September 8, 2018
2018 Season Concludes Saturday Night at Wagner Speedway
By Rod Pattison and Shawn Niestadt
The 2018 racing season came to a close this past Saturday night in front of a packed house at Wagner Speedway with the evening's events sponsored by the Fort Randall Casino and Hotel, Tracy's Paint and Body, Inc of Parkston and the South Dakota Lottery. 84 cars took to the track and put on a show that would put an exclamation point on an amazing season. The Property Solutions of America MSTS 360 Sprint Car series, the Tri-State Late Model series, IMCA Race Saver 305 Sprint Cars, Hobby Stocks, B-Mods and a special "Old Timers" exhibition race entertained the masses.
The heat races went off with no major issues, but the moment of the night that brought everyone to their feet was in an "Old Timers" heat race. Wes Schell, who was driving Kevin Manthey's car, started to spin out in turn one. Instead of letting the car come to a rest, he decided to try to drive out of it, causing him to make hard impact with a large implement tire on the infield. After close to 15 minutes of a tow truck to lift the car off the tire and two four wheelers to pull the big tire out of the way, the track was cleared for the conclusion of the race.
The evenings main events would see the Hobby Stocks take the track first and it didn't take long for James Hoing (Kimball, SD) to march to the front. After starting fifth on the grid, Hoing got by pole sitter Justin Schenkel (Tyndall, SD) on lap two and drove away with his second win of the season and of his career at Wagner. Fellow Kimball competitor Clifford Houser (Kimball, SD) would charge from sixth to finish second, followed by Schenkel, Nich Janssen (Sioux Falls, SD) and David Kranig (Geddes, SD). The hard charger of the race was Tyler Myers (Ethan, SD), who was driving Josh Gebhart's car, moved up seven spots to finish seventh. Heat races were won by Clifford Houser and Justin Havranek (Wagner, SD).
On the original start of the B-Mod "A" feature, tough luck would strike the driver who finished second in the 2018 points race, Wade Wright (Armour, SD). Wright was involved in a multi-car incident that brought out the caution flag and forced him to the back of the field for the complete restart. The race would begin again on a complete restart with Kendall McCarthy (Naper, NE) and a driver who was doing double duty by racing in two separate classes, Tyler Myers. Myers was driving the car that his younger brother Camden Myers (Ethan, SD) used in winning the 2018 track title. Following a lap two caution brought out by Darin Veen (Worthington, MN), Myers wasted little time in taking the top spot and he never looked back. Myers picked up his second victory of the season, his first of the season in a B-Mod to go along with a WISSOTA Super Stock triumph and the eighth win of his career. Following his 13th starting spot after his opening lap caution, Wade Wright marched back up to the runner-up spot, followed by Justin Voeltz (Hartford, SD), Ryan Walker (Kanaranzi, MN) and Kevin McCarthy (Naper, NE). Heat races were won by Wade Wright and Ryan Walker.
The Tri-State Late Models took center stage next and this race would see some intense action midway through the H & H Mobile Homes main event. As the lead pack entered slower traffic, Ben Sukup (Norfolk, NE), Quentin Myers (Pukwana, SD), Gary Brown, Jr (Brandon, SD) and Jordan Heiman (Sioux Falls, SD) all tried to occupy the same piece of Charles Mix county real estate. Unfortunately for Sukup, that didn't work very well as he got caught up amongst the group and dropped out of the top five. Fortunately for Heiman, that propelled him to the lead and he would not be denied as he drove on to win his first of the season at Wagner Speedway. After a close call with victory on August 24th at the speedway, Heiman would claim the checkers for his third career victory at the speedway. Brown, Jr would settle for second, followed by Quentin Myers, Eric VanOsdall (Norfolk, NE) and Sukup. The DADS Repair of Beresford heat one win was claimed by Gale Vogt (Yankton, SD), Jeff Kroger (Canton, SD) won the E & A Concrete of Sioux Falls heat two and Ben Sukup claimed the Bert's Sports Bar of Beresford and Midwest Oil of Sioux Falls heat three. The Keizer Wheels Hard Charger award was presented to Eric VanOsdall, who moved up nine positions to finish fourth.
The IMCA Race Saver 305 Sprint Cars rolled out for their finale and it didn't take time for the winner to claim the top spot. After Dusty Ballenger (Harrisburg, SD) started on the outside of the front row, the former 305 Nationals Champion dominated this one to claim his first victory at the track. Brant O'Banion (Norfolk, NE) would be the hard charger, moving up five spots to secure second place as Daniel Nekolite (O'Neill, NE), Jesse Lindberg (Sioux Falls, SD) and Monty Ferriera (Fresno, CA) rounded out the top five. Heats were won by John Otte (Ravinia, SD) and Brant O'Banion.
The "Old Timers" main event was a "Who's Who" of racing past. Lynn Fischer, Doug Myers, Dennis Fechner, Randy Meiers, Casey Carda, Larry Schmikel, Russ Jelsma, Wes Schell, Cal Muilenberg and Mike Tingle took the green flag and this would be one of the most bizarre endings you will ever see. As the cars were rolling through turns three and four to take the white flag, the leader Mike Tingle and his pursuer Larry Schmikel made heavy contact, causing both cars to spin out. Tingle's car received substantial damage, bending the left rear wheel and axle, which would not allow the car to continue. Following a short deliberation with officials, Tingle was declared the winner of this exhibition. The car was put on a tow truck and brought into the Subway Winner's Circle where Tingle was interviewed, elevated car behind him. Later that night, Tingle told friends that "he was going home to sit in the hot tub. This old body is beat up!"
That brought out the evening's headlining act, the Property Solutions of America Midwest Sprint Touring Series "A" Main event. 16 cars signed in and this would become a two car chase for much of the race. Tyler Drueke (Eagle, NE) led all 25 laps in the feature, but it wasn't as easy as it sounds. Drueke entered lapped traffic on lap 13 and used a veteran move to clear three cars. As Seth Bergman (Snohomish, WA) was in hot pursuit, Drueke again managed slower traffic to perfection on lap 19 and held off a late race challenge from Bergman to claim his second feature victory in his career at Wagner. "It's been a long time since I've won a 360 race," said Drueke in victory lane. "This place is easy to drive with all the banking but very tough to pass." Drueke's only other 360 win at Wagner was in 2017. Drueke was followed by Bergman with Lee Grosz (Harwood, ND) settling for third. Following a back and forth battle, Jody Rosenboom (Rock Rapids, IA) outlasted Ryan Bickett (Ramona, SD) to take fourth with Bickett rounding out the top five. The heat races were won by Lee Grosz and Tyler Drueke, with the Auto Land Hard Charger award being presented to Brant O'Banion, who gained five spots to take a seventh place finish.
For a complete list of results, log onto WagnerSpeedway.com or follow the track on Facebook at Wagner Speedway Fan Page. On behalf of the entire Wagner Speedway family, we would sincerely like to thank everyone who made the 2018 campaign a tremendous success. From the drivers and race teams who put on the shows, the fans who enjoyed the shows and our corporate partners who helped to make the shows happen, we couldn't do it without all of those people. Details will be coming soon about the 2018 post season banquet and meeting, be watching for details in the coming weeks.