Corell pilots backup car to Mods winAfter 35-plus years of winning races, nobody can quite bring the crowd to their feet like Jamestown’s John Corell Sr.
By: Michael Savaloja, The Jamestown Sun
After 35-plus years of winning races, nobody can quite bring the crowd to their feet like Jamestown’s John Corell Sr.
Coming to the white flag in the 20-lap WISSOTA Modified feature race at Jamestown Speedway on Saturday night, Corell — who turns 57 this year — hung his trademark yellow No. 5 wide out of corner No. 4 and shot past Carrington’s Rusty Kollman as the pair barreled towards the flag stand.
The roar from the crowd was audible over the rumbling engines. Corell had worked his way to the front from the seventh starting spot to lead his first lap of the race with one to go.
He’d lead the next one too, as the 2011 Jamestown Speedway WISSOTA Modified track champion picked up feature victory No. 1 of 2012.
“(Kollman) had the hole shut and I thought maybe he’d stay up and I’d be there and I could get my nose under him,” Corell said. “Finally there I thought, ‘He’s got the hole plugged pretty good.’ I didn’t know if the lane was wide enough to go around the outside, but we’ll try it and it was.”
Kollman, who started third, took over the lead from Jamestown’s Josh Eberhardt after Eberhardt led the first 13 laps of the race from the pole. Corell had already worked his way up to third by that time and followed Kollman past Eberhardt, who left the bottom open for the pair to get by. Eberhardt finished 14th.
The race’s only caution three laps later was something Kollman didn’t need. The driver led the first two laps of the four-lap shootout to decide it, but after successfully blocking Corell’s attacks from the bottom he was unable to defend Corell’s bold move from the rim off turn No. 4.
“I tweaked (Kollman’s) right-rear quarter panel a little bit,” Corell said. “I just kicked it with the left-front tire on the way by and it buckled a little bit.
“(The caution) definitely helped out,” Corell added. “My tires were over-heated at that time and they got to cool down and Rusty’s, I just looked and his right-rear was bald. I still had a little tread left on mine.”
Kollman hung on to finish second, Bob Sagen rolled home in third, Jason Grimes — last week’s feature winner — came from eighth to capture fourth, and Mark Trautner started 10th and rounded out the top five.
The win came as a mild surprise to Corell, who was essentially piloting a backup car. The car was the one driven at the speedway last season by his son, Jayson Corell, and Corell was testing it out to determine the machine’s future.
“(Jayson) was mad at it and I found some things wrong with it this winter,” Corell said. “I brought it out and I was just going to see if it worked.
“If it wasn’t going to work I was going to convert it to a B-Mod. Now I don’t know what to do with it.”
WISSOTA Street Stocks
Rory Opp won seven feature races at Jamestown Speedway last season, so when he lined up on the outside pole for the 20-lap WISSOTA Street Stock feature on Saturday the rest of the 20-car field knew they’d have their hands full.
Opp went on to lead every circuit, maintaining the lead after two total caution flags and held off a hard-charging Duffy Froemke down the stretch to pick up his second victory in as many nights.
The Hannaford, N.D. native won Friday night’s feature at River Cities Speedway in Grand Forks.
“It came around and rubbered up nice,” Opp said of the racing surface in Jamestown. “There was a real fast lane through the middle, actually two lanes there. No matter where I went in the middle of the track or down a little lower, it was racy in both spots.”
Trent Grager, last week’s feature winner, brought out the first yellow three laps in after he looped his No. 71 in Turn 4. Grager went tail-end, but rallied to a 13th-place finish after starting ninth.
After the second caution a lap later, Froemke, who started sixth, chose to restart from the second position on the high side and went on to toss everything but the kitchen sink at Opp over the final 15 laps.
The pair was nearly glued together, as Froemke pulled alongside Opp from the bottom on numerous occasions. But Opp had enough through the middle of the turns to hang on.
“(Froemke) was banging away on the back door. I was just driving as fast as I needed to,” Opp said. “I knew when he got (alongside) me I’d drive a little harder once in a while. He was fast.”
Froemke was forced to settle for second, while Dustin Erickson took third, Billie Christ finished fourth and Jordan Zillmer came from 13th to finish fifth.
“(Friday) night we won in Grand Forks and then (Saturday) here, so we’re coming around already,” Opp said.
Opp is also planning on pulling double duty this season, starting as early as next week. The driver is planning to roll out a WISSOTA Midwest Modified.
“If we get it done in time we’ll take it up to Grand Forks on Friday and run it up there, see how it goes and maybe bring both of them down here,” Opp said.
Feature: 1, John Corell; 2, Rusty Kollman; 3, Bob Sagen; 4, Jason Grimes; 5, Mark Trautner; 6, Randy Tarno; 7, Jamie Trautner; 8, Randy Klein; 9, Scott Bintz; 10, Dwight Wegner; 11, Bob Banish Jr.; 12, Jerry Lamb; 13, Delray Dykstra; 14, Josh Eberhardt; 15, Eric Edwards.
Heat 1: 1, Grimes; 2, Kollman; 3, Lamb; 4, Sagen; 5, Corell; 6, Tarno; 7, Banish Jr.; 8, Dykstra.
Heat 2: 1, Ryan Mikkelson; 2, Klein; 3, Edwards; 4, Eberhardt; 5, M. Trautner; 6, J. Trautner; 7, Bintz; 8, Wegner.
WISSOTA Street Stocks
Feature: 1, Rory Opp; 2, Duffy Froemke; 3, Dustin Erickson; 4, Billie Christ; 5, Jordan Zillmer; 6, Matthew Lesmeister; 7, Kelly Hagel; 8, Travis Ulmer; 9, Joe Jacobson; 10, Nic Klein; 11, Jake Emo; 12, Shawn Volk; 13, Trent Grager; 14, Richard Pommerer; 15, Casey Stangeland; 16, Shawn Becker; 17, Eric Harpole; 18, Ryan Pommerer; 19, Royce Jawaski; 20, Jeff Vogel.
Heat 1: 1, Froemke; 2, Erickson; 3, Christ; 4, Klein; 5, Becker; 6, Josh Ganser; 7, Harpole.
Heat 2: 1, Hagel; 2, Ryan Pommerer; 3, Opp; 4, Stangeland; 5, Volk; 6, Emo; 7, Richard Pommerer.
Heat 3: 1, Grager; 2, Jacobson; 3, Lesmeister; 4, Zillmer; 5, Jawaski; 6, Ulmer; 7, Vogel.
Sun sports writer Michael Savaloja can be reached at (701) 952-8461 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org