“Awesome Aussie” Tatnell Tops UMSS Opener at Ogilvie Raceway

From Greg Parent

Ogilvie, MN — When the Nelson Motorsports sprinter signed into the Ogilvie Raceway pits on Saturday night May 7 with driver Brooke Tatnell, the already talent-laden field of Upper Midwest Sprintcar Series (UMSS) drivers knew that the competition just became that much stronger and the task of winning the season opening feature race would be a real challenge. Brooke Tatnell was up to the task and held off a determined late race bid by his brother-in-law Jerry Richert, Jr. to earn the $1,000 top prize on a beautiful spring evening. Following his victory, Tatnell thanked his car owners for the opportunity to race and commented on defeating a fellow family member. “I knew Jerry would be coming after me on the bottom following that last caution, but I had strong car and was able to keep good momentum up in the corners. This is a fun track and I enjoyed racing against a strong field of UMSS drivers.” The Awesome Aussie, now residing in Forest Lake, earned his fourth career UMSS feature victory.

Following the double round of qualifying races, high point driver Brooke Tatnell drew the #4 pill for the feature invert. This put a pair of 2010 rookie drivers on the front row for the feature race. Andy Jones, fresh off his first-ever sprint car win in the first Challenge Race, and 2010 UMSS Rookie of the Year Jared Goerges brought the field to the green for the 20 lap feature event. On the opening lap, cars were three wide exiting turn two with Jones up top, Goerges in the middle, and Jerry Richert, Jr. on the bottom. As they entered turn three, Goerges made a bid for the lead but looped his sprinter. All cars avoided him, and the race restarted with Tatnell moving up to the outside front row starting spot and Goerges tagging the tail.

After a quick yellow for a caution light malfunction, the race was under green with Tatnell blasting into the lead. Jones ran a very strong second behind Tatnell for the first 11 laps. On lap 12, Richert ducked under Jones for second. One lap later, 10th starter Chris Graf moved past Jones for third. Graf had cracked the top five in just a couple of laps and steadily continued to work his way forward. The final caution blinked on with 15 laps in the books when 2011 rookie contender, Anna Kouba, spun in turn one. Tatnell’s lead was erased with Richert now immediately behind him.

During the final five lap shootout, Richert worked down low while Tatnell remained up top on the cushion. Meanwhile, Joseph Kouba slipped by Jones for fourth on lap 16. Richert edged ahead of Tatnell briefly and then pulled alongside him again entering turn one with two to go and got by down the backstretch, but Tatnell held strong in the top spot to power back to the lead off turn four. On the final lap, Graf was able to dart under Richert in turn one and took the second position exiting turn two. Tatnell crossed the finish line several car lengths ahead of Graf with Richert a close third. Joseph Kouba finished fourth with Jones rounding out the top five for his best finish in his brief sprint car racing career.

Goerges recovered from his opening lap mishap to post a strong sixth place finish right behind Jones. Scott Brody, making his return to sprint car racing after sitting out since 2007, rode home in seventh ahead of 2010 UMSS Champion Cody Hahn. Brad Barickman finished ninth with Jesse Smith completing the top ten on a black, smooth track with a cushion up top.

In the battle for the 2011 GRP Motorsports/BP Trading Company Rookie of the Year Award, Charly Cropp bested Anna Kouba and Chad Patterson. Cropp finished 11th, Anna Kouba was 12th, and Chad Patterson dropped out early with power steering problems for a 14th place finish. Defending 2010 Big “O” Fall Showdown winner Tony Norem was unable to start the feature race when his #45 sprinter suffered a driveline failure in the second Challenge Race.

The Alpha Apparel & Promotions Ultimate Sprint Race #1 saw Brooke Tatnell take top honors. Jared Goerges won the Driverwebsites.com second Ultimate Sprint Race while Brad Barickman finished first in the SprintSource.com Ultimate Sprint Race #3. Andy Jones held off Tatnell in the M&M Video Productions 8-lap Challenge Race #1 with Jerry Richert, Jr. topping the Mastell Brothers Trailer Service Challenge Race #2. Earning bonus money from GRP Motorsports, Tatnell took home an extra $200 bonus for his win in the 20-lap main event. Chris Graf earned the $100 bonus for the GRP Motorsports Hardcharger Award, coming from 10th to finish 2nd in the feature race. Cody Hahn pocketed the $100 GRP Motorsports Past Champions Bonus while Andy Jones also received a $100 GRP Motorsports Retro Rookie Bonus, as Jones bested fellow 2010 rookie contender and ultimate UMSS Rookie of the Year Jared Goerges by one position in the feature race.

Now that the UMSS season is underway, the next event on the schedule is the series first-ever appearance at the Chateau Raceway on Friday night May 13. Sprint cars have not circled the Chateau Raceway, located near Lansing, MN just north of Austin, since 1975. A strong field of UMSS sprint cars is expected, as several more teams will make their 2011 debut. Sprint car fans can follow the UMSS on their recently updated UMSS website at www.umsprints.com, become a friend of the UMSS on their Facebook page, keep tabs on series action with the free UMSS Report newsletter available at each event, or check out the UMSS on various other media outlets including results on Speednet. Catch the excitement of sprint car racing at a track near you!


Entering the inaugural season of UMSS Traditional Sprint Car Series racing action in the non-winged division, four cars participated in the first of many exhibition-style events during the 2011 campaign. Kevin Bradwell from Luck, WI etched his name in the record books by recording a clean sweep in both the heat and feature race for this new series. Bradwell stated after the evening was done, “I had a blast out there. The smile on my face is going to last all week long. This form of racing is fun!” Bradwell bested good friend and series engine builder Travis Jehlicka, veteran sprint car racer Jack Clark, and young Jalen Morris enroute to his memorable evening at the Ogilvie Raceway on Saturday night May 7.

Several more TSCS non-winged sprint cars are being built, and it is very likely that the total number of cars will approach the 10-12 range before the initial season concludes this fall. UMSS CDO Ron Bernhagen set the plans for season #1 to be an exhibition type of format with no official race points or standings being kept. With a very attractive 80-20 purse split for the race tracks, there is no chance of a track losing any money on the division during its first season. “The primary purpose behind setting it up in this manner to start with was to generate interest amongst potential participants and to introduce race fans in this area to an exciting form of racing not seen around here for quite some time. I think we are on to something and heading in the right direction,” stated Bernhagen. Interest in the new series is running high and projected to increase during the course of the season as more cars become race-ready.

After posting a victory in the exhibition SprintSource.com 6-lap heat, Kevin Bradwell picked up where he left off in racing to the win in the 12-lap Mora Motorworks exhibition main event. Mora Motorworks is the first official sponsor of the UMSS Traditional Sprint Car Series. Interested competitors should be aware that Mora Motorworks offers top quality machining and engine building services to oval track, drag racing and street performance customers. Owner Travis Jehlicka drove Jeff Pellersels non-winged sprint to a couple of runner-up finishes during the course of the evening.

The next race for the TSCS series is scheduled for the Cedar Lake Speedway on Saturday May 21. The TSCS cars will run a couple of exhibition style races that evening, as they are part of the 1st Annual Triple Crown which features the powerful IRA 410 winged outlaw sprint cars. Traditional sprint car fans can follow the growth of the UMSS TSCS series throughout the course of its maiden season on the recently updated UMSS website at www.umsprints.com by clicking on the blue logo to enter the TSCS home page. UMSS TSCS news and results will also be on their Facebook page, highlighted in the free UMSS Report newsletter available at each event, or on other various other media outlets. Let’s go wingless and wide open in 2011 where the sky is the limit!

UMSS TSCS Race Results – Ogilvie Raceway May 7, 2011 Series Opener (Race #1):
SprintSource.com Ultimate Exhibition Race #1 (6 laps): Kevin Bradwell, Luck WI, Travis Jehlicka, Mora MN, Jalen Morris, Elk River MN, Jack Clark, Knapp WI.
Mora Motorworks Exhibition A Main (12 laps): Kevin Bradwell, Travis Jehlicka, Jack Clark, Jalen Morris.
Lap Leader: Bradwell 1-12
(1) caution.

UMSS Race Results – Ogilvie Raceway May 7, 2011 Season Opener (Race #1):

Alpha Apparel & Promotions Ultimate Sprint Race #1 (6 laps): Brooke Tatnell, Tony Norem, Andy Jones, Chris Graf, Scott Brody.

Driverwebsites.com Ultimate Sprint Race #2 (6 laps): Jared Goerges, Cody Hahn, Joseph Kouba, Charly Cropp, Sye Anderson.

Sprintsource.com Ultimate Sprint Race #3 (6 laps): Brad Barickman, Jerry Richert Jr, Jesse Smith, Anna Kouba, Chad Patterson DNF.

M&M Video Productions Challenge Race #1 (8 laps): Jones, Tatnell, Smith, Barickman, Hahn, Cropp, Brody, Patterson DNS.

Mastell Brothers Trailer Service Challenge Race #2 (8 laps): Richert, Georges, J Kouba, Anderson, Graf, A Kouba, Norem DNF.

GRP Motorsports A Main (20 laps): Tatnell, Graf, Richert, J Kouba, Jones, Goerges, Brody, Hahn, Barickman, Smith, Cropp, A Kouba DNF, Anderson DNF, Patterson DNF, Norem DNS.

Lap Leader: Tatnell 1-20
(3) cautions.