By Greg Anderson
Hibbing, MN- After a ten year hiatus from the Hibbing Raceway, the NLRA Late Model touring series returned to action for the Mike Baumgardner Memorial presented by Beltline Body Shop, JM Auto, ArcelorMittal, and Dominos Pizza. Baumgardner was a major Hibbing Raceway supporter and race teams showed up in full force to honor Baumgardner and compete for additional prize monies for the occasion. 107 race teams from multiple states and Canadian Provinces showed up for battle and at the end, three stood tallest.
After preliminary events concluded, the WISSOTA Midwest Modifieds were first to the racing surface for their feature event. Outside front row starter and first time visitor Josh Heavirland charged to the lead early on and led the first seven laps before a caution slowed action. On the restart, third row starting Nick Daronco took over using the bottom of the race track and never looked back despite some brief challenges from Bill Matzdorf and a hard charging Devin Vanhouse. The win was Daronco’s first of the season in Hibbing.
Without Super Stocks on the card, the WISSOTA Modifieds followed the Midwest Modified feature and early on Cory Sersha rocketed to the lead in search of his first feature win at Hibbing Raceway. Behind him, Jeff Broking charged into second and the top two solidified themselves before dealing with multiple mid-race cautions. Following one of the cautions, Broking was credited with the lead the prior lap and he held the point for seven laps hoping to become a two time winner before seventh starting Kelly Estey moved in to challenge. Estey searched high and low in an effort to wrestle the lead away from Broking and ultimately found his opening to take over. Estey led the final few circuits en route to his third win of the year in Hibbing.
After the Modified feature was completed, racing action was halted briefly for a fireworks show provided by the city of Hibbing. Following the fireworks, 28 NLRA Late Models rumbled onto the racing surface to close out the evening. Due to time constraints, the Pure Stock feature was postponed until July 13. By virtue of the NLRA Frisbee draw, Jeff Massingill and Dustin Strand brought the massive field to green. Massingill used the inside of the race track to take the lead with Strand in tow closely behind. As the top two began to race away, an early caution appeared for skirmish near the front of the pack. Fourth starting Kyle Peterlin was ticketed for the incident and sent to the tail but he would not stay there. Back up front, Massingill again launched out to the lead over Strand and the top two raced away from the rest of the field that was swapping positions multiple times within a lap. As the race neared the midway point, Massingill continued to lead Strand with little pressure while 14th starting Pat Doar jumped into the mix to take over third. The race continued to run clean and before long, 13th starting Tommy Waseleski, Jr., joined Doar in the hunt for the leaders who were negotiating traffic nearly a straightaway ahead. Massingill expertly worked his way through traffic not allowing Strand or Doar close enough to challenge. In the waning circuits, Massingill cruised to the victory and the ensuing jubilant victory lane celebration. Strand, Doar, Waseleski, Jr., and Peterlin rounded out the top five.
The special event portion of the schedule continues on Saturday, July 13 for the WISSOTA Super Stock Special presented by Advanced Minnesota and Quad Cities Merchants. For more information, visit www.hibbingraceway.com or call (218) 262-2324.