by Steve Zwemke
HARTFORD, S.D. — The Hard Core Speed Shop 360 Sprint Car track championship came down to the final lap of the final race Saturday night at I-90 Speedway. Ryan Bickett’s second place finish gave him a cushion of just two points over Dusty Ballenger in the final point standings. Ballenger did all he could to help himself by winning his first feature of the season. Ballenger came from the fourth row to overtake Dave Ekern on the fifth lap. He held the lead for the rest of the event. Meanwhile, Bickett came from the fifth row, slicing his way through slower traffic, to finish second. Anything less would’ve given Ballenger his fourth straight track title. Instead, Bickett is now a two-time 360 Sprint Car champion at I-90 Speedway. His last points championship was in 2008.
John Lambertz was also in the thick of things Saturday night. Lambertz trailed Bickett by a single point before the heat races. Lambertz won his heat and held a one-point lead over Bickett heading into the feature. Lambertz started in the sixth row and made it up to fourth before settling for a fifth place finish. He finished the season 11-points behind Bickett.
Gary Brown Jr., ended a remarkable season with his seventh Express Copy and Printing Late Model Street Stock win. Brown had clinched the track title one week earlier so there was no pressure on him as the green flag fell. Cory Yeigh jumped from the eighth starting position to second on the first lap. A caution would result in a restart after the first lap was complete. Race leader Jim Hoing spun in front of the field resulting in a melee that collected Yeigh among others. Yeigh’s car took on a large amount of sheet metal damage – a large piece flew off the right side as soon as the race went green again. Yeigh’s chances to win were dashed as he was sent to the back of the field. Scott Borkowski assumed the lead which was quickly taken from him by Kipp De Groot. De Groot was only able to hold off Brown for so long as Brown took the lead on lap nine and went on to victory lane. De Groot finished second ahead of Dale Furby.
USRA B-Modified track champion Tracy Johnson secured the points title a week before the season finale and took the opportunity to race a special at Fountain City, Wisconsin. Marty Myers led the first three laps of the 15 lap feature and continued to run nice laps throughout the race. However, Craig Hanisch had too much power for Myers as he led the final 12 laps in winning his third USRA B-Modified feature and fifth overall this season. Hanisch made I-90 Speedway history in June when he broke the track’s all-time wins record. Hanisch now has 44 wins to his credit. Tim Dann came in third and Dennis Martin went from 12th to fourth in his first I-90 Speedway appearance this year.
A caution flag on the final lap of the Hobby Stock A-Main turned into a bad omen for Travis Vanden Top. Vanden Top was on his way to leading all 12 laps of the feature when Derek Baartman stalled on the track. Tim Waltner took advantage of the green/white/checker finish and zipped by Vanden Top on the outside for his third win. Travis Schreurs only needed to start the feature to earn his fifth consecutive track championship. He finished behind Vanden Top in third. Schreurs is the only driver to win championships in five straight seasons at I-90 Speedway.
There was plenty of drama in the Fast Auto Wash Super Chargers season finale. Laura Ebbesen held a slim 6-point lead over Joe Blake when they hit the track for their heats. Ebbesen and Blake both finished second in their heats. But Ebbesen started one row ahead of Blake in the feature and took full advantage by leading all 10 laps. Blake was right on Ebbesen’s bumper over the last few laps but couldn’t overtake the eventual winner and track champion. Ebbesen said, “I just had to run my race. I fought the good fight and I have finished the race!” Ebbesen’s win was her seventh of 2012.
I-90 Speedway’s awards banquet is scheduled for Saturday, October 20, at the Moose Lodge in Sioux Falls. For more information, log onto www.i90speedway.com.
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 8, 2012
360 SPRINT CARS
A Feature: 1. Dusty Ballenger, 2. Ryan Bickett, 3. Dave Ekern, 4. Troy Schreurs, 5. John Lambertz, 6. Jordan Martens, 7. Jerimiah Jordahl, 8. Mike Young, 9. Gary Reber, 10. Scott Van Maanen, 11. Taylor Forbes, 12. Justin Glaser, 13. Jeff Edgington, 14. Clinton Bruns, 15. Jordan Opdahl, 16. Ben Wexdahl, 17. Jeremy Vander Plaats, 18. Jared Jansen, 19. Tommy Barber, 20. Matt Ziebarth, 21. Randy Droescher, 22. Jared Riedel, 23. Terry Chester (DNS)
Heat Winners: Mike Young, John Lambertz, Tommy Barber
LATE MODEL STREET STOCKS
A Feature: 1. Gary Brown, Jr., 2. Kipp De Groot, 3. Dale Furby, 4. Scott Borkowski, 5. Brett Larsen, 6. Don Bickett, 7. Sam Johnson, 8. John Hoing, 9. Fred Konechne, 10. Brylee Gough, 11. Zach Van Voorst, 12. Cory Yeigh, 13. Jim Hoing, 14. Dan Jensen, 15. David Kuchta, 16. Billy Prouty, 17. Matt Steuerwald (DNS)
Heat Winners: Jim Hoing, Don Bickett, Scott Borkowski
A Feature: 1. Craig Hanisch, 2. Marty Myers, 3. Tim Dann, 4. Dennis Martin, 5. Dave Kennedy, 6. Jesse Ebbesen, 7. Brad Van Voorst, 8. Greg Roemen, 9. Zac Pruner, 10. Alec Vanden Brink, 11. Danny Harmon, 12. Mark DeBoer, 13. Chris Goetz, 14. Greg Eden, 15. Darin Noyes, 16. Doug Folkens, 17. Randy Van Engen (DNS)
Heat Winners: Tim Dann, Craig Hanisch, Jesse Ebbesen
A Feature: 1. Tim Waltner, 2. Travis Vanden Top, 3. Travis Schreurs, 4. Brad Hallem, 5. Dustin Gulbrandson, 6. Zach Olivier, 7. Derrick Scott, 8. Brian Hoing, 9. Paul Hartley, 10. Chad Kuhnert, 11. Logan Fitzpatrick, 12. Derek Baartman, 13. Jordan Kott, 14. Cody Toupal, 15. Aaron Van Voorst, 16. Don Brady Jr.
Heat Winners: Travis Vanden Top, Derrick Scott
A Feature: 1. Laura Ebbesen, 2. Joe Blake, 3. Kermit Rose, 4. Tyler McFarland, 5. Jessica Brandt, 6. Justin Voeitz, 7. Keith Johnson, 8. Tammy Lingen, 9. Ricky Egan, 10. Rodney Cook, 11. Nathan Visker, 12. Scott Ecklund, 13. Chad Carpenter, 14. Cody Bursing (DNS)
Heat Winners: Jessica Brandt, Kermit Rose
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