Gustin wins 4th Annual Rivercity Rumble at Mississippi Thunder Speedway
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July 6, 2012  |  by Dan Bailey

FOUNTAIN CITY, Wis. -- In addition to the five 32-inch flat screen TVs and hundreds of dollars in cash prizes, gas cards, bicycles, t-shirts and water-balloon tosses, the 4th Annual Rivercity Rumble, presented by Rivercity Manufacturing & Machining and R & R Machining, provided race fans with some excellent on-track action as over 120 racers battled for their share of an almost $30,000 potential purse at Mississippi Thunder Speedway.

With a starting field of 28 Rivercity Manufacturing USRA Modifieds, the $4000-to-win Rivercity Rumble main event proved all the pre-race hype about the event was true. A great turnout of local and traveling racers hit the high-banks with the flying of the green flag; and much to the delight of local race fans, it was a local racer leading the opening salvo of laps.

Starting from the outside of the front row, weekly racer Hank Rollinger Jr. led the field into the first turn and held that same position for the first seven laps. Rollinger’s familiar red Fastenal #59 ran the high groove lap after lap, holding off several challenges from pole sitter Brad Waits who focused on the low groove until finally taking over the top spot on the eighth circuit of the 1/3-mile dirt track.

Waits remained out front just long enough to claim the $300 mid-race leader bonus on lap 15, before relinquishing the top spot to Marshalltown, Iowa’s Ryan Gustin. Gustin, who started from the outside of the third row, used the opening 15 laps to work his way through the front of the field before grabbing the lead on lap 16 and holding on until the checkered flag.

But, it was no easy task for Gustin claiming the victory. As the leaders moved into the final laps of the feature, Rodney Sanders of Happy, Texas, was slowly but steadily gaining on the race leader. Still far enough behind Gustin to be an immediate threat for the lead, Sanders needed a little help which arrived in the closing laps as Gustin caught the tail end cars on the lead lap and started tip-toeing through lapped traffic.

This allowed Sanders to continue reeling in the #19r of Gustin, but it was too little too late and Gustin held on for the win and the big payday.

“I didn’t know if the lapped cars were going to play into the finish or not,” said Gustin after the win, “but this car was really running well I was able to get through there with no real problem at all for the win.”

Despite having to settle for second, Sanders seemed pleased with the finish and the race.

“It took me a little longer to work through the field, and I think I was catching Ryan, but he was strong and I just ran out of laps,” Sanders said. “It was a lot of fun out there, this track was awesome tonight; I kept waiting for it to rubber up and it never did.”

After slipping back as deep as fourth in the running order, Rollinger was able to pass Waits and hold on for a strong third place finish.

Fourth heat race winner Zack VanderBeek also got by Waits to finish fourth, with Waits holding on to complete the top 5.

Keith Foss proved that there was plenty of action throughout the entire field by picking up the $300 Hard Charger bonus, moving from a starting position of 22nd up to a 12th place finishing spot.


Any way you look at it, it was a huge payday for 15-year-old Jacob Bleess. Patiently waiting through several attempts at a start of the 25-lap USRA B-Mod feature, Bleess never let the false starts rattle him; each time the green flag would waive, his EZ Fabricating #21 would jump from the pole position and quickly rocket away from the rest of the 26-car field.

“It was really tough. I kind of got frustrated after a while,” Bleess said. “It got pretty warm in the car. I really wanted things to get going.”

And get going he did, as he led flag-to-flag in convincing fashion to win the feature and collect the $1,700 pay for the trip to victory lane.

Mississippi Thunder Speedway’s 2012 season continues next Friday night, July 13, with the first green flag appearance of the Bumper To Bumper IRA Outlaw Sprint Cars! On-track action begins at 7 p.m. wih a complete program from the River City Manufacturing USRA Modifieds, Coordinated Business Systems WISSOTA Super Stocks, The Engine Store USRA B-Mods, Jailhouse Saloon WISSOTA Street Stocks, & REDBOX+ 600 Mods.

For more details, visit the official Mississippi Thunder Speedway website at

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American Racer USRA Weekly Racing Series
Mississippi Thunder Speedway, Fountain City, Wis.
Friday, July 6, 2012


Heat #1: 1. Bob Timm, 2. Mick Glenn, 3. Doug Herrick, 4. Les Duellman, 5. Nate Wasmund, 6. Jay Ihrke, 7. Dan Hesch.

Heat #2: 1. Josh Angst, 2. Ryan Gustin, 3. Lucas Schott, 4. Rodney Sanders, 5. Eric Pember, 6. Lance Hofer, 7. Don Schaefer.

Heat #3: 1. Brent Larson, 2. Hank Rollinger Jr., 3. Troy Hovey, 4. Mark Teske, 5. Nick Herrick, 6. Keith Foss, 7. Don Gerritsen.

Heat #4: 1. Zack Vanderbeek, 2. Kelly Shryock, 3. Brad Waits, 4. John Doelle, 5. Chris Gilbertson, 6. Jake Timm, 7. Luke Schilling.

Feature: 1. Ryan Gustin, 2. Rodney Sanders, 3. Hank Rollinger Jr., 4. Zack Vanderbeek, 5. Brad Waits, 6. Lucas Schott, 7. Bob Timm, 8. Brent Larson, 9. Mark Teske, 10. Kelly Shryock, 11. Nate Wasmund, 12. Keith Foss, 13. Eric Pember, 14. John Doelle, 15. Troy Hovey, 16. Doug Herrick, 17. Jake Timm, 18. Luke Schilling, 19. Lance Hofer, 20. Chris Gilbertson, 21. Nick Herrick, 22. Don Gerritsen, 23. Josh Angst, 24. Dan Hesch, 25. Don Schaefer, 26. Mick Glenn, 27. Les Duellman, 28. Jay Ihrke.


Heat #1: 1. Kylie Kath, 2. Cory Crapser, 3. Jay Clark, 4. Lee Jonsgaard, 5. Josh Crary, 6. Jack Baehman, 7. Dean Pronschinske, 8. Taylor Ausrud, 9. Brandon Reutzel.

Heat #2: 1. Tyler Droste, 2. Jacob Bleess, 3. Jared Boumeester, 4. Troy Langowski, 5. Alex Williamson, 6. Tyler Creeley, 7. Scott Demmer, 8. Scott Guthrie, 9. Josh Appel.

Heat #3: 1. Jenae Gustin, 2. Erik Kanz, 3. Ben Moudry, 4. Shaun Walski, 5. Brady Keefe, 6. Kevin Joachim, 7. Mike Jaeger, 8. Matt Appel.

Feature: 1. Jacob Bleess, 2. Kylie Kath, 3. Cory Crapser, 4. Tyler Droste, 5. Jared Boumeester, 6. Alex Williamson, 7. Erik Kanz, 8. Jay Clark, 9. Jenae Gustin, 10. Brandon Reutzel, 11. Josh Crary, 12. Jack Baehman, 13. Matt Appel, 14. Josh Appel, 15. Kevin Joachim, 16. Brady Keefe, 17. Troy Langowski, 18. Dean Pronschinske, 19. Taylor Ausrud, 20. Ben Moudry, 21. Scott Guthrie, 22. Scott Demmer, 23. Tyler Creeley, 24. Mike Jaeger, 25. Shaun Walski, 26. Lee Jonsgaard.

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