Opinion Corner: Champs crowned tonightTrack championship night is always bittersweet.
By: Michael Savaloja, The Jamestown Sun
Track championship night is always bittersweet.
It’s the culmination of a season’s worth of tireless effort and door-to-door competition by area dirt-track drivers, but it’s also the moment where one sits back and ponders the question, “Just where in the heck did the summer go?”
As I write this I’m literally days away from trading in my Saturday-night seat at Jamestown Speedway for high school and college football fields and gymnasiums.
Sports and tree leaves share a lot in common. When the seasons change, so do the venues.
But before I embark on what’s known as the nine-month long “silly season” for us sports writers, there’s one more night of points racing left to cover at Jamestown Speedway.
Starting tonight at 7, five area drivers will eventually be crowned Jamestown Speedway track champions, and a couple of these summer-long battles have come down to the wire.
A close eye will be kept all evening on the Bombers and WISSOTA Modifieds.
In the Bombers, or otherwise known as the Central Dakota Pure Stocks, Carrington’s Chris Gussiaas and Marion’s Cory Rodin have some unfinished business to settle.
The pair finished 1-2 in last Saturday’s 15-lap main event, with Gussiaas picking up his fourth feature victory of the year in Jamestown. But Rodin has three feature wins of his own at the track, and the duo enters the final night of points racing deadlocked at 579 points.
I’d imagine both drivers will be looking for a good starting draw tonight, as starting towards the back for either one could prove critical in their 2012 title hopes. I’d look for Gussiaas and Rodin to be near each other on the track all night, and it could even come down to another 1-2 finish, with the winner taking the track championship by a couple of points over the other.
Both drivers improved on their performances from a year ago. Gussiaas picked up three wins and Rodin scored one victory in 2011, while Marion’s Jeff Vogel won last season’s track championship in the Bombers.
Jamestown’s John Corell Sr. essentially conceded the WISSOTA Modifieds track championship last weekend, by trading in his helmet for a fishing rod. The absent driver — who is the defending A-Mod champ at the track — fell from first to fourth in the season standings.
Jamestown’s Ryan Mikkelson took over the top spot (528 points) after scoring his third feature win of the season in Jamestown. But one can’t count out Jamestown’s Jason Grimes.
Grimes has scored two wins at the track this year, and he sits just eight points off the pace in second. Mikkelson and Corell are tied for the most A-Mod wins in Jamestown this season with three.
The WISSOTA Midwest Modifieds have arguably been the most exciting class to watch this season, but low and behold the points battle has come down to a pair of drivers who are no stranger to winning.
Jamestown’s Scott Bintz and his division-leading three wins at the track holds a 19-point edge over last year’s B-Mod track champ, Carrington’s Rusty Kollman, with 577 points.
Bintz has been the only multiple winner at Jamestown Speedway this season. Kollman has scored just one feature victory, while Jamestown’s Ryan Lehr, Edgeley’s Eric Edwards, Carrington’s Preston Carr, Adrian’s Steve Ost and Lisbon’s Nate Reinke have also notched wins.
Kollman scored five wins in Jamestown in 2011, en route to the track title, while Bintz posted four wins a year ago.
A new track champion will be crowned in the WISSOTA Street Stocks, as the defending champ, Jamestown’s Troy Nelson, jumped into a B-Mod in 2012.
Lisbon’s Duffy Froemke is the leading candidate to take home the title. The driver has scored two victories this summer and holds a 17-point lead over Jamestown’s Billie Christ for the top spot with 571 points.
There will also be a new champ in the Hornets, and that man will be Carrington’s Dylan Wiesz. Wiesz was the beneficiary of an absent Alex Kelstrom last week, and he holds a commanding 47-point lead over Kelstrom for the top spot.
Fargo’s Sean and Dylan Johnson were co-champions in the Hornets last season with six feature victories. Wiesz has motored to four wins this season.
Jamestown Speedway will conclude its racing season with its annual Midwest Modified and Street Stock specials on Sept. 1-2, which will be followed by the 41st Annual Stock Car Stampede on Sept. 21-22.
2012 Point Standings
1 (tie), Cory Rodin, Marion, 579; Chris Gussiaas, Carrington, 579; 3, Leann Christensen, Spiritwood, 520; 4, Bryan Wolf, Jamestown, 504; 5, Keith Striefel, Jamestown, 487; 6 (tie), Kyle Anderson, Jamestown, 457; Dusty Hinrichs, Jamestown, 457; 8 (tie), Justin Schempp, Jamestown, 453; Dalton Polries, Sykeston, 453; 10, Tyler Pfaff, Enderlin, 414.
1, Dylan Wiesz, Carrington, 365; 2, Alex Kelstrom, Jamestown, 318; 3, Brandon Michel, Jamestown, 236; 4, Andrew Michel, Jamestown, 230; 5, Sam Gray, Jamestown, 204; 6, Aaron Michel, Jamestown, 158; 7, Chase Golliet, Fargo, 118; 8, Matt McPherson, Jamestown, 92; 9 (tie), Brad Docktor, Ypsilanti, 88; Bill Bachmeier, Sykeston, 88.
1, Ryan Mikkelson, Jamestown, 528; 2, Jason Grimes, Jamestown, 520; 3, Eric Edwards, Edgeley, 494; 4, John Corell, Jamestown, 480; 5, Randy Tarno, Jamestown, 479; 6, Rusty Kollman, Carrington, 472; 7, Jerry Lamb, Lisbon, 467; 8, Josh Eberhardt, Jamestown, 442; 9, Dwight Wegner, Jamestown, 392; 10, Mark Trautner, Mahnomen, 380.
WISSOTA Midwest Modifieds
1, Scott Bintz, Jamestown, 577; 2, Rusty Kollman, Carrington, 558; 3, Greg Friestad, Valley City, 546; 4, Lucas Rodin, Fullerton, 505; 5, Ryan Lehr, Jamestown, 490; 6, Jeremy Forester, Jamestown, 463; 7, Eric Edwards, Edgeley, 451; 8, Preston Carr, Carrington, 424; 9, Brandon Gussiaas, New Rockford, 421; 10, Troy Nelson, Jamestown, 406.
WISSOTA Street Stocks
1, Duffy Froemke, Lisbon, 571; 2, Billie Christ, Jamestown, 554; 3, Joe Jacobson, Jamestown, 530; 4, Rory Opp, Hannaford, 511; 5, Jake Emo, Jamestown, 492; 6, Trent Grager, Sykeston, 482; 7, Dustin Erickson, Jamestown, 475; 8, Royce Jawaski, Horace, 469; 9, Matthew Lesmeister, Lisbon, 451; 10, Josh Ganser, Jamestown, 443.
Sun sports writer Michael Savaloja can be reached at (701) 952-8461 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org