Local auto racing: Veteran driver Lusk wins his first UMSS feature race
SPRING VALLEY — Derrik Lusk came close to capturing his first-ever Upper Midwest Sprint Car Series feature race earlier this season.
Lusk finished as the runner-up in the UMSS' season-opener at Cedar Lake Speedway in New Richmond, Wis., on May 7.
Luck wasn't on his side that night, but it certainly was on Saturday at Deer Creek Speedway.
Lusk survived a 25-lap feature race that was halted four times by caution flags, including a 20-minute red-flag delay just seven laps in, to win a UMSS feature for the first time in his career.
"That race gave new meaning to pounding the concrete," said Lusk, a veteran driver from Jackson, Minn. "The cushion was right up against the wall."
Lusk used that high side of the track to lead the final 18 laps after previous leader Tony Norem left the race after a scary crash on lap 7. Norem had entered lapped traffic, got tangled up with a lapped car on the backstretch and rolled over the wall in Turn 3, crashing into the billboards below the scorebard.
Norem was not injured in the crash, though his car came to rest on its rear wheels, with its front wheels pointing straight up in the air.
"It was unfortunate for him," Lusk said. "We have to be careful in those lapped cars. Fortunately we made it work tonight and hopefully we can keep it going and have a good season."
The UMSS Sprint Cars highlighted Pink Night at the track, as money was raised throughout the night for Join The Journey, an organization founded in Rochester 10 years ago to help raise awareness of breast cancer and help provide support to people battling breast cancer.
The winner of each feature race on Saturday was challenged to do as many pushups as he could in Victory Lane. Twenty-one fans agreed to donate $1 for each pushup performed by a feature winner. Lusk did 20, then gave a fist pump to celebrate his first UMSS victory.
Other feature winners Saturday included Neil Eckhart of Rochester (Wissota Super Stocks), Danny Richards of Mondovi, Wis. (Wissota Street Stocks), Jared Boumeester of Waseca (Wissota Midwest Modifieds) and Cole Queensland of Grand Meadow (USRA B-Modifieds).
Heavy rain hit the speedway five laps into the USRA Modifieds A Main. The race was stopped and will be made up during this Saturday's show.