Froemke gets the moneyA win in the 40th annual Jamestown Speedway Stock Car Stampede set in motion a calendar year Lisbon’s Duffy Froemke won’t soon forget. The 23-year racing veteran was the class of the WISSOTA Street Stock field at the Stampede nearly one year ago, capturing his first ever feature win at Jamestown Speedway during the track’s marquee event.
By: Michael Savaloja, The Jamestown Sun
A win in the 40th annual Jamestown Speedway Stock Car Stampede set in motion a calendar year Lisbon’s Duffy Froemke won’t soon forget.
The 23-year racing veteran was the class of the WISSOTA Street Stock field at the Stampede nearly one year ago, capturing his first ever feature win at Jamestown Speedway during the track’s marquee event.
But that was just a precursor to what would unfold for the driver in 2012.
Froemke has been the man to beat all season, rifling off eight feature victories en route to a pair of track championships in Jamestown and Lisbon. So it really came as no surprise that Froemke was yet again talking to the crowd from Jamestown Speedway’s winner stage on Sunday night.
Froemke led the final 18 laps of the 20-lap WISSOTA Street Stock feature race, and literally coasted to his ninth victory of the season — his third in Jamestown — during the Labor Day Weekend Street Stock Special.
And, oh yeah, the race was worth $1,000 to win.
“Obviously, I wanted to win this one. The money is pretty good,” Froemke said. “I’ve got to buy some tires for the Stampede.”
The second day of Jamestown Speedway’s annual Labor Day specials brought in a total of 143 cars to the track, down slightly from the 155 in attendance for Saturday’s WISSOTA Midwest Modified Special, won by Brian Haben, of Holloway, Minn.
One of the highlights of the evening was the one-night return of the Road Hogs, where Carrington’s Chase Biel and Seth Schulz picked up the 15-lap feature win over five other competitors.
A total of 39 drivers were in attendance to take a crack at the $1,000-to-win Street Stock special. The field was thinned to 23 cars following five heat races and two B-Mains.
Froemke began the feature from the sixth-starting position, after a second-place finish in heat No. 3 locked him into the field. Gackle’s Jordan Zillmer led the opening two laps from the outside pole, but Froemke won a three-wide battle for the lead between him, Zillmer and Sykeston’s Trent Grager to take over the top spot.
Racing for track points over the weekend was no longer an object, as the season’s track championships were held on Aug. 18. Taking the win was the only thing that really mattered, and with $1,000 on the line there wasn’t a whole lot of lifting off the throttle on Sunday night.
“You just try to be smooth the first five laps,” Froemke said. “Let everything sort out a little bit and find out where your car is hooking up or working the best.
“After that, it’s throw the dice.”
Soon after taking the lead, all the dice were out of Froemke’s cup and on the table. He blocked Grager down low during the race’s second and final restart with 17 laps left, forcing Grager to try things up top.
Froemke’s No. 21 was fast from about the middle of the track down to the guardrail, but Grager was finding speed on the high side. That is until he drifted too high in turns three and four with 12 laps left.
Grager went over the Turn 4 embankment, returned to the track for a couple more laps near the tail-end of the field, and pulled into the pits with eight laps left to finish with a DNF in 22nd position.
“I saw (Grager) on the high side there. I figured he dropped down and was right behind me,” Froemke said of Grager’s disappearance. “You just try to be smooth and consistent when you’re out front and not do anything dumb. If somebody shows their nose, then you worry about it.”
Froemke blew out to a full-straightaway lead over the field from there. Jamestown’s Billie Christ came home second, with Bismarck’s David Falkenstein finishing third and Jamestown’s Joe Jacobson bringing home fourth.
The only question now is if Froemke will be able to go back-to-back at the 41st annual Stock Car Stamped, slated for Sept. 21-22.
“A good draw coming in the gate, that’s what helped me last year,” said Froemke, who drew a No. 1 at the Stampede last season. “The car is working good. We really haven’t changed much all year. It’s just been consistent.”
WISSOTA Midwest Modifieds
It hasn’t been a typical season for Carrington’s Rusty Kollman.
Normally a frequent visitor to Jamestown Speedway’s winner’s stage, the WISSOTA B-Mod and A-Mod driver had only one B-Mod feature victory in 2012 heading into Sunday night.
That win also came a long time ago. The 2011 Jamestown Speedway track champion last bested the field way back on May 5 during the speedway’s season-opener.
But a win like the one Kollman earned on Sunday certainly had to make his summer-long dry spell easier to bear.
Kollman virtually drove the wheels off his No. 2 WISSOTA Midwest Modified, and somehow managed to keep both Jamestown’s Jason Grimes and Brian Haben, of Holloway, Minn., behind him to capture feature victory No. 2 on the season.
“That was a great race. I talked to both of them afterwards,” Kollman said. “Any race like that, even if you didn’t win is a fun race.”
Kollman won the fourth of five heat races and started the 20-lap feature on the outside pole, alongside Jamestown’s Scott Bintz who inherited the pole after the original polesitter, Valley City’s Greg Friestad, spun in corner No. 4 during the race’s opening lap and was sent tail-end.
Kollman led the first five laps from the high side without much pressure, but that’s when Grimes — who started third — entered the fray. With Kollman working the high line, Grimes in the middle and Bintz down low, the trio battled three-wide for the top spot with 12 laps left.
Bintz’s low line would eventually start to deteriorate, giving Grimes ample room to attack Kollman. But Grimes, driving Jamestown’s Troy Nelson’s No. 0, couldn’t find enough grip through the middle of the turns to beat Kollman’s momentum off the top.
Grimes settled in behind Kollman for a bit, before going back on the offensive with five laps remaining. Grimes drove hard to the bottom in corner No. 1 and tried to put the slide job on Kollman coming off of the second turn.
But Kollman was there, and the bold move by Grimes brought Haben, who started seventh, into the fight.
Over the final three laps, the three drivers put on a wild show with Kollman staying smooth up top and Grimes and Haben fighting underneath him.
“It was a real fun race. As long as I could see (Grimes’) nose on my left side there I was comfortable with it. When I didn’t see him for a couple of laps I was worried, because I didn’t know where he was at,” Kollman said. “And then I saw Haben sticking his nose up there, and I was like, ‘What happened to Jason?’ I knew he had to be there somewhere.”
Grimes tried one last time to get under Kollman over the final set of turns, but Kollman was able to hang on for the win, with Grimes just edging out Haben for second.
“It’s fun to race with guys you can trust like that,” Kollman said of Grimes. “We’ve raced against him and with him for many years. That’s what’s fun.
“And the young kids like Haben. He’s going to be a real talent,” Kollman continued. “He’s up there in national points, and of course he won here last night. It’s good to see these young drivers, but the old guys can still beat them.”
The 20-year-old Haben won the $1,000-to-win Midwest Modified special on Saturday, which marked his 26th feature win of the season.
Kollman picked a good time to end his drought, as the driver has yet to win at Jamestown’s Stock Car Stampede.
“We’ve struggled, but it’s coming around and we’ll get there. We are going to concentrate on one car next year, which is going to be the A-Mod, so hopefully it will come to us,” Kollman said. “The Stampede has always been one of my goals and you never know. I’m never going to say never, because I’m going to win it one year before I’m done.”
All results from the weekend’s races can be found on Page B2.
Sun sports writer Michael Savaloja can be reached at (701) 952-8461 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org