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Tatnell Uses Late Race Heroics For Elko IRA Win

By Justin Zoch
Elko Speedway, Elko, Minnesota
July 24, 2010

For nearly the entire 30 lap finale to the AMSOIL Dirt Nationals at Elko Speedway, it looked like Bill Balog was going to streak to victory lane, just like he did on Saturday night at the 2009 Dirt Nationals. Then, with a lap and a half remaining, Wayne Modjeski’s overtaxed right rear tire finally let loose and a yellow flag came out. This put ninth-starting Brooke Tatnell right on the rear nerf bar of Balog. The veteran racer popped to the inside of Balog in turn one on the restart and drove off to claim his first career Elko Speedway win and fourth IRA score of 2010.
Balog, the IRA point leader, jumped out the early lead from the pole position while Wayne Modjeski and Steve Meyer followed. On lap six, Mike Reinke spun while passing Meyer for third, bringing out a yellow flag. At this point, Tatnell was moving to the front while Scott Winters was also on the charge from row seven. Over the next 24 laps, Balog continued to check out on the field as he blasted through the lapped traffic ahead of an excellent three, four and sometimes five car tussle for position between Modjeski, who held second for much of the race, Tatnell, Winters, Haeni and Meyer. Travis Whitney, a heat race flip victim in the Dewall Racing 16, was using the low groove and soon found himself in the fight as well.
On the last yellow flag, for Modjeski’s tire, the lapped cars were put to the rear and Tatnell capitalized to take the win. Balog maintained second and upped his streak of top-five IRA finishes to 13 straight and extended his point lead over Neitzel. Scott Winters had his fourth consecutive podium finish in IRA action at Elko while John Haeni and Travis Whitney filled out the fastest five.
The feature got off to a rough start when a push truck ran over Jeremy Kerzman’s right rear and the car was too badly damaged to continue. Bill Wirth was allowed to start as the first alternate. Heat races for the 29 cars were won by Tatnell, Kim Mock, and Russel Borland. Gregg Bakker set quick time during Osborne and Sons Trucking Qualifications.
For more information on the IRA Sprint Cars, log on to www.irasprints.com.

Osborne and Sons Trucking Qualifications
Quick Time: Travis Whitney 12.333 (NTR)

30-Lap A-Feature
1. Brooke Tatnell (9), 2. Bill Balog (1), 3. Scott Winters (13), 4. John Haeni (10), 5. Travis Whitney (12), 6. Gregg Bakker (6), 7. Steve Meyer (4), 8. Scott Neitzel (5), 9. Scott Biertzer (11), 10. John Sernett (22), 11. Dave Uttech (20), 12. Kim Mock (7), 13. Wayne Modjeski (2), 14. Mike Reinke (3), 15. Scott Uttech (19), 16. Kris Spitz (18), 17. Bill Warren (21), 18. Phillip Mock (16), 19. Andy Hunt (14), 20. Rob Kubli (17), 21. Russel Borland (8), 22. Bill Wirth (22), 23 Jeremy Kerzman (DNS)

Behling Racing Products B-main: 1. Whitney, 2. Biertzer, 3. Spitz, 4. S. Uttech, 5. D. Uttech, 6. Warren, 7. Sernett / 8. Bill Wirth, 9. Ryan Wilson, 10. Brandon Thone, 11. Michael Emme, 12. Duane Olson, 13. Jamie Klootwyk, 14. Dave Glennon (DNS)

Weld Racing Heat Race #1: 1. Tatnell, 2. Kerzman, 3. Modjeski, 4. Meyer, 5. Bakker / 6. Spitz, 7. Glennon, 8. Wirth, 9. Thone, 10. Klootwyk

Lane Automotive Heat Race #2: 1. K. Mock, 2. P. Mock, 3. Winters, 4. Kubli, 5. Balog / 6. Biertzer, 7. Warren, 8. Wilson , 9. Olson, 10. Whitney

DMI/King Racing Products Heat Race #3: 1. Borland, 2. Haeni, 3. Neitzel, 4. Reinke, 5. Hunt / 6. S. Uttech, 7. Sernett, 8. D. Uttech, 9. Emme