Normally, when a racetrack receives nearly 2 inches of rain the night before their event, especially since it had been raining all week, races would be washed out. Wagner Speedway is not your "normal" track. When the sun shined brightly on Saturday morning, track crews worked feverishly to get the pit area ready and when the gates opened at 2pm, they were ready.
Ready for the 110 race teams to file in for Wagner Speedway's Octoberfest of Wheels, presented by Tracy's Paint and Body, Inc of Parkston, American Truck Store and Underburg Lawn Care, both of Sioux Falls. With the nearly $5000 in bonus money being put up by regional businesses and fans of racing, teams from Wisconsin to the Black Hills of South Dakota, North Dakota, Nebraska and Iowa would battle for top prize money. After a relatively uneventful series of heat races, things would get very eventful come feature time.
With an extra $300 in bonus money put up by Fischer Farms of Wagner, $500 to win a Hobby Stock feature event is not small change as 16 cars took to the track for the feature event. After D.J. Jones (Sioux Falls, SD) led the first 11 laps, Broc Stout (Winner, SD) decided to save the best for last. As both cars drove off the 4th turn for the final time, Stout put on one of the greatest moves of the season. Driving in high, Stout shot down to the inside right behind Jones and won the drag race to the finish line. As the crowd came to their feet, Stout edged out Jones by less then a car length to pick up the win and the big check. In victory lane, Stout was happy and apologetic. "The feature started out kind of sketchy, but it turned out alright. I didn't mean to get into the 77 (Jones) there, I hit the bump over there in 4 and I screwed it up. I kind of screwed him out of a win, but I guess that's how it goes." Stout also gave a pretty simple explanation of his winning move, "I have no idea. I just turned and stomped on the gas! It was fun racing!" Jones would settle for 2nd, Nate DeSive (O'Neill, NE) would take 3rd, with Tim Waltner (Hartford, SD), who came from 14th, would finish 4th and Josh Gebhart (Mitchell, SD) would round out the top 5.
The Pro Stock/Super Stock feature would be next and with $500 bonus money put up by Namminga Hay Grinding of Avon,
24 cars would sign in and compete for a $1000 top prize. After J.J. Zebell (Parker, SD) started on the pole, he would lead the first 4 laps until Kip DeGroot (Platte, SD) and Kip Myers (Ethan, SD) would go by and race each other for the lead. Meanwhile, Cory Yeigh (Sioux Falls, SD), who started 9th on the grid was on a mission. 2 laps later, Yeigh would pilot his machine into the front spot and looked like the best of the field. Luck would soon run out as Yeigh would have to go pitside with mechanical issues, giving the lead back to DeGroot. DeGroot would lead the remaining 8 laps and go on to his 2nd win of the season and 10th of his career at Wagner. "This was a hard track tonight with all the rain the past few days. Put on the brakes, hit the gas. Put on the brakes, hit the gas. I'm happy for the win!" Myers would finish in 2nd, Casey Hanson (Badger, SD), who started in 20th position, would take a very impressive 3rd, with Joel Namminga (Avon, SD) settled for 4th and Dave Kuchta (Hartford, SD) also had a very impressive drive from his 22nd starting position would round out the top 5.
The B-Mods would be next and with bonus money offered by Mettler Implement of Menno and Mitchell of $500 and Wagner Speedway $500, 25 race teams knew this would be one of top payouts the B-Mods have seen anywhere in quite some time. The $1000 to win check was up for grabs, but $500 for 2nd and $350 for 3rd would make for some hard racing through the field. When the 15 lap event finally got underway after some lap 1 cautions, Wade Wright (Armour, SD) would rocket out to the lead on lap 1 after starting 3rd. That lead would be short lived though as Alan Farley (Rapid City, SD) retook the lead on the next lap. With Adam Brotherton (Huron, SD) in the mix as well, those 3 would be fighting amongst themselves for the point, but the night would belong to a driver with the nickname "Buzzy". Kevin Adams (Cameron, WI) charged from his 11th starting position and took the lead on lap 9 and cruised to victory. Adams, a very successful driver in the A-Mod class back home, is a former WISSOTA 100 and National Champion, would make the trip to Wagner Speedway to help a friend get his B-Mod ready for future competition. MIssion accomplished. "A buddy of mine from Michigan, believe it or not. This car has a lot of miles on it this past week. I work for him and he asked me to help out since he was struggling with it. We ran with it up in Ashland, WI and did pretty good with it. We looked for options to race back home and there was only 1 option and they had a 90% chance of rain. We did some research and found you guys and a $1000 to win so we said why not. We've never been there before so let's go." Adams was very complimentary of the facility as well. "It's too bad you had to be ambushed with rain otherwise, this place is beautiful. You guys are doing a heck of a job and keep up the good work." Wright would finish 2nd, Brotherton hung on for 3rd, with Scott Hansen (Garden City, SD) coming from 19th to finish 4th and Adam Sage (Yankton, SD) came from 22nd to round out the top 5.
The Late Models would have 24 cars sign in for action and action is what they got. Dean Vellek of Tyndall put up $500 and 2017 Late Model points champion Jared Hoerle and his family Rachel, Ron and Cindy would put up $400 in added purse to make this a $1200 to win and $600 for 2nd. After numerous cautions early in the event, the phrase "worst to first" would come into play. Quentin Myers (Pukwana, SD) would start 6th, but would have to go into the pits with a flat tire after being collected in a multi-car melee, which took out the pole sitter Casey Skyberg (Rapid City, SD), among others. Once the racing got underway and multiple laps were run following the stoppage to clear the track, Ben Sukup (Norfolk, NE) would inherit the top spot. He would show the way until Myers, who had to go to the rear of the field, roared back and battled Sukup for 3 laps until he finally took the top spot on lap 9 and picked up his 3rd win of the year and 12th of his career. Myers showed his range of emotions in victory lane. "It was a good run and I wasn't very happy when I went into the pits. It was a rough track with all the rain. You just had to 'man up' and hold on." He also recalls the move he made to finally get by Sukup. "I just went in wide open on the bottom and I guess it worked!" Following Myers to the checkers would be Sukup, with Lyndon Bolt (Rapid City, SD) taking 3rd, Jeff Kroger finishing 4th and Ray Sveeggen (Beresford, SD) completing the top 5.
In the evening's finalle, the Midwest Sprint Touring Series 360 Sprint Cars were next. With 21 big winging rocketships checking in, purse money of nearly $13,000 was up for grabs, thanks to Steve Ballenger with A&B Auto of Harrisburg, SD putting up an extra $1000, Pat Renken of LeMars, IA with $250, Kelly Eszlinger and Eszlinger Electric of Sioux Falls, SD, with $300 and Todd and Susan LaHaise and The Blazin' Racin'/Buffalo Wild Wings #82 Team putting up an extra $1000 in added purse.
Dusty Zomer (Brandon, SD) would start on the pole of the 25 lap main event and would not be challenged, as he claimed the $1750 top prize and was also rewarded by team owners Todd and Susan LaHaise with $1000 in extra bonus money. During his victory lane interview, Zomer knew this was a challenging track. "It was fun. Obviously with all the rain the track had, there were some holes in it which made it challenging for everybody just trying to get through there. Lapped traffic was going to be a factor but we had it going good. Just want to thank the fans for sticking it out, I hope you had fun and come back next year!" Following Zomer in the non-stop 25 lapper were Cody Ledger (Omaha, NE), Wade Nygaard (Grand Forks, ND), Eric Lutz (Sioux Falls, SD) and Jody Rosenboom (Rock Rapids, IA).
So that concluded an amazing season at Wagner Speedway in 2017 and plans are already being made for an even bigger and better 2017. A date for the post season awards banquet will be made in the coming weeks. On behalf of Wagner Speedway ownership, management and staff, words can not express our gratitude to all of our corporate partners, media members for their coverage, drivers, crews, fans and employees that made the 2017 campaign such a huge success.