A Moonlit Night at McCool
By Anthony Ainslie
In the world of dirt track racing, the nighttime is the right time, and the super moon provided a tremendous sight on Saturday night as Friesen Chevrolet brought the racing action on fan appreciation night at Junction Motor Speedway. There were many giveaways and non-stop racing action at every turn. All five NASCAR Whelen All-American Series weekly classes were in action and provided some of the greatest moments of the 2013 season. With the biggest crowd of the season in attendance and valuable points up for grabs, the local heroes of JMS took center stage for a wild night of hard racing.
The NASCAR 4-cylinders had double features for the night. In race one, Ed Huxoll and Steve Moock battled out for the top spot. With seven laps left in the race, Moock took the lead over for good and took home his fourth feature win of the season. As for Huxoll, he ended up in a great battle for second with Dalton Siebke. Siebke got past Huxoll to finish second, but no one could touch the 12 of Steve Moock. The reigning track champion continued his dominance in the NASCAR 4-cylinder division.
In race number two, Junction Motor Speedway saw its fifth different winner in the 4-cylinder class. The 52 of David Dembowski was in control in the second main event. Dalton Siebke challenged Dembowski for the lead midway through the race, but Grand Island’s David Dembowski had the field covered. Dembowski picked up his first win of the season and some much needed points in the 4-cylinder point standings.
The NASCAR hobby stocks doubled up on feature events as well on Saturday, and early on in race number one, York, Nebraska’s Terry Tritt was at the head of the class. One driver on the move in the race was a driver making his first JMS start in 2013. Greg Gimpel of Aurora, Nebraska charged from the rear of the field and was looking for the lead before a caution for debris came out with eight laps to go. On the restart, the 42 of Gimpel powered his way around Tritt for the lead and set it on cruise control for the rest of the race. Despite a caution coming out for Darin Verba spinning on the front stretch and Shane Schneider spinning in turn one, Gimpel held off everyone for his first win of 2013 on his first visit to JMS this year.
Race number two saw another first-time winner this season, and for this driver, the win was much needed as he is currently in a tight battle at the top of the hobby stock point standings. Troy Paxton was the point leader going into Saturday, and he needed a feature if he wanted to stay on top. Paxton was involved in a battle for the lead with Greg Gimpel, who was looking for double feature victories, but this race was when everything clicked for the 87 out of Grand Island, Nebraska. Troy Paxton took the checkered flag for the first time this season and became the eighth different winner in 2013 in the NASCAR hobby stocks.
The Bmods provided a great race of their own on Saturday. In the eighteen-lap showdown, young Preston Gigax was in the early lead. Three laps later, a familiar face to JMS took the race lead from Gigax. Milligan, Nebraska’s Brent Kassik took over the top spot. Kassik was looking for his first win since the Bmods’ inaugural season back in 2010. It was not meant to be as the 21K of Kassik was passed by the 69 of the reigning track champion, Tony Rost. The Utica, Nebraska driver won the bmod main event at I-80 Speedway the night before, and he put on another solid performance at the Junction as he picked up his third victory of 2013 and his second win in two nights. Brent Kassik finished behind Rost in second place while a hard-charging Kevin Betzen finished third. Tony Rost looks like a contender for the track title once again. If he can pull it off, Rost would become the first multi-time Bmod track champion at Junction Motor Speedway as well as the first back-to-back Bmod track champion at JMS.
The NASCAR modifieds took center stage for a 20-lap shootout, and they put on a whale of a show. The race for the lead was between the 98T of Tyler Iverson and 15 of the 2010 track champion, Andy Wilkinson. Wilkinson preferred running on the topside of the racetrack while Iverson ran on the bottom. Lap after lap they ran side-by side, but it was the restart after a caution with three laps to go that set up the finish of the race. Wilkinson brought the field down to the green flag, and Wilkinson immediately dove down to the bottom of the track to block Iverson. As Iverson and Wilkinson came off the final corner, Iverson ran hard on the bottom, but Wilkinson built up enough momentum coming off the top side of turn four to beat Iverson at the line. The York, Nebraska native took home his fourth victory of 2013 making Wilkinson the winningest driver in the NASCAR modified division at JMS.
The NASCAR late models closed out the evening, and with the moon shining brightly down on the track, the fans were not expecting the race that they were in for. Cory Dumpert led the majority of the race after taking the lead on a restart with 22 laps to go, but Jase Kaser was on a charge to catch Dumpert who was on the verge of winning five consecutive feature events. Dumpert ran the topside of the racetrack like he did in order to win his five feature events he already has this season. Kaser was able to make the middle groove work for him even though it was slippery. Around the middle part of the race, Dumpert began to go lower and lower in the turns than what he was accustomed to, and that played into Kaser’s favor as the 15 car continued to gain ground on the 77 of Dumpert. Kaser had many moments where it looked like he would take the lead from Dumpert, but he could not make it work. The highlight of the race was the final lap. The finish was not for the faintest of hearts. Even the moon was temporarily blinded by the intense sparks flying on the final lap between Dumpert and Kaser. As Dumpert came down to the white flag, he almost tagged the outside wall on the front stretch. Dumpert checked up to avoid hitting the wall, and at that moment, Kaser pounced and took the lead. Kaser was able to fend off a late charge from Dumpert, and the reigning late model track champion edged out Dumpert at the checkered flag in one of the greatest late model races in recent memory at Junction Motor Speedway. This was Jase Kaser’s second feature win of the 2013 season.
On behalf of Delmar Friesen and the entire JMS staff, we thank all of the fans for coming out on a beautiful moonlit Saturday night at Junction Motor Speedway. The drivers and officials were extremely efficient on this night because the entire racing program, from start to finish, was completed in just less than three hours. A special thanks goes to Friesen Chevrolet of Sutton for bringing the races and for providing many giveaways for the largest crowd of the 2013 season so far. The excitement is far from over. As the months go by, the point battles intensify, and the wins are needed much more than before. We hope to see the fans come back out and experience some of the greatest championship battles ever at the Junction Motor Speedway.
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