Waits wins Guttormson Memorial
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June 15, 2007  |  by Matthew Grage

LANSING, Minn. -- Third time was the charm as the twice-postponed 10th Annual Mike Guttormson Memorial was finally run Friday night at Chateau Raceway powered by Husqvarna in Lansing. The track ran four of its normal six classes for the special show, plus had the added attraction of the Northern Vintage Stock Cars on hand for the special night of racing. The pits were full and so were the grandstands for the event which featured extra purse money in all classes with the big $1,000-to-win check on the line for the USRA Modifieds.

With 26 of the USRA Modifieds on hand there was no doubt there was going to be plenty of action.  Of the four different drivers who have won the previous Guttormson Memorial events, the only former champion on hand was Todd Scharkey of Kasson.   Scharkey owns five of the previous nine wins with victories in 1999, 2000, 2002, 2004 and 2005, but if he was going to get a sixth win he was going to have to do it against some of the best Southern Minnesota had to offer.

Mark Noble of Blooming Prairie, the current track record speed holder was on hand one night after claiming the $1,000-to-win USRA Modified portion of the Gopher 50 Thursday night, as was the track's previous feature winners on the season: Steve Wetzstein of West Concord, Tommy Myer of Blooming Prairie, Alan Mondus of Lakeville and Brad Waits of Zumbrota, who had a dominating feature win one week earlier.

Features for the class normally run 24 laps, but for the Guttormson Memorial it was upped to 25 laps for the night on the 1/3-mile oval. Twenty-five laps comes out to 8.3 miles, and Guttormson's car number was 83, so it seemed only fitting to add the extra lap.

After four very exciting and fast heat races, which were won by Steve Arpin of Fort Frances, Ont.; Wetzstein; Tyler Rubin of Grand Meadow; and Joey Galloway of Emo, Ont., there was no doubt the main event was going to be exciting.   The consy event for the class saw several mechanical failures, and when the race ended Myer took the checkers and all the cars that were able to finish the race made the feature lineup.  Origianlly just the top four where scheduled to advance but when it was announced Wetzstein, whose car was smoking  badly as he won his heat, was not going to be able to make the line up the fifth place car from the consy, Dennis Hillson of Blooming Prairie was added to make the scheduled 20-car feature lineup complete.

Drivers came up to speed quickly at the drop of the green for the feature and some bumping and grinding in the back of the field lead to a quick caution before a lap could be completed.  The second attempt to start the race didn't fair any better as this time, Joe Wernecke of Dodge Center who started in row two went around in the front of the field bringing out another caution before a lap was completed.  He and Tyler Clark of Rochester both ended up in the pits as the field was reset for a third attempt to start the race.

With two quick cautions like that folks had to be wondering if this was going to be a caution filled race with lots of twisted sheet metal and carnage.  But to the contrary when the green flew the third time it stayed out for the rest of the night as the field worked Eight-Point-Three Miles, Twenty-Five laps of exciting non stop racing action.

Brad Waits jumped from the pole to the point immediately with Todd Scharkey coming from row two to second immediately.  Waits pulled out to about a ten to fifteen car length lead in the short time it took Scharkey to move to second.

As the laps clicked off Scharkey was able to cut into the lead a bit.  By the halfway point of the race the leaders were working traffic and Waits was a smooth as glass as he timed his passing on the back of the field and continued to maintain his lead all the way to the end for his first Mike Guttormson Memorial Championship.   It was a race Mike would have enjoyed as much as everyone in attendance.

Despite the top two running off and hiding from the rest of the field and there not being any lead changes in the race there was plenty of great racing going on all around the track.  Myer, after starting back in row nine after qualifying through his consy win picked his way up to third ahead of Brian Shaw of Brownsdale.  Shaw started mid pack and he, along with Noble and Arpin who finished fifth and sixth put on some great action as they went side by side for several laps, back and forth dueling with each other and traffic at the same time.

Sixteen of the 20 cars that started the race finished.  After the two went out on the early cautions just two more drivers pulled to the infield during the event.

The track also held a special event for the kids.  The kids had been invited to make "Box-Cars".  These are basicly cardboard boxes cut and designed to look like cars that the kids wear on there shoulders.  The kids ran three laps races with stops on each of the first two laps, one for a gas stop which amounts to drinking a glass of water, and a second stop for a tire change which is changing a shoe.  The final lap is a sprint to the finish.  The winner in the age six and under class was Kylie Kath of Owatonna with the winner in the seven and up group being Zane Klinger of Austin.

Racing action resumes next Friday night at 7:30 with all six classes back on the schedule.  The schedule shows it as Driver Autograph night where drivers will be asked to sit and sign autographs for the youngsters as the track continues its weekly kids promotions.

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USRA Casey's General Stores Weekly Racing Series
Chateau Raceway, Lansing, Minn.
Friday, June 15, 2007


Feature  Brad Waits-Zumbrota, Todd Scharkey-Kasson, Tommy Myer-Blooming Prairie, Brian Shaw-Brownsdale, Steve Arpin-Fort Francis Ontario Canada, Mark Noble-Blooming Prairie, Ryan York-Racine, Doug Hillson-Blooming Prairie, Dave Wytaske Jr-Mapleview, Jacob Dahle-Morristown, Mark Wyaske-Austin, Tyler Rubin-Grand Meadow, Greg Jensen-Albert Lea, Scott Vesely-Mosinee WI, Dennis Hillson-Blooming Prairie, Wally Bustad-Austin, Joey Galloway- Emo Ontario Canada, Mike Rumsey-Brownsdale, Tyler Clark-Rochester, Joe Wernecke-Dodge Center (no show: Steve Wetzstein-West Concord).

Consy Myer, Vesely, Rumsey, Bustad, De Hillson, Josh Mattick-Austin, Ben Rippentrop-Hayfield, Larry Nelson-Hartland (no show: Ronnie Ross-Brownsdale, Al Mondus-Lakeville)

Heat 1  Arpin, York, Jensen, Do Hillson, Rumsey, Bustad.

Heat 2  Wetzstein, Waits, Scharkey, Noble, Rippentrop, Vesely, Mondus.

Heat 3  Rubin, Clark, D Wytaske Jr, Dahle, Nelson, Mattick.

Heat 4  Galloway, Shaw, Wernecke, M Wytaske, De Hillson, Ross.

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