HANESTAD AND KAANTA TOP TWIN PORT TWIN 25’S
By Jerry O’Brien
7-28-17 Superior, WI.
7-28-17 Superior, WI.
Friday night the stock car racing at AMSOIL Speedway was a double special event. Not only was it the thirteenth edition of the popular Twin Ports Twin 25’s special for the WISSOTA Late Models, it worked out to be the final race of the three track Fastlane Northern Super Stock Challenge Series. That series would name it’s champion. To top it all off, the first of the twin Late Model features would be a points race for the Shaw Trucking WISSOTA Late Model Challenge Series. Each 25 lap event awarded $1500 to the winner.
It was a perfect night for race with, for the first time in a while, no chance of precipitation. The great weather brought out a near capacity crowd as well as a great field of Late Models and Super Stocks with the Pure Stocks also on the card.
Twenty-seven Supers as well as 38 Late Models were in competition along with 14 Pure Stocks. Late Model heat races went to Jake Redetzke, Rick Hanestad, John Kaanta and Jimmy Mars. A pair of B Features filled out the 24 car field for the first 25 lap feature. They were won by Kyle Peterlin and Mike Keller. Super Stock heats went to Dave Mass, Shane Kisling and Willie Johnsen, Jr. Mike Blevins and Ryan Savoy were Pure Stock heat winners.
The Pure Stocks took to the track first for their 15 lap main event that started with a caution flag on the first lap when Jason Simonson and Aaron Bernick tangled in turn two. The second attempt at a start produced one lap with Kyle Copp leading Matt Cunha before the caution flag flew when Justin Madsen turned around in turn two. Copp continued to lead as Savoy,Cunha, Blevins and Al Rapp trailed. Another lap was completed, but Simonson again brought the caution flag out in turn four. The restart came with 13 laps to go and the field finally got down to some racing. Copp still held onto the lead with Blevins to second followed by Savoy, Cunha and Rapp holding the top five positions with Dylan Shelton on the move up to sixth. Those six pulled away from Madsen and Annika Hammitt. Bleevins slipped by Copp into the lead while Cunha, Savoy and Rapp were top five. Caution flag number four appeared for Cory Jorgenson’s problems. The green light appeared with nine laps remaining. Blevins led for another circuit, but Bernick rolled the #17 in the fourth turn bringing out the red flag. The driver was uninjured and quickly exited the car which then burst into flames which were quickly extinguished. Blevins continued to lead at the restart as Copp began to close up on him. Savoy and Cunha were fourth and fifth while Rapp and Shelton came across the line in a dead heat for fifth. Blevins kept it out front for the next three circuits, but Copp began to reel him in and, with three to go, made the pass and went on to take the win. Blevins, Savoy, Cunha and Shelton finished in the top five.
Then it was time for the first 25 lap Late Model feature which was also the Challenge Series race. Veteran drive Steve Laursen led the 24 car to the green, but it was Darrell Nelson who came out with the lead. Rick Hanestad, Pat Doar and Jimmy Mars were top five runners Hanestad quickly moved to second and set out after Nelson. Doar, Laursen and Mars traded positions while Nelson fell back into Hanestad’s clutches. With ten to go Hanestad made his move and took the top spot. Mars had gotten himself into third and took the second spot. Nelson had to settle for third while A. J. Diemel and Laursen finished in the top five. It was back to back Twin 25’s for Hanestad who also won one in 2016. The race went green to checkered without a caution flag.
While the Late Models prepared for there second 25 lap feature, the WISSOTA Super Stocks rolled onto the speedway prepared to go 30 laps to name the series champion. The track had turned very fast as the high humidity kept some moisture in the surface. Terran Spacek led the 27 car field to the green and stayed out front of Derek Vesel, Andy Gramala, Willie Johnsen, jr and Kevin Burdick. One lap was completed, but the first of seven caution flags flew when Cory Casari went around in turn one. Another lap was completed before the caution flag came out for a spin by Adam Shinn in turn two. Spacek clung to the lead on the restart with Vesel, Shane Kisling, Johnsen, jr, Burdick and Jeff Klopstein, Jr all close behind. The third caution flag flew for a hand full of cars colliding in turns one and two. Scott Lawrence, who had dropped from the lead of his heat, and started last, was charged with the incident. The green flag came with 27 laps still to go and Vesel had the lead but not by much. Spacek went for the lead in turn four and turned sideways collecting several cars including Matt Deragon, DJ Keeler and Burdick. Spacek was sent to the rear and Vesel led the restart, but it didn’t take long for Burdick to take over the point. He led for several laps while Dave Mass, Vesel, Kisling, Johnsen, jr, Dave Flynn, Nick Oreskovich and Klopstein squabbled over positions in come intense action. The fifth caution flag flew when Kisling suddenly spun in turn two, the spin being due to contact from Vesel. Action resumed with 18 laps left and Burdick in the lead. Mass had arrived in second and soon took the lead. The two battled back and forth until a collision between Dan Yrjanson and Shinn down in turn one brought out caution flag number six. The restart came right at lap 15, half way. Mass maintained his lead over Burdick with Kisling and Klopstein, jr right there along with Johnsen, Jr. The final caution flag then appeared for Kisling who went around in turn two. Klopstein, jr was tagged with the incident and was sent to the rear with ten laps to go. Mass went on to take the win, his second of the series, enough to take home the championship. It was the first time Mass had ever won a feature at the speedway. Burdick and Kisling finished in a tie for second in the series.
The final 25 lap lap Twin then rolled onto the speedway with veteran racer Jeff Wildung leading the scheduled 25 cars out for the final showdown. Wildung was quick on the trigger and took the lead with Lance Matthees, Jesse Glenz, John Kaanta and Pat Doar and Jake Redetzke following. Kaanta was on the prowl and quickly made his way to second setting out to track down Wildung. Kaanta slipped past to the lead but Wildung returned the favor the next time by. Kaanta surge back into the lead with Wildung, Glenz, Doar, Marshall Fegers, Redetzke and Mars figuring in the front pack. Glenz took second as the laps flew by with nary a caution flag in sight. Kaanta drove off and left everyone in his wake opening up a long lead on Glenz in second. Kaanta’s ability in traffic extended his lead while Doar took over third and Mars began to make his presence felt. Kaanta was in complete control of the event as Glenz tried in vain to catch him. Mars was the fastest car on the track as he began to close up on Glenz for second but ran out of laps. The second segment also went flag to flag for 50 laps of caution free Late Model racing.
Kaanta won his third segment of the event lifting him in a tie with Darrell Nelson who has also won three segments. It was the first feature win since August of 2015 for Kaanta at the speedway. Jimmy Mars was the winner of the $500 bonus for the driver who has the best combined finishes in the two races, Mars finished second and third.
AMSOIL Speedway is off Friday the 4th of August and will return to action on August 11th with another special event, a visit from the USMTS Modified tour.