By Andrew Kunas
BELGRADE, Mont. – Five-time Montana sprint car champion Phil Dietz added to his resume on Friday night, once again winning the ASCS Frontier Region sprint car portion of the Big Sky Supernationals at Gallatin Speedway.
The Laurel, Montana driver, twice a champion under the ASCS banner, earned his second win of the season. Dietz led all 25 laps of the feature, but it did not come without challenges along the way aboard the Dietz Racing No. 72 Panella-powered Maxim. With the preferred line around the top side of the race track, slower traffic proved to be difficult and he had to hold off Houston, Texas visitor Channin Tankersley along the way.
Dietz early on made contact with the slower car of Chris Williams as he tried to lap him, suffering front bumper and nose wing damage on his own car. Williams came to a stop to bring out one of just two cautions in the feature. Then as he tried to work his way around the slower car of Mike Manwill, Tankersley got into the back of Dietz as they exited Turn 4. Dietz, however, managed to maintain control of his car and held the lead, eventually getting around Manwill.
Tankersley then threw a slider at Dietz in Turns 1 and 2, drifting up the race track in front of Dietz, but Dietz was able to turn it back down and moved back by Tankersley on the inside as they exited Turn 2. While Tankersley kept pace with Dietz, he never seriously challenged for the lead again as Dietz held on for the win.
Both of Dietz’s wins in 2022 have come at Gallatin Speedway, the other coming on July 1st. Dietz last won the Big Sky Supernationals at Gallatin Speedway in 2015. While celebrating with team, family and sponsors on the front stretch, Dietz made sure to give major credit to his longtime crewmembers, the brother duo of Lee and Sean Hoke.
Tankersley finished second aboard the No. 12h Kannady-powered Maxim in his first appearance at Gallatin Speedway.
Helena, Montana’s Trever Kirkland finished third aboard his No. 37 Shark-powered Triple X, and in doing so unofficially clinched the 2022 ASCS Frontier Region sprint car title with just Saturday’s race at Big Sky Speedway remaining. Kirkland has four wins on the season.
Kory Wermling, second in the points, finished fourth ahead of fellow Great Falls, Montana driver James Setters. Kelly Miller, Johnny Herrera, Ian Myers, Bryan Brown and Mike Manwill rounded out the Top 10.
Heat races earlier in the evening were won by Tankersley and Setters. Continuing its experimentation over the latter half of its season, the ASCS Frontier Region elected to expand the pole shuffle and add a dash. The top four drivers in heat race passing points, as had been done, were locked into the pole shuffle. However, the fifth through eighth place cars in passing points ran a four-car, five-lap dash. The top two finishers, Herrera and Kirkland, stayed on the race track and started the expanded pole shuffle as the fifth and sixth seeds. In the end, Dietz won the last three rounds, knocking off Tankersley in the final round to win the pole shuffle and the pole position for the main event.
The ASCS Frontier Region wraps up its tenth season of competition Saturday with its season finale at Big Sky Speedway, located just north of Billings. Tickets are $20 for adults and kids over 60″ tall, $15 for seniors and veterans, and as is tradition at Big Sky Speedway kids under 60″ tall are in for free. Racing begins at 7:00 p.m.
More information on the Brodix Frontier Region of the American Sprint Car Series, along with news and info on the Lucas Oil ASCS National Tour and other ASCS regional tours, can be found online at www.ascsracing.com. Stagg Motor Sports, the promoting company of the ASCS Frontier Region, can be found at www.staggmotorsports.com.
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Brodix ASCS Frontier Region
Big Sky Supernationals
September 9, 2022
Heat 1 (8 laps): 1. 12h Channin Tankersley, 2. 72 Phil Dietz, 3. 17j Johnny Herrera, 4. 37 Trever Kirkland, 5. 2jr Kelly Miller, 6. 38b Bryan Brown, 7. 81 Darren Smith.
Heat 2 (8 laps): 1. 2 James Setters, 2. 9k Kory Wermling, 3. 24m Ian Myers, 4. 31 Shane Moore, 5. 2x Mike Manwill, 6. 63 Chris Williams.
5-8 Dash (5 laps): 1. 17j Johnny Herrera, 2. 37 Trever Kirkland, 3. 2jr Kelly Miller, 4. 24m Ian Myers. Top two finishes advanced to Pole Shuffle.
Pole Shuffle: 37 Trever Kirkland d. 17j Johnny Herra in Round 1. 37 Kirkland d. 9k Kory Wermling in Round 2. 72 Phil Dietz d. 37 Kirkland. 72 Dietz d. 2 James Setters in Round 4. 72 Dietz d. 12h Channin Tankersley in Final Round.
Feature (25 laps): 1. 72 Phil Dietz, 2. 12h Channin Tankersley, 3. 37 Trever Kirkland, 4. 9k Kory Wermling, 5. 2 James Setters, 6. 2jr Kelly Miller, 7. 17h Johnny Herrera, 8. 24m Ian Myers, 9. 38b Bryan Brown, 10. 2x Mike Manwill, 11. 63 Chris Williams, 12. 81 Darren Smith.