Viking Speedway: Veteran Reents wins his first feature of the season
By: By Ryan Schmitz, Viking Speedway, Alexandria Echo Press
Legendary Viking Speedway pilot Gary Reents picked up his first Extreme Auto WISSOTA Street Stock win of the season in dramatic style on Alexandria Technical College, Pro Maintenance Service, Ziegler Cat and Mark Lee Construction night at the high flying half mile.
Other drivers who were able to navigate their way to victory lane on Saturday evening included: Dusty Bitzan in the Sower Power WISSOTA Midwest Modifieds, Jeff Crouse in the Alexandria Refrigeration WISSOTA Super Stocks, national point leader Dave Cain in the Morris Auto Plaza WISSOTA Modifieds and Skyler Prochaska in the NOSA Sprints.
After all heat races were completed, 17 Midwest Modifieds lined up to do battle for their 15-lap main event. Darrin Braaten and Josh Muzik led the field to the green as head flagman Layne Roberts brought the field to life. Muzik was able to jump to an early advantage as he held off Braaten for the first two circuits of the race.
As the field completed the second lap, Dusty Bitzan made a move to the low side of the speedway and got by Muzik as the cars raced down the back chute into turns three and four. The caution would wave soon after for Osakis driver Dustin Karl as he slid off the track in turn two.
The field would be reset and once again Bitzan was able to take command at the front and race to a large lead. He was never seriously challenged en route to his third Viking Speedway win of the season.
Rookie driver Tyler Spanswick and 40-year racing veteran Gary Reents shared the front row for the 12-car Street Stock feature and Reents used his many years of experience to race to an early lead.
Reents put his #1 on the outside of the track and raced away as the rest of the field raced side by side for the first handful of laps. The first caution of the event would fly when Spanswick slipped off the track in turn two with nine laps remaining. During the caution, Andrew Bangsund would retire pitside with mechanical issues, ending his evening.
Reents once again jumped to the high side of the track with Adam Burrows, Brett Miller, Justin Vogel, Ryan Pommerer and Justin Tammen racing for the second spot.
The caution would come out once again for Ryan Satter as his car slid out of control in turn two. With the field reset, Reents once again put his car on the high side of the track and bolted to the lead. This time it was Vogel and Tammen who raced up to battle for the lead. Lap after lap, Vogel and Tammen would swap spots with Reents keeping his cool in the lead.
Vogel was finally able to shed Tammen with three laps to go and raced up to challenge Reents on the low side of the track. As the cars entered turn three on the final lap, Vogel looked to have the advantage, but Reents was able to keep his car straight and beat Vogel to the line for his first win since picking up the WISSOTA 100 crown several years ago.
Cody Lee and Derrick Lemke led the 12-car Super Stock feature to the green and Lee quickly moved his Tennessee Roadhouse #50 to the lead with Lemke in tow. The caution would fly over the speedway very early in the event for Jeff Flaten, when his car appeared to lose power in turn two, sending the Hancock driver off on the hook.
With order restored, Layne Roberts once again brought the field to life. Lee was able to clear Lemke once more and settled into the lead. Back in traffic, Jeff Crouse and Mike Peterson were hooked in a great battle for the No. 4 spot. Crouse was able to get by Peterson near the midway point of the race and then raced up to challenge Alan Johnson for third.
After a nice battle between Johnson and Crouse for several laps, Crouse was able to clear Johnson and Lemke in the matter of two laps.
Out front, it looked like Lee would race unchallenged to the win, but Crouse found his familiar high side line and quickly began to make up ground on Lee. As Lee came to the white flag, Crouse was on the outside of his and the cars entered turn one side by side.
Lee tried all he could to make his car stick on the bottom, but Crouse rocketed off turn two and never looked back to pick up his 10th overall feature win this season.
After an impressive heat race win, Kyle Koehntop led the Modified feature to the green. Before the field could complete a lap, the caution would come out for a hard wreck in turn two involving Josh Thoennes and Jamestown, ND visitor Randy Tarno.
Both cars suffered major damage and were unable to continue.
Dennis Bitzan was able to move to the outside of the track and to the lead in the early stages of the race with Travis Saurer in tow as the race restarted. Bitzan continued to lead the field, but the best battle on the track was for the third spot. Dave Schroeder and Dave Cain raced side by side for a handful of laps before Schroeder was able to get clear of Cain and settled into third spot.
As the leaders were beginning to enter lap traffic, Koehntop slid off the track and brought out the caution once more. This put Saurer and Schroeder on Bitzan’s rear bumper on the restart. As the cars came to the green, Bitzan and Schroeder made contact near the entrance to pit lane and Schroeder’s bright yellow #18s car came to rest in the pit wall.
This would move Cain into the third spot and put him on Bitzan’s back bumper along with Saurer for the next restart.
The field came to the green and Bitzan was able to clear Cain and Saurer until the cars entered into turn one. Bitzan’s car slid up the track and he would lose several positions, handing the lead to Saurer. Cain was able to make his car stick on the low side of the track as the leaders came to the flag with three laps remaining and jumped to the lead.
During the last three laps, Saurer threw everything he could at Cain, but to no avail as Cain raced to his 19th overall feature win of the season.
After a handful of cautions to begin the NOSA Sprint Car feature, Grand Forks, ND driver Jordan Graham was able to jump out to a large early race lead.
Graham looked to have the race in hand until he lost an engine near the midway point of the feature. This would put Lakefield driver Skyler Prochaska on the point and he would race unchallenged to the NOSA win.
Next weekend will mark the end of the regular points season at the Viking Speedway, located at the Douglas County fairgrounds in Alexandria.
The Labor Day doubleheader will get under way Saturday night with racing beginning at 6 p.m. The track will also host races on Sunday starting at 6 p.m. The NLRA Late Models will be in town for both shows.
The 10th annual Viking Fall Classic takes place on October 4-6. For the latest Viking Speedway news and standings, visit the track online at www.vikingspeedway.net.
VIKING SPEEDWAY RACE RESULTS
Feature: Skyler Prochaska, Jordan Adams, Chris Shirek, Mitch Mack, Zach Wilde, Jordan Graham, Jared Goerges, Wade Nygaard, Austin Pierce, Chris Ranten, Brenden Wilde, Casey Mack.
Heat 1: Ranten, Adams, Pierce, Nygaard, Z. Wilde, M. Mack.
Heat 2: Prochaska, C. Mack, Shirek, Goerges, Graham, B Wilde.
Feature: Dave Cain, Travis Saurer, Dwayne Clarke, Jason Thoennes, Brady Gerdes, Dennis Bitzan, Jake Wildman, Jason Blasyck, Dave Schroeder, Terry Merten, Peter Loecken, Kyle Reents, Johnny Correll, Kyle Koehntop, Brett Hoium, Josh Thoennes, Bobby Gierke, Randy Tarno.
Heat 1: Bitzan, Schroeder, Gerdes, Gierke, Tarno, Reents
Heat 2: Ja. Thoennes, Cain, Hoium, Correll, Blascyk, Merten
Heat 3: Koehntop, Saurer, Jo. Thoennes, Clarke, Loecken, Wildman
Feature: Jeff Crouse, Cody Lee, Derrick Lemke, Alan Johnson, Mike Peterson, Dominic Baker, Matt Miller, Jon Stepan, Trevor Saurer, Jeff Kluver, Chris Winter, Jeff Flaten.
Heat 1: Lemke, Peterson, Crouse, Saurer, Miller, Kluver.
Heat 2: Johnson, Lee, Flaten, Stepan, Baker, Winter.
Feature: Gary Reents, Justin Vogel, Justin Tammen, Ryan Pommerer, Mark Blom, Adam Burrows, Brett Miller, Ryan Satter, Chris Winter, Tim Jodsaas, Tyler Spanswick, Andrew Bangsund.
Heat 1: Burrows, Vogel, Spanswick, Bangsund, Winter, Jodsaas.
Heat 2: Satter, Miller, Pommerer, Reents, Tammen, Blom.
Feature: Dusty Bitzan, Travis Saurer, Jamie Thorstad, Josh Muzik, Randy Laage, William Lund, Ron Saurer, Justin Froemming, Brett Hoium, Tyler Vanderby, Brandon Spanswick, Kyle Reents, Brent Kahout, Shawn Olson, Darrin Braaten, Dustin Karl, Travis Vanderby, Jason Hoffman.
Heat 1: Braaten, Muzik, Kahout, Reents, R. Saurer, Karl.
Heat 2: T. Saurer, Olson, Lund, Tr. Vanderby, Hoffman, Ty. Vanderby.
Heat 3: Laage, Bitzan, Thorstad, Hoium, Spanswick, Froemming.