Sweeps for Budisalovich, Broking, Oreskovich, Estey, Quinn in Gondik Law Speedway Opener
by Nick Gima
Superior, WI, May 25
Finally opening under its new name, Gondik Law Speedway kicked off its 2018 racing season with five drivers breaking out the brooms.
Travis Budisalovich, Johnny Broking, Nick Oreskovich, Skeeter Estey and Tucker Quinn each won his respective heat races, then captured their features as well on a steamy, humid Friday night in Superior.
When the naming-rights contract with AmsOil Inc ended this past Winter without a renewal in place, local attorney Rick Gondik stepped up with financial support in exchange for his law office’s name on the track’s sign. Gondik, whose son Jake had raced for several years in the WISSOTA Midwest Modifieds, is an avid race fan who has supported the facility for many seasons, including providing primary sponsorship for the Speedway’s season-ending Northern Nationals invitational.
Despite looming thunderstorms surrounding the Twin Ports, those in attendance saw several dominant performances as well as some very entertaining competition.
In the 25-lap WISSOTA Late Model headliner Budisalovich took advantage of an early restart to move into the top three after just two laps, behind a great battle for the lead between polestarter Kyle Peterlin and Tim McMann, who began the run on Peterlin’s rear bumper.
A spin by Robbie Cooper after the first lap was scored put Budisalovich just three rows back from the leader on the restart, and the Minneapolis, MN, hotshoe made quick work of those ahead of him, following Terry Lillo into third as Peterlin took control and McMann fell back. Lillo then slipped past Peterlin for the lead a circuit later, but just as Peterlin was about to sweep back around Lillo on lap 7, Cooper’s ride spun again to slow the pace.
Budisalovich overtook Peterlin on the restart and then went high-side to take the lead from Lillo within the first lap back under green. From there Budisalovich worked the upper groove to perfection and drew away as the race went the rest of the distance without delay.
As the leader reached slower traffic in the waning laps, however, he let his guard down just a bit. Peterlin, copying Budisalovich’s line on every lap, made up nearly all of the distance that the leader had built up. Coming to the white flag, Peterlin showed his car’s nose to the low side in a bid for the lead, forcing Budisalovich back up on the wheel for the final tour. Peterlin took one more look to the inside through the final turn, but Budisalovich held on for the win.
“I was just riding around (in lapped traffic),” Budisalovich said in Victory Lane after the race. “I didn’t know Kyle was that close.”
Lillo was a distance back in third, and McMann held off Aaron Lillo for fourth.
Broking didn’t just ride around in the WISSOTA Modified A-main – he put a spanking on a stout field. The Grand Rapids, MN, youngster started outside on the front row for the 20-lapper and immediately found himself in a dogfight with polestarter Kevin Eder, who was scored out front when the caution lights came on for a spin by Broking’s dad Bob at the end of lap 1.
Third-row starter Jody Bellefeuille made a move on Donnie Lofdahl to take third on the ensuing restart, bringing “big Mod” rookie Cody Carlson along to fourth, just before Brady Caul’s spin slowed the action again on lap 2. It was on this restart that the younger Broking made his break, slipping past Eder coming out of turn 2 and flying out to a lead that would eventually be nearly half of a lap as the balance of the race went non-stop.
Eder had his hands full fending off Bellefeuille for the remaining laps, with Carlson and Kevin Adams hot on their heels. Behind them at a distance, a five-car pack led by Lofdahl provided more close-knit action for sixth. Eventually Adams got by Carlson for fourth as the rookie fell back a bit, and Danny Vang took over the sixth spot from Lofdahl. But with a full six laps remaining Broking was putting slower cars a lap down, and he continued building on his advantage all the way to the checkered flag.
“This is the sixth race night on this new car, and this is our third (feature) win,” Broking happily explained to the crowd from Victory Lane. It was also his first career A-main win in Superior.
Bellefeuille and Eder swapped the second spot often over the final five laps before Bellefeuille edged Eder at the stripe, while Adams came home fourth well ahead of Carlson.
Polesitter Andy Grymala was called for a jump of the initial start of the WISSOTA Super Stock feature, putting Keith Kern on the pole for the re-do, but outside front-row starter Dave Flynn swept around Kern and set the early pace of the 20-lapper. Jim Campbell used the high side to fly around several cars and take over second after just a couple of laps, but Scott Lawrence reclaimed the spot with a strong inside drive on lap 5.
As four others battled Lawrence for second and the first half of the race clicked off without interruption, Flynn built a fair cushion of a lead. He was actually lapping cars before the mid-point of the race, but rookie Annika Hammitt’s spun ride brought the field back to Flynn’s rear bumper for a lap 9 restart, at which point Oreskovich flexed his car’s muscle. The 2015 track champion from Mason – who had started the race from the fourth row – restarted third, put an outside move on Lawrence for second, and then stayed outside to work his way past Flynn for the lead. Over the remaining 10-lap green-flag run, the “Flyin’ Farmer” built up a lead of a straightaway for the win.
Flynn held on for second, ahead of a heated battle for third which was eventually controlled by Kevin Burdick. DJ Keeler was impressive with a starting-tenth-to-finishing-fourth effort, and Lawrence held on for fifth.
Estey, the defending national WISSOTA Midwest Modified champion from Kelly Lake, MN, started the Mid-Mod main on the outside of the front row alongside his dad, “big Mod” star Kelly Estey, but the son held no sympathy for the father as he repeatedly overcame his dad’s challenges to start the season off at Superior with the feature win.
Over the first five laps the junior Estey pulled away to a 12-car advantage as the senior Estey did likewise to the rest of the field, led by Nick DaRonco. Dad did gain on his son by digging deep off the bottom groove before a lap 5 spin by Dalton Mains brought out the first of four caution flags in the 20-lap A-main. Rookie Jack Rivord’s spin on the restart delayed the proceedings, and then DaRonco and Devin Van House surrounded Kelly for second on the next green flag, allowing Skeeter to scoot away.
Van House became the runner-up once the dust settled a bit, and Dan Kingsley battled with Kelly for a lap or so before Estey regained third. At mid-race former Pure Stock star Ryan Savoy looped his ride, which brought the field back to Skeeter and allowed Kelly to retake second from Van House on the restart. Visiting Jake Smith moved up to third a lap later and followed as Kelly again challenged his son for the lead.
With the white flag about to waive, three cars running deep in the top ten tangled, eliminating two from the event and forcing a green-white-checkered sprint. Skeeter was up to the task and pulled to a couple of car-lengths on his dad for the win, while Van House, DaRonco and Kingsley all shuffled Smith out of the top five.
Certainly the most entertaining race of the program was the 15-lap WISSOTA Pure Stock nightcapper, with the Ladysmith visitor Quinn overcoming a back-of-the-field penalty for his first-ever win here.
Quinn and pole-starter Cory Jorgensen shared the front row and raced door-to-door for the first two laps and change before Jorgensen crept ahead. The lead pair were a few lengths up on the battle for third between Jeremy Cash and Kyle Copp until Quinn tapped Jorgensen’s car enough to spin the leader on lap 4.
Quinn was penalized to the tail of the 11-car field for the restart, but he charged through to get back into the top three within just two laps of the waiving of the green. He caught Jorgensen and Copp just before mid-race, worked outside to get by Copp for second, and then followed the same line to take the lead from Jorgensen on lap 9.
Copp went low to edge past Jorgensen for second during the next circuit and took a look to the inside on Quinn, but he didn’t have enough for a final run at the win as the top three – Quinn, Copp and Jorgensen, in order – came across under a blanket for a great finish. Cash was a distance back in fourth, and Tyler Keup edged Jared Akervik for fifth.
Next up for the track, on Friday, June 1, will be another full five-division race program, with hot laps at 6:30 and racing at 7 pm. The Advantage RV Mod Tour then comes to town on Friday, June 8. The Gondik Law Speedway is located at 4700 Tower Ave in Superior. For more information log onto the track’s website, www.gondiklawspeedway.com.
WISSOTA Late Models
Feature: 1-10: Travis Budisalovich, Minneapolis, MN; Kyle Peterlin, Hibbing, MN; Terry Lillo, Duluth, MN; Tim McMann, Duluth, MN; Aaron Lillo, Proctor, MN; Jeff Provinzino, Hibbing, MN; John Toppozini, Thunder Bay, ON; Dave Flynn, Superior; Chris Lillo, Duluth, MN; Cole Provinzino, Hibbing, MN.
11: Robbie Cooper, South Range.
Heat 1: Budisalovich; A Lillo; Peterlin; J Provinzino; Toppozini; Cooper.
Heat 2: McMann; T Lillo; Flynn; C Lillo; C Provinzino.
Feature: 1-10: Johnny Broking, Grand Rapids, MN; Jody Bellefeuille, Duluth, MN; Kevin Eder, Ashland; Kevin Adams, Cameron; Cody Carlson, Superior; Danny Vang, Deerwood, MN; Al Uotinen, Superior; Neil Balduc, Bessemer, MI; Deven Van House, Silver Bay, MN; Rick Rivord, Superior.
11-18: Ryan Garson, Wrenshall, MN; Jeff Davis, International Falls, MN; Tyler Jonson, International Falls, MN; Brady Caul, Fort Frances, ON; Donnie Lofdahl, Duluth, MN; Tyler Luger, Oxford; Skeeter Estey, Kelly Lake, MN; Bob Broking, Grand Rapids, MN.
Heat 1: Lofdahl; B Broking; Kevin Adams; Eder; Uotinen; Garson; Rivord; Caul; Luger.
Heat 2: J Broking; Van House; Bellefeuille; Carlson; Vang; Balduc; Davis; Estey; Jonson.
WISSOTA Super Stocks
Feature: 1-10: Nick Oreskovich, Mason; Dave Flynn, Superior; Kevin Burdick, Proctor, MN; DJ Keeler, Superior; Scott Lawrence, Superior; Keith Kern, Superior; Jim Campbell, Two Harbors, MN; Andy Grymala, Superior; Matt Deragon, Ashland; Larry Both, Thunder Bay, ON.
11-14: Jon Hammitt, Cloquet, MN; Annika Hammitt, Cloquet, MN; Rita Anderson, South Range; Mike Bellefeuille, Duluth, MN.
Heat 1: Oreskovich; Deragon; Kern; Campbell; Anderson; J Hammitt; Both; Bellefeuille.
Heat 2: Flynn; Lawrence; Burdick; Grymala; Keeler; Adam Shinn, Duluth, MN; A Hammitt.
WISSOTA Midwest Modifieds
Feature: 1-10: Skeeter Estey, Kelly Lake, MN; Kelly Estey, Kelly Lake, MN; Deven Van House, Silver Bay, MN; Nick DaRonco, Britt, MN; Dan Kingsley, Superior; Jake Smith, Chippewa Falls; Tanner Williamson, Fort Frances, ON; Gunner Peterson, Mason; Wyatt Boyum, International Falls, MN; Ryan Savoy, Superior.
11-20: Kevin Monteith, Thunder Bay, ON; Brandon Copp, Brule; Shane Howell, Buffalo, MN; Dalton Mains, Foxboro; Jack Rivord, Superior; Craig Lofdahl, Duluth, MN; McLean Andrews, Duluth, MN; Kevin Adams, Cameron; Cole Chernosky, Thunder Bay, ON; Billy Milne, Thunder Bay, ON.
Heat 1: Kingsley; K Estey; Van House; Williamson; Peterson; Copp; Savoy; Chernosky; Boyum; Mains.
Heat 2: S Estey; Smith; DaRonco; Lofdahl; Adams; Monteith; Howell; Rivord; Andrews; Mack Estey, Hibbing, MN.
WISSOTA Pure Stocks
Feature: 1-10: Tucker Quinn, Ladysmith; Kyle Copp, Brule; Cory Jorgensen, Hermantown, MN; Jeremy Cash, Duluth, MN; Tyler Keup, Superior; Jared Akervik, Superior; James Vendela, South Range; Jeff Christman, South Range; Shaina Rapp, Saginaw, MN; Aaron Bernick, Duluth, MN.
11: Caitlyn Carlson, Poplar.
Heat 1: Quinn; Cash; Rapp; Keup; Bernick; Carlson.
Heat 2: Jorgensen; Copp; Vendela; Akervik; Christman.