By Greg Parent, Stan Meissner photo
Coming into the 10th Annual Jerry Richert Sr Memorial at the Cedar Lake Speedway, Brooke Tatnell had two victories in the 410 sprint car portion of this prestigious racing event. However, Tatnell was looking for his first 360 sprint car title. On Saturday night September 11, Tatnell topped a strong field of 26 Upper Midwest Sprintcar Series entrants to earn his first Richert Memorial triumph in the 360 sprint car ranks. With his brother-in-law Jerry Richert Jr. finishing behind him in the runner-up position, it was a great night for the famous racing family from Forest Lake, Minnesota as they honored a true racing legend in this annual memorial tribute. It was Tatnell’s second UMSS win of the season, as he kept his feature race winning percentage perfect in 2010 UMSS action.
Tatnell commented in his victory lane interview with sprint car announcer Justin Zoch on what it means to be a part of this event and a part of the Richert family. Tatnell continued, “The UMSS is growing each year and is only in its second season. They are generating interest amongst younger drivers. This group of cars tonight was a very good quality field. The UMSS is heading in the right direction. Some have asked me if a should be here racing with the UMSS, but it is a sprint car race and I definitely enjoy racing with them. I need to be here. Sprint car racing is what I do.” Brooke Tatnell certainly does it well, as he drove the Nelson Motorsports sprinter to a convincing victory over the second largest UMSS field of the season.
Following the usual double-round of qualifying races utilized by the UMSS, the 20 car starting grid for the 20 lap Countryside Plumbing & Heating feature race idled around the track with their three-wide 360 sprint car salute to the crowd. Defending UMSS champion Leigh Thomas and Richert brought the field to the green. Thomas grabbed the lead in the first corner, but the race was under caution when Kevin Nickel tagged the backstretch wall and collected rookie Mark Yetter. Both cars needed wrecker assistance and were done before a lap was completed. On the next attempt to go green, Brad Barickman coasted to a stop in turn four with driveline problems ending his bid for his fifth UMSS win this year. The third try to get underway went green, as Richert led Thomas to complete the opening lap. Tatnell got past Thomas on the second lap and closed in on Richert.
With Tatnell putting the pressure on Richert for the lead, the third caution blinked on when Alan Gilbertson looped his car while exiting turn four on to the front stretch with five laps scored. On the restart, Tatnell ducked underneath Richert entering turn one and swept into the lead. Young Robby Wolfgang, making his first UMSS start of the season, raced past Thomas to third on lap six. Four-time 2010 UMSS feature winner Chris Graf also moved by Thomas for fourth. One lap later, Graf got around Wolfgang for third while Joseph Kouba moved into the top five. Graf continued his march forward when he moved under Richert for second on lap eight.
The race was slowed for the fourth time with eleven laps in when Troy Manteufel spun in turn four and collected Justin Giddings. Both cars were out. Tatnell’s big lead disappeared, as Graf closed up to his rear nerf bar for the restart. One more lap was completed, and then the race went under the red flag. Rookie contender Jared Goerges flipped in turn four after making contact with the car in front of him. Under the red, Graf notified UMSS officials that his car was beginning to lose power with a motor issue. Graf restarted, but he only lasted a couple more laps before pulling into the infield. This put Richert back in second. Tatnell was long gone up front though.
Over the final green flag laps, Richert and Wolfgang traded second on several occasions. As the checkered flag waved, Tatnell raced to victory. Richert held off Wolfgang for second. Leigh Thomas and Bill Boles rounded out the top five. Completing the top ten was Sye Anderson, Joseph Kouba, Mark Toews, current UMSS point leader Cody Hahn, and top UMSS rookie contender Ronnie Erickson. Tatnell earned $1,000 for his win.
Three Ultimate Sprint heat races took place. Shannon Eriksen, making his first CLS start, pulled away for the win in the Midwest Racing Talk.com first heat. Richert raced to the win in the Driverwebsites.com second heat. Alan Gilbertson bested Bill Boles in the Sprintsource.com third heat. The third heat had several problems. A crash on the opening lap in turn one saw Jimmy Kouba get upside down. Johnny Parsons, Mark Toews and Bill Boles were also involved. Kouba and Parsons were out while Boles and Toews restarted. Toews was minus his front nose wing. Following another caution when Troy Manteufel stalled on the track, the restart saw Toews attempt to race underneath Brandon Allen entering turn one. Toews’ car drifted into Allen’s sprinter, causing Allen to execute a series of flips. Allen’s car exited the turn two wall and ended up in the grass area near the catch fence in front of the track scales. Allen was taken to a local hospital complaining of a sore shoulder. A later update from the hospital indicated Brandon was bruised and beaten up, but no further injures were reported. Allen’s misfortune earned him the $200 GRP Motorsports Hard Luck Award.
In Challenge race action, Alan Gilbertson passed race leader rookie Jared Goerges on the final lap to steal the win in the Bryant Heating & Cooling Systems race. A violent-looking front stretch flip in the first challenge race caused heavy damage to Shannon Eriksen’s sprinter. Eriksen was okay, but his night was over. The Mastell Brothers Trailer Service challenge race saw Robby Wolfgang lead the entire distance for the win, but he was under pressure late in the race by Tatnell.
The next UMSS race is scheduled for Arlington Raceway on September 25 with an afternoon start time. The UMSS then rounds out their second season with a stop at the Ogilvie Raceway on October 2nd. Cody Hahn continues to lead Brad Barickman and Jerry Richert Jr. in the season point standings while Ronnie Erickson holds a slim lead over Jared Goerges in the GRP Motorsports/BP Trading Company rookie of the year battle. For further information, please visit the UMSS website at www.umsprints.com or check out the UMSS Facebook page. Stan Meissner’s Minnesota Dirt Track Racing website and forum along with the Midwest Racing Talk show feature news, results an interviews from UMSS racing action during the 2010 season. While attending a UMSS race, fans can also pick up a free copy of the The UMSS Report.
UMSS Race Results – Cedar Lake Speedway September 11, 2010 Richert Memorial (Race #17):
Midwest Racing Talk.com Ultimate Sprint Heat #1 (9 laps): Shannon Eriksen, Joseph Kouba, Chris Graf, Brooke Tatnell, Jared Goerges, David Craft, Kevin Nickel, Mark Yetter, Mike Luks DNF.
Driverwebsites.com Ultimate Sprint Heat #2 (9 laps): Jerry Richert Jr, Leigh Thomas, Brad Barickman, Cody Hahn, Robby Wolfgang, Ronnie Erickson, Sye Anderson, Justin Giddings, Jennifer Eriksen.
Sprintsource.com Ultimate Sprint Heat #3 (8 laps): Alan Gilbertson, Bill Boles, Charlie Cropp, Brandon Allen DNF, Mark Toews DNF, Troy Manteufel DNF, Johnny Parsons III DNF, Jimmy Kouba DNF.
Bryant Heating & Cooling Systems Challenge Race #1 (11 laps): Gilbertson, Goerges, Graf, Toews, Thomas, Hahn, Erickson, Nickel, Giddings, Cropp DNF, S Eriksen DNF, Allen DNS, Jimmy Kouba DNS.
Mastell Brothers Trailer Service Challenge Race #2 (11 laps): Wolfgang, Tatnell, Barickman, Anderson, Joseph Kouba, Richert, Craft, Manteufel DNF, Boles DNF, Yetter DNF, J Eriksen DNF, Parsons DNS, Luks DNS.
Countryside Plumbing & Heating Richert Memorial A Main (20 laps): Tatnell, Richert, Wolfgang, Thomas, Boles, Anderson, Joseph Kouba, Toews, Hahn, Erickson, Graf DNF, Gilbertson DNF, Goerges DNF, Giddings DNF, Manteufel DNF, Cropp DNF, Craft DNF, Barickman DNF, Nickel DNF, Yetter DNF.
Lap Leaders: Richert 1-5, Tatnell 6-20.