By: Greg Parent, UMSS Media Director (4-20-12) and Jim Burns, Elko Speedway
April 20, 2012 Elko, MN–With a quality 24-car field on hand to compete in the first Upper Midwest Sprintcar Series (UMSS) event of the season, Brooke Tatnell drove the Craft #86 sprinter to victory on Friday night April 20 at the Elko Speedway Spring Dirt Nationals. Tatnell passed early race leader Cody Hahn on lap 7 and drove through lapped traffic to record his tenth career UMSS victory.
Tatnell’s victory came with some drama though. On lap two, Tatnell and Andy Jones made contact in turn one with Jones’ car spinning. Jennifer Eriksen was unable to avoid the stalled car of Jones and made contact, sending both cars to the pits and out of the race. Tatnell and Jones were battling for second at the time behind race leader Cody Hahn.
The feature race had some problems getting underway, as the first attempt to bring the 24-car starting grid to the green was called off. On the second attempt, contact between Tommy Barber and Sye Anderson entering turn one caused a multi-car crash. Barber and Anderson started in row three, so a good share of the field scattered in an attempt to avoid the melee. Chad Patterson made contact with Barber’s car which knocked Barber on his side and brought out the red flag. Several other cars were involved.
The third time was the charm, as 2010 UMSS Champion Cody Hahn bolted into the lead from his pole starting position on the opening lap. The yellow light blinked on for the incident involving Tatnell and Jones with one lap scored. The race then went 15 laps green until the final yellow flew for a James Broty spin in turn one. During this green flag run, Tatnell drove under Hahn for the lead on lap seven and never looked back while working lapped traffic. Eastern Wisconsin driver Scotty Thiel worked past Hahn on lap 9 for second and challenged Tatnell briefly for the lead over the course of the next couple of laps. Thiel finished a strong performance with a runner-up finish in the feature.
A late-race pass with two laps to go saw 2011 and defending UMSS Champion Jerry Richert, Jr. move by Cody Hahn for third. Hahn finished fourth ahead of Scott Broty. Completing the top ten finishers were 23rd starter Cam Schafer with an incredible drive forward, 22nd starter Tony Norem with a hard charge towards the front, Casey Heser in his first UMSS race, Austin Johnson also running his first UMSS show, and Billy Johnson who was the inaugural UMSS winner at Elko in July 2010. UMSS heat race winners included Brooke Tatnell, Sye Anderson and Cody Hahn.
In other action on the night, two time Elko Modified Champion Dan Wheeler of Coon Rapids powered his Wagamon Brothers Engine Rebuilders Mod to the front of the field with two laps to go in taking the checkers over a 21 car field in the Elko Modifieds, while Webster’s Tim Brockhouse made a similar late race charge to win the National Dirt Qualifying Legends event with Mankato’s Nathan Coopman topping the Hornet feature. In early Legends action, Glyndon’s Tony Brockhouse silenced the crowd with a wild end over end flip on the main straightaway and Elko Speedway officials are happy to report that Brockhouse was released from the Hospital on Saturday and expected to make a full recovery.
Elko Speedway will now take up the dirt and prepare for next weekends Test And Tune for the NASCAR Whelen All American Series competitors. A Tire sale will begin at 10am, with open practice beginning at 12pm and FREE Admission for interested spectators! Racing will resume on Saturday May 5, 2012 with an action packed EVE of DESTRUCTION RAW featuring Monster Trucks, Verticle Mischief Sportbikes, the high flying two wheeled antics of Guilty by Association plus AWESOME SIDE BY SIDE Racing action with the NASCAR Super Late Models, Big 8’s, Thunder Cars, Legends and Power Stocks.