Hintz, Christ ShowOne driver was competing in his first ever Stampede, another was driving a car just for fun, but they both took home what will probably go down as one of their biggest and most memorable victories in their driving careers. Buchanan’s Tyler Hintz and Jamestown’s Billie Christ stole the show during the Jamestown Speedway Stock Car Stampede on Saturday, as officially 291 drivers in seven classes of cars stormed Jamestown’s quarter-mile oval in the 40th running of the event.
By: Michael Savaloja, The Jamestown Sun
One driver was competing in his first ever Stampede, another was driving a car just for fun, but they both took home what will probably go down as one of their biggest and most memorable victories in their driving careers.
Buchanan’s Tyler Hintz and Jamestown’s Billie Christ stole the show during the Jamestown Speedway Stock Car Stampede on Saturday, as officially 291 drivers in seven classes of cars stormed Jamestown’s quarter-mile oval in the 40th running of the event.
Hintz used some grip on the bottom of the racing surface to sneak past Jamestown’s Shawn Becker on the white-flag lap of the 15-lap Central Dakota Pure Stock feature, and rolled on to cap his rookie season in style.
“It’s an amazing feeling,” Hintz said. “It’s my rookie season, and it’s my first win ever.”
Hintz out-dueled a field of 45 Bombers over the course of the two-day event, and used a second-place heat run on Friday to cement his position in Saturday’s 20-car field. The beginning of the race was marred with four caution flags, but Hintz quietly bided his time from the fifth starting spot, passing last year’s Stampede winner, Fullerton’s Lucas Rodin, for third seven laps in.
Becker, the race’s polesitter, and Hintz drove by Marion’s Jeff Vogel for first and second four laps later, setting up Hintz’s attack on Becker from the low side.
“It was a battle,” Hintz said. “I didn’t think I’d be able to get by (Becker), but it worked out.”
Becker and Hintz were door-to-door at the flag stand with two laps remaining, but coming to the white flag Becker bobbled coming out of turn No. 4 to give Hintz the breathing room he needed to roll on for the victory.
“It was a blast,” Hintz said. “It was an awesome track tonight, and it took a good driver to drive it.”
Becker was forced to settle for second, while Vogel finished third and Rodin came home fourth.
Christ was hoping to notch his first Stampede victory behind the wheel of his No. 79 WISSOTA Street Stock, where he picked up one feature win and took 12th in points this season at Jamestown Speedway.
But it was in the seat of his dad’s WISSOTA Midwest Modified where Christ sealed the deal.
Kulm’s Chuck Christ, Billie Christ’s father, drove the very same machine throughout the summer in Jamestown.
“We brought the B-mod out just for fun,” Billie Christ said. “My focus was winning it in the Street Stocks and driving good in the B-mods ... but then we managed to get a heat win in both.”
Christ nearly pulled off the double-dip, driving to a third-place Stampede finish in the Street Stocks, where 55 drivers were competing for the trophy.
Christ started the 20-lap B-mod feature on the outside of the front row, leading every lap in a race that stayed green from start to finish for his first career Midwest Modified victory.
Riding the high side of the track, Christ was somehow able to stave off Grand Forks’ Dustin Strand and Travis Saurer, of Elizabeth, Minn. Strand, going for his first Stampede victory, was the WISSOTA Midwest Modified national champion back in 2009, while Saurer notched a national points title back in 2004.
Saurer had also won the past two consecutive B-mod events at the Stampede and was going for his fifth Stampede title.
“The track was pretty good,” Christ said. “There was grip through the middle and three-quarters of the way up. I held my line and kept the tires hooked.”
Strand started right behind Christ in fourth and stayed glued to Christ’s back bumper lap-after-lap. Saurer started third and remained there until a last ditch effort by Strand to get past Christ helped out nearly the entire field.
On the final lap, Strand aggressively shot low to try and get under Christ heading into turn No. 3, but the move was too aggressive. Strand spun out and recorded a 23rd-place finish out of 24 cars in the feature. A total of 59 B-mods were in attendance.
“I saw (Strand) twice,” Christ said. “I tried to move down a little bit to try and use a little of the rubber that was being put down on the track and hit my marks.”
Saurer wound up second, while Carrington’s Rusty Kollman finished third and Jamestown’s Josh Eberhardt took fourth. Eberhardt won the same event back in 2007.
Christ made sure to thank his father, and his setup man, Jamestown’s Rick Wilson.
“It’s huge for our family. We’ve been trying to do this for years,” Christ said. “My dad has led every lap here except the last one, but my setup guy has got his name on a couple of shirts.
“It’s a big deal.”
Wilson has three Street Stock wins at the Stampede in 1980, ’84 and ’89.
WISSOTA Street Stocks
The theme remained the same during the Stampede’s 20-lap WISSOTA Street Stock A-main.
After Hintz won his first ever race in the Bombers and Christ won his first ever B-mod feature, Lisbon’s Duffy Froemke kept the trend alive and won his first ever feature race in Jamestown.
It just so happened the win came during Stampede weekend.
“I’ve been dreaming about this for 20 years now,” Froemke said.
Froemke started the race on the inside of the second row, but found himself in a tight spot trying to get around Sykeston’s Trent Grager for the lead.
Froemke moved into second by passing the polesitter, Carrington’s Kelly Hagel, following a restart four laps in. Froemke stayed right on Grager’s tail over the next 15 laps, as the pair spilt the corners right through the middle, but it didn’t appear as if Froemke would find enough room to get by Grager for the lead.
Froemke didn’t think so, either.
“No, not really,” Froemke said. “I had been trying for 15 laps before that. He kind of had the momentum.”
But a yellow flag with four laps left gave the Lisbon native the opportunity he needed. Immediately on the restart, Froemke got a great run off the bottom of corner No. 2 to pass Grager and lead from there on out.
“He went into (turn) one and hit it a little too hard, and that was my shot,” Froemke said.
Grager took second, as Christ took third, Valley City’s Randy Klein took fourth and Hannaford’s Rory Opp rounded out the top five. Opp won an impressive 7 features in Jamestown this past season.
Horace’s Jason Babcock’s drive for two straight Street Stock stampede titles ended in the consolation races, as a third-place finish wasn’t good enough to qualify for the 24-car feature field.
Sun sports writer Michael Savaloja can be reached at (701) 952-8461 or by email at email@example.com