by Steve Zwemke
HARTFORD, S.D. — Zach Olivier of Sioux Falls accomplished two things on Saturday night during I-90 Speedway’s Hobby Stock Nationals. One, he brought the crowd to its feet for an exciting finish. And, two, he cashed in to the max. Travis Vanden Top led the first eight laps of the 15 lap feature while Chad Kuhnert and Mike Chaney pecked away at his lead. Vanden Top was sent to the rear after a caution handing control over to Mike Chaney. Chaney’s car appeared to be fast enough to stay in front for the rest of the race until he went pitside a couple of laps later because of problems with the A-frame. Chad Kuhnert inherited the lead on lap 11 and stayed there until Olivier motored past him in the second turn on the final lap. Olivier said, “Chad was really loose and I just bided my time. I think I used up all my energy. I don’t think I have anything left!” Olivier’s win was good for $500. He also collected a $300 hard charger award for winning from the 15th starting position. Hard charger sponsors were Gary’s Tire Service, Fitzpatrick Racing, KELO-TV videographer Terry “Buddha” Kjergaard and I-90 Speedway announcers Donn MacArthur and Steve Zwemke.
Fans of the Hard Core Speed Shop 360 Sprint Cars were also treated to a good show. Ryan Bickett earned his sixth win of the year by passing Dusty Ballenger and then leading the final five laps. Ballenger, the three-time defending track champion, is still looking for his first win. He sits second in the point standings and has seven second place finishes. The race was red flagged with four laps to go when Kevin Flowers made contact with another car. Flowers rolled his car off the third turn. He got out of the car and was okay. During the open red, Bickett said, “My crew chief said I was a car length too high.” He took the advice to heart and dropped down on the track to secure the win over Ballenger. The race saw several drivers move up through the field including Bickett who started 11th. Fellow sixth row starter Robby Wolfgang raced to fourth.
Gary Brown Jr., was dominant in the Express Copy and Printing Late Model Street Stock A-Main. He also earned his sixth win of 2012 at I-90 Speedway. Brown passed Don Bickett on the second lap and rode a fast car to the checkered flag on lap 15. He missed out on some pretty good battles for position behind him. Most impressive was Dale Furby’s climb from 13th to runner-up. Last week’s winner, Kipp DeGroot, also came from the seventh row to finish fourth.
Craig Hanisch scored a popular win in the USRA B-Modifieds on Gary’s Tire Service Night. Hanisch led all 15 laps. Dave Mulder raced him closely for much of the event but it was Tracy Johnson who nearly pulled off a miracle finish. Johnson was sent to the rear of the field earlier in the event due to a spin. Johnson immediately owned the top side of the race track and raced all the way back to a second place finish. Hanisch’s win was his second in his Gary’s Tire Service sponsored B-Mod.
The Fast Auto Wash Super Chargers division welcomed another driver to the first-time win club. Justin Voeitz of Sioux Falls led all 10 laps in just his fourth start this season. Meanwhile, damage to Laura Ebbesen’s car forced her pitside and also forced her to give up the points lead. Joe Blake’s second place finish put him atop the standings as he now leads Ebbesen by 11 points with only two races left on the schedule.
A field of 98 cars filled the I-90 Speedway pits, 29 of which were on hand for the Hobby Stock Nationals.
SATURDAY, AUGUST 25
360 SPRINT CARS
A Feature: 1. Ryan Bickett, 2. Dusty Ballenger, 3. Justin Glaser, 4. Robby Wolfgang, 5. John Lambertz, 6. Troy Schreurs, 7. Tommy Barber, 8. Mike Young, 9. Terry Chester, 10. Dave Ekern, 11. Daryl Reverts, 12. Randy Droescher, 13. Neil Dvorak, 14. Jordan Opdahl, 15. Ryan Jones, 16. Kevin Flowers, 17. Brock Dump, 18. Scott Van Maanen, 19. Jared Jansen, 20. Kaley Gharst (DQ)
B Feature: 1. Kaley Gharst, 2. Jordan Opdahl, 3. Tommy Barber, 4. Dave Ekern, 5. Neil Dvorak
Heat Winners: Dusty Ballenger, Mike Young, John Lambertz
LATE MODEL STREET STOCKS
A Feature: 1. Gary Brown Jr., 2. Dale Furby, 3. Matt Steuerwald, 4. Kipp De Groot, 5. Don Bickett, 6. Dan Jensen, 7. Brylee Gough, 8. John Hoing, 9. Jim Hoing, 10. Zach Van Voorst, 11. Fred Konechne, 12. Billy Prouty, 13. Scott Borkowski, 14. Craig Hanisch, 15. Terry Prouty
Heat Winners: Don Bickett, Matt Steuerwald
A Feature: 1. Craig Hanisch, 2. Tracy Johnson, 3. Dave Mulder, 4. Dustin Kruse, 5. Dave Kennedy, 6. Harvey Vande Weerd, 7. Marty Myers, 8. Tyler Tesch, 9. Cody Johnson, 10. Jesse Ebbesen, 11. Greg Roemen, 12. Jeremy Rozeboom, 13. Cory Gronewold, 14. Tim Dann, 15. Brock Hess, 16. Anthony Van Everdingen, 17. Leon Mulder, 18. Danny Harmon, 19. Zac Pruner
Heat Winners: Tracy Johnson, Dave Mulder, Craig Hanisch
A Feature: 1. Zach Olivier, 2. Chad Kuhnert, 3. Travis Schreurs, 4. Dusty Van Der Brink, 5. Aaron Van Voorst, 6. Paul Hartley, 7. Larry Kracht, 8. Dustin Gulbrandson, 9. Mike Chaney, 10. Jordan Kott, 11. Brad Hallem, 12. Russ Ellefson, 13. Dylan Fitzpatrick, 14. Travis Vanden Top, 15. Tony Morehead, 16. Tony Fetterman, 17. Derrick Scott, 18. Tim Waltner, 19. Brady Van Beek, 20. Don Brady Jr.
B Feature: 1. Jordan Kott, 2. Dylan Fitzpatrick, 3. Russ Ellefson, 4. Brady Van Beek
Heat Winners: Derrick Scott, Mike Chaney, Dustin Gulbrandson, Tim Waltner
A Feature: 1. Justin Voeitz, 2. Joe Blake, 3. Kermit Rose, 4. Connor Vande Weerd, 5. Scott Ecklund, 6. Josh Lien, 7. Nathan Visker, 8. Josh Downs, 9. Jessica Brandt, 10. Laura Ebbesen, 11. Pam Rose (DQ)
Heat Winners: Jessic Brandt, Joe Blake
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