Busy Mikkelson winsDriving two cars in one night has its advantages. Jamestown’s Ryan Mikkelson led 19 of 20 laps in the WISSOTA Modified A-main at Jamestown Speedway on Saturday night, en route to his second feature victory at the track this season.
By: Michael Savaloja, The Jamestown Sun
Driving two cars in one night has its advantages.
Jamestown’s Ryan Mikkelson led 19 of 20 laps in the WISSOTA Modified A-main at Jamestown Speedway on Saturday night, en route to his second feature victory at the track this season.
But it was lessons learned during his second-place run in Travis Aljets’ B-mod earlier in the night that Mikkelson used to cruise to victory.
Dry and dusty track conditions during the heat races gave way to a much more exciting racing surface for the features, after track officials doused the quarter mile with water during the intermission.
At first the bottom was the quickest way around, but Mikkelson knew that would all change as the night — and more laps — wore on.
“When I was running the B-mod feature I was running the bottom … but I knew the (Street Stocks) would almost clean off the top. If you get enough guys up top it would clean off and take a little grip,” Mikkelson said. “What I tried to do was work the middle and slowly start working my way up higher and higher and it worked out.”
Following the Bomber, Midwest Modified and Street Stock feature races, the track was in optimal condition for the 20-lap WISSOTA Modified main event. Mikkelson started on the outside of the front row, and he took the lead from the very beginning by staying high.
The polesitter, Lisbon’s Jerry Lamb, settled in on the bottom, and for the first 10 laps it was nip and tuck between Lamb — who led lap No. 9 — down by the guardrail and Mikkelson up high.
The race saw just one caution, which occurred on the opening lap, and the long green-flag run to the finish suited Mikkelson just fine.
“I got in my groove. In those long green-flag runs when you try something in a corner, like I was trying lower down in one and two, I noticed it was bad and if you do that on a restart that’s where you make your one mistake,” Mikkelson said. “On those longer green-flag runs you can try other things, and I just progressively moved higher on the track.”
Tyson Turnbull, of Estevan, Saskatchewan, and Jamestown’s John Corell overtook Lamb 11 laps in and settled into second and third, respectively. Both drivers were also running higher lines.
They never let Mikkelson run away with it, but neither was able to find enough grip to pass Mikkelson on the bottom as the laps ticked down.
“I knew I had a pretty decent car,” Mikkelson said. “They would have had to go down below me to get around me.”
Turnbull and Corell finished second and third, while Lamb finished fourth and Luke Dykstra, of Clandeboye, Manitoba, rounded out the top five.
Corell has won three races at Jamestown this season and holds a 25-point lead over Mikkelson in the track standings.
Carrington’s Chris Gussiaas led just one lap in the 15-lap Bomber feature.
But as they say, it was the lapped that mattered.
Gussiaas came from the seventh starting position and won a four-wide battle at the checkered flag between he, Justin Schempp, Matt Gumke and Cory Rodin.
The race was riddled with six caution flags, with just 14 of the 22 cars that started the race making it to the finish.
Schempp, Gumke and Rodin all traded the top spot over the final 10 laps, as four racing grooves emerged as the race wore on. But it was a last ditch dive to the bottom that propelled Gussiaas to his third feature win of the season in Jamestown.
Gussiaas rode the guardrail under Schempp out of corner No. 4 with the checkered flag in the air, as Gumke and Rodin battled up high. The foursome crossed the finish line door handle-to-door handle, but it was the nose of Gussiaas’s No. 7 that prevailed in one of the more memorable finishes at Jamestown Speedway.
Schempp was scored second, with Gumke taking third and Rodin finishing fourth.
Gussiaas leads Rodin, who has won two features, by just one point in the track standings (415-414).
Feature: 1, Ryan Mikkelson; 2, Tyson Turnbull; 3, John Corell; 4, Jerry Lamb; 5, Luke Dykstra; 6, Randy Klein; 7, Mark Trautner; 8, Jamie Trautner; 9, Ward Imrie; 10, Eric Edwards; 11, Marlyn Seidler; 12, Jeff Odden; 13, Rusty Kollman; 14, Randy Tarno; 15, Austin Arneson; 16, Jason Grimes; 17, John Nord; 18, Josh Eberhardt; 19, Bob Banish Jr.; 20, Kody Scholpp (DQ).
Consi: 1, Seidler; 2, Tarno; 3, Grimes; 4, Nord; 5, Ryan Kereluk; 6, Dwight Wegner; 7, Mike Greseth; 8, Delray Dykstra; 9, Tim Thomas; 10, Mike Rohwedder; 11, Brandon Grabinger; 12, Robert Hellebust (DNS).
Heat 1: 1, Lamb; 2, Mikkelson; 3, Klein; 4, Odden; 5, Seidler; 6, Kereluk; 7, Wegner.
Heat 2: 1, Edwards; 2, J. Trautner; 3, Eberhardt; 4, Banish Jr.; 5, Thomas; 6, D. Dykstra; 7, Rohwedder.
Heat 3: 1, Corell; 2, Arneson; 3, L. Dykstra; 4, Imrie; 5, Grimes; 6, Nord; 7, Greseth.
Heat 4: 1, Turnbull; 2, Scholpp; 3, M. Trautner; 4, Kollman; 5, Tarno; 6, Hellebust (DNF); 7, Grabinger (DNS).
Feature: 1, Chris Gussiaas; 2, Justin Schempp; 3, Matt Gumke; 4, Cory Rodin; 5, Keith Striefel; 6, Kelly Jacobson; 7, Bryan Wolf; 8, Brandon Moser; 9, Kyle Anderson; 10, Jeremy Willman; 11, Leann Christensen; 12, Tyler Schlenker; 13, Jon Perkins; 14, Lane Stoppleworth; 15, Brandon Compson (DNF); 16, Matthew Kropp (DNF); 17, Lindsey Hansen (DNF); 18, Dalton Polries (DNF); 19, Tyler Pfaff (DNF); 20, Mike Sahr (DNF); 21, Dusty Hinrichs (DNF); 22, Taran Langland (DNF).
Heat 1: 1, Gussiaas; 2, Striefel; 3, Perkins; 4, Langland; 5, Hinrichs; 6, Willman; 7, Compson; 8, Kropp (DNS).
Heat 2: 1, Pfaff; 2, Schempp; 3, Moser; 4, Jacobson; 5, Hansen; 6, Stoppleworth; 7, Christensen (DNF).
Heat 3: 1, Rodin; 2, Gumke; 3, Sahr; 4, Anderson; 5, Polries; 6, Wolf; 7, Schlenker.
Sun sports writer Michael Savaloja can be reached at (701) 952-8461 or by email at email@example.com