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Jerry Grasse and Derek Eberl win RoC qualifiers at TNT Speedway

Sunday July 14, 2013


By Jeremy Mayo

Two more drivers have clinched spots in the AMSOIL Race of Champions at this year’s Speedway Motors WISSOTA 100.

Phelps’ Jerry Grasse led wire-to-wire in the WISSOTA AMSOIL Dirt Track Series Midwest Modifies and Tomahawk’s Derek Eberl made a late charge in the WISSOTA/AMSOIL Street Stocks Saturday night to win TNT Speedway’s AMSOIL Race of Champions qualifiers.

Joining Grasse and Eberl in victory lane Saturday were Lac du Flambeau’s John Johnson Sr., who won his fourth consecutive TNT Pure Stock feature, Merrill’s Zach Degner and Birnamwood’s Forrest Crandall.

Grasse was slated to start third in the WISSOTA/AMSOIL Midwest Modified main event, but moved to the pole when Larry Gasperini elected to start at the back of the field. Grasse took the lead on the drop of the green and that’s all he needed as the 20-lap main event clicked by without a caution.

Tad Schoonover and Bruce Belland, both of Eagle River, were separated by one point at the top of the class point standings entering the night and battled for second position over the first 12 laps. Belland took the spot for good on lap 12 as Schoonover’s car faded and eventually limped home in fifth position, giving Belland a five-point lead over Schoonover at the halfway point of the 2013 campaign. Last week’s winner, Rhinelander’s Dan Melton, finished third, followed by Gasperini.

Eagle River’s Ron Van Dusen tried to parlay his first start of the year at TNT into victory and was on his way until Eberl’s late-race charge. Van Dusen, who won the heat race, passed Rhinelander’s Dustin Miller for the lead on lap three and opened up about a half-straightaway lead by the time Eberl got around Miller for second. Eberl caught Van Dusen on lap 13 and was about to make a move for the lead when the caution came out for a spin involving Miller and Argonne’s Jeff Mullins.

Van Dusen got a good restart and opened a three-car length lead, but Eberl closed in again and made the pass for the lead with four laps remaining. Eberl widened his lead to 15 points over Mullins in the WISSOTA/AMSOIL Street Stocks with his third feature victory of the season. Van Dusen, Mullins and Miller rounded out the four cars on track at the conclusion of the race.

Frank Gasperini of Iron River, Mich. again led the way during the first half of the TNT Pure Stock feature, but the pack reeled him in on lap eight as Rhinelander’s Tyler Lundberg took over the top spot. Lundberg did not enjoy the view from the front for long and Johnson Sr. looked to the inside and made the pass for the lead one lap later and cruised to another feature win. Lundberg, Troy Larock, Dan Schultz and Gasperini rounded out the top five.

The Pure Stocks, TNT’s most action-packed class, nearly went the entire 15-lap feature without a caution, but the one wreck they had was a big one. Rhinelander’s Lance Rutledge made contact with Wabeno’s John Danielson coming down the backstretch on the final lap, sending Danielson’s car into a barrel roll. Danielson took a couple minute to gather himself but climbed out of his No. 57 unharmed and was credited with sixth place — where he was running prior to the accident.

It was the second rollover of the night. The first took place in the Truck heat race, under caution. The yellow flew on lap six when Devin Wulf spun in turn three. Crandall and Erik Kessen were battling for the lead when the yellow came out. Contact was made in turn two as both trucks tried to slow to adhere to the caution. The contact sent Crandall’s truck over 90 degrees onto the driver’s side door.

Crandall was able to make sufficient repairs to his truck prior to the feature, but getting to the front was not easy.

Thanks to cautions Crandall had to pass Gleason’s Larry Roper Jr. three times for the lead before finally getting making it count.

Crandall’s for the lead was wiped out Kessen — who’s truck was not the same after the heat race accident — stalled on the exit ramp heading toward the pits. Crandall’s second pass was negated as well when Wulf spun at the back of the pack, brining out another caution. Finally on the third attempt, Crandall powered by Roper and cruised to win No. 5 of the season. Roper, Cory Allen, Sean Janssen and Wulf rounded out the top five.

Degner did his best to keep it a three-way battle in the TNT Stinger points, leading all 15 laps of a caution-free feature, but sits 10 points out of the lead after the men he’s chasing — Merrill’s Louis Malluege and Gleason’s Brandon Langbecker finished second and third. Malluege and Langbecker are tied for the class lead halfway through the season.

Racing continues July 20 at TNT Speedway as the Kim Parsons Memorial Trophy Tour makes a stop at the track. Trophies will be given to the feature winners in all five of TNT’s classes that night on behalf of the tour, founded by longtime track announcer and promoter Steve Parsons to raise awareness for organ and tissue donation. The tour was scheduled to stop at TNT June 15, but races that night were rained out.

Hot laps will start at 6:45 p.m. with racing at 7:15.

TNT Speedway
Saturday, July 13

WISSOTA/AMSOIL Midwest Modifieds

*Feature:* 1, Jerry Grasse. 2, Bruce Belland. 3, Dan Melton. 4, Larry Gasperini. 5, Tad Schoonover.

*Heat:* 1, Grasse, 2. Belland. 3, Schoonover. 4, Melton. 5, L.Gasperini.


*Feature:* 1, Derek Eberl. 2, Ron Van Dusen. 3, Jeff Mullins. 4, Dustin Miller. DNS — Todd Brass.

*Heat:* 1, Van Dusen. 2, Eberl. 3, Mullins. 4, Brass. 5, Miller.

TNT Pure Stocks

*Feature:* 1, John Johnson Sr. 2, Tyler Lundberg. 3, Troy Larock. 4, Dan Schultz. 5, Frank Gaspeini. 6, John Danielson. 7, Herb Dettman. 8, Lance Rutledge. 9, John Johnson Jr. 10, Ron Reese.

Heat 1: 1, Lundberg. 2, Johnson Sr. 3, Larock. 4, Rutledge. 5, Danielson.

Heat 2: 1, Schultz. 2, Dettman. 3, F.Gasperini. 4, Reese. 5, Johnson Jr.

TNT Stingers

*Feature:* 1, Zach Degner. 2, Louis Malluege. 3, Brandon Langbecker. 4, Bill Martin. 5, Andrew Westmann.

Heat: 1, Malluege. 2, Langbecker. 3, Degner. 4, Martin. 5, Westmann.

TNT Trucks

Feature: 1, Forrest Crandall. 2, Larry Roper Jr. 3, Cory Allen. 4, Devin Wulf. 5, Sean Janssen. 6, Erik Kessen.

*Heat:* 1, Roper Jr. 2, Wulf. 3, Janssen. 4, Allen. 5, Crandall. 6, Kessen.

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This report was provided by an outside PR source and posted by Mike Neff.


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