By Greg Parent
Making a nearly eight hour tow from Sheboygan, WI to North Central Speedway near Brainerd to race in two feature events, young Scotty Thiel put an end to Brad Barickman’s three race winning streak when he trounced the field to the win the Upper Midwest Sprintcar Series (UMSS) second event of the evening on July 24. Following the conclusion of the 18th Annual Kouba Memorial, a full UMSS sprint car program was run on the 1/3 mile North Central oval. Thiel, who regularily races with the southeastern Wisconsin MSA sprint car group, decided to make his second UMSS apperance of the season. His first visit west back in April to Kopellah ended up with a wrecked car. This long haul was much more profitable, as the young hotshoe wheeled his sprinter to victory from his outside front row starting spot on what became a much drier surface from the first feature race of the evening. Thiel’s smaller MSA motor package may have benefited him under just the right conditions in the second feature.
An excited Thiel stated in his victory lane interview, “This is just awesome to make a long haul over here and come away with a win. I love racing with the UMSS on their smaller tracks. I have to thank my crew, my sponsors and my parents for allowing me the opportunity to do this. This will make the long drive back home tomorrow go a little bit faster.” Hopefully it will, as Thiel had some problems during the last 30 mile jaunt of his journey over on Saturday when his tow vehicle would only pull the trailer at about 30 MPH. At that pace, Scotty jokingly indicated they might get back home in time to race next weekend.
A competitive field of 18 UMSS sprint cars lined up for their second 20 lap feature race of the night sponsored by Crosslake Sheet Metal. 2010 rookie contender Jared Goerges and Scotty Thiel brought the field to the green. Three cars of the 21 on hand were unable to race in the second feature due to mechanical problems. Thiel immediately bolted into the lead after Goerges caught a rut on the low side of turn one on the opening lap and fell back to fourth. Brad Barickman, who had won the Kouba Memorial earlier in the evening, blasted to second on the opening lap from his fourth starting spot. Barickman was trying to make it four straight UMSS feature wins, but Thiel would have something to say about that. When the lone caution of the race flew with five laps in the books for debris in turn two and a flat tire on Joseph Kouba’s car, Thiel had already opened up a bit of a lead. That evaporated under the caution, putting Barickman, Mark Toews and Goerges right behind the leader. The race would then run 15 laps nonstop to the finish when the green replaced the yellow.
Thiel gradually pulled away from the field, as the battle for second heated up behind him. Goerges recovered from his earlier miscue on the opening lap and raced back to the runner-up spot on lap nine. One lap later, Mark Toews got by Barickman for third. A good battle for several positions behind the leaders developed under green flag racing conditions. Toews swapped the second place spot a couple of times with Goerges before taking control on lap fifteen. With Thiel working lapped traffic and well over a full straight away ahead, Toews would need a yellow to close the gap.
The race stayed clean and green to the finish with Thiel winning by a very comfortable margin over Toews. Goerges turned in his best finish of the season with a solid third place effort, as the young rookie from Brainerd continues to get faster, run better, and impress many on-lookers as each additional race night unfolds. Another Brainerd native, Sye Anderson, also raced to his best finish of the season with a charge from tenth to finish fourth. Last September, Anderson won both nights at the Mighty Axe on his home track. Completing the top five was 2009 UMSS Rookie of the Year Cody Hahn. Rounding out the top ten finishers saw another Brainerd driver, Tim Johnson, in sixth followed by 18th starter Jimmy Kouba, Jerry Richert Jr, Brad Barickman, and Jack Zweber. Jimmy Kouba jumped into team-mate Mark Yetter’s sprinter following a rear end failure in his car after the heat race. Kouba raced his way past eleven cars in the feature. Like the earlier feature race, only three cars failed to finish the 20 lap distance.
In Ultimate Sprint Heat Race action, Cody Hahn topped the Midwestracingtalk.com first heat. The Driverwebsites.com second heat win went to Goerges. An exciting third Sprintsource.com heat saw Mark Toews and Leigh Thomas swap the lead back and forth numerous times before Toews emerged victorious. The Bryant Heating and Cooling Systems Challenge Race saw young Jack Zweber race ahead of the field for the win over Scotty Thiel. The Mastell Brothers Trailer Service second Challenge Race would see Tim Johnson hold off Brad Barickman for the top spot. In all, many drivers raced in a total of five events during the busy evening which saw the UMSS sprint cars run two features, four challenge races, and three heats. A total of 99 laps of 360 winged sprint car racing certainly should have provided fans with their money’s worth of entertainment in addition to a full regular stock car racing program at North Central Speedway. 2010 UMSS rookie contender Andy Jones won the modified feature portion of the program while Tim Johnson copped the street stock main event.
The UMSS season continues in high gear with a double-header weekend on Friday July 30 at the Kopellah Speedway followed by Arlington Raceway on Saturday July 31. Although it is not a UMSS race, the rain-delayed feature from July 5 at Arlington will conclude with 12 laps remaining prior to the full UMSS-IMCA Challenge #2 show on July 31. Race fans and drivers can be a part of the action at the track and can also follow along on our website at www.umsprints.com or keep tabs on the UMSS on Facebook. The UMSS Report is handed out free at all events while Stan Meissner brings you “Inside The UMSS” each week on his internet show called Midwest Racing Talk at www.midwestracingtalk.com. Stan’s Minnesota Dirt Track Racing Message board also contains reports and comments regarding the UMSS. For series questions, please contact Ron Bernhagen at 612-363-5302.
UMSS Race Results – North Central Speedway July 24, 2010 (Race #10):
Midwestracingtalk.com Ultimate Sprint Heat #1 (7 laps): Cody Hahn, Brad Barickman, Scotty Thiel, Tim Johnson, Anna Kouba, Ronnie Erickson, Shannon Eriksen.
Driverwebsites.com Ultimate Sprint Heat #2 (7 laps): Jared Goerges, Jerry Richert Jr, Sye Anderson, Jack Zweber, Jimmy Kouba, Kevin Nickel, Jennifer Eriksen.
Sprintsource.com Ultimate Sprint Heat #3 (6 laps): Mark Toews, Leigh Thomas, Joseph Kouba, Troy Manteufel, Mark Yetter, Brandon Allen DNS, Andy Jones DNS.
Bryant Heating & Cooling Systems Challenge Race #1 (9 laps): Zweber, Thiel, Joseph Kouba, Toews, Richert, Hahn, Anna Kouba, J. Eriksen, Nickel, Brandon Allen DNS.
Mastell Brothers Trailer Service Challenge Race #2 (9 laps): Johnson, Barickman, Anderson, Goerges, Thomas, Jimmy Kouba, S. Eriksen, Erickson, Manteufel, Jones DNS, Yetter DNS.
Crosslake Sheet Metal UMSS A Main (20 laps): Thiel, Toews, Goerges, Anderson, Hahn, Johnson, Jimmy Kouba, Richert, Barickman, Zweber, J. Eriksen, Anna Kouba, S. Eriksen, Nickel, Manteufel DNF, Joseph Kouba DNF, Erickson DNF.
Lap Leader: Thiel 1-20
GRP Motorsports/BP Trading Company Rookie of the Race: Jared Goerges