September 17, 2016 - Elko, MN
Under beautiful clear skies and a full harvest moon fans witnessed real life drama rarely seen in motorsports as two drivers fought for the title in the Hiway federal credit union Big 8 division..
After a full year of racing the point standings were incredibly close with #54 Dylan Moore from Northfield (MN) leading #17 Jon Lemke by 11 points coming into the night. Jon Lemke was faster in qualifying and picked up two points so entering the first feature Moore led by only 9 points.
In the first 20 lap feature Moore and Lemke started nose to tail mid-pack. Lemke is a former two time Late Model Champion at Elko Speedway, he used his veteran skills to get past Moore and finish fourth, Moore started sixth and finished sixth in that first Big 8 main event. So after that race Moore was still leading Lemke by 5 points.
Moore has raced in the Big 8 division since 2008 and has finished second in points twice, he was very motivated to win his first ever Championship. Coming into the second feature Moore again started just ahead of his rival, he was 9th and Lemke was 11th. Early in the race things seemed to be going well for Moore, he was still ahead of Lemke mid-pack. On lap 7 everything changed, there was a chain reaction accident that sent numerous cars spinning, including Moore. The result of the wreck was chilling for Moore, "with how many times we got hit after we spun, I thought for sure we were done, but my spotter told me there was air in all four tires and it moved when I put it in gear so I drove it back to the pits," said Moore.
His car sustained major damage with the entire rear bumper cover hanging on by a thread and obvious suspension damage. "About half the pits had rolls of duct tape and we taped it back together and was able to get back out," said Moore. "Before I pulled back out to the racetrack my steering wheel was turned about half a turn and I asked the guys which way my wheels were turned and they said it was straight, so I knew obviously something wasn't right, but we went out and gave it everything we had and that is what teamwork is all about and never give up attitude," said Moore.
After a delay to clean up the track and clear the other wrecked cars the race resumed with the #54 car driven by Moore in last place of the 19 car field. Meanwhile Jon Lemke was having his own problems, his car was fast but he just could not get in position to make a pass, Lemke was blocked in behind two other cars in 10th place.
The rest of the feature went cautionless, Moore could keep up with the field but was still in last place, fortunately for him Dylan Warner, Nick Beaver and Adam Benzick never got their cars back on the track after the big wreck and Bryan Wrolstad couldn't keep up and eventually pulled into the pits moving Moore up to the 15th position. On the last lap Lemke tried to get by #51 Justin Neisius for 9th but came up just .144 seconds behind. Lemke finished 10th scoring 32 points, Moore finished the race with his tires rubbing and tire smoke pouring our from under the fenders, he finished the last car on the lead lap in 15th scoring 27 points.
Since Moore had a 5 point lead coming into the race and there is a 1 point differential for every position between 10th and 15th place, the two drivers ended up TIED with 1061 total points for the season. The tie-breaker is number of total wins and Moore had four wins this year to Lemke having just one, so after a short delay to make sure the points were correct, Moore was declared the Champion. "It was a huge roller coaster of emotions going from getting wrecked and thinking we lost it to then winning it, it's pretty hard to explain," said Moore. This was the first ever Championship for Dylan Moore.
Jon Lemke showed his true class shortly after the races posting on social media a congratulations to Dylan Moore and the #54 team.
Here is my post race interview with Dylan Moore https://soundcloud.com/speedtalkon1360/dylan-moore-elko-champ-m4a
Michael Ostdiek #18 finished third and fourth in the two Hiway federal credit union Big 8 features and he ended up third place in the Elko Speedway points, only 11 behind Moore and Lemke. Ostdiek is also racing for a National title in the NASCAR Whelen All American Series Division II, he was the point leader in the entire country coming into the night. NASCAR takes a drivers TOP 14 best finishes in Division II to determine the standings so, with those two good finishes Ostdiek may have become the National Champion. We will update this story as soon as NASCAR declares the official final points.
The first Big 8 feature was won by #5 Jake Sernett from Prior Lake (MN), Jake is a 16 yr old driver in his third part-time year driving a stock car. Sernett was a three time "Little Elko" Quarter Midget Champion that also traveled the country winning hundreds of races and many National titles. This was his first ever Hiway Federal Credit Union Big 8 win, Grant Brown #14 finished second, #18 Michael Ostdiek was third, #17 Jon Lemke finished fourth and #13 Bryan Wrolstad was fifth.
"It took a long time to win that first Championship but now to be three in a row it's pretty sweet and Matt (Goede) pulling off second place for the second year in a row is pretty impressive, for what we have going on to finish one and two is pretty cool" said Goede. Goede ended up finishing the points season with three wins and a winning margin of 84 points over his brother Matt #28 with Joey Miller #15 finishing third in points.
Here is my interview with Jacob Goede https://soundcloud.com/speedtalkon1360/jacob-goede-elko-champ-m4a-1
Nick Panitzke #22 from Sauk Centre (MN) won his first MN Corn Growers Super Late Model feature of 2016 at Elko Speedway. Panitzke is a former TUNDRA Series Champion, he won the first of two features by 1.099 seconds over #3 Chris Marek with #72 Jacob Goede finishing third, #28 Matt Goede getting fourth and #41 Donny Reuvers a 9 time Elko Champion finishing fifth.
The second 30 lap feature went to #91 Ty Majeski from Seymour (WI), he battled #62 John Heath for a few laps before taking the lead after a restart on lap eight. Majeski then shot to a big lead and won by 3.599 seconds. Heath finished second, Matt Goede third, #77 former Midwest Tour Champion Jonathan Eilen fourth and #72 Jacob Goede fifth. Majeski did what he could to secure enough points to win the NASCAR Whelen All American Series Division I National Hometracks Championship, NASCAR takes a drivers TOP 18 finishes in the Super Late Model division to crown a Champion and coming into the night Majeski was in third place Nationally.
Twenty five of the top Super Late Models in the entire country raced at Elko on Saturday night. The star studded field included #91 Ty Majeski, two time defending ARCA Midwest tour Champion and winner of the Kulwicki Driver Development Program last year who is currently signed with Roush-Fenway racing on a developmental deal. Austin Nason #14 from Roscoe (IL) was the fastest in qualifying, #35 Travis Dassow came from West Bend (WI), #23 Chris Weinkauff from Merrill (WI) who a State Park Speedway Champion, #77 Jonathan Eilen who was a Thunder Car Champion at Elko Speedway and former Midwest tour Champion, #41 Donny Reuvers a nine time Elko Champion and #44 Justin Mondeik from Gleeson (WI) who was "Rookie of the Year" at three different race tracks in 2016.
These drivers and many others will return to race the Thunderstruck93 ARCA Midwest Tour even next Saturday September 24th at Elko Speedway. On track Autograph session begins at 3pm with action on track beginning at 4pm.
The first Genz-Ryan Thunder Car 20 lap event was won by #3 Conrad Jorgenson from Lakeville (MN) it was his sixth win of the season at Elko Speedway. Jorgenson squeezed past #8 Ted Ruevers on the low side to take the lead at the half way point of the race and then he held Reuvers off by 1.802 seconds for the win. Reuvers finished second with #18 Tina Davis coming across third, point leader #32 Jeremy Wolff was fourth and #07 Dillon Sellner finished fifth.
Jeremy Wolff now holds a 31 point lead over Brent Kane going into the final night of racing in the Thunder Car division next Saturday night during the Thunderstruck93 race event.
It was a very dramatic win for #56 Paul Hamilton from Hastings (MN) in the first of two Pepsi Power Stock features. Hamilton followed closely behind #3 Ryan Varner the entire 20 lap race until the final set of corners, Hamilton and Varner had some contact on the last lap and then had a drag race down the front stretch. Hamilton had the better drag car and won by .003 seconds at the finish line, it was the third win of the season for Hamilton. Varner finished second, Taylor Goldman #8 was third, #37 Bryce Blohm fourth and #6 Joey Prusak finished fifth of the 18 cars that finished.
The second feature saw former Champion #88 Nick Oxborough from Savage (MN) win his first trophy of 2016 in the Pepsi Power Stock division. Oxborough had to fight back the many challenges of #54 Tim Hollen for the win by only .355 seconds, #62 Tom Doten the current point leader was third followed by Bryce Blohm and Ryan Varner. Championship contender Brandon Petersen #7 had nothing but back luck, with mechanical problems prerace taking out his primary car and then a wreck in a borrowed car in the second feature causing him to finish dead last.
The point standings are incredibly close coming into the final night of racing in the Pepsi Power Stock division next Saturday during the Thunderstruck93 event. Tom Doten #62 leads Bryce Blohm #37 by only 6 points.
The Great North Legends feature event was once again a very exciting affair. Brady Fox-Rhode #4 took the early lead. Tim Brockhouse, the national INEX point leader in the Masters division, was involved in a wreck on lap three and could not continue. The race was then between Fox-Rhode and #71 Derek Lemke, those two drivers swapped the lead and were side by side and seemingly on the brink of disaster every lap. Finally with four laps to go Lemke made the pass on the inside coming out of corner four and he held on by .450 seconds for the win. Some of the most intense racing we have seen at Elko Speedway in quite some time, it was the sixth win of the season for Lemke. Fox-Rhode was second, #3 Dirk Henry third, #16 Matt Allen fourth and #7 Jackson Lewis fifth out of the large 21 car field.
With the win Lemke has a huge 82 point lead in the standings as he is looking for his third straight Championship at Elko Speedway.
Alex Vincent #36 from Owatonna (MN) won his third Hornets feature of 2016 at Elko Speedway. Vincent took the early lead and then watched in his mirror as #36 Brandon Olson and #7 Ridge Oien raced each other for the runner up position. Olson ended up edging Oien by only .027 for second place, #14 Justin Schelitzche fourth and #55 Brandon Plekkenpol finished fifth of the 12 cars competing.
13 cars raced in the Bandolero division, #3 Luke Allen from Chanhassen (MN) won again with #48 Lennon Watkins finishing second, Allen is the current point leader at Elko Speedway.
Justin Schelitzche now has a 28 point lead over Brandon Olson in the Championship standings, the Hornets, Bando's and Great North Legends all end their points season on October 1st during the final Eve of Destruction at Elko Speedway.
These results and points are unofficial at this time, official results will be posted later in the week at ElkoSpeedway.com
Up next at Elko Speedway the the Thunderstruck93 event in honor of Dan Ryan in support of the fight to cure ALS. It is Saturday September 24th, spectator gates open at 3pm and an on-track autograph session will occur until action begins at 4pm. Racing includes a 125 ARCA Midwest tour feature, 58 lap Big 8 Late Model feature, Thunder Car and Power Stock Championships plus Great North Legends and Hornets.Get more information at ElkoSpeedway.com or follow Elko Speedway on social media or the free Elko Racing App. Elko Speedway is located 30 minutes South of Downtown Minneapolis just off of I-35 and County road 2 in Elko (MN).