Exciting Finish as Champions crowned at Eagle River Speedway
The 40th year of Stock Car Racing concluded at Eagle River Speedway on Friday Night, and it was obvious to the fans that the drivers were holding nothing back! While most of the Class Champions were determined going into the final night of racing for the season, that didn't stop the drivers from pushing their car and themselves to the limit. Feature after feature went right down to the final lap, and in some of the features it came down to the final 'hairpin' turn. In one feature the actual winner was determined after the cars had not only passed the finish line but gone into the pits.
It was in the Junior Sprint feature that Shiocton, Wisconsin's, Dylan Larson had 'appeared' to have won. After track officials found rule violations with Larson's Junior Sprinter, the win was awarded to Rhinelander's Parker Retzlaff. It was Greenland, Michigan's Wyatt McIntyre that took a second, and clinched his second straight Junior Sprint Class Championship. Larson's disqualification in that feature also bumped him down to 3rd in the season-ending points, and moving Manitowish Waters, Wisconsin's, Anna Price-Malouf into the Class Runner-Up position.
Then it was time for the Truck Feature, and again it was suspense-filled. However the suspense came on the final turn of the final lap. Birnamwood's Eric Kessen in his first race of the season had an altercation with Dylan Spiegelhoff on the hairpin turn. As Spiegelhoff was knocked off the track, the officials gave him the win and the first Truck Class Championship at Eagle River Speedway. Earlier in this race, Dan "Yogi" Schmidt lost control of his truck in the 'hairpin' turn, and ended up taking down numerous track sponsorship billboards on the infield. Before crashing into all the billboards, Schmidt was going 'all-out' to challenge Spiegelhoff. Schmidt had won an earlier heat by a commanding margin.
While track officials were picking up the pieces of what was left of one entire side of billboards, 14 Pure Stock cars were getting ready for an exciting Pure Stock Feature. Excitement created by not only the fact that for many of the drivers, this would be the last race of the season, but excitement based upon track conditions that led to the fastest speeds and multiple passing 'lines.' All the rain the proceeding week made the clay track 'tacky' in addition to cooler temps enabled the cars to not only go fast but also go anywhere. While the cars were going faster then usual, the drivers thought they could make passes that simply were not available. This led to multiple cautions throughout the Pure Stock Feature. The winner, Tomahawk, Wisconsin's, CJ-Hedges, Junior, was given the checkered flag under caution. Hedges had already clinched the Pure Stock Class championship going into the night. The only driver to have raced at the track from the first race in 1974 to 2014, Don Scharf of Eagle River took his second Class Runner-Up position. Pelican Lake, Wisconsin's, Herb Dettman took a second in the feature and 3rd in the points standings.
With the cars going faster then all year long, the fans wondered what speeds the Micro Sprint 600's would hit! These are the Sprint Cars that had been hitting speeds over 90 MPH during the year. Then you put those methanol-burning motorcycle engine propelled cars on a track that had more 'bite' then ever before, you knew that feature was going to be exciting! Shiocton's Denver Larson had the lead early in the race, that is until Eagle River's Ty Springer, and Escanaba, Michigan's, Matt Peterson flew by Larson. With Peterson chasing Springer, they hit speeds close to 100 MPH! Springer was able to hold off Peterson for his second Feature win. Rhinelander's Jered Cech may have had to settle for a third in the Feature, but still ended up taking his Honda-Powered Micro Sprint to his second consecutive class championship.
With all that had already transpired in the first 4 features, what could (would) happen in the WISSOTA classes? The Midwest Modifieds and Street Stock? Could the Western Upper Peninsula of Michigan's Jesse Aho and Jordan Kurtti repeat as class champions? The answer is, Yes.
While Aho was stuck in the middle of the pack for half of the race, he made a move that showed why he has been the class champion every year since 2011. Aho thread the needle by going in between 2 cars as all 3 cars were going hard into the 'sweeping' second corner.
"I really have to commend the Glembins (Track owners) for what they did to get this track in as good of condition as it was. Tonight, this track was smooth and fast!" commented Aho.
The fast track proved costly as the Midwest Modified Feature had a 5 car accident in the 5th lap. This accident happened in the front stretch going into the 1st turn. Multiple cars were towed to the pits. In the end, it was fellow Upper Peninsula legendary racer, Duane Dunbar of Marenisco, Michigan, that took a second, and Rhinelander's Dan Melton getting a 3rd.
The closest point battle for a class championship was in the WISSOTA Street Stock Class. Kurtti had a narrow 19 point lead over Tomahawk's Nate Langberg going into the final night of racing. Langberg needed to win his Heat Race and the Feature, and have Kurtti suffer car problems. Kurtti did blow an engine in the Feature, but was able to finish his heat race, thus giving the Bruce Crossing, Michigan, resident his second consecutive class championship. That didn't stop Langberg from giving it his 'all,' in the feature.
Langberg battled his way through the pack to put his front bumper right on the tail of Eagle River's, Jason Jenson. This close race was nothing new for Jenson as earlier in the night he was in a tight battle with his Mule Train Racing team-mate Ryan Glembin in a heat race. Jenson held off Glembin in the Heat Race and Langberg in the WISSOTA Street Stock Feature.
Glembin thanked all the drivers for an excellent year during the Class Trophy presentation at the end of the night, and invited them back for the Northern Wisconsin track's 41st year in 2015.
9/5/2014 Results (Top 3 Only)
WISSOTA Midwest Modified Feature: 1) Jesse Aho, Toivola (MI); 2) Duane Dunbar, Marenisco (MI); 3) Dan Melton, Rhinelander;
WISSOTA Midwest Modifieds Heat 1: 1) Jesse Aho, Toivola (MI); 2) Jerry Grasse, Phelps; 3) Duane Dunbar, Marenisco (MI);
WISSOTA Midwest Modifieds Heat 2: 1) Guy Carley, Eagle River; 2) Dennis Mickelson, Rhinelander; 3) Dennis Baldwin, Bessemer (MI);
WISSOTA Street Stock Feature: 1) Jason Jenson, Eagle River; 2) Nate Langberg, Tomahawk; 3) Ron Hanestad, Glenwood City;
WISSOTA Street Stock Heat 1: 1) Jason Jenson, Eagle River; 2) Ryan Glembin, Eagle River; 3) Ron Hanestad, Glenwood City;
WISSOTA Street Stock Heat 2: 1) Derek Eberl, Tomahawk; 2) Nate Langberg, Tomahawk; 3) Ryan Valeria, Eagle River;
Micro Sprint 600 Feature: 1) Ty Springer, Eagle River; 2) Matt Peterson, Escanaba (MI); 3) Jered Cech, Rhinelander;
Micro Sprint 600 Heat 1: 1) Matt Peterson, Escanaba (MI); 2) Denver Larson, Shiocton; 3) Ty Springer, Eagle River;
Truck Feature: 1) Dylan Spiegelhoff, Rhinelander; 2) Dan Schmidt, Wausau; 3) Forest Crandall, Birnamwood;
Truck Heat 1: 1) Dylan Spiegelhoff, Rhinelander; 2) DJ Koga, Dale; 3) James Koga, Eagle River;
Truck Heat 2: 1) Dan Schmidt, Wausau; 2) Erik Kessen, Birnamwood; 3) Forest Crandall, Birnamwood;
Pure Stock Feature : 1) CJ Hedges, Tomahawk; 2) Herb Dettman, Pelican Lake; 3) Ken Valeria, Eagle River;
Pure Stock Heat 1: 1) Tyler Musoff, Tomahawk; 2) Fritz Scharf, Eagle River; 3) Herb Dettman, Pelican Lake;
Pure Stock Heat 2: 1) Tyler Lundberg, Rhinelander; 2) Don Scharf, Eagle River; 3) Louis Malluege, Merrill;
Pure Stock Heat 3:) CJ Hedges, Jr., Tomahawk; 2) Ken Valeria, Eagle River; 3) Isabelle Valeria, Eagle River;
Junior Sprint Feature: 1) Parker Retzlaff, Rhinelander; 2) Wyatt McIntyre, Greenland (MI) 3) Hunter Tingley, Lake Tomahawk;
Junior Sprint Heat : 1) Parker Retzlaff, Rhinelander; 2) Wyatt McIntyre, Greenland (MI); 3) Hunter Tingley, Lake Tomahawk;
2014 Eagle River Speedway Class Champions (Top 3 only)
WISSOTA MIdwests Modifieds: 1) Jesse Aho, Toivola (MI); 2) Jerry Grasse, Phelps (WI); 3) Tad Schoonover, Eagle River (WI);
WISSOTA Street Stock: 1) Jordan Kurtti, Bruce Crossing (MI); 2) Nate Langberg, Tomahawk (WI); 3) Derek Eberl, Tomahawk (WI);
Micro Sprint 600: 1) Jered Cech, Rhinelander (WI); 2) Bob Hicks, Eagle River (WI); 3) Jake Reif, Deerbrook (WI);
Trucks: 1) Dylan Spiegelhoff, Rhinelander (WI); 2) James Koga, Eagle River (WI); 3) Cory Allen, Rhinelander (WI);
Pure Stock: 1) CJ Hedges, Jr., Tomahawk (WI); 2) Don Scharf, Eagle Rivere (WI); 3) Herb Dettman, Pelican Lake (WI);
Junior Sprint: 1) Wyatt McIntyre, Greenland (MI); 2) Anna Price-Malouf, Manitowish Waters (WI); 3) Dylan Larson, Shiocton (WI);
Eagle River Speedway is a Wissota Sanctioned race facility and will be racing every FRIDAY NIGHT.....
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