It was a brisk, sunny weekend at 141 Speedway for the 2016 Dirt Nationals. 61 cars from 11 states hit the track for three very exciting feature races.
Open practice started Thursday, and wrapped up with a Driver Appreciation Party at the track's Left Turn Lounge, sponsored by Warren and Denise Ropp of Bulltown Legends.
Friday afternoon drivers were back on track for qualifying, heats, the Trophy Dash, and our 2016 Dirt Race of Champions.
In our combined Semi-Pro/Young Lion division, Timothy Estenson was our Young Lion Fast Qualifier. Estenson also pulled out the win in both of his heat races putting him on the pole for the feature. Justin Pearson, Semi-Pro, finished first in his division during qualifying, and won both heat races, starting him in second for the feature, and naming him the Semi-Pro Fast Qualifier. Grabbing positions one and two was extremely important to both of these driver; going into this event, Estenson held the Young Lion points lead, over Ryan Sullivan and Pearson was only points behind Semi-Pro points leader, Mason Chaney.
The Master's division went into the weekend with a tie for the championship title. Tim Brockhouse, Minnesota, and Dave Comer, Missouri, would both be starting the race with 1900 points; this made their feature starting position even more crucial. Brockhouse finished his qualifying session as the division's Fast Qualifier, and with a second place finish in heat race one, and a first place finish in heat race two, he was set to sit on the outside pole. Comer came out of qualifying with the third best Master time; however, finishing first in both heat races, gave him the pole position, next to Brockhouse on the inside.
Pros were the last to take the track for qualifying and heats Friday night. Jeff Steenberger clocked the divisions Fast Qualifier, and followed it up with a win in his first heat race; however, a fourth place finish in heat race two landed him on the outside pole, next to current INEX point leader, Troy Hoff.
The night ended with our combined class Trophy Dash, where Pro, Travis McClelleand took the checkered flag. In our final event of the night, the 2016 Dirt Race of Champions, Timothy Estenson was our Young Lion winner, Ryan Mech claimed first out of the Semi-Pro division. Master, Tim Brockhouse finished the night with the win for his division, and Dave Comer won in the Pro division.
For all three divisions the entire season came down to these Saturday feature races. The first to take the track, our Young Lion/Semi-Pro division; The 14T, Tim Estenson (YL) held the lead for ten laps, temporarily losing it to the 80 car of Justin Pearson (SP), but was able to bring it back with 11 laps to go; a caution with six laps left allowed the 14S, Devyn Stucker (SP), to take the lead from Estenson, and Jackson Lewis (YL) to move from his fourth place starting sport, to second in the field. In the final laps, Lewis, in the 7L, was able to cross the finish line just seconds before Stucker, naming him the overall class and Young Lion division winner. Stucker completed the feature in second overall, and first in the Semi-Pro division. Timothy Estenson's performance at the 2016 Dirt Nationals locked in him in as the Young Lion Dirt INEX Point Champion. In our Semi-Pro division, Justin Pearson was able to claim the INEX Points Champion title with his third place overall finish.
Next, our Masters took the track in what would be the most intense race of the night. Tim Brockhouse and Dave Comer, both tied for the champion, both starting out front, were both forced to pull off track due to issues with their cars. With 19 laps to go, Brockhouse's crew was able to make adjustments, and send his car back onto the track, which Comer was still in the pits. Another caution was thrown with 16 laps to go, and Brockhouse was forced to pull into the infield; upon this caution Comer was able to pull back on to track, and continue racing. The on track issues with Comer and Brockhouse allowed Randy Schaaf, who started fifth, to race his way into the lead from most of the feature. He held his position, until with five laps to go, the 6B of Vince Barolotta passed him. Barolotta was able to hold onto the lead, while Schaaf spun out going into turn four of the final lap. Dave Comer was able to continue racing, giving him the 2016 Dirt Masters INEX Point Championship over Tim Brockhouse, just by a total of three laps.
In our final feature of the night, the Pros went green for their 30 lap feature, with Hoff on the pole. A caution on lap two allowed Jeff Steenberger to take the lead from Hoff. Through the entire 30 lap feature, Steenberger was able to hold the lead, landing him the Pro feature win. The race for second and third bounced back and forth between Hoff and Johnny Kringas; Kringas holding onto the second place spot as he crossed the finish line, with Hoff close behind for third. Despite his third place finish, Troy Hoff was able to hold on to his position as 2016 Pro Dirt INEX Point Champion.
However; pending tech, Vince Barolotta - Master Feature winner, and Jeff Steenberger - Pro Feature winner, we both disqualifed due to tampered seals and had their engines impounded. Upon review the insides of both engines were deemed legal; however, tampering with seals is again INEX rules. Since both drivers were DQed, our 2016 Dirt National Master Feature winner is Wayne Johnston, and the new 2016 Dirt National Pro Feature win goes to John Kringas.
We'd like to thank all of those that joined us at 141 Speedway for the 2016 Dirt Nationals. We'd also like to thank Bulltown Legends for helping make this event great! We'd like to extend big congratulations to our 2016 Dirt INEX Point Champions; Young Lion - Timothy Estenson, Fargo, ND, Semi-Pro, Justin Pearson, Burnett, WI, Master - Mike Mueller, Joplin, MO, and Pro - Troy Hoff, Flasher, ND.
Don't forget, the 2017 Dirt Nationals will be at Red River Valley Raceway, in Fargo, ND. We'll have the dates coming soon! Click here for more information on all upcoming USLCI events.
Not ready to put your car up for the year? We've still got the 2016 Road Course World World Finals, November 11 through 13 at Dominion Raceway.
Young Lion/Semi-Pro: 1. Jackson Lewin (YL) 2. Devyn Stucker (SP) 3. Justin Pearson (SP) 4. Tim Estenson (YL) 5. Bordy Willett (YL) 6. Ryan Mech (SP) 7. Steve Duerstadt (SP) 8. Grasyn Cox (SP) 9. Steve Harshbarger (SP) 10. Sam Mayer 11. Francesca Hoch (SP) 12. Ryan Sullivan (YL) 13. Lauren Muenster (SP) 14. Tim Franz (SP) 15. Gus Debaker (SP) 16. Justin Nally (SP) 17. Reagan Zimmerman (YL) 18. Ryan Farbo (SP) 19. Mason Chaney (SP)
Master: 1. Vince Bartolotta 2. Wayne Johnston 3. Mike Mueller 4. Warren Ropp 5. Jim Bucher 6. James McDugle 7. Tim Vargo 8. Craig Pukenschnider 9. Dean Julsrud 10. John Gutman 11.Chris Hoedel 12. Eric Barth 13. Dan Mech 14. Brian Hanson 15. Brian Peterson 16. Tony Jagoditch 17. Phil Burkybie 18. Jay Humphrey 19. Randy Schaaf 20. Brandon Barrett 21. Keith Meyer 22. Duane Swanson 23. Kevin Shutz 24. Dave Comer 25. Tim Brockhouse
Pro: 1. Jeff Steenberger 2. John Kringas 3. Troy Hoff 4. Donavin Weist 5. Josh Julsurd 6. Travis McClelland 7. Cody Apfalbeck 8. Chad Earnst 9. Austin Wiese 10. Ethan Ross 11. Caleb McDugle 12. Kim Clover 13. Aaron Moyer 14. Nate Chritko 15. William Lehmann 16. Justin Comber 17. Drew Papke