By Greg Anderson
Hibbing, MN- The seemingly endless gloomy weather in the Upper Midwest finally gave way to clearer skies and warmer temperatures just in time for Iron Mining Association of Minnesota and US Steel Minnesota Ore Operations Night. Like opening night, another solid turnout of race teams assembled for action in the five divisions of racing. In all, 105 race teams entered and by the end of the night, 5 would stand tallest.
The Midwest Modifieds came out to a newly prepared racing surface and Matt Anderson and Skeeter Estey brought the 21 car field up to speed. Estey narrowly led the first circuit as the lead duo raced side by side for several laps up front. By lap 5, Anderson edged ahead for the first time and it became apparent it was going to be settled amongst them. Anderson used the bottom groove to build his lead to a car length at the halfway point with Estey still searching to find his rhythm up high. Behind them, Estey’s brother Mack and 9th starting Don Smith were engaged in a heated battle for third. With eight laps remaining, Estey seemingly found a groove to his liking and pulled back alongside the leader but Anderson fought off the advances and slowly edged away in traffic to take the win while Estey fought off Smith and his brother in a last lap bid to steal second.
Following a hotly contested Midwest Modified main, the WISSOTA Super Stocks rolled to the grid with Tristan Labarge and Eric Pierzina set the pace. Before completion of the first lap, second row starter Tyler Kintner blasted around the top side to take the lead. Andy Davey came along to take second while Labarge settled into third before a lap 3 caution slowed the pace. After the restart, the order remained the same with Davey applying heavy pressure to Kintner on the low side. Kintner moved down and Davey took advantage of the opening up top to race around the outside of the leader and take over up front. Once out front, Davey set sail, leaving a three car battle for second between Kintner, Labarge, and Derek Vesel. Bobby Carlson slowly closed in on the trio to make it a five car runaway up front. With Davey racing comfortably at the point, the order remained largely the same until the finish.
After Andy Davey’s runaway win, the WISSOTA Modifieds provided fans with some late race drama. Rick Niemi and Sam Skalsky shared the front row and Skalsky charged ahead to lead the first few circuits before pulling off turn two with handling issues. Skalsky tried to lip back to the pits before stopping to bring out the caution on lap 5. This handed the race lead to Jeff Wood who raced away from Marcus Damjanovich but before long, Kelly Estey had crept through the pack from his fourth row starting spot to take over second before another caution slowed action. When the race resumed, Estey instantly pulled alongside Wood . The leaders ran side for two laps before Estey took command. Estey began to inch away from Wood while Jeff Hart moved in to challenge for second. Hart was able to overtake Wood and rapidly closed on Estey up front. Hart briefly pulled alongside leader with two laps remaining but Estey slammed the door on Harts bid to wrestle the lead away and raced away the final two circuits to take the win.
After an exciting late race battle in the Modifieds, the WISSOTA Late Models took center stage with Terry Lillo and Greg Ferris leading the 19 car field to green. Ferris used the outside edge of the track to rocket to the point but it was all for naught after a three car collision in the back of the field negated the start. Ferris didn’t let the early caution deter him as he once again raced away with Lillo settling into second after fending off Harry Hanson. A spin by fourth running Jeff Massingill on the ninth lap once again brought the field to a halt erasing Ferris’ large lead. After two more wrecks before a lap could be marked, the race was finally back underway and Hanson moved into second as the top two raced away but only two laps could be completed before another spin in the back of the field stopped the race in a caution plagued event. On the next restart, Hanson slipped past Ferris to take the lead but that was also negated for yet another spin. Ferris was moved back to the front but Hanson again raced past as did Tommy Waseleski Jr. and Harry Hanson. After contact between the top two, Waseleski took the lead with Hanson and Kyle Peterlin hot on his heels before another spin once again slowed the race. The caution gave Waseleski some brief reprieve and he used the restart to gain a cushion on the hungry challengers before Hanson closed back in. Hanson’s relentless pressure proved to be too much as he charged past Waseleski Jr. and Peterlin came with to take second. Peterlin then began to apply heavy pressure to Hanson but Hanson held strong over the final laps to score the victory.
The Pure Stocks finished out an exciting evening of racing and
appropriately, the winner was undecided until late in the race. Gary Ruzich
jumped ahead of Ryan Anderson to start the race and the top two separated from
the field while battling up front. Behind them, Jerry Ramey moved to third and
on lap 7, a spin on the backstretch bunched up the field by bringing out the
caution. On the restart, Ramey moved inside of Ruzich and Anderson with Michael
Blevins coming with to take second. The previous leader Ruzich struggled to
keep pace as he lost several positions up top before ultimately pulling off
with a flat tire. Up front, Ramey and Blevins raced away and just as the duo engaged
in a battle for the lead, a spin in the back of the field slowed the race and
third place car of Anderson exited to the pits under caution. When the race
resumed, Blevins moved around the outside of Ramey to take the lead while Steve
Reini moved in to battle with Ramey for second. Ramey was able to fend off
Reini’s onslaught to finish second behind repeat winner Blevins.
For the first time in track history, Hibbing Raceway will welcome the Advantage RV Modified Tour on Saturday, June 22 presented by Premier Insulation Co., Broking’s Transport, Como Oil and Propane, W.A. Fisher Advertising and Printing, Jennifer Ivanca Insurance, and Domino’s Pizza. The Watertown, South Dakota based series is based largely in the Dakotas and Western Minnesota and thus many new WISSOTA Modified teams from outside regions are expected to be on hand challenging the strong local contingent. For more information, visit www.hibbingraceway.com or call (218) 262-2324
SUMMARY:WISSOTA Late Models:
Feature- Harry Hanson, Kyle Peterlin, Tommy Waseleski Jr, Greg Ferris, Terry Lillo, George Ledin, Mark Henile, Kyle Gavel, Zach Wohlers, Jeff Massingill, Todd Gehl, Todd Frank, Greg Hill, Jim Morris, Mike Vajdl, Jerry Vesel, Roger Paolo, Lou Cianni, Don Frider
Heat 1- Ledin, Gehl, Lillo, Hanson, Wohlers, Morris, Frider, Vajdl, Frider, Hill, Heinle
Heat 2- Waseleski, Peterlin, Massingill, Ferris, Paolo, Gavel, Cianni, Frank, Vesel
Heat 1- Aho, Jeff Broking, Wood, Damjanovich, Hart, Broking, Tardy, Johnson, Schultz, Broking
Heat 2- Estey, Nieimi, Roche, Skalsky, Sersha, Hanson, Vanhouse, Mosteller, Jorgenson, Baltich
WISSOTA Super Stocks:Feature- Andy Davey, Tyler Kintner, Tristan Labarge, Derek Vesel, Bobby Carlson, Kevin Burdick, Tom Cianni, Dalton Carlson, Eric Pierzina, Jeremy Fink, Bob Kintner, Trevor Arens, Andy Labarge, Bob Preble, Mike Zasadini, Donnie Lofdahl, John Toppozini, Frank Paolo
Heat 1- Labarge, Davey, Carlson, Labarge, Arens, Carlson, Lofdahl, Paolo, Zasadini
Heat 2- Kintner, Burdick, Pierzina, Vesel, Kintner, Cianni, Fink, Toppozini, Preble
WISSOTA Midwest Modifieds:
Heat 1- Kangas, Anderson, Smith, Forseen, Hughes, Vanduker, Schall
Heat 2- Matzdorf, Estey, Vanhouse, Daronco, Bassa, Castle Jr
Heat 3- S.Estey, Miller, Martin, Craig, Wilson, Lawler, Bolden
Pure Stocks:Feature- Michael Blevins, Jerry Ramey, Steve Reini, Tyler Chrysler, Chris Miller, Vic Westerlund, Gene Schultze, Kevin Davey, Pete Travica, Gary Ruzich, Keith Koski, Spencer Sorenson, Jeremy Theisen, Jeff Ridlon, Lee Ruzich, Kevin Knaeble, Margo Butcher, Anthony Cappo, Dave White, Jarek Lamusga, Ryan Anderson, Joe Gentile, Mitch Cannata, Michael Ryan, Nick Cimermancic, Adam Palki
Heat 1- Reini, Blevins, Schultze, Ryan, Ruzich, Lamusga, Cappo, Davey, Cannata
Heat 2- Anderson, Ruzich, Travica, Koski, Miller, Sorenson, White, Knaeble, Palki
Heat 3- Ramey, Chrysler, Westerlund, Butcher, Ridlon, Cimermancic, Gentile, Theisen