posted June 25, 2001 09:47 AM
Nieland Nabs Mod Main While Kerzman Cruises to a Mod-Four Win at Grove Creek
by Greg Johnson
GROVE CITY, MN -- The first race without lights at Grove Creek attracted 91 cars and a good grandstand after Mother Nature did her damage almost two weeks ago. What would be considered a perfect summer day with clear skies, warm temps and a south wind, made track prep a challenge to say the least for the track prep crew. The stiff southern wind was the worst as it continued to dry the track and was blowing directly into the grandstand. There would be a few "racing tans" before the night was out but everyone hung in there to the end to watch the competition. It was sponsored by Swan's Café of Litchfield.
The WISSOTA Modifieds rolled onto the track with Terry Hanson of Elk River in the pole position. Hanson would take the initial lead until a yellow flag for a spinout would regroup the field. On the restart, Chad Nieland of Spicer made a great move from his inside second row starting spot and shot by Roger Canon of Willmar and Hanson. Nieland found a spot in the low groove that worked for him and pulled out about a five-car lead. Roger Canon moved into second a couple laps later and would slowly close on the speedy Nieland. With the track in a dry slick state, good traction was hard to come by. Several drivers moved up to the high side but couldn't get enough bite to make a serious challenge. Robert Fenske of Monticello moved into third and was right on the bumper of Canon but couldn't get by. In the end, Chad Nieland was able to record his first WISSOTA Modified feature win. Canon finished second with Fenske third.
Jeremy Kerzman of Grey Eagle made his first appearance of the year at Grove Creek. He also let everyone know that he is the man to beat in the WISSOTA Mod-Fours. Kerzman, who has a couple of WISSOTA 100 victories to his credit, started in the 12th position and sliced through traffic with ease as he picked up the lead position from Matt Halls of New London on lap four. Kerzman then pulled away from the field to notch the win. The race was for second as Ryan Canon of St. Michael, Steve Johnson of Alexandria and Dustin Zieske of Renville all wrestled for position. Johnson moved past Canon on lap seven and held his position for the runner-up finish while Canon ended up third and Zieske fourth.
The WISSOTA Super Stocks had a repeat winner as Chris Groth powered his way to victory lane. Groth started 8th and by the second lap was at the point. Scott Thompson of Willmar moved up to second and was trying to track down Groth when Don Eischens of Cold Spring got by at about mid race. Eischens had started dead last and had the dry slick set-up working as he continued to close in on the leader. With a couple laps to go, Eischens was literally knocking on Groth's back bumper. Groth held the line and took the win with Eischens right there for second and Thompson third.
Brandon Larson of Grove City put his 22L out front in the WISSOTA Street Stock feature with Shane Smetana of Cold Spring in second. Smetana would move into the lead a lap later but Jon Yilek of Sauk Rapids was hooked up and would take over the front position on lap six. Scott Paulson of Kimball was also on the move and was in second. Yilek was in the fast lane and would hold off the "Maine Prairie Missile" to take the win with Paulson second and Smetana third.
"Rocket" Rob Caho nailed down another win in the new Heartland Sprint car division. Caho had the #78 working as he powered around the raceway. Robbie Caho, Rob's son, was also in a car and finished second and new driver, Brandon Geldner of Mankato took third. The Heartland Sprints are a new economical sprint car class and are giving drivers an opportunity to go open wheel racing at an affordable price. For info on the class go to ww.grovecreek.com or contact Greg Johnson at Grove Creek Raceway
The Creek Stock feature was exciting as several cars were swapping positions and a little paint too! Ryan Buer of Atwater was the leader at the wave of the green. Buer led until lap four when Jason Huber, driving Jill Buranen's car, took the lead. Huber saw his lead diminish as Travis Forcier of Silver Lake and Dustin Johanneck of Watkins both closed in. The last two laps had the leaders two and three wide battling for the top spot. As the leaders entered turn three, Forcier came in hard on the bottom and Huber moved down from the top and the two made contact sending both spinning into the infield. Johanneck avoided the melee and raced to the checkers to make it two in a row. Mike Christensen of Hutchinson finished second with Dave Henderson of Monticello rounding out the top three.