Wildung wins for the third time

Jamestown Speedway's annual Stock Car Stampede is the second largest racing weekend sanctioned by WISSOTA in the country. The only other event in the upper-Midwest -- where all of WISSOTA's tracks dot the map -- that beats it, is the annual WISSO...

Jamestown Speedway's annual Stock Car Stampede is the second largest racing weekend sanctioned by WISSOTA in the country.

The only other event in the upper-Midwest -- where all of WISSOTA's tracks dot the map -- that beats it, is the annual WISSOTA 100.

For the past 39 years, some of the best drivers in the series have flocked to Jamestown's two-time WISSOTA Track of the Year, season-after-season, to take a crack at winning what has turned into one of the more prestigious events to win.

But competition and racing surface aside, others come for something that people in this area are renowned for.

Just ask defending WISSOTA Late Model champion Jeff Wildung. Wildung makes the annual 245-mile, one-way trip to Jamestown from his hometown of approximately 80 residents each season.


"One of the reasons I come here is Grinder (Don Gumke), the track (co-) owner. I think very highly of him," Wildung said. "And, the people here are so friendly.

"To me, (Jamestown) is out in the middle of nowhere, and I come from a town a heck of a lot smaller than this. I actually got to drive around town a little bit (Saturday). What a neat little town."

Wildung won the 25-lap WISSOTA Late Model feature on Saturday, leading the entire distance after starting from the outside pole. It was his third career victory at the Stampede, to go along with a second Late Model win and a Modified victory the driver earned at Jamestown in year's past.

Unknown to Wildung, the race was up for grabs as he hit lapped traffic while leading halfway through the race.

The slower traffic brought Kyle Peterlin, of Hibbing, Minn., and Pat Doar, of New Richmond, Wisc., into the picture, but Wildung said he was unaware of how tight the race had become.

Peterlin started on the pole, while Doar -- a two-time WISSOTA Late Model champion -- started third.

What was probably Wildung's saving grace was the race's only caution flag with four laps left for a drive shaft that was dropped in turn No. 1. It once again gave Wildung clear sailing in front of him, and Peterlin and Doar were no longer a threat.

"I never saw either one of them. One of my pit guys said that yellow was definitely to our advantage," Wildung said. "If one of them would have got beside me I may have started to push the issue, but there was no reason to at the time."


Peterlin and Doar finished behind Wildung in second and third, respectively. David McDonald, of Huron, S.D., and Fargo's Matt Aukland rounded out the top five.

Wildung won $3,000 for the win, the largest winner's purse of the weekend.

"To be flat honest, I got lucky to draw the front row," Wildung said. "No matter what, there is a lot of luck in this sport

It was Wildung's 23rd feature victory of the 2010 season, and he currently sits second in the national WISSOTA Late Model standings.

WISSOTA Super Stocks

Lisbon's Todd Carter started the 20-lap WISSOTA Super Stock main event on the pole and led from green to checkered, winning his 11th feature of the season and third career Stampede feature event.

The Super Stock A-Main lasted an almost ridiculous six minutes, as not a single caution flag waved. The only cars Carter had to deal with were the cars he was lapping.

"Actually, on the last lap I saw a black nose piece under me and I thought it might have been (Dave) Mass," Carter said. "But it turned out to be just a lapped car racing with the leader again."


Mass, of Princeton, Minn., started the race in third and that's where he finished. Mass is the defending Super Stock national champion and is leading the national standings once again this year.

Fargo's Dave Shipley also finished the race in the same spot he started, in second.

Carter last won at the Stampede in a Super Stock two years ago, and notched his first Stampede win while drive a limited late model back in 1993.

"I would say this is one of the crown jewels," Carter said. "If you can win this one, it's a big accomplishment.

"And, I've been on both ends of it. I've needed two wreckers to load me here before."

WISSOTA Street Stocks

In the WISSOTA Street Stock ranks, Jason Babcock, of Horace, N.D., passed the pole sitter Kelly Hagel, of Carrington, N.D., on the high side for lead with nine laps left and checked out from the field for the victory.

Hagel fell through the field over the closing laps, as did Carrington's Rusty Kollman. Hagel finished 10th, while Kollman started seventh but lost ground on the bottom of the track and ended up 13th.


Hannaford's Rory Opp had an impressive run, passing eight cars to finish second after starting 10th. He brought Bismarck's Brain Swenson and Gackle's Jordan Zillmer with him.

Swenson started 12th and finished third, while Zillmer took fourth after starting way back in 16th.

"I've been dying to win this race ever since I started racing," Babcock said over the public address system. "Now to win it, it's just awesome."


The 15-lap Bomber main event at the Stampede fell right into Fullerton's Lucas Rodin's hands.

New Rockford's Chris Gussiaas started on the pole and led the first 13 laps until he left the door open for Rodin following the race's fourth and final caution flag with seven laps to go.

Jamestown's Matt Gumke, who was running second at the time, choose to take the bottom on the final restart, giving Rodin, the third-place runner, a wide-open high lane to challenge Gussiaas for the lead.

"I knew once (Gussiaas) moved down low I had a shot," Rodin said. "The whole night I knew I had to stay up high and he gave me the line. I still can't believe I won it."


Rodin completed the pass and led the final two laps to notch his first Stampede crown.

Rodin has five total feature wins this season, with the Stampede being his second of the season in Jamestown.

"This is something you dream about. Winning the Stampede is something everyone thinks of doing, to win it is unbelievable," Rodin said. "There's nothing you can say to explain it. This is the biggest race of the year in Jamestown. It still hasn't hit me."

Sun sports writer Michael Savaloja can be reached at (701) 952-8461 or by email at

Savaloja is the sports lead writer for The Jamestown Sun.
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