6/16/2017 7:26:00 AM Lead changes thrill fans at Eagle River Speedway
Photos by Tim Smith/TMK Photography
Tomahawk’s Nate Langberg celebrates in victory lane after winning the WISSOTA Street Stock feature Friday, June 9, at Eagle River Speedway.
Jake Ison (001) battles fellow Eagle River driver Isabelle Valeria for position during a WISSOTA Pure Stock heat race Friday, June 9, at Eagle River Speedway.
The action was hot and heavy Friday night, especially in the WISSOTA Street Stock class, at Eagle River Speedway.
The lead changed hands on four occasions in the main event before the checkered flag fell on Tomahawk's Nate Langberg.
Eagle River's Frank Gasperini opened the race and led for the first three laps. Then Bruce Crossing, Mich.'s Jordan Kurtti got the lead with a pass on the first turn when Gasperini went wide. Gasperini spun out going into the second turn on the 8th lap. During the caution, Kurtti, who had the lead, pulled off the track. Kurtti noticed he had some mechanical problems.
This gave the lead to Eagle River's Ryan Valeria. Valeria and Langberg battled bumper to bumper for the next four laps before Langberg squeezed his way underneath Valeria and went on to victory.
Earlier in the night, in the WISSOTA Street Stock heat race, Brandon Fraaza found out how challenging the third turn at Eagle River Speedway is.
Fraaza, of Ringle, has been successful at other tracks but when he got loose on the hairpin third turn, his car went sideways to the bottom of the track. While other cars were involved in this altercation, Fraaza's car got the worst of it.
Deerbrook's Jerry Reif opened up with the lead in the Winged Sprint 600 class. Then the defending class champion, Ty Springer of Eagle River, took the lead. But that advantage was short-lived as Springer hit a tire on the third turn, disabling his machine. This gave lead back to Jerry Reif, only to lose the lead to his son, Jake, who went on to get the win.
Bruce Crossing's Tom Lannet took the lead for the first two laps of the WISSOTA Pure Stock feature. Then Bryce Wick from Eagle River got the lead, only to lose it to Jake Ison. Eagle River's Ison then battled it out the rest of the feature with Jason Eisel. Ison barely held Eisel off for the win.
The WISSOTA Midwest Modified feature was a repeat of the previous week feature. Once again it started out with Jerry Grasse having the lead early on. Right behind the Phelps racer was the 5-time defending Class Champion, Jesse Aho of Toivola, Mich.
A week earlier, Aho passed Grasse on the inside going into the challenging hairpin third turn. This time, Aho snuck by Grasse on the inside coming out of Turn 3.
"I like racing on a dry track. It is a driver's track. Early in the race season we go south where they don't have a lot of clay and the tracks are always dry," Aho said, who went on to score the feature win.
Earlier in the night, Aho and Larry Gasperini connected in the very first turn of the heat race. This knocked Aho out of the race. Aho's crew worked diligently to get his car ready for the Feature.
Aho has a slim 8-point lead over the "father-son" tandem of Duane and Marcus Dunbar after the first three races of the season.
"I know the great competition we have in this class is 'gunning' for me, and I want it that way," commented Aho.
Defending Junior Sprint class champion Dustin Kangas of Phelps swept the feature and heat in that class. Kangas was involved in an accident on the opening night, forcing him out of that night's races. Kangas also was unable to race the previous week. Thus the point leader in Junior Sprints after the first three races is first-year racer Cole Stella of Minocqua.
The first chapter of the Redneck Games took part Friday Night. The first event was the popular spectator one-on-one races. Winning his third feature in the event was Eagle River's Spencer Duncan.
"I really enjoy this, and it's great for the fans. I'd like to see more people try this," commented Duncan after the races.
This coming Friday night, the Speedway Trucks will return to Eagle River Speedway. This is in addition to the regular weekly schedule of five classes. Hot Laps will start at 7 p.m., with racing to start at 7:30.