The thunder in the northland Sunday night wasn't due to anything in the atmosphere, it was coming from ground level as Bemidji Speedway opened its 2010 racing season. A terrific opening night field of around 60 cars literally tore up the track as early season racing pounded the moisture from under the track surface creating tacky but rough driving conditions. Many familiar faces were back and many new drivers in various classes made first appearances and if last night was any indication of things to come it should be a very exciting summer at Bemidji Speedway.
Next Sunday the Wissota Streets will join the field of Wissota Super stocks, Wissota Midwest Modifieds, Wissota Mod Fours, Pure Stocks and Minis on the ¼-mile high-banked oval. New flag man at the speedway will be thirteen year flag veteran Mike Huber who told the racers in the pit meeting that races will start promptly at 5:PM next Sunday.
Mini Stock Feature:
Nine mini stocks came on track for the first feature of the new season with Andy Hanson on the pole and John Aderman outside. Aderman took the lead and led most of the race until getting tangled up lapping slower cars and then gave way to Don Kolkin who charged up from his second row outside start to take the lead and pick up his first win of 2010. Aderman, Joe Doti, Tim Barrett and Billy Foster made up the top five.'
Pure Stock Feature:
A fine early season field of pure stocks were led on track by Chad Puschinsky making his return to racing after several years on the pole. To his right in the red #69 was Mark Glynn. After the first lap was in the books it was Glynn in the lead with Corbin Finley racing up in to second with Puschinsky, Keith Koski and Wade Schmidt trailing. Finley powered up high in the first turn and took the lead while Schmidt slowed and pulled into the pits. Sadie Niemela raced into fifth and was in the thick of the action looking determined to make a good show. Puschinsky and Bill Chaboyea dueled for a lap for third with Puschinsky ultimately taking the spot. As the race came to the white flag lap and Finley coming out of turn four ready to take the checkered flag his car went up flames. Finley pulled into the infield where track personnel extinguished the flames. The race resumed with Glynn retaking the lead and picking up the checkered flag. Niemela picked up second with Puschinsky, Chaboyea, and rookie driver Don Scholler fifth.
Wissota Mod Four Feature:
In a class that was hurting for numbers last year the Wissota Mod Fours came on track with eleven racers led on track by Tom Sabraski and Fran Hauber. Sabraski powered his mini mod into the first turn and the lead followed by the always very fast Conrad Schwinn from his second row outside start. The two were followed down the back straight by Corry VanMill, Hauber and Kevin Bahr in the top five. Sabraski and Schwinn pulled out to a multi car length lead over the closest competitor to create a two car battle for the lead. In the three-four corner Schwinn raced into the lead and never looked back. Several cautions created opportunities for Sabraski to race alongside the leader but Schwinn held his position and picked up the early season win. VanMill, Bahr and Mike Margl took the top five positions.
Wissota Midwest Modified Feature:
The largest field of cars was the Midwest Modifieds with twenty one cars coming on track for the feature. National point contender last year Dan Ebert was on the pole with Ryan Schow outside. The first lap was led by Ebert with Shane Sabraski, Al Sadek, Lance Schill and Ricky Jacobson holding the top five spots. An early caution for a four car slide sent several cars to the pits for repairs. The restart was short lived with another caution brought out by flag man Mike Huber. Brian Kakela had worked his way up into the contention passing several cars to take over third as the top five of Ebert, Sabraski, Kakela, Jacobson and John Halverson pulled away from the field. Tim Carlson brought out the caution flag once again with a retaining wall slide down the front straight. On the restart Sabraski and Kakela dueled with Kakela taking over second. Another caution slowed the action and set up a green, white, checkered finish. With Ebert holding the lead followed by Kakela, Sabraski, Jacobson, and Halverson all in contention. A mad dash down the front straight with lots of bumping and grinding of sheet metal Ebert once again held onto his slim lead and picked up the hard fought win. He was followed across the line by Kakela, who was later DQ'd moving Halverson up to second. Sabraski, Jacobson, and Sadek made up the top five finishers in the wild and crazy race which started with twenty one cars and ended with only ten on track. A side note to the feature was the first appearance of rookie Nichole Davis in the bookmobile car. Starting in the back she quickly got a feel for the car and the speed and raced into the middle pack area looking very comfortable in the B-mod. But a late spin dropped her back to the tail end of the field late in the race. Not a bad start.
Wissota Super Stock Feature:
A small field of just five super stocks came on track for the final event of the night led by Dave Shipley and Andy Davey. At the green flag Davey powered his car in to the lead and quickly put distance between himself the Shipley in second. Rookie super stock driver Dalton Carlson moving up from the ranks of the pure stocks was in third with Brian Bernotas and Jerry Davis trailing. Carlson and Bernotas dueled early for third with the pressure pushing Carlson up into contention with second place Shipley. But Carlson spun in turn two bringing out the caution flag for the first time in the race. The restart had Davey out front with Shipley, Bernotas, Davis and Carlson in order. Davis charged hard on the inside passing Bernotas for third but then slid up high in turn one and stalled again bringing out the caution flag. At this point in the race it was all Davey in the lead with Carlson, Shipley, Bernotas and Davis flip flopping positions behind him. The final lap and the checkered flag waved for Davey with Bernotas, Shipley, Carlson and Davey trailing in order to end the first night of racing at Bemidji Speedway.
Feature - Don Kolkin, John Aderman, Joe Doti, Tim Barrett, Billy Foster, Leahna Barrett, Becky Barrett, Andy Hanson, Jordan Thayer
Heat 1 - D. Kolkin, J. Aderman, J. Doti, B. Foster, L. Barrett
Feature - Mark Glynn, Sadie Niemela, Chad Puschinsky, Bill Chaboyea, Don Scholler, Keith Koski, Mike Johnson, Joel Harvey, Corbin Finley, Wade Schmidt
Heat 1 - B. Chaboyea, C. Finley, M. Glynn, S. Niemela, M. Johnson
Heat 2 - J. Harvey, W. Schmidt, K Koski, C. Puschinsky, D. Scholler
Wissota Mod Four
Feature - Conrad Schwinn, Tom Sabraski, Corry VanMill, Kevin Bahr, Mike Margl, Brandon Bahr, Ross Mead, Darrin Lawler, Tommy Mcgough, Fran Hauber
Heat 1 - C. VanMill, B. Bahr, F. Hauber, D. Lawler, M. Margl
Heat 2 - T. Sabraski, C. Schwinn, K. Bahr, T. McGough, R. Mead
Wissota Midwest Modified
Feature - Dan Ebert, John Halvorson, Shane Sabraski, Rick Jacobson, Al Sadek, Matt Fullerton, Travis Krumrei, Jason Davis, Skyler Smith, Nichole Davis,
Heat 1 - R. Jacobson, A. Sadek, R. Schow, J. Halverson, T. Krumrei
Heat 2 - L. Schill, T. Carlson, J. Davis, T. Modin, R. Stenberg
Heat 3 - S. Sabraski, D. Ebert, R. Kakela, S. Smith, C. Dudley
Wissota Super Stock
Feature - Andy Davey, Brian Bernotas, Dave Shipley, Dalton Carlson, Jerry Davis
Heat 1 - A. Davey, B. Bernotas, J. Davis, D. Carlson, D. Shipley