Bemidji Speedway: Hauber, Reed capture first feature races
On the track, two first-time winners were crowned — Mod Four driver Fran Hauber and Midwest Modified driver Ron Reed.
Next week the track will host the third of the four Pure Stock Challenge races. Also, the Race of Champions winners will be crowned in the Wissota divisions with winners punching their ticket to the Wissota 100 race later this fall in South Dakota.
Track conditions were universally praised Sunday night by drivers and fans as being smooth and fast. Only two caution flags were needed to get through all the heat races but coming out of turn four in the Mini Stock feature Josh Berg slid sideways and hit the inside berm and rolled his mini stock onto its roof. Track personnel rushed to the scene and got Berg out of his car and the tow truck towed it to the pits.
To everyone’s surprise, Berg returned to the track to a thunderous applause tailback and resumed the race. With the green flag once again waving, Jenny Watrud was on the gas and passed several cars to take the lead on an inside pass of John Hadrava.Watrud maintained the lead the rest of the way while Hadrava, Berg, Ev Barrett, and Mitch Uselman took top five honors.
Jess Geesey and Fran Hauber Raced side-by-side for the first lap but Hauber eventually seized control of the lead. Hauber was being chased by Dean Larson but each time Hauber would return to the lead coming into the straightaways. The top three cars were running bumper to bumper and late in the race Conrad Schwinn got around Jerry Esler for third. Hauber took the checkered flag and rolled into Victory Lane for the first time. Larson, Schwinn, Esler and Geesey held the top five spots.
Dalton Carlson took the early lead but later Matt Sparby made the pass on the back straight and starting looking ahead for Carlson. Making up some ground with each lap Sparby just ran out of time in catching Carlson out in front. Carlson held on to take the checkered flag but was disqualified in the tech inspection after the race. Sparby was awarded the win with Blake Higginbotham, Kyle Oman, Gary James Nelson, Nathan Higginbotham and Keith Keena trailing.
Ron Reed has looked very fast in recent weeks and quickly took the lead before the first caution flag was thrown for a hard crash involving Skyler Smith and Gary James Nelson on the back straight. Both cars had to be towed to the pits. The restart again was controlled by Reed and he maintained the lead through another caution and restart. Following one last caution and restart Reed and Bret Schmidt battled door-to-door for the last couple of laps and Reed won his first ever feature by a nose. Schmidt took a close second with Tim Jackson, Weston Ramsrud and John Halvorson in the top five. A fantastic race that had the fans standing and applauding.
With heavy dark clouds forming to the south, west and north Kevin Baumgarner took the lead only to have Al Sadek overtake him for a short time. Baumgarner, however, came storming back, regained the lead and held it the rest of the way. Sadek was second with Josh Berg, Austin Carlson and Chad Puschinsky in the top five.
Mini Stock Feature – Jenny Watrud, John Hadrava, Josh Berg, Ev Barrett, Mitch Uselman, Brodey Kropuenske,
Heat 1 – J. Watrud, N. Feda, E. Barrett, J. Hadrava, J. Berg
Wissota Mod Four Feature – Fran Hauber, Dean Larson, Conrad Schwinn, Jerry Esler, Jess Geesey, Mike Margl, Tonja Stranger, Josh Seeleye
Heat 1 – J. Esler, D. Larson, J. Geesey, F. Hauber, C. Schwinn
Wissota Super Stock Feature – Matt Sparby, Blake Higginbotham, Kyle Oman, Gary James Nelson, Nathan Higginbotham, Keith Keena, Dalton Carlson DQ’d
Heat 1 – N. Higginbotham, D. Carlson, G. J. Nelson, B. Higginbotham, K. Keena
Wissota Midwest Modified Feature – Ron Reed, Bret Schmidt, Tim Jackson, Weston Ramsrud, John Halvorson, Ron Saurer, Trent Dyrdahl, Brandon Bahr, Lon Vettleson, Jamie Norman, Alex Johnson, Jerad Lene, Davey Mills, Tyler McClellan, Skyler Smith, Gary James Nelson.
Heat 1 – J. Norman, S. Smith, R. Saurer, B. Schmidt, G. J. Nelson
Heat 2 – D. Mills, J. Halvorson, W. Ramsrud, L. Vettleson, B. Bahr
Heat 3 – T. Jackson, R. Reed, J. Lene, T. McClellan, A. Johnson
Pure Stock Feature – Kevin Baumgarner, Al Sadek, Josh Berg, Austin Carlson, Chad Puschinsky, Al Sadek Jr., Chad Tabaka, Sterling Knaeble, Bill Chaboyea, Harley Kroening, Tyler Kroening
Heat 1 – C. Puschinsky, C. Tabaka, H. Kroening, A. Carlson, T. Kroening
Heat 2 – K. Baumgarner, A. Sadek Jr., Al Sadek Sr., J. Berg, B. Chaboyea