Sorensen wins Gopher 50
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July 6, 2019  |  by Todd Narveson

The USRA Modifieds were the companion division with the World of Outlaws Late Models for the 40th Annual Bigelow Homes Gopher 50 Saturday night. After three inches of rain fell the night before, it was a beautiful sun-drenched race day at Deer Creek Speedway.

Thirty-seven drivers checked in for the $5,000-to-win show before a huge crowd for this summer classic. They ran four heat races where the top 12 in passing points were locked in for the 35-lap feature. A pair of B-Mains qualified six cars each for the 24-car starting field.

Tralo Companies of Owatonna again had the “Tralo Challenge” for the top eight in passing points. Starting with the number one driver in points, they had the option to give up their draw spot to start 11th and 12th for a $5,000 bonus if they could win the feature. Just before the redraw, Tralo upped the ante and made it a $10,000 bonus for a possible $15,000 to win.

Dustin Sorensen and Jake Timm both opted not to take the challenge. Then, Brandon Davis accepted to start 11th while the crowd roared their approval. Erik Kanz took his draw spot and then Rodney Sanders also accepted the challenge to start 12th much to the crowd’s delight.

The main event started off with the pack saluting the crowd with a parade lap. During the parade lap the pole position was left open in the missing main formation in memory of Karl Fenske who passed away on Wednesday after a short bout with cancer at the age of 63.

Fenske was a seven-time Deer Creek Speedway modified feature winner and also a four-time Gopher 50 Late Model feature starter. Fenske and his No. 99 cars were legendary in this area and will definitely be missed in the racing community. The No. 99 USRA Modified of Josh Angst honored Fenske by changing his green number to Fenske’s well known red for the weekend.

Zack VanderBeek drew the number one frisbee to start on the pole with Kanz alongside to start the main event. VanderBeek edged out front but Kanz held his ground while Sorensen moved to third on lap two. Kanz was right on VanderBeek and stole the lead on lap three.

Sorensen then went after VanderBeek for second while the lead trio ran in tight formation. Kanz continued to set the pace while VanderBeek and Sorensen dueled for second. Sanders had already charged to sixth on lap five.

Sorensen threw a slider at Kanz to take the lead, but Kanz went right back after it and reclaimed the lead on lap six. Kanz ran the low groove and Sorensen was up high and they were side-by-side for the lead. Sorensen nabbed the lead on lap seven while Sanders was now to fifth.

The top three remained close and Sanders, who ran the extreme high line, had now rallied to fourth on the eleventh circuit. VanderBeek and Kanz raced for second with VanderBeek able to finally make the pass on lap 12. Sanders put on a show with sparks flying off the right rear quarter panel on the wall and he chased doen Kanz.

Sorensen stretched his lead out a bit and entered slower traffic. Sanders got by Kanz for third on lap 16 and then the races lone yellow flag waved on lap 20 to tighten up the pack and give the leaders a clear track in front of them.

Sorensen was then challenged by Vanderbeek on the start and they went for the lead for a couple of laps. Brandon Davis and Josh Angst found some momentum and moved towards the top five. Sorensen able to get away from Vanderbeek’s challenge, but Vanderbeek now had to fend off Sanders.

Sorensen led the rest of the way to claim his biggest career win so far. Sanders edged VanderBeek for second, but came up one spot short of the big bonus. VanderBeek ended up in third while Davis finished in fourth and Angst finished fifth.

During the intermission break, Jerry and Carol Ingvalson along with Ron and Diane Nelson were honored for their 40 years with the Gopher 50. It was Ingvalson who took a big risk back in 1980 to start this Late Model race and the tradition continues 40 years later.

Thank you to Bigelow Homes, Miner’s Outdoor & Rec, Carroll’s Corn, Rochester Eagles Club and Tralo Companies, along with the Blooming Prairie Lions for their support of this legendary summer event.

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OFFICIAL RESULTS
United States Racing Association
Summit USRA Weekly Racing Series
Deer Creek Speedway, Spring Valley, Minn.
Saturday, July 6, 2019

Showing finishing position, starting position in parentheses, car number, driver and hometown.

USRA MODIFIEDS

Heat #1:
1. (2) 23K Eric Kanz, Winona, Minn.
2. (4) 19R Ryan Gustin, Marshalltown, Iowa
3. (1) 5D Devon Havlik, Iowa Falls, Iowa
4. (6) 51. Blake Arndt, Browndale, Minn.
5. (8) 6 Ryan Ruter, Kanawha, Iowa
6. (7) 35B David Baxter, Eau Claire, Wis.
7. (5) 96 Greg Jensen, Albert Lea, Minn.
8. (3) 61T Tammy Soma-Clark, Rochester, Minn.
9. (9) 44H Adam Hensel, Baldwin, Wis.
10. (10) 75 Christopher Elliott, Webster City, Iowa

Heat #2:
1. (4) 49 Jake Timm, Winona, Minn.
2. (3) 33Z Zack VanderBeek, New Sharon, Iowa
3. (2) 89 A.J. Diemel, Elk Mound, Wis.
4. (5) 98 Kevin Stoa, Albert Hea, Minn.
5. (6) 02 Jacob Dahle, Morristown, Minn.
6. (7) 07 Cory Crapser, Chippewa Falls, Wis.
7. (8) 8S Tony Schill, Oakdale, Minn.
8. (9) 74 Mark Noble, Blooming Prairie, Minn.
9. (1) 72 Doug Hillson, Blooming Prairie, Minn.

Heat #3:
1. (4) 50 Brandon Davis, Hayfield, Minn.
2. (2) 99 Josh Angst, Winona, Minn.
3. (9) 20 Rodney Sanders, Happy, Texas
4. (1) 24 Charlie Steinberg, Kasson, Minn.
5. (6) 90 Steve Wetzstein, West Concord, Minn.
6. (3) 23 Darwin Karau, Kasson, Minn.
7. (7) 51W J.T. Wasmund, Pine Island, Minn.
8. (5) 29H Joe Horgdal, Kasson, Minn.
9. (8) 33 Joe Ludemann, Grand Meadow, Minn.

Heat #4:
1. (7) 19 Dustin Sorensen, Rochester, Minn.
2. (3) 3C Chet Atkinson, Hugo, Minn.
3. (8) 51 Chris Oertel, Marshfield, Wis.
4. (6) 4A Joel Alberts, Mantorville, Minn.
5. (1) 91 Shawn Ryan, Waterloo, Iowa
6. (4) 55H A.J. Hoff, Mantorville, Minn.
7. (2) 77 Jacob Stark, Austin, Minn.
8. (5) 782 Miah Christensen, Sioux Falls, S.D.
9. (9) 71 Jason Cummins, New Richland, Minn.

"B" Feature #1:
1. (4) 90 Steve Wetzstein, West Concord, Minn.
2. (2) 98 Kevin Stoa, Albert Hea, Minn.
3. (7) 8S Tony Schill, Oakdale, Minn.
4. (5) 35B David Baxter, Eau Claire, Wis.
5. (12) 44H Adam Hensel, Baldwin, Wis.
6. (3) 24 Charlie Steinberg, Kasson, Minn.
7. (9) 74 Mark Noble, Blooming Prairie, Minn.
8. (10) 29H Joe Horgdal, Kasson, Minn.
9. (6) 23 Darwin Karau, Kasson, Minn.
10. (8) 96 Greg Jensen, Albert Lea, Minn.
11. (11) 72 Doug Hillson, Blooming Prairie, Minn.
12. (1) 51. Blake Arndt, Browndale, Minn.
DNS – 75 Christopher Elliott, Webster City, Iowa

"B" Feature #2:
1. (1) 4A Joel Alberts, Mantorville, Minn.
2. (5) 07 Cory Crapser, Chippewa Falls, Wis.
3. (3) 02 Jacob Dahle, Morristown, Minn.
4. (2) 6 Ryan Ruter, Kanawha, Iowa
5. (4) 91 Shawn Ryan, Waterloo, Iowa
6. (11) 33 Joe Ludemann, Grand Meadow, Minn.
7. (6) 55H A.J. Hoff, Mantorville, Minn.
8. (9) 61T Tammy Soma-Clark, Rochester, Minn.
9. (7) 77 Jacob Stark, Austin, Minn.
10. (10) 782 Miah Christensen, Sioux Falls, S.D.
11. (8) 51W J.T. Wasmund, Pine Island, Minn.
12. (12) 71 Jason Cummins, New Richland, Minn.

"A" Feature:
1. (4) 19 Dustin Sorensen, Rochester, Minn.
2. (12) 20 Rodney Sanders, Happy, Texas
3. (1) 33Z Zack VanderBeek, New Sharon, Iowa
4. (11) 50 Brandon Davis, Hayfield, Minn.
5. (8) 99 Josh Angst, Winona, Minn.
6. (6) 49 Jake Timm, Winona, Minn.
7. (16) 07 Cory Crapser, Chippewa Falls, Wis.
8. (14) 4A Joel Alberts, Mantorville, Minn.
9. (2) 23K Eric Kanz, Winona, Minn.
10. (13) 90 Steve Wetzstein, West Concord, Minn.
11. (10) 89 A.J. Diemel, Elk Mound, Wis.
12. (17) 8S Tony Schill, Oakdale, Minn.
13. (5) 51 Chris Oertel, Marshfield, Wis.
14. (24) 33 Joe Ludemann, Grand Meadow, Minn.
15. (7) 3C Chet Atkinson, Hugo, Minn.
16. (19) 35B David Baxter, Eau Claire, Wis.
17. (21) 44H Adam Hensel, Baldwin, Wis.
18. (18) 02 Jacob Dahle, Morristown, Minn.
19. (23) 24 Charlie Steinberg, Kasson, Minn.
20. (9) 5D Devon Havlik, Iowa Falls, Iowa
21. (15) 98 Kevin Stoa, Albert Hea, Minn.
22. (3) 19R Ryan Gustin, Marshalltown, Iowa
23. (22) 91 Shawn Ryan, Waterloo, Iowa
24. (20) 6 Ryan Ruter, Kanawha, Iowa



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