Monday August 13, 2012
By Jeremy Mayo
It is no guarantee that Eagle River’s Bruce Belland and Bruce Crossing, Mich’s., Jordan Kurtti will win track championships at Three Lakes TNT Speedway in 2012, but both will have to opportunity to race with champions.
The drivers won TNT’s WISSOTA AMSOIL Race of Champions qualifying races Saturday, punching their tickets to the AMSOIL Race of Champions during next month’s WISSOTA 100 in Huron, S.D. Belland and Kurtti currently sit second in the WADTS Midwest Modified and Street Stock points, respectively, at TNT, but closed the gap on the drivers they are chasing with two nights remaining.
In other action, Rhinelander’s Dan Schultz scored a win in the TNT Pure Stocks. Gleason’s Kasey Gross scored the victory in the TNT Stingers and Birnamwood’s Sean Thayer scored his 11th feature win in the TNT Trucks.
Kurtti entered the night six points behind Argonne’s Jeff Mullins in the Street Stock point standings. He closed the lead to five with a runner-up finish in the heat race.
Mullins started the race from the pole, but his rear deck lid became partially detached in the early laps. Kurtti moved from fourth starting position to the lead on lap four. Moments later Paul Sowinski spun, bringing out the caution. Under the yellow, track officials sent Mullins to the pits to fix the loose sheet metal.
Kurtti pulled out to a big lead on the restart, but cut a tire on lap seven, spinning out and bringing out another caution. Rhinelander’s Brit Bromann inherited the lead while Mullins made his way from the back of the pack to second. Kurtti charged through the field as well, passing Bromann for the lead on lap 14. Michael Knab spun to bring out the yellow on lap 16.
Kurtti cruised over the final nine laps to take the feature win. Mullins, meanwhile, was slow to get up to speed on the restart, dropping from third to seventh. He worked his way back to fourth by the end of the race. Kurtti trimmed Mullins’ lead to one point with the victory. Bromann, Jake Terry, Mullins and Adam Johnson rounded out the top five.
Belland entered the Midwest Modified feature 10 points behind Tomahawk’s Jeff Klopstein Jr. Klopstein had a chance to solidify his hopes for a track title, starting from the pole for the feature, but Belland passed him for the lead on lap two and led the rest of the way in the 25-lap feature. C.J. Hedges Jr. passed Klopstein for second on lap five and held off a late Klopstein rally to maintain the second position. Joe Kin and Lance Lau rounded out the top five as Belland trimmed Klopstein’s lead to seven points with two nights remaining.
The other close points battle at TNT in the final weeks of the season is in the four-cylinder Stinger division. Gleason’s Brandon Langbecker entered the night with a six-point lead over Merrill’s Zach Degner. He extended the lead to nine points with runner-up showings in the heat and the feature. No one had anything for Gleason’s Kasey Gross, who earned a clean sweep. He took the lead on lap five in the feature and never looked back. Langbecker, Degner, Louis Malluege and Tyler Musolff rounded out the top five.
It was another caution-filled TNT Pure Stock feature. Early leaders Tyler Lundberg and Mike Bukovic both had issues. That handed the lead to Schultz, who led the final eight laps to score the win. Bromann took second, maintaining an 18-point lead over Schultz. John Johnson, Sr. finished third. 2009 and 2011 TNT Pure Stock track champion Denny Tushoski finished fourth in his first start of 2012. Lundberg recovered from his early trouble to finish fifth.
Thayer went to the pits after cutting a tire in a lap one accident, but only needed three laps to retake the lead in the Truck feature. Thayer cruised as it was a battle of attrition behind him. Thayer, Rhinelander’s Jay Wilberding and Birnamwood’s Sean Janssen were the only three finishers of the seven that started the race.
Racing continues next Saturday at Three Lakes TNT Speedway with hot laps at 6:45 p.m. and racing at 7:15 p.m.
*Three Lakes TNT Speedway
Saturday, Aug. 11*
WISSOTA AMSOIL Dirt Track Series Midwest Modifieds
*Feature:* 1, Bruce Belland. 2, C.J. Hedges Jr. 3, Jeff Klopstein Jr. 4, Joe Kin. 5, Lance Lau. 6, Dan Melton. 7, Larry Gasperini. 8, Dennis Mikkelson.
*Heat:* 1, Lau. 2, Klopstein Jr. 3, Mikkelson. 4, Belland. 5, Hedges Jr. 6, Kin. 7, Gasperini. 8, Melton.
WISSOTA AMSOIL Dirt Track Series Street Stocks
*Feature:* 1, Jordan Kurtti. 2, Brit Bromann. 3, Jake Terry. 4, Jeff Mullins. 5, Adam Johnson. 6, Tim Miller. 7, Paul Sowinski. 8, Michael Knab.
*Heat:* 1, Bromann. 2, Kurtti. 3, Mullins. 4, Sowinski. 5, Terry. 6, Miller. 7, Knab. 8, A. Johnson.
TNT Pure Stocks
Feature: 1, Dan Schultz. 2, Bromann. 3, John Johnson Sr. 4, Denny Tushoski. 5, Tyler Lundberg. 6, Troy Larock. 7, Logan Lannet. 8, Nate Langberg. 9, Rick England. 10, Alex Durand. 11, Jesse Dettman. 12, Kyle Schneider. 13, John Danielson. 14, Mike Bukovic.
*Heat 1:* 1, Tushoski. 2, Johnson Sr. 3, Lundberg. 4, Schultz. 5, Schneider. 6, Lannet. 7, Danielson.
Heat 2: 1, Bukovic. 2, Langberg. 3, Bromann. 4, Dettman. 5, Durand. 6, England. 7, Larock.
*Feature:* 1, Kasey Gross. 2, Brandon Langbecker. 3, Zach Degner. 4, Louis Malluege. 5, Tyler Musolff. 6, Paul Winker. 7, Charlie Gross. 8, Kenny Wiesman.
*Heat:* 1, K. Gross. 2, Langbecker. 3, Malluege. 4, Degner. 5, Winker. 6, Musolff. 7, C. Gross. 8, Wiesman.
Feature: 1, Sean Thayer. 2, Jay Wilberding. 3, Sean Janssen. 4, Larry Roper Jr. 5, Ed Andraschko. 6, Erik Kessen. 7, Cory Allen. DNS: Thadd Westfall.
Heat: 1, Thayer. 2, Roper Jr. 3, Allen. 4, Andraschko. 5, Wilberding. 6, Kessen. 7, Janssen. DNS: Westfall.
*Feature:* 1, Kyle Stricklin. 2, Roper Jr. 3, Stephen Prince. 4, Cody Woellner. 5, Dillon Cannon. 6, Brandon Folta.
*Heat:* 1, Stricklin. 2, Roper Jr. 3, Prince. 4, Cannon. 5, Woellner. 6, Folta.
This report was provided by an outside PR source and posted by Mike Neff.
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