I don’t know what it is, but it seems like when there is a full moon out, the racing action gets wild and is filled with lots of wrecks and cautions. That was definitely the case on Saturday night as there were a fair amount of cautions during the heat races, and the features weren’t spared from the caution-mania.
In addition to many caution flags flying, a couple of the point battles for the track championships had some dramatic twists take place.
The WISSOTA Late Model feature was running smoothly until lap 16 of the race when Justin Hirt, who was doing double duty in the FASTRAK and WISSOTA Late Model divisions, hit wall in corners three and four. After that caution, it took four attempts to get the race restarted. One of the incidents involved Aaron Bennett, Joe Reuter and Chris Oertel. Reuter got the worst of that one. I didn’t see what triggered the incident as is took place on the backstretch, but you could tell Reuter was not pleased with Bennett as he expressed his displeasure on pit lane.
The feature was actually cut three laps short because of the time limit. Paul Parker won by half a car length over A.J. Diemel. It would have been interesting to see who would have won if it had gone the full 20 laps.
By winning both his heat race and the feature, Parker was able to narrow the gap in the point standings in the track championship chase. He now trails Ron Berna by 11 points with three weeks remaining.
There were only two cautions in the IMCA Modified feature, but there was plenty of good, hard racing going on throughout the whole race. Charlie Wild and Jason Czarapata engaged in a classic 11 lap battle for the lead with six of those laps involving side-by-side racing. Wild proved to be the class of the field, has he won his first-ever feature at the Speedway.
Entering the night of racing, Czarapata held a slim three point lead over Jerry Wilinski in the point standings. It wasn’t a good night for Wilinski though. While running in the fourth spot in the feature on lap five, he spun by himself. He restarted at the tail of the field, but his car slowed dramatically on lap seven. He eventually dropped out of the race and finished 18th in the feature. Czarapata now holds an 18 point advantage over Wilinski.
There was also a major shakeup in the points in the IMCA Stock Car division. Entering the night of racing, Nate Michonski held a five point lead over Rod Snellenberger. Those two, plus Dan Michonski and Jamie Becks fought for the lead for the first half of the feature. Dan Michonski took the lead on lap 10 with Snellenberger following. The two made contact coming out of corner four, and Michonski’s car got slightly sideways. He recovered and the two raced down the front stretch. I looked down for a second, and when I looked up, Michonski and Snellenberger had both hit the wall in corner one. Michonski was able to keep going, but a couple of cars piled into Snellenberger.
Dan Michonski reassumed the lead, while Snellenberger restarted at the rear of the field after heading to pit lane. Dan Michonski went on to the win, while Snellenberger retired from the race with four laps remaining. Snellenberger took a big hit in the points, as he now trails Nate Michonski by 17 points.
Joel Bennett continues to put together a magical season in the FASTRAK Late Model division, as he won his fifth feature of the year on Saturday night. The problem is Dave Fieber finished second in both the feature and his heat race, so Bennett was able to gain only three points. Fieber still leads Bennett by 16 points in the point standings.
It’s not too often that Clint Forstner gets passed while he is leading an IMCA Northern SportMod feature. That’s what happened on Saturday night, when Cody Hudson grabbed the lead with an outside pass on lap 15 of the 20-lap race. Forstner still finished second, so Hudson gained only one point on Forstner in the standings. Forstner still holds a 24 point lead over Hudson.
It should be an exciting three weeks of racing.