millersburg, Ohio) 14.764;24. Jordan Yaggy (Rochester) 14.785;25. Jeff Provinzino (Hibbing) 14.821; 26. Joe Ludemann (Grand Meadow) 15.032; 27. Jimmy Mars (Menomonie, Wis.) 15.108;28. Robby Bunkelman (Abbotsford, Wis.) 15.224;29. Jerry Bloom (Grand Meadow) 15.429;30. Justin Sass (Alma, Wis.) 15.435;

31. Nick Herrick (West Concord) 15.555; 32. Dennis Hillson (Blooming Prairie) 15.913; 33. Nick Kramer (Pine Island) 16.868.

Heat 1— 1. Simpson, 2. McCreadie, 3. Bloomquist, 4. Birkhofer, 5. Frank, 6. Wendeling, 7. Bunkelman, 8. McKenna, 9. Sass. Heat 2— 1. Lanigan, 2. Wells, 3. Redetzke, 4. Matthees, 5. Winge, 6. Bloom, 7. Ludemann, 8. C. Smith. Heat 3— 1. Clanton, 2. Richards, 3. B. Smith, 4. Yaggy, 5. Mars, 6. Fuller, 7. Isenberg, 8. Hillson. Heat 4— 1. Bagley, 2. Eckert, 3. Doar, 4. Provinzino, 5. McCool, 6. Mason, 7. Herrick, 8. Kramer.

B Main 1 (top 3 advance)— 1. Frank, 2. Wendling, 3. Winge, 4. Bloom, 5. Ludemann, 6. C. Smith, 7. Bunkelman, 8. Sass, 9. McKenna.

B Main 2 (top 3 advance)— 1. Mars, 2. Fuller, 3. McCool, 4. Isenberg, 5. Herrick, 6. Mason, 7. Hillson, 8. Kramer.

Gopher 50— 1. Lanigan, 2. Richards, 3. Simpson, 4. Wells, 5. Clanton, 6. Eckert, 7. Fuller, 8. McCreadie, 9. Bagley, 10. Mars, 11. Frank, 12. Birkhofer, 13. Redetzke, 14. McCool, 15. C. Smith, 16. Mason, 17. Bloomquist, 18. Matthees, 19. B. Smith, 20. Doar, 21. Wendling, 22. Provinzino, 23. Yaggy, 24. Sass, 25. Winge.

Lap leaders— Simpson 1-10, Lanigan 11-50.



Heat 1— 1. Josh Angst (Winona), 2. Jason Krohn (Slayton), 3. Lucas Schott (Chatfield), 4. Joey Jensen (Forest Lake), 5. Tommy Myer (Blooming Prairie), 6. Jason Cummins (New Richland), 7. Tom Brink (Winona), 8. Eric Pember (Pittsville, Wis.), 9. Steve Wetzstein (West Concord). Heat 2— 1. Kelly Shryock (Fertile, Iowa), 2. Jake Timm (Winona), 3. Rodney Sanders (Happy, Texas), 4. Bruce Hanford (Dau, Iowa), 5. Dwaine Hanson (Lakefield), 6. Nate Wasmund (Rochester), 7. Jay Ihrke (Dover), 8. Corey Dripps (Waterloo, Iowa), 9. Tim Donlinger (Rochester). Heat 3— 1. Jason Schlangen (Cresco, Iowa); 2. Mike Sorensen (Rochester); 3. Brandon Davis (Medford); 4. Joe Horgdal (Kasson); 5. Doug Hillson (Blooming Prairie); 6. Pat Grahm (Ames, Iowa); 7. Keith Foss (Winona); 8. Mike Steensma (Luverne). Heat 4— 1. Joel Alberts (Mantorville), 2. Craig Thatcher (Knapp, Wis.), 3. Brad Diercks (Clarence, Iowa), 4. Dan Bohr (Decorah, Iowa), 5. Darwyn Karau (Kasson), 6. Ron Jones (Princeton), 7. Greg Jensen (Albert Lea), 8. Don Gerritsen (Rock Rapids, Iowa).

B Main (top 6 advance to 'A')— 1. Cummins, 2. Wasmund, 3. Ihrke, 4. Pember, 5. Wetzstein, 6. Foss, 7. Brink, 8. Grahm, 9. Donlinger, 10. Gerritsen,11. Jensen, 12. Steensma, 13. Dripps, 14. Jones.

A Main (30 laps)— 1. Davis, 2. Sorensen, 3. Sanders, 4. Thatcher, 5. Jensen, 6. Schott, 7. Shryock, 8. Dierks, 9. Wasmund, 10. Timm, 11. Bohr, 12. Foss, 13. Wetzstein, 14. Pember, 15. Myer, 16. Karau, 17. Schlangen, 18. Horgdal, 19. Alberts, 20. Ihrke, 21. Hillson, 22. Hanson, 23. Angst, 24. Cummins, 25. Krohn, 26. Hanford.

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