JENSEN STEALS USMTS MAIN EVENT AT AMSOIL SPEEDWAY FRIDAY
By Jerry O’Brien
8-11-17 Superior, WI
8-11-17 Superior, WI
It would be 25 laps and $3000 to the survivor of the feature in the USMTS main event. It was
apparent it was going to be a difficult night for the touring racers when even the current point
leader Zack VanderBeek was forced to take a provisional starting spot.
Pole sitter Ricky Thornton, Jr jumped out to the lead with Johnny Scott in hot pursuit. First
heat winner Kelly Estey and third heat winner Neil Balduc along with Joey Jensen were close
behind. Another familiar name was soon in the mix as Craig Thatcher quickly made his way into
contention from deep in the field. Three laps in Balduc made some bold moves and came out the
other side with the lead much to the delight of the fans. A caution flag for debris saw cars depart
the racing surface like they’d seen the Pied Piper and when the green flag appeared there were
only eleven cars ready to go the distance. Balduc had the lead but the very dangerous and
experienced Joey Jensen was in second with Thatcher, R. C. Whitwell and Jake O’Neil in the top
five. Closing were Jake Timm and Whitwell. It quickly became a two horse race a the front as
Jensen was all over Balduc’s bumper and soon pulled off the pass. With five laps to go Jensen
appeared to have it in the bag and went on to win his sixth USMTS feature and become the third
winner in three visits by the national touring series. Balduc held on to a well deserved second
place run while Whitwell, Thatcher and Timm finished in the top five.
Former WISSOTA Super Stock track champion Nick Oreskovich completed the sweep Friday
night at AMSOIL Speedway winning his heat and the feature.
The main event was set for 20 laps with Willie Johnsen leading the field to the green flag with
first time visitor Cooper Berlin and Scott Lawrence in close attendance. Johnsen led that first
circuit but Lawrence went to the high side off turn four the next time around and swept into the
lead. Berlin dogged his tracks while Johnsen was busy fending off Dave Flynn, Jeff Klopstein, jr
driving Brian Carl’s number 32F, Oreskovich and the always dangerous Kevin Burdick.
Lawrence and Berlin stayed out front for several laps as close racing with numerous position
changes was the norm amongst the rest of the front runners. A caution flag slowed the action for
debris spotted in turn four. At the green Lawrence got a good one but on the back stretch with the
pack closely bunched, Berlin was turned into the wall, the car dug in and rolled violently several
times bringing out the red flag. Thankfully Berlin was not injured, but the same could not be said
for the #33.
The restart came with 13 circuits still remaining. At the green Lawrence was able to keep the
lead, but now Flynn and company were right there. Lawrence was able to hang onto the point
while the pack skirmished amongst themselves to see who would break free and challenge the
leader. Lawrence was looking to break a winless streak dating back to July 17th 2016 at the
speedway but after some close racing behind the leader, it was Oreskovich who broke away and
set off in pursuit of Lawrence. With about four laps remaining Oreskovich slipped by to the lead
with Flynn following him through. It was win number two at the speedway for Oreskovich.
Flynn, Burdick and Klopstien were the top five finishers.
Twenty-five of the 26 Midwest Modifieds were able to start their 20 lap main event. At the
green flag pole sitter Tanner Williamson latched onto the top spot for a lap before Shane Howell
who had started in the fifth spot made his way past to take the lead. While this was going on, Dan
Kingsley wasted little time carving his way from the seventh starting spot to run third behind
Howell and Williamson while Cody Carlson and Skeeter Estey battled for fifth. Kingsley kicked
it and shot past the two leaders to the point. Shortly thereafter Williamson headed to the pits
leaving Kingsley, Howell and Carlson at the front. They were soon joined by Jason Schill who
suddenly appeared in fourth from his ninth starting spot. Kingsley kept leading and Schill kept
racing making his way to second but was unable to mount a significant challenge to the
determined Kingsley in the time left and had to settle for second. Howell, Carlson and Deven
VanHouse rounded out the top five.
Thirteen Pure Stocks were set to go 15 laps and Jared Akervik took advantage of his pole
position start to race off to the lead chased by Cory Jorgenson, Justin Madsen, Al Rapp and Ryan
Savoy. Akervik clung to the lead for the first five laps while the field squabbled amongst
themselves. Madsen was the strongest and managed to beat out Kyle Copp, Mike Blevins and
Jorgenson for second. Madsen made the pass for the lead and led a couple of laps before disaster
struck the #15m in the form of a broken right rear wheel which ended his strong run. The restart
came with eight left to go and Copp at the point briefly before giving way to Savoy who managed
a lap in the lead before the ever present Blevins grabbed up the lead and was gone to his fifth win
of the season. Copp, Akervik, Jorgenson and newcomer Mike Brennan rounded out the top five.
It was of note that James Vendela finished seventh in the feature after surviving a roll over in his
It should perhaps be noted here that even the USMTS Modifieds were not immune from roll
overs as both Modified rookie Brady Caul and Shaun Peterson found their mounts wrong side up
during their respective heat races.