Stock Car Stampede: Christ to defend titlesHe won’t be defending his 2011 WISSOTA Midwest Modified victory during the 41st annual Jamestown Speedway Stock Car Stampede this weekend, but a 2012 WISSOTA Street Stock Stampede victory would come as no surprise. Jamestown’s Billie Christ stunned the 59-car B-Mod field at last year’s Stampede, holding off the likes of Grand Forks’ Dustin Strand and Minnesota’s Travis Sauer, to win his first career B-Mod feature race.
By: Michael Savaloja, The Jamestown Sun
He won’t be defending his 2011 WISSOTA Midwest Modified victory during the 41st annual Jamestown Speedway Stock Car Stampede this weekend, but a 2012 WISSOTA Street Stock Stampede victory would come as no surprise.
Jamestown’s Billie Christ stunned the 59-car B-Mod field at last year’s Stampede, holding off the likes of Grand Forks’ Dustin Strand and Minnesota’s Travis Sauer, to win his first career B-Mod feature race.
The entire scenario, more surprisingly, pretty much came along on a lark. Christ, a regular WISSOTA Street Stock driver, jumped behind the wheel of his dad Chuck Christ’s B-Mod for last year’s Stampede just for fun.
That weekend of just-for-fun driving resulted in Christ’s biggest win to date.
“It was sort of just a one in a million chance-type deal. We were just having fun,” Christ said. “Getting in the Street Stock and doing it there is what we really deserve to do. We perfected our game, and we really want to go out in the Street Stocks and prove a point there.”
The driver nearly pulled off the sweep at last year’s Stampede. Christ won both his B-mod and Street Stock heat races and finished the Street Stock feature in third.
Christ suffered engine problems with his B-Mod at the WISSOTA 100 in Huron, S.D. last weekend and will just be driving his No. 79 Street Stock during this weekend’s Stampede starting tonight at 7 p.m. But Christ has ran strong all season with his Street, winning a feature race and taking second in the season points standings at Jamestown Speedway, not to mention finishing 17th in the 33-car feature field at the WISSOTA 100.
Christ fell by just 24 points to Lisbon’s Duffy Fromeke, who has been on a tear all year, for the track title in Jamestown. Fromeke has won nine total feature races and also won the track title in Lisbon.
Fromeke was last year’s WISSOTA Street Stock Stampede winner. Ironically, it was Fromeke’s first feature win in Jamestown in 23 years of racing.
“It’s just one of those races that is tough to get on your résumé. Everybody wants to win it,” Christ said of Jamestown’s annual Stampede. “Everyone is putting out there best effort and it only happens once a year. This is the 41st annual, and some guys have tried almost 41 times and haven’t done it.
“To have your name on the T-shirt and say you’ve done that is a pretty big deal.”
The Stampede brought in 291 cars and drivers in seven classes of cars last season, and track officials are hoping for another strong showing this weekend. All the qualifying heat races will be completed tonight, with consolation and feature races starting at 5 p.m. Saturday.
“We have 216 cars signed up for the calcutta, up from about 10 cars from last year at this time,” Jamestown Speedway general manager Joanne Dieterle said Thursday afternoon. “They’ll be pouring in late (Thursday) afternoon and evening. There’s already well over 100 campers in the camp grounds.”
There will be a new Stampede champion in the WISSOTA Late Models this weekend. The two-time defending Stampede champ, Jeff Wildung, of Nassau, Minn., suffered extensive damage to both his Late Model and his A-Mod at last weekend’s WISSOTA 100 and will not be in Jamestown.
Last year’s A-Mod Stampede champion, Cody Skytland, of Fargo, had a 100 to remember and should be strong again this weekend. Skytland won the Late Model feature at the 100 and took second to Blake Jegtvig, of Hawley, Minn., in the A-Mod feature.
The Jamestown contingent at the WISSOTA 100 fared well and should be strong this weekend at their home track. John Corell and Ryan Mikkelson finished eighth and 11th, respectively, in the A-Mod feature, while Carrington’s Rusty Kollman and Scott Bintz finished nose-to-tail in third and fourth in the B-Mod feature.
“The Jamestown guys did really well,” Dieterle said. “I was so proud of them.”
Ticket prices this weekend for the 41st annual Stampede are $15 for adults, $8 for kids 6-14 and $40 for families for tonight’s races. Saturday’s ticket prices are $20 for adults, $10 for kids 6-14 and $50 for families.
“(Tonight) is a good night to come,” Dieterle said. “All the qualifying heat races are fantastic and you get to see every car that’s here.”
Sun sports writer Michael Savaloja can be reached at (701) 952-8461 or by email email@example.com