By Greg Anderson
Hibbing, MN- With the Annual Labor Day Shootout just off in the horizon, it would be easy for competitors to lose focus on the remaining night of regular racing action but there was still plenty of business to take care of on “Salute the Troops Night” presented by Liquor Cabinet and the Brickyard Bar and Grill. In addition, the Pure Stocks closed out their season with a special event after concluding point racing last week.
The WISSOTA Midwest Modifieds pick up where they left off the previous week and featured a four car and sometimes four wide battle for the lead in the early going. Dylan Miller led the first several circuits fending off Nick Daronoco, and the Estey brothers Mack and Skeeter. While Miller held true to his bottom groove, Mack Estey ventured up top and began to pick up steam eventually racing around the leader. A couple laps later, Mack’s brother Skeeter slipped through as well. Mack however had already built a commanding lead and never looked back to pick up his second feature win of the year. By virtue of his second place finish, Skeeter Estey clinched the track title for the second time.
Due to the Powder Puff races later in the evening and the fact the Pure Stocks were racing their special event, the feature was bumped up in the running order. Ryan Anderson and Michael Blevins brought the 24 car field to life and Blevins took the point at the drop of the green. Seven cautions marred the race and so racing over the 25 lap main event was done mostly in short spurts. Positions behind Blevins changed nearly every restart and eventually two time winner Gary Ruzich found his way into second. Ruzich attempted to challenge the leader late in the race but was unable to and began to backslide as laps wound down. Jerry Ramey retook second from Ruzich and Kevin Davey came along to take third. The running order remained the same to the finish as Blevins put a cap on his dominating season. Shaina Rapp later scored the win in the Pure Stock Powder Puff race.
Much like the Pure Stocks, the WISSOTA Super Stocks seemed to struggle to find a hold on the race track. Their struggles didn’t come in the form of cautions but they were only able to utilize the bottom groove, making passing difficult once the field spread out. Andy Davey wasted little time finding that bottom groove as he moved up from the third row to move into second. In front of Davey, leader Tom Cianni had found the first several laps easy going as he cruised out front. Davey however was able to close the gap on the leader and slip underneath to take the lead. Cianni tried to rally using the middle groove but soon found he needed to move down to make any headway. Derek Vesel also moved underneath Cianni but wasn’t able to chase down the leader as Davey rolled to the win. Tyler Kintner had already clinched the track championship for the second year in a row just by taking the green flag and finished third.
The WISSOTA Modifeds entered their feature race with one of the tightest point races at the top. Kelly Estey led Jeff Hart but seven points before the drop of the green flag. Unlike the Super Stocks, the Modifieds found the high-side early on as Brad Hanson used it to blast off to the lead. Hanson quickly stretched his lead while Ricky Roche and Bob Broking battled hard behind him. Before long, 9th starting Estey joined the mix to make it a three-car race for second. With Hanson out front comfortably, Estey snuck past Roche and Broking as they were busy slugging it out. A caution before the halfway point erased Hanson’s advantage but on the restart, Hanson went right back to work, blazing around the outside and turning down the track out of turn two. Estey kept Hanson within reach and slowly began to inch forward and by lap 18, the duo were side by side for the lead. Hanson continued to race ahead down the straights but one slight slip in turn four gave Estey the break he needed to clear Hanson and take over up front. Hanson tried to rally back to no avail as Estey score the win for the second straight week and won the track championship for the second straight year.
Much like the Super Stocks, the WISSOTA Late Model track championship was decided as the green flag flew for the feature. Harry Hanson simply had to start the race to secure enough points to be crowned champion. In the race, Jeff Provinzino charged past Gregg Hill and Zach Wohlers to lead early on. Provinzino took off from the pack leaving them to battle for second and appeared to be well on his way to a win when a mid-race caution slowed action. On the restart, third running Wohlers suddenly came to life using the top edge of the race track. Wohlers rocketed around Provinzino and began to pull away in his new found groove. Lap after lap, Wohlers grew his lead as he raced through the back of the field and he never looked back, scoring a convincing victory.
Regular racing may be concluded but there is still more action planned for Hibbing Raceway in On Saturday, September 7, the AMA Flat Track Racing group comes to town presented by Chisholm/Hibbing Path Blazers Snowmobile Club. Then there is a tentative Auto Value Enduro scheduled for Tuesday, September 10. For more information on these two events, visit www.hibbingraceway.com or call (218) 262-2324.