posted May 14, 2001 12:43 AM
Grove Creek Opens to Great Racing
by Greg Johnson
GROVE CITY, MN – The 2001 racing season kicked off Saturday night at Grove Creek Raceway. A field of 89 cars took to the smooth surface and put on a good show for the race hungry fans. KLFD radio of Litchfield was the night sponsor.
The action started early as Mark Knacke of Willmar rolled his WISSOTA Street Stock in the heat race. Mark was OK but done for the night. In the feature, heat race winner Kurt Kromschroeder of Big Lake took the early lead until he had to leave the track with problems on lap three. Lonnie Walz, also of Big Lake then took over the top spot with Dennis Nelson of Bradford right behind. Nelson was black flagged late in the race as his hood was coming loose. Steve Eggersgluess of Jordan then moved into the runner-up position but couldn't close the gap on Walz. Gary Pischke of Ramsey was on the move and was battling hard with Brandon Larson of Grove City. In the end it was Walz with the win followed by Eggersgluess and Larson.
The WISSOTA Mod-Fours ran a strong race as Ryan Canon of St. Michael snatched the lead from his outside front row starting spot. Canon was the man to beat as he held a couple car cushion over Steve Johnson of Alexandria. Dustin Zieske of Renville moved up from deep in the pack to wrestle with Johnson, but Steve held him off. Ryan Siegle of Minnetonka was racing hard with Joel Jergenson of Willmar. When Stan Ross waved the double checkers, it was Canon with the win followed by Johnson, Zieske and Siegle.
The WISSOTA Super Stocks had everyone going as it was a hard fought race to the end. Cary Schultz of Grove City started on the pole and led the first two laps, that's when Steve Beach of Long Prairie used an outside line to get by Schultz and move into the lead. Chris Groth of Plymouth had his Mopar powered #11 on the move after winning his heat race and also moved past Schultz on lap 11. Groth then steadily closed in on the leader. With only a couple laps to go, Chris got by Beach for the lead, but Steve wasn't going to give up easily. Beach hung with Groth but couldn't stop the hot shoe from taking the win. Steve had to settle for a very close second. He was followed by **** Boje, the veteran driver out of Ramsey and Scott Thompson of Willmar was fourth. Afterward Groth said, "I didn't think I could win that one, Steve was smooth but I kept my patience and I was determined!" he went on to say, "that was the smoothest track I've ran on all year".
The WISSOTA Modified feature was also a dandy race as Roger Canon of Willmar made a nice move on the start from his inside second row position. Roger took the lead on the start and led until lap six when Jamie Lemke of Hutchinson squeezed by for the lead. Canon stayed close but Lemke didn't make any mistakes and went on for the win. Canon held steady for second and Curly Williams of Sauk Rapids worked his way to third with Shawn Nolan of Annandale finishing in the fourth spot after starting 13th.
There was only one yellow flag in the 21 car Creek Stock feature. Several cars dropped out with mechanical problems of some damage. Dustin Johanneck of Watkins took the initial lead but spun the car around in front of the pack coming out of turn four. This caused a multi-car crash and several cars done as a result including Johanneck. When the race was restarted, Jim Martinson of Cokato took the lead and began to stretch it out a bit over the pack, but moving through traffic was the veteran driver out of Hutchinson, Mike Christensen. Christensen worked past Martinson on lap nine but Martinson stayed with him as the two encountered lapped traffic, Martinson tried a couple of moves, only to have Christensen close the door. Out of turn four, it was close race but Christensen took the win followed by Martinson and third place going to Jerrie Prieve of Dassel. Gary "the gasman" Husman had an impressive drive for fourth.
The new Heartland Sprints had their debut, with a couple cars still being built in this brand new class, "Rocket" Rob Caho of Minnetrista and Chad DeVlaeminick of Gaylord put on an exhibition race. Caho had his car dialed in as he turned some impressive lap times. This should be an exciting class as more drivers look at moving into this affordable open wheel class.