Champions Crowned Monday at Wagner Speedway
The 118th Wagner Labor Day Celebration came to a close Monday night as five track champions were crowned on the fast, high banks of Wagner Speedway. A big crowd was entertained, courtesy of the Fort Randall Casino and Hotel, Beck's Hybrids and Fischer Farms.
The Hobby Stock class was one of the classes where the points title was still up in the air. Kevin Vasek (Lake Andes, SD) led Joey Jaton (Wagner, SD) by just six points coming into the evening. For the second straight week because of injury, Vasek's car was driven by someone else and this week, the pilot was John Otte (Ravinia, SD). Since points are awarded for heats and features, every lap counts. In heat race one, Otte started on the pole and looked to be in great position to win the heat and score five important points, but mechanical failure would cause him to finish out of the top five in the heat, scoring zero points. In heat two, Jaton started on the pole position and would cruise to an easy victory, securing himself five points. That would mean there was a one point difference with Vasek at 281 and Jaton at 280.
When the cars rolled out onto the track for the main event, the front row was scheduled to have Otte (In Vasek's car) and Jaton in the front row of the 12 lap showdown. But when the cars came out, the Vasek machine was no where to be found. Eventually, the 3 car would come out and take the green flag, but chose to start in the back with those mechanical issues. That meant that Jaton had to finish one position ahead of Otte for a tie and two positions better to become champion. When the green flag flew, it was Jaton jumping out to the lead, but the race quickly was slowed by a caution with Jordan Vosika (Gregory, SD) and Taylor Blom (Corsica, SD) making contact with each other in turn two. Vosika went to the work area to change a tire, but Blom's evening was finished. One lap later, another caution flag waved for Kody Roth (Spencer, NE) and on lap three, the caution lights flashed for the third time as Justin Schenkel (Tyndall, SD) got sideways on the back straight away. During the caution period as the cars were getting lined up for a restart, the plot thickened. A power failure on a faulty electrical breaker caused the lights to go out in turns three and four, causing an approximate 30 minute delay. The delay just added to the suspense on who would be crowned 2018 Hobby Stock champion. Once the action resumed, Jaton kept the lead until a hard charging Clifford Houser (Kimball, SD) took over the lead with seven circuits remaining. Jaton was still in good shape as all he had to do is finish ahead of Otte. One more caution flew with four laps remaining, setting up a dash to the finish line. Houser would drive away with his third win of the season, tops in the Hobby Stock class. He won the event coming from the eighth starting spot. Jordan Kott (Platte, SD), who started 17th on the field would charge up to second, Tim Waltner (Hartford, SD) came from 16th to finish third, Jaton held on for fourth and James Hoing (Kimball, SD), who started 15th, rounded out the top five. With Jaton's fourth place finish and Otte finishing 12th, that would wrap up a championship season for the Wagner, SD resident that was dominated by consistency. Jaton was held out of the Subway Winner's Circle all season, but persistence paid off with a track title. Jaton scored 311 points to Vasek's 304. Jordan Vosika with 277, Tanner Novak (Wagner, SD) with 274 and Chad Muilenburg (Ethan, SD) tallying 258 would round out the top five in final points.
The WISSOTA Super Stocks would be up next and the only drama in this points race is how much distance there would be from season champion Tyler Myers (Ethan, SD) and the rest of the field. All Myers had to do is take the green flag Monday night to wrap up his crown. Myers had just enough luck that he took the green flag, but had to retire early in the event, as he was involved in a turn two incident. On the complete restart, it didn't take Cole Searing (Huron, SD) to drive away and dominate his second straight feature at the track. Searing, who is in third place in the WISSOTA Super Stock National points chase, used the victory Monday night to wrap up the WISSOTA South Dakota Super Stock title. It was his second consecutive victory at Wagner and his 21st victory of the season in the Super Stock class nationally. Tyler Myers would claim the 2018 Wagner Speedway Super Stock title by scoring 910 points. Cody Martin (Mitchell, SD) would settle for second with 894, Brandon Tingle (Mitchell, SD) finished third with 849, Daniel Tingle (Mount Vernon, SD) fourth with 795 and Kip Myers (Ethan, SD) rounded out the top five with 710 points.
The B-Modifieds would be next and another Myers was in line to be crowned a champion. Tyler's younger brother Camden Myers (Ethan, SD) was poised to claim a title in just his second year in the B-Mod class. Myers had an 11 point lead over Wade Wright (Armour, SD) heading into the evening and both drivers won their respective heat races, keeping the margin at 11. All Myers had to do is take the green flag and he would secure his title and that he did. Not only did he take the green flag, he put an exclamation point on 2018 by picking up his sixth win of the season, which is tops among all drivers in all classes this season. Myers has won 11 races in two seasons, with five last season, which is also tops by any driver in any class. Dudley Schroeder, Jr (Armour, SD) would finish the feature in second, Kyle Pecena (O'Neill, NE) would take third, with Wade Wright and Logan Kafka (Wagner, SD) rounding out the top five. In the final point standings, Myers would top the class with 370 points, Wade Wright in second with 355, Dudley Schroeder, Jr third with 319, Logan Kafka fourth with 254 and James Larsen (Hartington, NE) in fifth with 235.
Late Models would take their turn to crown a champion and there were three drivers within 10 points of each other coming into championship night action. Justin Havranek (Wagner, SD) led with 204 points, Seth Fischer (Wagner, SD) was eight points back at 196 and Jared Jelsma (Springfield, SD) was 10 off the pace with 194. Havranek scored all five points by winning his heat and Jelsma would score four points by finishing second behind Havranek in heat one. Fischer would finish third in the second heat race, scoring two points which would make the difference between Havranek and the others now 11 points, 209 for Havranek to 198 each for Fischer and Jelsma. With those numbers, all Havranek had to do is take the green flag and he would be the 2018 Late Model champion. At the midway point of the race, trouble would ensue, as Mike Babcock (Creighton, NE) made significant contact with the Havranek machine, bringing out the caution flag and causing an approximately 10 minute delay as the cars had to be physically separated in turn four. Once the action resumed, the battle between Fischer and Quentin Myers (Pukwana, SD) would wage on for a number of laps before Myers overtook Fischer on lap 12 and picked up his third victory of the season. Gale Vogt (Yankton, SD) would come up and finish second with Fischer third, Jared Jelsma fourth and Marty Myers (Mitchell, SD) rounding out the top five. Havranek retired from the event late, but had enough cushion in the points to be crowned the champion. Havranek scored 234 points to Fischer's 230. Jared Jelsma settles for third with 229 points and Quentin Myers 224 and Gale Vogt 200 would round out the top five in points.
The question in the B-Buzzer front wheel drive class was, would it be father, who is the defending champion, or would it be son. 2017 champion Kevin Andersh (Wagner, SD) trailed his son Matthew Andersh (Wagner, SD) by five points coming into championship 324 to 319. Things got a little tighter in the heat race as Kevin scored all five points by winning the heat and Matthew only scored two points by finishing third. With the points now standing at 326 to 324, it was feature time. Both Andersh boys lined up next to each other with a points title on the line. The opening lap would seal the fate of these two drivers as Matthew lost momentum in turns three and four with the car getting loose, dropping him from the lead to fifth place. Meanwhile, Kevin, who was running second at the time would take advantage and drive by and onto the victory and the points title. Connor Brown (Yankton, SD) would charge from sixth to finish in second, followed by Shawn McKnelly (Hartford, SD), Matthew Andersh and Cassy Cooper (Mitchell, SD). The points title was the second consecutive for the elder Andersh scoring 359, followed by his son Matthew with 357. Cassy Cooper settles for third with 261, Shawn McKnelly fourth with 229 and Chris DeBoer (Mount Vernon, SD) rounding out the top five with 225 points.
The final event of the night saw the fourth appearance by the IMCA Race Saver 305 Sprint Cars and the hometown "hot shoe" John Otte (Ravina, SD) looked to have a chance to thrill the locals. Otte started on the pole position, but bad luck would strike on the exit of turn two on the opening lap. Otte hit a slick spot on the track and the back end came around and spun him out, bringing out the caution flag. When action resumed on the complete restart, it would be Daniel Nekolite (O'Neill, NE) that would steal the show. Nekolite drove away from long distance visitor Monty Ferriera (Fresno, CA) to pick up his second win of the season at Wagner. Following Nekolite and Ferriera would be Jesse Lindberg (Sioux Falls, SD), Elliot Amdahl (Flandreau, SD) and Bob Dvorak (Stuart, NE).
The 2018 season champions have been crowned, but that doesn't mean the racing is over. Wagner Speedway will host a special season finale this Saturday, September 8th with a night full of excitement. On the card will be the Property Solutions of America MSTS 360 Sprint Cars, the IMCA Race Saver 305 Sprint Cars, the Tri-State Late Model series, Hobby Stocks and, just added to the docket, B-Mods will run in non-points action. All the events are sponsored by the Fort Randall Casino and Hotel, Tracy's Paint and Body, Inc of Parkston, SD, Buffalo Wild Wings and the South Dakota Lottery.
Gates open at 4pm, hot laps at 6pm with racing at 7pm. Admission is just $20 for adults, kids 8 - 13 are only $8 and youth 7 and under are free. Get to the track early and enjoy some delicious cuisine from Mom and Missy's Place under the grandstand, then find the edge of your seat for this super season special. For more information, complete results and point standings and more, check out the all new WagnerSpeedway.com or follow us on Facebook at Wagner Speedway Fan Page. See you Saturday!!!
Fast Family FUN