Only on rare occasions, ProStar Cup Tour drivers find themselves facing a double header weekend. On even rarer occasions, they find themselves doing so on a very short turn around time. But that was the case this past weekend as the ProStar Cup Tour entertained a night race on Friday for Round 5 and then a quick turn around to Saturday for Round 6, on January 4-5, 2022.
By traveling to the eastern part of Wisconsin for the Fire on Ice event in Weyauwega, the staff of the ProStar Cup Tour hoped to hide from Mother Nature. But the all-seeing eyes of Ms. Nature found the Tour once again. On Friday evening, if more than 5 or 6 sleds were on track, the cold temperatures, lack of wind, and the evening air created havoc with visibility. On the other hand, Saturday was a great day for racing.
A very strong field of 22 Pro Champ sleds entered the Friday race program in hopes of making the final for Round 5. The afternoon heats went off as planned with three rounds. To say the competition was tough would be a true understatement. Yes, many of the regulars won their respective heats, but names such as Henke and Lepak also found themselves on top of the leader board.
After nearly an hour-long delay for an on-track accident in the F-500 class, the drivers of the Pro Champ final were summoned to the tech trailer by USSA race director, Bob Richardson. Being after 9 p.m., limited visibility simply would not allow USSA to have a dozen 95+ mph sleds, to start the final. After some discussion, the final was run in two segments, each seven laps in length. The first segment was for drivers qualifying in positions seven through 12 and racing for respective final position. The second segment was for qualifiers one through six racing for the top six positions for the day.
The race for the top six was closely contested, face-paced and not without controversy. In the pre-race driver’s meeting, Blaine Stephenson lobbied for more than seven laps in the final. He proved his reasoning by knocking on the door of eventual race winner Matt Goede in the final two laps. Would 10 laps have made a difference? We won’t know. During his post-race interview, third-place finisher, Gunnar Sterne expressed his displeasure in the start, feeling that race winner Matt Goede left too soon. Many of those post-race feelings boiled over into Saturday morning.
The final finishing order was: 1st – #28 Matt Goede, 2nd – #102 Blaine Stephenson, 3rd – #220 Gunnar Sterne, 4th – #1 Griffin Lepak, 5th –#39x Justin Peterson, 6th #157 John Henke, 7th – #39 Tom Olson, 8th – #11 Fred Manke, 9th – #70x Sean Shively, 10th – #68 Tyler Beach, DNF’s – #128 Jordan Siebold, #334 Dalton Fredrickson.
Back For More On Saturday
Round 6 kicked off Saturday morning under clearer skies, a slight breezy and a good crowd of spectators. Without Mother Nature in play, the expectations of good hard racing were met with each round of heats. But somewhere along the way, the mechanical gremlins associated with lots of racing in a short amount of time began to show up. Even driver fatigue played into the balance of the race day.
By the time the final was lined up, only 12 Pro Champ drivers were ready to take the line. The #102 of Blaine Stephenson was on a mission during Round 6. In the Friday post-race interview, Blaine said they “tried something new” for that final and he liked it. Obviously, on Saturday it showed as he won every Pro Champ race he was in, including the 15-lap, green-to-checkered final.
Position two through five went back and forth over the 15 laps, providing some of the best racing action of the weekend. A resurgent Tom Olson moved his Wahl Brothers Polaris from mid pack all the way to third before the checkered flag flew. Matt Goede on his #28 Ski-Doo, fought off several challenges from Gunnar Sterne and kept his podium streak alive by finishing second. Sterne finished in fourth.
The final finishing order for Round 6 was: 1st – #102 Blaine Stephenson; 2nd – #28 Matt Goede; 3rd – #39 Thomas Olson; 4th – #220 Gunner Sterne; 5th – #157 John Henke; 6th – #04 Luke Olson; 7th – #39x Justin Peterson; 8th – #11 Fred Manke; 9th – #1 Griffin Lepak; 10th – #31 Will Garceau DNF; 11th – #70x Sean Shively DNF.
The final stop in the 2021-2022 ProStar Cup Tour will be Saturday, March 5 in Beausejour, MB. On Sunday, March 6, many of the top teams will race in Beausejour for the coveted 60th CPTC Championship. It will be an exciting weekend of racing.
The 2021-2022 USSA ProStar Cup Tour is proudly brought to you by IncredibleBank, Advanced Compressor Technology, Woody’s Traction, Polaris, Fly Racing Gear, Wahl Brothers Racing, 365 Powersports, and Scott’s Auto Body.