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Tatnell Stops Graf’s UMSS Win Streak at Eagle Valley

By Greg Parent
Jim Falls, WI
UMSS Upper Midwest Sprint Series Top Story
The third and final race of the UMSS Memorial Day Weekend tour through western Wisconsin concluded at the Eagle Valley Speedway on Sunday evening May 28.  The trend of “firsts” in both UMSS divisions continued, as not only was it the first-ever appearance for the UMSS winged sprints at the Jim Falls track, but it was also Brooke Tatnell’s first UMSS appearance of the season.  Not surprisingly, it was Tatnell’s first UMSS win of the season driving the potent Protofab #14 sprinter.  What was not a first by any means, the win marked Tatnell’s 32nd career trip to Rock Auto Victory Lane in UMSS competition.  The “Awesome Aussie” left little doubt as to who would take home the $1,000 top prize, ending Chris Graf’s weekend winning streak at two and Graf’s bid for a weekend sweep for the GRP Motorsports $1,000 bonus.  Thanks to some sponsorship help from Midwest Power Equipment and GRP Motorsports, the top three finishers in the feature earned some extra bonus money.
Graf, the 2013 series champion, knew ahead of time that Tatnell intended to race at Eagle Valley on Sunday after running Friday at Jackson and Saturday at Knoxville.  What was not known ahead time was that two-time and defending UMSS champion Ryan Bowers of Ham Lake would also “be in the house” racing at Eagle Valley.  Bowers drove the Kouba #5 sprinter.  Two heat races were run for the twelve car field.  Tatnell and Bowers prevailed in the heats.  Tatnell was high points following the heats and drew the pole position much to the dismay of his fellow competitors.  Graf however would start outside front row with Chase Viebrock and Bowers in the second row.  Twice during the early part of the evening racing action was delayed because of rain showers.  The first light shower hit during the national anthem and only caused a brief delay.  A heavier shower dumped on the track during the hornet heat race just before the UMSS sprints were scheduled for their two heats.  That one caused a longer delay, but the weather cooperated after that with the sun eventually reappearing before it set.  Needless to say, the track was very fast following the extra water from Mother Nature and in great condition for the good-sized crowd that was on hand to enjoy some exciting racing action.
Tatnell immediately jumped up top on the cushion when the green flag waved for the 20 lap feature race.  Turning super fast laps, Tatnell soon caught the cars running near the back of the field.  Graf held second with Bowers in third followed by Viebrock and Jared Goerges.  The lone caution flew when Viebrock slowed on the front stretch as Tatnell was passing him on lap 17 and the young driver from New Richmond stopped on the back straight.  The report from race officials was that Viebrock had felt a vibration in his car and popped it out of gear.  Scoring reverted back to lap 16, the last fully completed lap.  Viebrock was able to refire, and under UMSS rules, he was able to tuck in behind the lead lap cars.  Unless a car goes to the work area, lead lap cars start in front of lapped cars under UMSS rules.
The remaining four lap sprint to the checkers saw Tatnell once again pull away from the field for the victory.  Graf made a bid on the restart to get by Tatnell, but it was not successful.  Bowers was able to slip past Graf for second.  Graf rode him in third.  Goerges had moved up to fourth on lap 14 and finished there in front of Viebrock.  Rounding out the top ten finishers was Mike Mueller in another fine performance in Jeff Pellersels car, MSA driver Andrew Westphal, Kevin Bradwell, Ty Sampair and Reed Allex.  All cars finished.  Westphal earned a special $100 GRP Motorsports Long Tow Award, as he had raced his MSA 360 sprint the night before up in Ashland with the IRA and stopped by Eagle Valley on the way back home to Fond Du Lac.  The UMSS wishes to thank all drivers who participated in one or more events during the holiday weekend.
The UMSS winged sprints will participate in a co-sanctioned event at the Jackson Motorplex for the running of the Jackson Nationals on June 1-3.  The MSTS and Nebraska 360 sprints along with the UMSS will comprise the 360 sprint portion of the show run under Jackson race procedures.  The World of Outlaw sprint cars headline the program all three nights.  The IMCA Racesaver 305 sprints also run each night, making for a nice three division program at the southern Minnesota track.  The UMSS will then take a weekend off before heading out on their annual Northern Tour at the Hibbing Raceway and Proctor Speedway on June 17-18.  Keep tabs on all of the UMSS winged sprint car action by visiting our website at www.umsprints.com and clicking on the red logo or by following us on Facebook.
UMSS Race Results – Eagle Valley Speedway May 28, 2017 (Race #5)
Midwest Power Equip & GRP Motorsports A Feature 1 (20 Laps): 1. 14-Brooke Tatnell[1]; 2. 5-Ryan Bowers[4]; 3. 20G-Chris Graf[2]; 4. 9-Jared Goerges[7]; 5. 50-Chase Viebrock[3]; 6. 22-Mike Mueller[11]; 7. 81-Andrew Westphal[5]; 8. 77-Kevin Bradwell[9]; 9. N1-Ty Sampair[10]; 10. 91A-Reed Allex[6]; 11. 7M-Bob McVitty[8]; 12. 95-Trevor Redding[12].
Lap Leader: Tatnell 1-20. Cautions: (1) yellow with 16 laps scored for 50 stopped on backstretch. 50 restarted at tail end of lead lap cars, as he was running fifth at the time on the lead lap.
Hoosier Racing Tire Heat 1 (8 Laps): 1. 14-Brooke Tatnell[5]; 2. 50-Chase Viebrock[4]; 3. 91A-Reed Allex[2]; 4. 7M-Bob McVitty[3]; 5. 77-Kevin Bradwell[1]; 6. 22-Mike Mueller[6].
Lap Leader: Tatnell 1-8. No cautions.
Rock Auto Heat 2 (8 Laps): 1. 5-Ryan Bowers[2]; 2. 20G-Chris Graf[1]; 3. 81-Andrew Westphal[4]; 4. 9-Jared Goerges[5]; 5. N1-Ty Sampair[3]; 6. 95-Trevor Redding[6].
Lap Leader: Bowers 1-8. No cautions.