posted July 16, 2001 06:46 AM
Nolan Nails Modified Main While Eischens Ices First Grove Creek Super Win of the Year
by Greg Johnson
GROVE CITY, MN – It was another hot late afternoon last Saturday when the gates opened at Grove Creek Raceway for what should be the last early start of the year. The new lightning is scheduled to be up before the next race on July 28th. Whitcomb Bros Crane Service of Atwater sponsored the race night. It was Media Night and Mid-Season Champions were crowned in six divisions.
The sharp looking Mid-Season Championship trophies were sponsored by Eagle Motorsports of Long Prairie and were presented to the following: Jamie Lemke in the WISSOTA Modifieds, Chris Groth in the WISSOTA Super Stocks, Dustin Zieske in the WISSOTA Mod-Fours and Scott Paulson in the WISSOTA Street Stocks. "Rocket" Rob Caho took the honors in the new Heartland Sprints and Mike Christensen in the Creek Stocks.
In the WISSOTA Modified Feature, heat race winner Roger Canon of Willmar bolted to the early lead with an attempt at a clean sweep, but Shawn Nolan of Annandale had other plans. Nolan chased Canon for the first six laps, then it was role reversal time as Nolan got past for the lead and Canon would chase Nolan all the way to the checkers. Brian Nelson of Spicer and Jamie Lemke of Hutchinson raced for third with Nelson the victor and Lemke fourth. Nolan was happy to finally land his #79 in the Grove Creek victory circle.
Another driver looking to bring out the broom for a clean sweep was Don Eischens of Cold Spring. Eischens got the job done by winning his WISSOTA Super Stock heat but had to get past Steve Beach of Long Prairie in his Eagle Motorsports #28 to win the feature. Beach moved right to the front in the event and was working the low line. Eischens quickly moved in on the leader and stayed glued to his bumper. Beach ran a strong line but it would only take a small bobble coming out of turn four on the ninth lap to give Eischens the opportunity he was waiting for. Eischens eeked by on the inside and stayed out front to complete the sweep. Chris Groth of Plymouth fought it out with Willmar's Scott Thompson for the third spot. Once in third, Groth began to pressure Beach for the runner-up position. Beach held on to take second with Groth third and Thompson fourth.
The WISSOTA Street Stock feature was a literal battle and everyone seemed to be racing harder than normal. Mark Voigt of St. Cloud took the initial lead with Tim Juven of Delano in second. A lap two yellow flag was thrown as several cars got together coming out of turn four. Scott Paulson of Kimball got spun sideways and Don Barber of New London and Shane Smetana of Cold Spring had nowhere to go and shoved the #33 car of Paulson into the infield. It took a while to separate Paulson and Barber as the two cars were stuck together. Once separated, both were able to continue. Chad Walz of Big Lake took the lead on lap three and it wasn't long before he would have to contend with the "Maine Prairie Missile". Paulson seemed unscathed from his early incident and started to put the heat on Walz. Paulson shot by on lap eight but Walz wouldn't let him out of his sights. The raced hard lap after lap and exited turn four for the checkers, side-by-side. At the line, it was Paulson by about three feet. Walz settled for second and Voigt third.
Bryce Bjerke of Argusville N.D., appeared to have the WISSOTA Mod-Four feature under wraps until his motor expired on lap thirteen. Bjerke had built a straight-away lead on the #73 car of Steve Johnson from Alexandria. Johnson inherited the lead on the restart and was able to hold on for the win. Ryan Canon of St. Michael was right behind him, as was Dustin Zieske of Renville. Canon finished in the runner-up spot with Zieske third and Ryan Gilbertson of Ada fourth.
The Creek Stock feature had the resemblance of a demo derby, as everyone seemed to want to put their car where someone else's car already was! Several cars DNF'd early on in the race. Jason Huber of Paynesville led the first four laps of the feature until mechanical problems forced him into the pits. Tony Herker of Dassel powered his way to the lead and was able to avoid the mayhem in the rest of the field. Herker was able to pick up a feature win with Dustin Johanneck of Watkins second and Greg Forcier of Buffalo Lake third
Brandon Geldner was able to record a clean sweep in the Heartland Sprint cars. The rookie driver was all smiles as he accepted his first ever feature winner's trophy. Geldner was able to keep his sprinter a couple of car lengths ahead of Robbie Caho of St. Boni in both the heat and the feature. Rob Caho of Minnetrista was third.
The next race at the oval track will be on July 28th as the drag strip is running a special event on Saturday the 21st. The next show should be at the regular 7:00 start time as the new lights should be up and ready to go.