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THOMA OUTLASTS MANN EN ROUTE TO GNSS CHECKERS!
By: Eric Huenefeld
For second consecutive July, the Great Northern Sportsman Series (GNSS) brought some of the best Sportsman racers in the Midwest to Rockford Speedway. And for the second consecutive July, Jason Thoma was the man to beat.
The Jefferson Wisconsin native raced from his tenth starting position to the front of the field, outrunning Minnesota racer Dusty Mann for the win in the 40 lap GNSS event which was part of a busy Airgas 'Wild Wednesday' at the legendary quarter mile.
Thoma's road to the front was filled with traffic, as the 2013 GNSS Champion started the race at the back of the ten car starting field. Young Minnesotan Devin Schmidt and Machesney Park resident Brian Meyer led the field to the green flag and as the pack made its way to the second turn, disaster nearly struck. Schmidt and Meyer came together off of the second corner, creating a bottleneck that created a moving hazard for all parties. Ninth place starter Michael Gilomen received the worst of the incident, acquiring front end damage which compromised his radiator, forcing the Nerstrand Minnesota native to the sidelines.
When the race restarted, Meyer slid around Schmidt to inherit the early lead with Mann, who started the race in fourth, closely following behind. In a matter of four laps, Mann was able to wrestle the top spot away from Meyer. As the field battled on, it created a small amount of breathing room for Mann. Soon, Sparta Wisconsin's Chris Weber made the move to second place, thus beginning his challenge for the lead.
Meanwhile, by lap ten, Thoma was inside the top five. By halfway, Thoma had slipped ahead of Weber for the runner up spot, quickly closing to the back of race leader Mann. Over the next ten laps, Thoma and Mann took part in a close-quarters free-for-all for the top spot. Mann maintained his lead by running the top side of the track, with Thoma challenging from the bottom of the speedway. With ten laps remaining, Thoma was able nudge ahead of Mann for the lead. By lap 33, the advantage between first and second extended to a couple car lengths. Thoma stampeded to the finish line first, collecting his second career GNSS win and first of 2014. Mann turned in another solid run with his second place effort. The runner up for Mann was good enough to propel the hard charging Minnesota racer to the GNSS points lead.
Local favorites Chad Smith and Johnny Robinson II also thrilled fans with their late race battle for third. When the checkered flag waved, Smith was able to finish ahead of Robinson, collecting third spot after starting the race in eighth. Robinson was credited with fourth, while pole sitter Devin Schmidt bounced back from a slow start with a fifth place finish.
Arneson tops Great Northern Sportsman MIS Field
From MIS race reports
Twenty-four Great Northern Sportsman Series cars came to the green flag paced by Chris Weber and Matt Lundberg. The caution flag came out on lap 2 when the car of Jason Dunn spun in turn two. Weber maintained his lead after the restart with Lundberg in pursuit. Working his way up through the field was Bill Prietzel who moved into third on lap 5 and was up to challenge Lundberg before the caution flag waved when Tim Coley’s car slowed with a flat tire.
Weber was able to lead for another lap before being overtaken by Prietzel on lap 7 before Michael Gilomen brought out the caution on the backstretch. Prietzel increased his lead on the restart with Weber in second followed by Ryan Goldade, Jake Arneson, and Don Wickstrum. On lap 10 the caution flag came out for an incident on the backstretch that ended Kody Hubred’s night.
Prietzel was off the pace on the restart allowing both Weber and Arneson to take the top two spots. Goldade moved into second on lap 13 and worked his way to the outside of Weber as the two traded paint going down the front stretch as they battled for the lead.
Everything broke loose on lap 15 when Weber and Goldade made contact in turn four sending Goldade spinning and bringing out the caution flag. As a result Weber was sent to the back giving the lead to Arneson followed by Devin Schmidt, Dusty Mann, Mike Taylor, and Chad Smith.
Arneson continued to lead after the restart as the top five remained the same. Despite another caution flag for a spin, Arneson was able to maintain his advantage and make his first-ever visit to MIS a good one as he picked up the win. Schmidt finished second followed by Mann, Taylor and Jason Thoma.
Chris Weber and Don Wickstrum won the six lap dash races. Michael Gilomen and Rick Johnson won the eight lap qualifying heats.
SCHMIDT PICKS UP WHERE HE LEFT OFF, WINS GNSS OPENER
The Great Northern Sportsman Series (GNSS) presented by Dean’s Sattelite opened their second season on Memorial Day at Columbus 151 Speedway and in many ways, the new season started the same the old season ended.
A constant threat of rain hung over race day in Columbus on Monday, eerily similar to the threat of rain that hampered the series’ final race of 2013 at LaCrosse Fairgrounds Speedway. And much like last year’s final race at LaCrosse, Devin Schmidt was the driver to beat in the 40 lap feature event.
When the checkered flag flew Monday afternoon, the young driver from Belle Plaine Minnesota was tops among the 15 racers from three states, pocketing his second straight GNSS win.
Another Minnesota racer, Michael Gilomen, lead the field to green and took the initial lead. Schmidt, along with Johnny Robinson II, trailed Gilomen in the races early paces. The first caution flag of the day was displayed on lap eight, bringing the field together. On the restart, Schmidt worked inside of Robinson for the second position, setting his sights on the race lead.
The second caution was displayed on lap 13 and on the following restart, Gilomen was challenged by Schmidt for the lead. Along with Gilomen and Schmidt, fast qualifier Steven Sauer also challenged for the top spot after taking the high side on a ‘cone restart.’ Schmidt’s challenge eventually earned him the lead on lap 15, while Sauer’s high side gamble came up snake eyes.
Soon after Gilomen fell back to second, Sparta Wisconsin racer Chris Weber challenged for the runner up position. Weber inherited second and kicked Gilomen back to third. The final caution came on lap 27, giving the field one last chance at advancement. Schmidt and Weber broke away, battling for the lead while was Gilomen now occupied with Dusty Mann. Mann blasted past Gilomen late, taking yet another spot away from the pole sitter.
Schmidt guided the field after that final yellow, racing to the checkers ahead of Weber. The win was Schmidt’s second GNSS win, while the runner up was Weber’s best career GNSS finish. Mann ended the race in third, with Gilomen fourth. Steven Sauer ended a roller coaster day in fifth position.
(Thanks to Charlie Spry for his help and contributions to this report)
GREAT NORTHERN SPORTSMAN SERIES OPENS NEW SEASON AT A NEW VENUE!
By: Eric Huenefeld
As the Great Northern Sportsman Series (GNSS) presented by Dean’s Satellite opens its second season, it will do so on a track it has never before competed on.
This Monday afternoon May 26, the region’s top Sportsman racers will converge on Columbus 151 Speedway, the tight quarter mile located northeast of Madison Wisconsin, to begin a new season of action and competition.
Last year, Jason Thoma was christened the first ever GNSS champion. Thoma, the Jefferson Wisconsin native, collected three Quick Qualifier Awards and one race win on his way to the inaugural GNSS crown. Thoma’s stellar 2013 also featured a runner up points finish at his home track, Jefferson (WI) Speedway. So far in 2014, Thoma leads the Sportsman standings at Jefferson and plans to be at Columbus on Memorial Day, defending his GNSS championship.
As far as Columbus experience goes, Steven Sauer will be a driver to watch Monday. The Waterloo Wisconsin resident has been a regular contender in the Street Stock division at Columbus 151 over the last several seasons. In 2013, Sauer collected more Fast Times than any other Street Stock racer at Columbus and finished second in final point standings. On a track where experience means everything, Sauer could be a serious contender.
Then there’s the ‘Minnesota Invasion,’ featuring a multitude of Minnesota racers who plan on contending for the 2014 GNSS Championship. Leading the way is Belle Plaine Minnesota’s Devin Schmidt, winner of the final GNSS race of 2013 during Oktoberfest Race Weekend at LaCrosse Fairgrounds Speedway. Following Schmidt to Columbus will be Michael Gilomen (Nerstrand Minnesota) and Dillon Sellner (Farmington Minnesota) All three racers are regulars in the always competitive Thunder Car class at Elko (MN) Speedway and will likely be in the mix at each GNSS event they enter.
These drivers and many more will be part of the show this Monday May 26 at Columbus 151 Speedway. The Great Northern Sportsman Series will run in support of the Big 8 Late Model Series presented by Gandrud Chevrolet Monday afternoon, completing their day with a 40 lap feature event. Also appearing on the busy holiday card will be the four-cylinder ‘Bandit Blast’ and the Back Up Cars, a Columbus 151 Speedway staple.
Spectator gates open Monday at Noon, with time trials set to begin at 12:30 PM. Racing begins at 2 PM, with a full slate of preliminaries and feature races for the Big 8 Late Models, GNSS and Bandits plus the ‘wild n crazy’ Back Up Race . Adult general admission tickets are $15, Children ages 6-10 are $5 with kids ages 5 and under admitted free.
Columbus 151 Speedway is located northeast of Madison on US 151 at Exit 111 between Columbus and Sun Prairie. For more information on Columbus 151 Speedway, please visit www.columbus151.com or call 920-623-4393.
WEHRS MACHINE & RACING PRODUCTS REWARDS GREAT NORTHERN SPORTSMAN SERIES FAST QUALIFIERS!
By: Eric Huenefeld
Beginning this season, the racers of the Great Northern Sportsman Series (GNSS) will have some added incentive to go faster.
When the GNSS takes to the track Memorial Day Monday May 26 at Columbus (WI) 151 Speedway, the first official event of the new season will be Time Trials, now supported by Wehrs Machine & Racing Products.
The Bangor Wisconsin based business will present ‘Wehrs Machine & Racing Products Time Trials’ at each Great Northern Sportsman Series event. The fastest qualifier at each GNSS race will receive a $50 Certificate courtesy of Wehrs Machine & Racing Products.
Wehrs Machine & Racing Products was founded in June of 1997 and has evolved into one of the premier racing products companies in the country, with over 40 unique Wehr’s ‘original design items’ available to dirt and asphalt racers.
For more information on Wehrs Machine and Racing Products, please visit their website www.wehrsmachine.com or call (877)460-7211.
DEAN’S SATELLITE TO BECOME PRESENTING SPONSOR OF THE GREAT NORTHERN SPORTSMAN SERIES!
By: Eric Huenefeld
Great Northern Sportsman Series Director Greg Oliver announced today that Dean’s Satellite of Sparta Wisconsin has signed on to become presenting sponsor of the second year racing series. Effective immediately, the series is now known as the ‘Great Northern Sportsman Series presented by Dean’s Satellite.’
Dean’s Satellite is a local DIRECTV, DISH and Exede Satellite Internet Retailer based out of Sparta, WI with a second location in La Crosse, WI. Dean’s Satellite was named the 2011 DIRECTV National Dealer of the Year, topping over 2500 stores nationwide to claim that honor.
“As we continue to expand our service area, partnering with Great Northern Sportsman Series just made sense for us to help get our name out, while also supporting a growing series,” stated Dean’s Satellite owner Dean Pennel. “We are excited to see all the fans, teams and competitors out at the track in 2014.”
Dean’s Satellite plans on having a presence at each Great Northern Sportsman Series event in 2014. Look for the Dean’s Satellite booth on the concourse at tracks along the Great Northern Sportsman Series trail. Representatives will be on site, ready to talk with race fans and potential customers while showing off the great programming provided by Dean’s Satellite.
For more information on Dean’s Satellite be sure to visit them online at www.deansdish.com and make sure to “Like” them on Facebook.
The Great Northern Sportsman Series presented by Dean’s Satellite kicks off its second season Monday afternoon May 26 at Columbus 151 Speedway northeast of Madison Wisconsin. The 2014 schedule features five races at four tracks while also including three weekends of “Home Track” points racing. For more information in the Great Northern Sportsman Series, please visit www.greatnorthernsportsman.com.
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