Viking Speedway: Wildung, Saurer are doubles winners
After being rained out on Memorial Day, the NLRA Late Model tour made its first stop at the Viking Speedway during the track’s annual Labor Day doubleheader.
Zach Johnson grabbed the feature win on Saturday night, besting the field in the 25-lap main event for his fifth victory of the season, with Jeff Wildung taking the flag on Sunday night, holding off a hard-charging Brad Seng on night two. The Sunday night Late Model event was the also the Joe Salner Memorial.
The win was Wildung’s second of the season and the third Salner Memorial win in a row.
Two time national champion Zach Johnson and Late Model rookie of the year candidate Dustin Strand shared the front row for the 27-car, 25-lap feature Saturday night.
Johnson would jump out to an early lead with Strand and Jeff Wildung in tow.
The first caution of the event would fly near lap five for Norm Olson, and on the restart, Johnson jumped to a lead over Strand and Wildung. The three drivers would settle in to their grooves, but most fan’s eyes were glued to the 12s car of Brad Seng as he worked his way to the front.
Seng, who started 13th, cracked the top five near the midway point and set his sights on the lead trio.
Caution would fly over the speedway for contact between Strand and Wildung, which resulted in a Strand spin in turn one.
Track officials determined that Wildung was at fault and he was sent to the rear of the pack, but pulled off due to mechanical issues, ending his night.
Johnson moved into his groove and raced to the lead again and Strand, who was making his first ever visit to the speedway, continued to search for a line to get around Johnson.
Johnson now had Strand and Mike Balcaen on his back bumper for the final restart. Johnson quickly moved to the middle groove, while Strand went to the top side in turn one. Strand would get too high and almost go over the banking, allowing Balcaen and Seng to get by.
Johnson would lead the final two circuits and cruised to a hard fought win.
Sunday night, current NLRA point leader Ricky Weiss and Seng, who sits second in NLRA points, paced the very talented 23-car Late Model field.
At the drop of the green, Weiss was able to clear Seng and gain the early advantage with Jeff Wildung lurking in third. The top three would begin to break away from the field.
The running order would remain the same until lap 14 when Weiss, who was leading, made contact with a lap car and cut a rear tire. After going to the work area, Weiss would tag the end of the field for the restart.
Up front, Seng led Wildung and Shaw to the green. Wildung was able to use the high side of the speedway and gain an advantage on Seng as the field began to shake out. Over the final 11 laps, Seng would try everything in his power to find a line around Wildung but to no avail as Wildung held on for the Salner Memorial win. Wildung also claimed the 2012 track championship with the win.
Saturday night’s Midwest Modified action saw Travis Saurer hold on for his eighth win of the season in the 26-car, 15-lap feature.
Saurer was also able to claim the feature win on Sunday night, wrapping up his second straight speedway point championship, as he bested the 23-car field.
Adam Burrows wasted no time getting to the front of the field in the 16-car Street Stock feature Saturday night, never seriously being challenged and giving him his fourth win of the season at the track. He would finish fourth on Sunday night, and claim the 2012 track title in his first year of full time Viking Speedway competition.
On Sunday, Justin Vogel battled his way past 11 others to capture the flag, working his way from eighth to third in a matter of two laps, then fighting past Mark Blom on the backstretch in lap six.
From there, Vogel would go on to lead the last six laps en route to his third Viking Speedway win of the season.
Wildung held off Jason Thoennes to best the 24-car field in the Modified feature Saturday night to earn his first division win of the season.
Jason Thoennes was able to outrace his brother Josh Sunday night in a 27-car battle to pick up his sixth win of the season.
Travis Saurer was crowned track champion in the class for the second straight season with an eighth place finish.
Cody Lee wasted no time in jumping to the lead from his pole starting spot on Saturday night in the Super Stock division, holding on for an easy win.
On Sunday, rookie Travis Berends held on to claim his first feature victory of the season, outracing the 15-car field.
Jon Stepan was crowned track champion after a seventh place finish in the main event.
For more information on the Fall Classic, visit www.fyemotorsports.com.