Tatnell sweeps Sprints to lead Dirt Nationals winners at Elko
By Jim Burns (Elko PR), Greg Parent (UMSS)
Elko, MN October 5 & 6, 2012—Brooke Tatnell made a late race charge to take the lead from Ben Schmidt after an 18th lap restart to take the point and top a talented field of UMSS 360 Sprints to highlight night one of the Fall Dirt Nationals, Friday October 5, 2012 at Elko Speedway. For Tatnell, it was his second consecutive A Main win at Elko, following a strong run during the tours April visit to the 3/8ths mile oval.
Joining the “Winged Warriors” were drivers from across the nation participating in the 2012 Legends Dirt Nationals and a full night of qualifying action set the fields for the National Championship Features on night two of the action. In addition, former Elko Champion Dan Wheeler powered his Modified to the checkers while Nate Coopman earned the checkers in the Hornets.
While night one featured great racing and cool temperatures, night two featured more great action which saw Tatnell take advantage of the straight up start after Kaley Gharst drew a zero to drive away from the field to earn his 3rd straight Elko victory and a record 9th UMSS win in only 15 Tour starts during the 2012 season.
In the Modifieds, it was David Swearingen fighting off repeated challenges and a late run from Wheeler to earn the win, while Jared Boumeester was the class of the Hornet field, leading “wire to wire” for the win in the 15 lapper and three action packed Legends Championship features added to the action, highlighted by Elko competitor Tim Brockhouse topping the Masters division.
The Fall Dirt Nationals completed a successful 2012 racing season at Elko Speedway, with the 2012 NASCAR Whelen All American Series competitors and Champions to be honored at the annual Champions Banquet Saturday October 20, 2012. For ticket information, contact the Racing Office at (952) 461-7223 or visit www.elkospeedway.com
Complete UMSS Releases
Tatnell Waits Until Final Lap To Win At Elko
By: Greg Parent, UMSS Media Director (10-5-12)
Although the weather was cold and windy, the racing action on the track in the Upper Midwest Sprintcar Series (UMSS) once again was hot during the opening night of the Fall Dirt Nationals at the Elko Speedway on Friday October 5. A record turnout of 31 UMSS sprint cars was the most at any UMSS event held during the first four years the series has been in existence and eclipsed the previous high mark established at Elko a few years ago. Just as Kaley Gharst had done last October, Brooke Tatnell waited until the final lap of the feature to make the winning pass in turns one and two when he drove around Plymouth, Wisconsin racer Ben Schmidt to provide yet another exciting finish at Elko. Tatnell earned the $1,000 top prize in his own #1AU sprint car for his eighth UMSS win of the season and seventeenth of his career.
Only two cautions slowed the pace with 19 of the 20 starters still running at the end on what turned out to be a well-prepared temporary dirt surface at the popular 3/8 mile oval facility located on the southern fringe of the Twin City metro area.
With the large field of cars and four divisions on the program, the UMSS did not utilize their typical double-round of qualifying races. Instead they ran four Ultimate Sprint Heat races with passing and finishing points locking in the top sixteen cars. Tatnell, Schmidt, Cody Hahn and Scotty Thiel topped the heats. For the first time in series history, a B Feature was necessary. The top four cars transferring to the main event were Derrik Lusk, Jason Tostenson, Sye Anderson and Mike Stien. When high-point driver after the heats, Ben Schmidt, drew the zero pill, the feature race would see a straight-up start with no invert.
Ben Schmidt and Wade Nygaard brought the 20-car field to the green for what would be 20 very entertaining laps of racing. Nygaard, who was making his first-ever start with the UMSS, grabbed the early lead over Schmidt. Schmidt, who was also running with the UMSS for the first time, slipped under Nygaard on lap three for the top spot. The first caution blinked on with three laps completed when Tony Kaus stalled in turn four. Schmidt continued to lead Nygaard and Tatnell on the restart, as the race settled into a long green flag run.
A few laps after the race returned to green, Tatnell got by Nygaard for second and closed in on Schmidt. As the leaders worked lapped traffic, Tatnell tried unsuccessfully on several occasions to get by Schmidt. Meanwhile, 13th starter Kaley Gharst was working his way forward. Nygaard and Chris Graf battled for third while Scotty Thiel and Davey Heskin raced for fifth. With less than two laps remaining, the final yellow flag waved when Derrik Lusk did a 360 spin in turn four. Contact between Nygaard and Graf caused the 20G car of Graf to jump out of gear and stall in turn one. Graf had to tag the tail for the two lap dash to the checkers, ending what had been a very good run for the Glencoe racer.
With just two quick laps remaining, Schmidt knew he would have his hands full trying to keep the talented Aussie behind him. With Schmidt running the bottom lane, Tatnell moved out one lane and began to mount a challenge. On the final lap entering turn one, Tatnell worked the gas and brake pedals to perfection in order to lock his car down and move around Schmidt for the lead. Tatnell was able to hold off Schmidt for another thrilling Elko finish and victory. Kaley Gharst, Scotty Thiel and Davey Heskin rounded out the top five. Completing the top ten finishers were 12th starter Scott Broty, 2010 UMSS Champion Cody Hahn, Nygaard, Jared Goerges and Tommy Barber.
Commenting after the race, Tatnell smiled and said, “I’ve told many of these drivers there are two pedals in a sprint car. On some nights, the brake pedal can be nearly as valuable as the gas pedal. Tonight I was able to set my car up perfectly using the brakes in those final laps and find the grip I needed to drive around him for the win.”
Tatnell will be looking for his third Elko UMSS win and a $2,000 payday, but he will once again have to defeat a very talented field of UMSS sprint cars in order to accomplish that task on Saturday. Tatnell’s brother-in-law and defending UMSS Champion Jerry Richert, Jr. will be on hand Saturday, as Richert was unable to attend the Friday portion of the Fall Dirt Nationals due to a family commitment. Richert will be crowned the 2012 UMSS Champion, as he has earned enough points coming into the final event of the season so that nobody can overtake him in the standings. Chris Graf and Sye Anderson will battle for the runner-up spot in the standings behind Richert. Misfortune for Tony Kaus in the form of a blown motor on Friday means that Kaus likely will slip to fifth in the final rundown. Jason Tostenson sits sixth right now, and with Anna Kouba not competing this weekend, Tostenson should be able to move up two spots in the points to finish fourth.
Tatnell Completes Sweep of Fall Dirt Nationals At Elko
By: Greg Parent, UMSS Media Director (10-6-12)
Brooke Tatnell completed his weekend sweep of the Fall Dirt Nationals at the Elko Speedway on Saturday October 6 with a dominating run in the 25 lap Upper Midwest Sprintcar Series (UMSS) final race of the season. Tatnell also kept his 2012 record perfect at Elko, as he won the Spring Dirt Nationals UMSS event here back in April. Tatnell drove his own 1AU sprinter to victory both nights.
A strong field of 29 UMSS sprint cars returned for action on the final night of the season, and the very first Ultimate Sprint heat provided some of the best action seen all season long with a four car battle up front which served to get the adrenaline flowing on an otherwise cool evening. As is typical at Elko, the UMSS ran heats, a B Main and their feature race. Ultimate Sprint Heat wins went to 2009 UMSS Champion Leigh Thomas, Jason Tostenson, and Dave Becker who was making his first appearance of the season with the UMSS in only third night out. Kaley Gharst saw a huge lead in the second heat go up in smoke when the engine in his car expired. The B Main had some top runners, as Davey Heskin, Tony Norem, Cam Schafer and Kevin Bradwell earned the four transfer spots into the A Main. For Bradwell, it was his first weekend running with a full-blown 360ci engine in his sprint car. Bradwell was the inaugural Traditional sprint non-winged champion last year and runner-up this season, and he has raced numerous winged events the past two seasons with his under-powered traditional sprint motor. Mastell Racing had two engines in cars this weekend, and Bradwell along with Scotty Thiel were the fortunate recipients.
Running his fourth race with the UMSS this season, young Derrik Lusk of Jackson was the high-point driver after the three heats. Like the previous night, the zero pill was drawn resulting in a straight-up start for the feature. This put Lusk and Tatnell on the front row. Tatnell swept into the lead on the opening lap and held the top spot throughout the remainder of the race. The race was only slowed once when Jerry Richert, Jr. and Jordan Martens made contact while attempting to avoid a spinning Tommy Barber in turn two. Richert’s car glanced off the turn two wall and tipped on its side to bring out the red flag four laps into the race. Richert had earlier been honored as the 2012 UMSS Champion. Although the season did not end the way he would have liked it to, Richert is one of the top competitors here in our area and a tremendous champion now the past two seasons with the UMSS.
When the race returned to green flag action, Tatnell quickly bolted away from the field and began to encounter traffic on lap 14. Behind Tatnell, Lusk and Scotty Thiel were having a great battle for second. On lap 20, Thiel finally got past Lusk and set his sights on Tatnell. While working lapped traffic, Thiel was able to close in on Tatnell but never got close enough to make a serious bid for the lead. Tatnell completed his sweep at Elko several car lengths in front of Thiel. Lusk turned in his best UMSS finish in third. Leigh Thomas rebounded from a dismal Friday night performance to run solid in fourth. Ben Schmidt, who Tatnell beat on the final lap the previous night, advanced nine positions to finish fifth. Rounding out the top ten finishers were Jared Goerges, 16th starter Chris Graf, Wade Nygaard, 2010 UMSS Champion Cody Hahn, and Tony Norem from 18th.
Tatnell grinned when asked about his weekend sweep and said, “My crew did a great job this weekend and all season long to give me a strong car each night. There was some more left if I needed it, but I did not see or hear anybody next to me. This has been a fun season running with the UMSS. They have a great group of drivers and fans, and it is an honor to race with them and support the series when I can.” For Tatnell, it was his ninth UMSS win of the season in fifteen starts and also his 18th career series victory. The win paid Tatnell $2,000 for his efforts along with a $100 Minnesota Mafia bonus. Thiel earned $1,000 for his runner-up finish thanks to some sponsorship help from GRP Motorsports. Schmidt and Graf were awarded $100 Minnesota Mafia Hard Charger Awards while Sye Anderson took home the $100 Hard Luck Award.
With Richert on hand to become the 2012 Champion, Chris Graf finished the season second in the GRP Motorsports Championship point standings. Sye Anderson was third, and he was the only driver to compete in all 20 events in 2012. On the final night of the season, Jason Tostenson advanced to fourth in the final standings ahead of Tony Kaus. Kaus was not able to compete at Elko on Saturday night after he blew his motor on Friday. Anna Kouba, Tatnell, Chad Patterson, Goerges and Scott Broty completed the top ten in the points. James Broty had previously earned the 2012 GRP Motorsports Rookie of the Year title.