HARTFORD, S.D. — To the fans in attendance, I-90 Speedway’s season opener more closely resembled an episode of Ice Road Truckers than it did Dirt Knights. However, some incredible finishes helped to diminish the effect of stiffening winds and a temperature that dropped into the 30s. The opener also marked the first time in several years that I-90 Speedway raced five regular divisions on a Saturday night as 84 cars filled the outfield.
No finish was as thrilling as the Hard Core Speed Shop IMCA 360 Sprint Car feature as Tommy Barber edged Justin Zitterich by 28-hundredths of a second at the flag stand. Zitterich took the lead from Barber on the fourth lap, but admitted to letting up after mistaking the white flag for the checkered. “I feel like I let my dad down more than anything,” Zitterich said later. Still, he was able to keep his lead over Barber until the finish which was too close to eyeball.
Pole-sitter Justin Jacobsma was able to get close in the late stages before Barber and Zitterich turned it into a two car battle. Jacobsma settle for third.
Mechanical problems took Lane Brenden out of his heat race while he was enjoying a colossal lead. He returned with a strong fourth place finish in the feature after starting in the ninth row. His teammate, Ty Hanten, who has gobs of seat time in full bodied race cars, crossed the line in fifth.
The off-season merger of the sportsmen and street stock classes led to a competitive field of 18 cars in the Express Copy and Printing Late Model Street Stock division. Eric Moser used the bottom of the track en route to his second career win at I-90 Speedway. Moser is now the winner of two straight as he won the final feature of the 2010 season. In another close finish, Moser had to hold off three-time defending track champion Matt Steuerwald and street stock veteran Don Bickett who were scored second and third respectively.
Winter meetings to add USRA sanctioning to the b-modified division, a concept heavily supported by drivers, witnessed a spring bloom as 26 cars made it the largest class of the night. Greg Roemen was well on his way to his first-ever I-90 Speedway feature nod when a late-race caution flag played a role in the outcome. Two-time b-mod champion Tracy Johnson, who picked up a number of positions using the middle lane on the track, stormed past Roemen after a green-white-checker finish for the victory.
Travis Schreurs, Don Brady and Michael Powell received disqualifications after the hobby stock feature. New I-90 Speedway tech officials Darlo and Laura Mulder disqualified Schreurs, who celebrated moments earlier in victory lane, for an illegal carburetor. That gave the win to Tim Waltner who led the division in wins last year with seven.
Laura Ebbesen raced to her second career win in the Fast Auto Wash Super Chargers feature.
Saturday, April 30
IMCA 360 Sprints
Heat winners: Dusty Ballenger, Tommy Barber, John Lambertz
Feature: 1. Tommy Barber, 2. Justin Zitterich, 3. Justin Jacobsma, 4. Lane Brenden, 5. Ty Hanten, 6. Dusty Ballenger, 7. Justin Glaser, 8. Don Bickett, 9. Isaac Schreurs, 10. Dylan Peterson, 11. John Lambertz, 12. Troy Schreurs, 13. Kevin Flowers, 14. Mike Young, 15. Dustin Beenken, 16. Terry Chester, 17. Steve Ballenger, 18. Randy Droescher, 19. Brock Dump (DNS), 20. Ryan Bickett (DNS), 21. Jared Jansen (DNS)
LATE MODEL STREET STOCKS
Heat winners: Don Bickett, Scott Borkowski
Feature: 1. Eric Moser, 2. Matt Steuerwald, 3. Don Bickett, 4. Jesse Akkerman, 5. Scott Borkowski, 6. Cory Yeigh, 7. Jamie Tieszen, 8. Sam Johnson, 9. Brylee Gough, 10. Brandon Ferguson, 11. Kipp De Groot, 12. Fred Konechne, 13. Marshall Pater, 14. John Hoing, 15. Jim Hoing, 16. Brad Van Voorst, 17. Tim Ferguson, 18. Brett Larsen
Heat Winners: Kevin Joachim, Tyler Johnson, Dave Kennedy, Kenny Scholten
B Feature Winner: Josh Van Beek
Feature: 1. Tracy Johnson, 2. Greg Roemen, 3. Kevin Joachim, 4. Jesse Ebbesen, 5. Tim Dann, 6. Dave Kennedy, 7. Doug Folkens, 8. Greg Eden, 9. Denny Lottman, 10. Brock Hess, 11. Kenny Scholten, 12. Josh Van Beek, 13. Mitch Van Engen, 14. Dustin Kruse, 15. Tyler Johnson, 16. Alan Vanden Brink, 17. Aaron Penning, 18. Chris Weatherton, 19. Zach Van Voorst, 20. Jared Nytroe
Heat Winners: Tim Waltner, Travis Schreurs
Feature: 1. Tim Waltner, 2. Zach Olivier, 3. Dustin Gulbrandson, 4. Jordan Kott, 5. Brian Hoing, 6. Jason Mehlhaff, 7. Mike Chaney, 8. Paul Hartley, 9. Mike Dahler, 10. Travis Schreurs, 11. Don Brady, 12. Michael Powell
Heat Winner: Harley Bauman
Feature: 1. Laura Ebbesen, 2. Harley Bauman, 3. Tyler Martin, 4. Jessica Brant, 5. Keith Johnson, 6. Joe Blake, 7. Tyler McFarland (DNS)