Schott, Bleess winners in Mississippi Thunder Speedway season opener
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April 25, 2014  |  by Dan Bailey

FOUNTAIN CITY, Wis. -- Blue sky, sunshine and a fast smooth race track ... what more could the racing community ask for as the 2014 season kicked off with the sixth annual season opener at the Mississippi Thunder Speedway on Friday, April 25.

The racers were ready, the fans were ready and the on-track action did not disappoint. While fans used opening night to make a return pilgrimage to the track, several racers used the night to make return pilgrimages to victory lane.

After touring successfully in 2013 with the highly competitive United States Modified Touring Series, 2012 Rivercity Manufacturing USRA Modified track champion Lucas Schott made a triumphant return to regular weekly competition with a commanding clean sweep of the evening’s top division. Piloting his Schott’s Hardwood Floors #69 with smooth and precise determination, the young Chatfield, Minn., racer bested the top local talent, winning both the evening’s opening heat as well as the feature event in convincing fashion.

With a starting position on the inside of the second row many might think that Schott’s move to the front was a simple single-lap move. Not so. Front row starters Mick Glenn and Steve Wetzstein spent the opening three laps battling for the top spot, with Glenn leading all three before giving way to Wetzstein and Schott.

Schott’s calm and calculated driving which has earned him the nickname “Cool Hand Luke” was on full display for the filled grandstands as he spent the next three laps sizing up Wetzstein and putting forth a consistent challenge before grabbing the lead on lap 7 and never looking back.

Schott brought second heat race winner Brandon Davis with him around Wetzstein, and many thought Davis would quickly pounce on Schott with a battle royal for the win, but Davis never quite developed the challenge.

“Great way to start the season here at MTS,” said Schott after climbing from behind the wheel in victory lane. “I knew (Davis) was coming and lapped traffic was going to be there near the end.”

Schott and Davis were able to weave through a couple of cars on the tail end of the lead lap, but they never really factored into the outcome. Several efforts by Davis gave the crowd a glimpse of what might have been, but Schott was not to be denied as he opened his 2014 season with a performance very reminiscent of his 2012 dominance to grab the feature win.

Davis, who had started on the outside of the third row, completed the 25-lap feature in second with Wetzstein holding on for third.

BLEESS BACKS UP 2013 CHAMPIONSHIP WITH USRA B-MOD WIN

Jacob Bleess wrapped up 2013 with a Mississippi Thunder Speedway track championship, and then was able to enjoy the achievement through the long snowy off-season. But Friday night it was back to work behind the wheel for the Chatfield, Minn., youngster and just like last season, the challengers for the top spot were many and strong.

Starting outside of the third row, Bleess was like a tiger stalking his prey. As Alex Williamson jumped from the outside of the first row to lead the first five laps, Bleess was hunting from behind. At first, Bleess battled with Shaun Walski and Ryan Konkel to break into the top five. On lap 6, Bleess was able to work past both Williamson and Jon Van Minsel to take the lead. Over the remaining 12 laps, Bleess and Van Minsel opened up an almost three-second advantage over the rest of the field, and while Van Minsel was close, the half-second advantage Bleess had was too much to overcome.

“He’s such a fast and consistent driver,” said Van Minsel about Bleess and the race for the lead. “Fun racing up front with him, but he’s a great racer.”

Bleess knew that one of the early race restarts after a caution was the turning point in the event for him.

“I knew on the restart there was a good chance to go around (Williamson),” Bleess said. “He was low and I went high. Once I got out front, I started on top and moved to the bottom.”

Williamson held off Walski for third.

Racing resumes next Friday night, May 2, with another evening of exciting regular season entertainment. The first green flag is scheduled to wave immediately following the 7 p.m. opening ceremonies with on-track competition provided by Rivercity Manufacturing USRA Modifieds, Black Horse Bar & Grill USRA B-Mods, Coordinated Business Systems WISSOTA Super Stocks, Jailhouse Saloon WISSOTA Street Stocks, REDBOX+ 600 Mods and Elmer's Auto Salvage Pure Stocks.

The pit gate and grandstands open at 5 p.m. Family friendly general admission prices continue adults $12, seniors $10, all students (including college with current valid student ID) and children 17 and younger are admitted absolutely free.

Mississippi Thunder Speedway is located 3.0 miles north of Fountain City on Wisconsin Highway 35. For more information, call 608-687-3282 or visit www.MississippiThunder.com on the World Wide Web.

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OFFICIAL RESULTS
United States Racing Association
USRA Weekly Racing Series
Mississippi Thunder Speedway, Fountain City, Wis.
Friday, April 25, 2014

USRA MODIFIEDS

Heat #1:
1. (6) 69 Lucas Schott, Chatfield, Minn.
2. (2) 90 Steve Wetzstein, West Concord, Minn.
3. (7) 24 Brad Waits, Rochester, Minn.
4. (3) 94JR John Doelle, Arcadia, Wis.
5. (5) 18 Mick Glenn, Minnesota City, Minn.
6. (1) 59X Bob Sammann
7. (4) 44 Alan Wagner

Heat #2:
1. (2) 50III Brandon Davis, Medford, Minn.
2. (1) 4A Joel Alberts, Mantorville, Minn.
3. (4) 11 Lance Hofer, Cochrane, Wis.
4. (7) 99 Josh Angst, Winona, Minn.
5. (6) 49X Jake Timm, Winona, Minn.
6. (3) 97 Bob Fort, Fountain City, Wis.
7. (5) 77 Tom Brink, Winona, Minn.

Feature:
1. (3) 69 Lucas Schott, Chatfield, Minn.
2. (5) 50III Brandon Davis, Medford, Minn.
3. (1) 90 Steve Wetzstein, West Concord, Minn.
4. (7) 4A Joel Alberts, Mantorville, Minn.
5. (6) 24 Brad Waits, Rochester, Minn.
6. (10) 99 Josh Angst, Winona, Minn.
7. (9) 11 Lance Hofer, Cochrane, Wis.
8. (8) 49X Jake Timm, Winona, Minn.
9. (2) 18 Mick Glenn, Minnesota City, Minn.
10. (4) 94JR John Doelle, Arcadia, Wis.
11. (14) 77 Tom Brink, Winona, Minn.
12. (11) 59X Bob Sammann
13. (13) 44 Alan Wagner
14. (12) 97 Bob Fort, Fountain City, Wis.

USRA B-MODS

Heat #1:
1. (2) 12K Casey Knutson, Spring Grove, Minn.
2. (6) 85 Ben Moudry, Cottage Grove, Minn.
3. (1) 44 Brandon Reutzel, Winona, Minn.
4. (5) 95X Shaun Walski, Winona, Minn.
5. (3) 97X Bob Fort, Fountain City, Wis.
6. (4) 48K Scott Kunda
7. (7) 20K Kyle Brown, Minnesota City, Minn.

Heat #2:
1. (1) 14M Brian Mahlstedt, Ionia, Iowa
2. (2) 23K Erik Kanz, Winona, Minn.
3. (4) 15W Alex Williamson, Rushford, Minn.
4. (7) 16 Dan Hovden, Decorah, Iowa
5. (3) 35X Phillip Dunbar, Rushford, Minn.
6. (6) 00R Chad Rosendahl
7. (5) 83 Josh Malchaski, Fountain City, Wis.

Heat #3:
1. (2) 21 Jacob Bleess, Chatfield, Minn.
2. (5) 1 Jon Van Minsel, Spring Grove, Minn.
3. (4) 39 Ben Anderson, Winona, Minn.
4. (3) 13 Ryan Konkel, Winona, Minn.
5. (1) 2 Andrew Bleess, Chatfield, Minn.
6. (6) 20J Jackson Hale

Feature:
1. (6) 21 Jacob Bleess, Chatfield, Minn.
2. (4) 1 Jon Van Minsel, Spring Grove, Minn.
3. (2) 15W Alex Williamson, Rushford, Minn.
4. (3) 95X Shaun Walski, Winona, Minn.
5. (12) 39 Ben Anderson, Winona, Minn.
6. (1) 16 Dan Hovden, Decorah, Iowa
7. (7) 44 Brandon Reutzel, Winona, Minn.
8. (13) 97X Bob Fort, Fountain City, Wis.
9. (8) 23K Erik Kanz, Winona, Minn.
10. (9) 85 Ben Moudry, Cottage Grove, Minn.
11. (11) 12K Casey Knutson, Spring Grove, Minn.
12. (19) 20K Kyle Brown, Minnesota City, Minn.
13. (10) 14M Brian Mahlstedt, Ionia, Iowa
14. (14) 35X Phillip Dunbar, Rushford, Minn.
15. (17) 00R Chad Rosendahl
16. (5) 13 Ryan Konkel, Winona, Minn.
17. (18) 20J Jackson Hale
18. (16) 48K Scott Kunda
19. (15) 2 Andrew Bleess, Chatfield, Minn.
20. (20) 83 Josh Malchaski, Fountain City, Wis.



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