Familiar ending: Corell collects another AMSOIL winWith storm clouds literally surrounding Jamestown Speedway in every direction, it seemed as if Saturday’s WISSOTA AMSOIL Qualifiers were against all odds.
By: Michael Savaloja, The Jamestown Sun
With storm clouds literally surrounding Jamestown Speedway in every direction, it seemed as if Saturday’s WISSOTA AMSOIL Qualifiers were against all odds.
But somehow Mother Nature was unable to washout the evening, and after a brief 45-minute rain delay Jamestown’s John Corell, Billie Christ and Scott Bintz all punched their ticket to September’s WISSOTA 100 in Huron, S.D., where they’re now qualified to participate in the annual AMSOIL Races of Champions.
Rain began falling at the speedway just prior to the feature events at 9:30. But as soon as the weather subsided, track officials quickly went to work on the racing surface and the green flag was back in the air at 10:15 for the final four races of the night.
It was the second straight week Jamestown Speedway has been affected by the weather. Rain washed out the event on the June 23, which pushed the speedway’s annual Kids Ride in the Racecars Night to Saturday.
The official car count on Saturday was 103, with the WISSOTA Midwest Modifieds once again bringing in the most cars with 31.
Jamestown’s Mike Sahr rolled to victory in the 15-lap Bomber main event, while Carrington’s Dylan Wiesz captured the 15-lap Hornets feature. The win was Wiesz’s first career victory.
This Saturday night Jamestown Speedway will be hosting its annual Fireworks Spectacular. Races begin at 7 with fireworks following the event.
One might as well chalk up next year’s AMSOIL Qualifier at Jamestown Speedway to John Corell.
He tends to like that night.
For the third year in a row, the Jamestown native took the checkered flag and he will once again find himself in the field at the WISSOTA Modified Race of Champions in Huron.
But this one came a little differently. Jamestown Speedway is known as a dry-slick race track that takes rubber to win. The quarter-mile oval, however, was anything but that on Saturday.
The brief shower and subsequent farming of the racing surface made the track tacky and a little rough in patches, albeit there was plenty of speed.
Corell won his heat race and drew the pole for the 20-lap main event.
“I changed the car for the moisture,” Corell said. “I was sitting in the lineup there and I told my pit guy (pinching his nose) meaning I think the car is going to stink.
Corell immediately shot to the lead, cutting the corners right through the middle as Mandan’s Shawn Strand and Jamestown’s Ryan Mikkelson settled into second and third, respectively. Strand started fourth and Mikkelson lined up in the third position.
Corell was well on his way to victory after the first 14 laps, but the race’s only caution with six laps left evaporated Corell’s lead. John Nord spun around in turns three and four and the Enderlin native scored a DNF after starting on the outside pole.
Nord wasn’t the only one to have problems, however. The always fast Mike Stearns, of Hecla, S.D., was off the pace on the first lap and he eventually found the pits, and two-time WISSOTA Modified national champion Blake Jegtvig, of Hawley, Minn., also scored a DNF.
Sterns started sixth, while Jegtvig started back in 14th.
“I could swear I could hear somebody behind me the whole time, but the guys say they were back a little ways so apparently I couldn’t,” Corell said of the opening green-flag run. “But you always hear them phantoms when you’re out front.”
But following the caution Corell’s car really came to life. The driver built up a five car-lengths lead over Strand in one lap and he cruised to the checkered from there.
Strand took second, while Mikkelson scored a third-place finish. Jamestown’s Jason Grimes and Josh Eberhardt rounded out the top five, respectively.
“Actually, I got a little cautious so I didn’t screw up,” Corell said. “I was kind of letting off a little earlier going into the corner and then rolling it in and picking the throttle up.
“I just wanted to make sure I didn’t make a mistake in that last five laps.”
The win was Corell’s second at Jamestown Speedway this season, and he currently sits second to Grimes in the track’s points standings.
WISSOTA Street Stocks
The only caution in the 20-lap WISSOTA Street Stock feature gave the track an opportunity to come to Jamestown’s Billie Christ.
Gackle’s Jordan Zillmer started the race on the outside pole and was fast up high, and after starting third, Christ wasn’t able to find enough grip underneath Zillmer to make the pass for the lead.
That all changed just three laps into the race when the yellow was displayed for debris in corner No. 2
“(The track) was a little greasy off the bat there, and when that caution came out we were able to pack the middle in and the car came off the corner a lot better,” Christ said. “I kind of rethought my plan. I just drove it in hard and it came out even harder, so we were able to make the pass and that was the end of it.”
Over the next five laps, Christ kept peeking his No. 79 under Zillmer’s No. 34 in the corners, and he was finally able to get alongside of Zillmer down the backstretch and complete the pass with 11 laps left.
Zillmer won heat race No. 2 over Christ, who finished second. But the tide turned in the feature on a completely different racing surface following the 45-minute rain delay.
“Normally the car is pretty much set up for dry-slick for the most part,” Christ said. “We didn’t change a whole lot. Just loosened the car up a little bit and went racing.”
Christ and Zillmer broke away from the pack, and as the laps ticked away the leaders came up on lapped traffic which brought Zillmer right back into the picture. When Christ took the checkered flag, Zillmer was right on his bumper.
“I got into lapped traffic there a little bit and it kind of messed up my mojo a little,” Christ said. “I just knew if I held my line he wasn’t going to get back around me, on the top for sure. He might have tried me on the bottom, but I had a lot of motor going.”
Jamestown’s Shawn Becker, Lisbon’s Duffy Froemke and Horace’s Royce Jawaski rounded out the top five, respectively. Froemke has a win and has yet to finish outside of the top five at Jamestown Speedway this season, as he holds a commanding lead in the track standings.
The win was Christ’s second of the season and his first in Jamestown. Christ won the season-opener at Lisbon’s Sheyenne River Speedway.
Feature: 1, John Corell; 2, Shawn Strand; 3, Ryan Mikkelson; 4, Jason Grimes; 5, Josh Eberhardt; 6, Eric Edwards; 7, Rusty Kollman; 8, Jamie Trautner; 9, Marlyn Seidler; 10, Mark Trautner; 11, Randy Tarno; 12, Scott Bintz; 13, Nick Thoreson; 14, Dwight Wegner; 15, Delray Dykstra; 16, Bob Banish Jr.; 17, Blake Jegtvig (DNF); 18, John Nord (DNF); 19, Jerry Lamb (DNF); 20, Mike Stearns (DNF).
Heat 1: 1, Corell; 2, Strand; 3, Kollman; 4, Eberhardt; 5, Seidler; 6, M. Trautner; 7, Thoreson.
Heat 2: 1, Stearns; 2, Nord; 3, Grimes; 4, Bintz; 5, Jegtvig; 6, Banish Jr.; 7, Dykstra.
Heat 3: 1, Lamb; 2, Edwards; 3, Mikkelson; 4, J. Trautner; 5, Tarno; 6, Wegner.
WISSOTA Street Stocks
Feature: 1, Billie Christ; 2, Jordan Zillmer; 3, Shawn Becker; 4, Duffy Froemke; 5, Royce Jawaski; 6, Rory Opp; 7, Trent Grager; 8, Jeff Vogel; 9, Jake Emo; 10, Joe Jacobson; 11, Dustin Erickson; 12, Matthew Lesmeister; 13, Jonny Carter; 14, Barrett Berg; 15, Eric Harpole; 16, Hunter Carter; 17, Josh Ganser; 18, Kyle Langland; 19, Ryan Pommerer (DNF); 20, Nate Keena (DNS); 21, Casey Stangeland (DNS); 22, Cammy Ost (DNS).
Heat 1: 1, Jawaski; 2, Emo; 3, Carter; 4, Froemke; 5, Stangeland; 6, Ost; 7, Jacobson; 8, Lesmeister.
Heat 2: 1, Zillmer; 2, Christ; 3, Pommerer; 4, Vogel; 5, Grager; 6, Carter; 7, Erickson.
Heat 3: 1, Ganser; 2, Opp; 3, Becker; 4, Keena; 5, Harpole; 6, Berg; 7, Langland.
Feature: 1, Dylan Wiesz; 2, Alex Kelstrom; 3, Brandon Michel; 4, Andrew Michel; 5, Brad Docktor (DNF); 6, Charlie McPherson (DNF).
Sun sports writer Michael Savaloja can be reached at (701) 952-8461 or by email at email@example.com