The weekend of February 5-7, 2010 marked the beginning of the Oval Racers Alliance’s first season. A total of approximately 536 entries and 120 drivers made for extremely close racing in both modern and vintage classes at the I-94 Speedway in Sauk Centre, MN.
The debut event was kicked off Friday night with the Friday Night Country Cat Spectacular. It became apparent from the get go that PJ Wanderscheid, of Sauk Centre, MN definitely had the home track advantage. Entering the Pro Champ final as the top qualifier, he got the holeshot and from that point on was untouchable. Chris Broermann, returning to the scene after a two-season leave, and also from Sauk Centre was fast early on. His prospects looked good until he encountered mechanical issues near the middle of the race which kept him from continuing on. With Wanderscheid comfortable in front on his Cat, things settled in behind him and ended with Brandon Johnson finishing second and Curtis Boivin taking third, both on Polaris’.
In the vintage realm of the Friday Night Spectacular, drivers competed in what was the fourth race of their five race Sno Pro series. Aboard machines that are twice my age, competitors rocketed around the track in a highly commendable fashion. Travis Hilmerson, of Little Falls, MN claimed victories in IFS 440, IFS 340X and IFS 340 aboard his Ski-Doo. Also claiming multiple victories was Richard Peterson, of Clear Lake, MN. His Polaris led him to win IFS 250 and IFS 250X.
Hilmerson carried his success with him to Saturday as he once again won the IFS 340X Sno Pro class and added an IFS 440X Sno Pro win to his list of accomplishments. Alexandria, MN native Jeff Karrow was also successful on Saturday as he claimed wins in IFS 250X Sno Pro and Pro Stock 440 on his Ski-Doo.
As vintage classes neared completion, the Pro Open final was on the horizon. Dustin Wahl, of Greenbush, MN was the man to beat as he entered the race as the number one qualifier and subsequently led the race from start to finish on his Polaris. As he created over a straight away lead for himself, Wanderscheid held onto the second position and held off Nick Van Strydonk, who moved into third after passing Nick Dolezal in the middle of the twelve lap race.
Spencer Graff, of Kewaskum, WI went undefeated throughout qualifying rounds and set the bar for his competitors for the Pro Champ final on Sunday. With a great holeshot, he got himself in front but a red flag was thrown before an entire lap could be completed, resulting in a restart. Upon the restart, it was Wanderscheid who was fast off the line and quickly gained the lead, but not without Wahl on his mudflap. The two leaders pulled away and left Graff, Van Strydonk and Joey Fjerstad to battle it out behind them. With under two laps to go, Wanderscheid’s sled burnt down and left Wahl in the number one position. Graff finished second on his Ski-Doo and Van Strydonk in third.
Among other successes were Curtis Boivin, from Ft. Francis, Ontario. Aboard his Polaris, he won Semi Pro Champ and Semi Pro Open in addition to his third place finish in the Friday night Pro Champ race. Ryan Kniskern, of Marinette, WI claimed wins in Semi Pro Sprint, Limited 600 and finished second in F-500 and Limited 500 on his Arctic Cat. In the Junior classes, Morgan Hoglund of Forest Lake, MN won Junior I Stock 380, Junior Novice and finished second behind Blaine Stephenson in Junior I Sprint 380 on his Arctic Cat.
The Oval Racers Alliance takes a week off before their next race on Trace Lake in Grey Eagle, MN. The event will take place February 20-21, 2010 and include both vintage and modern racing. Please visit www.ovalracersalliance.com for more information.