By Greg Anderson
Hibbing, MN- After being forced to cancel for weather related issues in recent weeks, Mother Nature gave Hibbing Raceway a reprieve for the JoJo Terzich/Martin Maki NLRA Late Model Invitational and Lisa Vajdl Pure Stock Memorial Race and it paid off for fans and racers alike. After preliminary races were completed, four exciting feature races took place with two being decided in the final corner.
Andy Davey charged to the lead at the onset before giving way to Willy Thompson and Dan Wilson. By lap 6, Devin Vanhouse slipped between Vajdl and Wilson to take over second and soon after, Thompson exited with a broken mount handing the lead to Wilson but Vanhouse saw the opportunity to ramp up their efforts and swapped the lead as fourteenth starting Skeeter Estey joined the fray to make it a four car battle before debris on the front stretch brought out the caution flag. On the restart, Wilson charged ahead of Vanhouse while Estey moved into third. Vanhouse and Estey both slipped past Wilson on the same lap but a skirmish between fourth running Bill Matzdorf and Davey halted action once again. When the race resumed, Estey used an inside move to vault past Vanhouse into the lead. Vanhouse began to rally back on the high-side before another spin in the back of the field slowed action. On the restart, Estey powered out front and Vanhouse was unable to find the same groove prior to the caution and Estey completed his charge from the back of the pack for the victory.
The WISSOTA Modifieds took two tries to get started in their main event and when they did, it was a wild scramble at the front of the pack with Marcus Damjanoich and Paul Schultz swapping the lead over the first five circuits while Cory Sersha raced right behind looking for an opening. After a few more cautions, Sersha blasted from third to first in one corner and began to pull away from the field. Behind him, Kelly Estey was on the move as he raced around Damjanovich into second before several more cautions marred action. When the race regained green momentum Jeff Broking charged into second and put a brief challenge on Sersha before slipping over the edge of the race track which gave Sersha some breathing room on the rest of the field. With two laps remaining another spin in the back of the field set up a green-white-checkered scenario. Sersha led Estey coming to the white flag and the duo headed down the backstretch in similar formation with Sersha holding a one car length lead. Going into the final corner, Estey dove low and slid across the track in front of the higher running Sersha coming out of turn four. The two made minor contact but raced cleanly to the line in nose-to-tail formation with Estey serving as the nose for the win.
The WISSOTA Late Model field rolled to the grid 26 strong and following pre-race ceremonies they rumbled to life for 42 laps in remembrance of the number former racer Martin Maki sported for many years at Hibbing Raceway. Brad Seng took immediate control while Dustin Strand charged into second. Pat Doar was on the move as well and took second away from Strand. Behind them, ninth starting Zach Wohlers was coming to life and moved past Bobby Carlson who had recently charged into third from sixth himself. Seng pulled away from Doar in the early stages but as the Seng approached heavy lap traffic that was racing side-by-side and three-wide, the battle for the lead started to heat up. Wohlers made a bold four-wide move with Doar and two lap cars to take over second and began chasing Seng through the back and middle of the pack. Mired in deep traffic and trying to find openings, Seng continued to patiently pick his way through but Wohlers closed the gap and appeared ready to pounce when another caution slowed the race. In open traffic, Seng turned up the wick and raced away once again but after building the lead, Wohlers regained his rhythm on the high-side and closed back in. With time running out, Wohlers slid over the edge of the track and it appeared Seng had the race in the bag but a caution came out to bunch up the field for one last dash to the checkers. Seng wasn’t about to let it slip away as he left the rest to battle for second in the two lap dash. Doar muscled second from Wohlers and Carlson charged in to take third back as well to round out the podium. The win for NLRA points leading Seng was worth $2500.
Following an action packed NLRA Late Model Main Event, the Pure Stocks provided some excitement of their own for the 25 lap Lisa Vajdl Memorial Race. Gary Ruzich and Mike Blevins began the race side by side and they stayed that way for several laps while Jake Barsness raced right on their tails. On lap seven, Ruzich took sole possession of the lead when Blevins slipped up but there was time to relax for Ruzich as Barsness assumed Blevins spot as the challenger. With the lead duo still swapping positions, Basness officially took the lead near the midway point in the race only to break loose and hand it right back to Ruzich. The battle was far from over though as Barsness recomposed and the lead duo slightly separated from Blevins in traffic. With laps winding down, it appeared to be a two car race for the win but a late caution bunched up the field and gave Blevins, Margo Butcher, and others a shot at the leaders. On the restart, Blevins charged hard to the outside of Barsness and was able to pull alongside of Ruzich. A lap later, Blevins used his momentum to retake the lead he had held early on. Coming to the white flag, Ruzich closed back in on Blevins and made one last bonsai attempt in the final turn as the duo raced to the line with Blevins winning by half a car.
With the first ever visit of the World of Outlaw Late Model Series looming in the horizon, regular racing will resume on Saturday, June 28 for J.M. Auto Service, Broking's Transport Night. All five regular classes will be in action. For more information, visit www.hibbingraceway.com or call (218) 262-2324
WISSOTA Late Models: Feature- Brad Seng, Pat Doar, Bobby Carlson, Zach Wohlers, Ricky Weiss, Shane Edginton, Dustin Strand, Harry Hanson, Chris Olson, Mike Balcaen, Aaron Lillo, Jay Kintner, Mark Rose, Dusty Peterson, David Smith, Steve Anderson, Cole Schill, Greg Ferris, Don Frider, Steve Reini, Cory Jorgenson, Terry Lillo, Bill Mooney, Jeff Massingill, Jeff Hapala, Kyle Peterlin
WISSOTA Modifieds: Feature-Kelly Estey, Cory Sersha, Devin Vanhouse, Sam Skalsky, Rick Niemi, Jeff Tardy, Jeff Wood, Rick Cannata, Matt Anderson, Jeff Broking, Marcus Damjanovich, Paul Schultz, Ken Mosteller, Jeff Davis, Cory Jorgensen, Jeffery Wood, Josh Martin
WISSOTA Midwest Modifieds: Feature-Skeeter Estey, Devin Vanhouse, Mack Estey, Mark Kangas, Brad Hanson, Dan Wilson, Andy Labarge, Jesse Ogston, Chad Vanduker, Don Craig, Andy Davey, Matt Depeiro, Nick DaRonco, Keith Niemi, Darrin Lawler, Jarek Lamusga, Kenny Perry, Pat Bolden, Bill Matzdorf, Dylan Miller, Willy Thompson, Mark Miller
Pure Stocks: Feature-Mike Blevins, Jacob Barsness, Al Rapp, Margo Butcher, Stephen Erickson, Andy Davey, Jeremy Theisen, Ryan Anderson, Annika Hammitt, Keith Koski, Matt Cunha, John Hammitt, Cody Herrick, Dave White, Vic Westerlund, Anthony Cappo, Lee Ruzich, Jim Morris, Robert Adair, Gene Schultze, Mike Haben, Lance Pete, Robert Galovich, Gary Ruzich