From Greg Parent
Ogilvie, MN — (June 16, 2012) — Riding the high side to victory at Ogilvie Raceway is becoming a Tony Norem trademark, as Norem drove to his first Upper Midwest Sprintcar Series (UMSS) feature race win of the season on Saturday night June 16. Norem, from Dassel, started the 20 lap main event on the 3/8 mile oval from the third position. He followed early leaders Jason Tostenson and Scotty Thiel until driving by Thiel on lap six for the lead. Norem would go on to lead the remaining fourteen laps to record a popular win in the Big “O” Sprint Showdown during the only UMSS appearance at the track in 2012 on what turned out to be a beautiful summer evening for racing.
Beaming in usual Norem fashion following the race, Tony commented, “I liked what they did to the track to make it fast where I like to run (right up top). The fun meter was pegged tonight for sure. Thanks to my crew, sponsors and fans for a great night. I like this place.” Although Norem’s luck last year wasn’t favorable at Ogilvie, he has taken a liking to the fast track. Norem recorded his second career feature win at Ogilvie, having won the Big “O” Fall Showdown a couple of years ago. Tonight’s win wasn’t without some anxious moments, as his left rear tire was losing some air pressure under caution with five laps to go. While at speed, the tire gained pressure and held together enroute to Victory Lane.
The typical UMSS double round of qualifying races would see long-tow driver Scotty Thiel of Sheboygan, Wisconsin earn the top point tally. Thiel redrew the #4 pill for the feature race invert. This put Jason Tostenson and Brooke Tatnell on the front row. Many fans were wondering if anybody could top Tatnell in the feature race, but the original start was called back when Tatnell fired before the pole car and was penalized two rows. This elevated Thiel to the outside front row. The second start was good, as Tostenson got the best of Thiel to grab the early lead exiting turn two. Tostenson held the point for three laps before Thiel drove around him. Thiel was flying on the high side, but so was Tony Norem and Chris Graf. On lap six, Norem got by Thiel for the lead. One lap later, Thiel got into the marbles up near the wall in turn two and made contact with the concrete. Thiel’s sprinter tipped over to bring out the lone red flag of the evening. Thiel was okay, but his car was out of the race.
On the restart following the Thiel crash, Norem wasted little time in blasting into a comfortable lead. Chris Graf, last week’s UMSS winner, was now in second and kept the leader in sight. With Graf slowly closing the gap in lapped traffic, the final caution blinked on when rookie driver James Broty clipped an infield tractor tire exiting turn four and needed wrecker assistance with some front end damage to his car. With all eyes on Norem’s left rear tire, the race restarted and Norem left little doubt that his potent #45 sprinter was up to the task. Following Norem and Graf across the finish line in the top five was Tatnell, Tostenson and Scott Broty. As the leaders took the checkers, Jarod Goerges spun in turn two. Goerges had been running in sixth at the time. Rounding out the top ten were Sye Anderson, the last car on the lead lap, followed by Jerry Richert Jr, Anna Kouba, Chad Patterson, and Tony Kaus. A total of sixteen sprint cars were on hand with Andy Jones (engine) and Tori Knutson (driveshaft) unable to start the main event.
Ultimate Sprint Heat wins went to Scott Broty, Thiel and Tatnell. Earning Challenge Race victories were Graf and Thiel. For Norem, it was his fourth career UMSS win, and he became only the second UMSS driver to defeat Brooke Tatnell. Andy Jones defeated the talented Aussie last year. Many of the UMSS drivers took part in the extremely popular autograph session in front of the grandstand during intermission. The interaction between fans, mostly young ones, and the drivers really helps to put a face with the names and truly makes new fans for each of the competitors. UMSS sponsor, Alpha Apparel & Promotions, donated a couple of UMSS t-shirts which were handed out during the autograph session.
The UMSS heads south next Friday June 22 for their only 2012 appearance at the Chateau Raceway in Lansing. Last year, Andy Jones won his first-ever sprint car feature at Chateau. Then the following Friday night June 29 at the St. Croix Valley Raceway the UMSS sprints are part of the 1st Annual Open Wheel Nationals with their presentation of the 20th Annual Earl Kouba Memorial paying $2,000 to win and $270 to start. The UMSS website at www.umsprints.com and the UMSS Facebook page, along with other various media outlets, contain all of the information you will need to follow the fast-paced action of the UMSS in 2012 including the winged 360 sprints, the non-winged Traditional sprints, and the 600cc micro sprints.
UMSS Race Results – Ogilvie Raceway June 16, 2012 (Race #5):
Alpha Apparel & Promotions Ultimate Sprint Race #1 (6 laps): Scott Broty 34, Jason Tostenson 36, Jared Goerges 9, Tony Kaus 3TK, Kevin Bradwell 95, Jerry Richert Jr. 63 DNS.
Meeks Video Ultimate Sprint Race #2 (6 laps): Scotty Thiel 64, Tony Norem 45, , Anna Kouba 5, Sye Anderson 37, Chad Patterson 15.
Mastell Brothers Trailer Service Ultimate Sprint Race #3 (6 laps): Brooke Tatnell 14, James Broty 33, Chris Graf 20G, Andy Jones 73, Tori Knutson 14k.
North Country Builders Challenge Race #1 (8 laps): Graf, Norem, Tatnell, Goerges, Scott Broty, Anderson, Bradwell, Knutson DNF.
Mastell Brothers Trailer Service Challenge Race #2 (8 laps): Thiel, Tostenson, Richert, Kouba, James Broty, Patterson, Kaus, Jones DNF.
GRP Motorsports A Main (20 laps): Norem, Graf, Tatnell, Tostenson, Scott Broty, Anderson, Richert, Kouba, Patterson, Kaus, Bradwell, Goerges, James Broty DNF, Thiel DNF, Jones DNS, Knutson DNS.
Lap Leaders: Tostenson 1-3, Thiel 4-5, Norem 6-20.