By Greg Parent, UMSS Media Director Stan Meissner photo
With the opportunity to run as the companion division with the famous World of Outlaws series at the Princeton Speedway on Saturday June 25, veteran Forest Lake driver Jerry Richert, Jr. continued his winning ways with his second Upper Midwest Sprintcar Series (UMSS) victory at the 1/4 mile oval this season. Coming off a Billy Anderson Memorial win in early June, Richert masterfully handled traffic to lead all 20 laps of the feature race while under pressure from Chris Graf late in the run. A huge crowd packed the stands on a fantastic summer afternoon and evening, as the largest field of the season so far competed in the UMSS portion of the program. The UMSS ran three heat races and their feature event for the 22 cars on hand. The win was Richert’s tenth UMSS career victory and kept him close behind current point leader Chris Graf in the standings.
Reflecting on his popular victory after the race, Richert stated, “This has been a great weekend for the Richert family. With Brooke Tatnell winning a big race at Jackson on Friday night and now my win here at Princeton, I couldn’t be any happier. We had a lot of family and friends here to watch us race with the outlaws. It feels great to win in front of such a large crowd and to take home two trophies from Princeton during the month of June. We’re running very well right now, and it’s going to be a good battle amongst Graf, Jones and others for the GRP High Five Bonus and championship title.” Richert thanked Joe Kouba and his crew for their work and effort in giving him a great handling car to race.
The typical UMSS double-round of qualifying was not in effect, so three eight lap heat races with passing points were used to determine the lineup for the feature event. Making his first appearance with the UMSS this season, Lou Kennedy, Jr. from Winnipeg topped the first Alpha Apparel and Promotions heat race over Scott Broty. Princeton racer Andy Jones drove ahead of the field in the Meeks Video second heat. The Driver Websites third heat saw UMSS point leader Chris Graf grab the top spot. Lou Kennedy, Jr. was the high point driver following the heats and redrew the #4 pill for the feature race inversion. Kennedy’s luck was slightly better earlier in the evening when his number was drawn as the winner of the free Hoosier Racing Tire certificate during the drivers meeting.
With the top four drivers in passing points inverted for the 20 lap Mastell Brothers Trailer Service and GRP Motorsports main event, this put Jerry Richert, Jr. and Chris Graf on the front row with Andy Jones and Lou Kennedy, Jr. on row two. Justin Giddings of Kansas City was unable to start the feature race due to a driveline failure in his heat, so 21 cars lined up with famous World of Outlaws announcer Johnny Gibson calling the action. At the drop of Layne Robert’s green flag, the field roared to life. Richert rumbled into the early lead over Graf and blasted around the freshly prepared racing surface. The leaders quickly encountered lapped traffic on the bullring, and Richert worked the traffic with the experience gained by many years of sprint car racing.
The red flag flew with nine laps in when Joseph Kouba and rookie Jalen Morris got upside down in turn one. Both cars were badly damaged and out of the race. When the green replaced the red, it was Richert leading at the halfway mark over Graf, Kennedy, Broty and Billy Johnson. One lap later, Ronnie Erickson spun in turn four to bring out the yellow. A nine lap sprint to the finish would see the leaders quickly into lapped traffic once again. Graf closed the margin late in the race and was very close behind Richert at the checkers. Kennedy, Broty and Johnson held their positions in the top five. Completing the top ten finishers were 2010 Rookie of the Year Jared Goerges, Jones, Brad Barickman, 2010 Champion Cody Hahn, and Sye Anderson.
The top finishing rookie in the race was 16 year old female driver Tori Knutson from Monticello. Tori was making her UMSS debut in her fifth-ever sprint car race. Chad Patterson, also in his fifth start in a sprinter, finished right behind Knutson. The remaining rookies did not finish and included Anna Kouba, Kevin Bradwell, Jalen Morris, Charly Cropp and Justin Allen. In the continuing battle for the 2011 GRP Motorsports/BP Trading Company Rookie of the Year Award, Anna Kouba still maintains her lead over Patterson and Bradwell in the standings.
The UMSS will take a couple of weekends off and return to action for a double-header program with the IRA Outlaw sprint cars for the Summer Nationals at the Elko Speedway on Friday and Saturday July 15-16. It’s another great opportunity for the UMSS drivers to showcase their talents and for fans to watch exciting UMSS racing action in addition to the always competitive IRA sprint car series. Sprint car fans are encouraged to follow the UMSS on their website at www.umsprints.com, become a friend of the UMSS on their Facebook page, pick up a copy of the free UMSS Report newsletter available at each event, or check out the UMSS on various other media outlets including race results and point standings on Speednet. Take a ride on the wild side and catch some thrilling sprint car racing action at an upcoming UMSS show!
UMSS Race Results – Princeton Speedway June 25, 2011 (Race #7):
Alpha Apparel & Promotions Ultimate Sprint Heat #1 (8 laps): Lou Kennedy Jr, Scott Broty, Jopseh Kouba, Cody Hahn, Brandon Allen, Tori Knutson, Kevin Bradwell, Justin Giddings DNF.
Meeks Video Ultimate Sprint Heat #2 (8 laps): Andy Jones, Sye Anderson, Jerry Richert Jr, Brad Barickman, Chad Patterson, Jalen Morris, Charly Cropp.
Driverwebsites.com Ultimate Sprint Heat #3 (8 laps): Chris Graf, Jared Goerges, Billy Johnson, Ronnie Erickson, Anna Kouba, Justin Allen, Dean Brown DNF.
Mastell Brothers Trailer Service & GRP Motorsports A Main (20 laps): Richert, Graf, Kennedy, Broty, Johnson, Goerges, Jones, Barickman, Hahn, Anderson, Brown, B. Allen, Knutson, Patterson, A. Kouba DNF, Erickson DNF, Bradwell DNF, J. Kouba DNF, Morris DNF, Cropp DNF, J. Allen DNF, Giddings DNS.
Lap Leader: Richert 1-20