STAR JOURNAL REPORT
While Eagle River’s Austin Zdroik was celebrating his second win ever at Eagle River Speedway, James Koga notched his first feature win Friday, as did Tom Lannet.
It was the week before that Zdroik got his first WISSOTA Midwest Modified Polydome Series feature win. This past Friday night he took advantage of Ashland’s Tyler Vernon breaking a ball joint. Vernon led for the first 16 laps of the 20-lap feature. As the race went on Vernon continued to extend his lead.
“Tyler (Vernon) looked to have it locked, the race the crowd watched was between Tad (Schoonover), Marcus (Dunbar) and (Austin) Zdroik,” said track promoter Kevin Dawson.
Dunbar had a tie rod break and left the race, and then Vernon lost a ball joint. That put the race in the hands of Zdroik and Schoonover. The five-time defending class champion, Jesse Aho, did not race. That opened the door for a new point leader in the class for the first time in many years. By taking a fourth in the heat and a seventh in the feature, the new WISSOTA Midwest Modified point leader is Marcus Dunbar of Wakefield, Mich.
Dunbar has 401 points, while Aho is at 363.
It was in the Speedway Trucks that Summit Lake’s Herb Dettman once again looked to reserve his spot in the Auto Value victory lane. Dettman went through the pack to win the heat race. He was making the same move from the middle of the pack to win the feature. That is until he also had mechanical problems. Same with Woodboro’s Cory “Cowboy” Allen.
With those two out of contention, Eagle River’s James Koga held the lead from the first lap to the final lap. The conversation amongst the officials as Koga was heading to the victory lane was, “I doubt anyone would have caught him anyway, James (Koga) was not only fast, but he had his truck handling perfect.”’
Koga wasn’t the only driver to record his first feature win. Tom Lannet from Bruce Crossing, Michigan, held off a crowded field of 11 other competitors in the WISSOTA Pure Stock Feature. This was only the fifth time Lannet had ever raced at any track.
“I told people that Tom (Lannet) was going to win a feature by his fifth race,” said David Blackberg, the defending Pure Stock class champion. “We worked on the car to get it to handle, and it paid off.”
Lannet purchased Blackberg’s class championship car.
“I knew it was fast, I just had to learn how to drive it,” said Lannet.
Lannet held off the current class point leader, Jake Ison, the defending point champion, David Blackberg, and a former class champion, CJ Hedges, Jr.
“This class is wide open this year,” Blackberg said. “Anyone can win on any given night.”
Ison still has the point lead with 417 points, Jason Eisel is right behind at 413, Isabelle Valeria is at 384, and Bryce Wick is at 378.
Earlier in the night, Hedges made a return to the legendary Tri-Oval by working his way through the field to win a heat race, with Eisel winning the other Heat.
Six Side by Side off-road vehicles thrilled the crowd by racing over the jumps, right and left hair-pin turns, on the infield and on the track. Winning the race was Minocqua’s Tom Ryden on an Arctic Cat Wildcat.
“This was a lot of fun, we’re looking forward to doing this again,” said Ryden. “We’ll have even more Side by Sides race the next time.”
The defending WISSOTA Street Stock class champion, Rhinelander’s ‘Flying’ Ryan Valeria, continues to extend his point lead in the class by taking both the feature and the heat. Eagle River’s Ty Springer on his Honda powered Sprint 600 swept both the feature and the heat, as did Phelps’ Dustin Kangas in the Junior Sprints.
Though both Springer and Kangas are the defending class champions, both are trailing in this year’s quest to defend their titles. Minocqua’s Cole Stella has a 72-point lead over Kangas, and Dylan Larson has a 44-point lead over Springer.
It will be this coming Friday night that the Eagle River Speedway will have its regular schedule of five classes, along with the Speedway Trucks. It will also be another segment of the Redneck Games, as it will be Spectator 1 on 1 racing.
Eagle River Speedway July 14 Results
WISSOTA Midwest Modified Feature: 1) Austin Zdroik, Eagle River; 2) Tadd Schoonover, Eagle River; 3) Darren Dunbar, Marenisco, Mich.; 4) Steven Altman, Mercer; 5) Jesse Raffaelli, Toivola, Mich.; 6) Tyler Vernon, Ashland; 7) Marcus Dunbar, Wakefield, Mich.; 8) Jonathon Miller, Eagle River; 9) Frank Gasperini, Eagle River.
WISSOTA Midwest Modified Heat: 1) Vernon; 2) Schoonover; 3) Darren Dunbar; 4) Marcus Dunbar; 5) Zdroik; 6) Miller; 7) Altman; 8) Raffaelli; 9) Gasperini.
WISSOTA Street Stock Feature: 1) Ryan Valeria, Rhinelander; 2) David Scott, Ewen, Mich.; 3) Bruce Stanley, Merrill; 4) Gasperini, Eagle River.
WISSOTA Street Stock Heat: 1) Valeria; 2) Scott; 3) Gasperini; 4) Stanley.
Sprint 600 Feature: 1) Ty Springer, Eagle River; 2) Dylan Larson, Shiocton; 3) Jack Vandenboom, Dousman; 4) Tommi Jo Springer, Eagle River; 5) Denver Larson, Shiocton.
Sprint 600 Heat: 1) Ty Springer; 2) Vandenboom; 3) Dylan Larson; 4) Denver Larson; 5) Tommi Jo Springer.
WISSOTA Pure Stock Feature: 1) Tom Lannet, Bruce Crossing, Mich.; 2) Jake Ison, Eagle River; 3) CJ Hedges, Jr., Tripoli; 4) Spencer Bolte, Eagle River; 5) Jason Eisel, Rhinelander; 6) David Blackberg, Eagle River; 7) Bryce Wick, Eagle River; 8) Ethan Holm, Crandon; 9) Isabelle Valeria, Eagle River; 10) Ethan Hommerding, Merrill; 11) Fred “Fritz” Scharf, Eagle River; 12) Tristan Valeria, Eagle River.
WISSOTA Pure Stock Heat 1: 1) Eisel; 2) Blackberg; 3) Lannet; 4) Holm; 5) Hommerding; 6) Scharf.
WISSOTA Pure Stock Heat 2: 1) Hedges, Jr.; 2) Ison; 3) Bolte; 4) Wick; 5) Isabelle Valeria; 6) Tristan Valeria.
Speedway Trucks Feature: 1) James Koga, Eagle River; 2) Ronald Vernick, Harshaw; 3) Josh Drivas, Hazelhurst; 4) Herb Dettman, Summit Lake; 5) Brack Congleton, Rhinelander; 6) Cory Allen, Woodboro; 7) Jake Diefenthaler, Harshaw.
Speedway Truck Heat: 1) Dettman; 2) Vernick; 3) Koga; 4) Drivas; 5) Allen; 6) Diefenthaler; 7) Congleton.
Junior Sprint Feature: 1) Dustin Kangas, Phelps; 2) Cole Stella, Minocqua.
Junior Sprint Heat: 1) Kangas; 2) Stella.
Side by Side (UTV) Off Road Challenge Feature Winner: Tom Ryden, Minocqua, Arctic Cat Wildcat.