Prior Lake NASCAR Driver Wins Super Late Model Championship
Chad Walen, from Prior Lake, won his second championship in a row. Drivers from Shakopee placed in other NASCAR championships.
(Information provided by Raceway Park in Shakopee.)
The 2012 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Season Championships had racefans of all ages, drivers and their crews coming to Raceway Park in Shakopee from all over the area for an incredible night of NASCAR Championship action.
The NASCAR Super Late Models is Raceway Park's premier division, and the feature race was loaded with fast passing throughout the entire run. Chad Walen of Prior Lake came into the event well ahead in points, a new track fast-lap qualifying record set just a few weeks ago, and 13 feature wins.
It was Lakeville's Bryan Keske on the pole, joined by Walen on the outside. At the green, Keske tried to stick with the Prior Lake driver, but Walen took the lead two laps in. His closest challenger in points, Goodhue's Bryan Roach, "The Big Dog," moved to third place with 27 laps remaining, followed by Jacob Goede of Carver into fourth one lap later.
With 24 laps to go, Walen began to build his lead when Roach made a mis-step and slid his car high in turn two, which opened it up for Goede to move to third. The Carver driver quickly moved in on Keske, went inside, and passed for second with 19 laps to go. That left a three-way battle for third with Keske, Mark Lamereaux of Bloomington, and Roach all bunched together with 15 laps remaining.
Veteran driver Lamereaux was able to break free from the group and take third place two laps later. Back up front, Goede was slowly starting to close in on Walen with 10 laps to go. As seven laps remained, Walen was trying to work around slower cars, which gave Goede the chance to move in right on Walen's bumper. The two drivers went side by side before Goede was able to pass for the lead on the back straight with four laps to go.
It was Goede with the win at the checkers, followed closely by Walen, Lamereaux taking third, Ryan Kamish of Farmington in fourth, and Crystal's Jerry Ziemiecki with a 5th place finish. Prior Lake driver Chad Walen won a back-to-back NASCAR Super Late Model Championship after taking top honors previously in 2011. Northern Racing Products Rookie of the Year honors went to Ryan Kamish of Farmington.
Mini Stock feature action gave racefans plenty of excitement when Raceway's largest division of cars took the green flag. Jack Purcell of Bloomington was racing for the championship, and he was able to move through traffic towards the lead, but got involved in a massive scramble on the last lap that had multiple cars making contact exiting turn two onto the back straight. There was no caution, and as the field approached the checkers, it was Montgomery's Blake Dorweiler with the win, Brandon Plekkenpol of Shakopee in second in addition to taking Northern Racing Products Rookie of the Year honors, and Purcell having to settle for a third place finish in the feature. Purcell was able to stay ahead in points, capturing his first Raceway Park NASCAR Mini Stock Championship.
The excitement intensified in the Hobby Stock feature as a multi-lap battle for the win developed between points leader Brent "The Freight Train" Kane of Lonsdale and Farmington's Dusty Mann, who was second in points behind Kane. Their back and fourth chase lasted for much of the later part of the run, before Kane was able to stay ahead to take the win, Mann in second, and Shakopee's Mark Hawes finishing in third. It was Kane's second Raceway Park Championship in the Hobby Stock division, after taking top honors in the 2011 season as well. Bloomington's John Heath, who moved up to Hobby's after a previous season in the Mini Stocks, took Rookie of the Year.
In Bomber feature action, Eric Prindle drove his Olds to the win, putting an exclamation on a personal best competitive season for the Ramsey driver. Jordan's Josh Quigley took second, and Monty Knoll of Hastings settled for third. In Championship points, Shakopee's Mike Stoer took top honors, with Belle Plaine's Kyle Campbell awarded Rookie of the Year.
The Wild'n'Crazy Figure-8s didn't take it easy in either of their two feature runs. In race number one, Mankato's Todd Tacheny beat the pack to the line for the win, followed by Mark Bronstad of Maple Plain in second, and Lakeville's Rick Martin in third. Feature race number two gave Farmington's Ricky Martin the points lead he needed to lock in the 2012 Championship following a last lap caution that lead to a green-white-checkered finish. Ricky took the checkers, with Shakopee's John Lebens in second, and Todd Wilson of Burnsville finishing third. Ricky Martin repeats as a multi-season Figure-8 Champion.
Raceway Park in Shakopee wraps up the 2012 racing season on Saturday, Sept. 22, starting at 2 p.m. with the 3rd Annual Motorized Mayhem. For more information and for ticket prices, call the Raceway Park Hotline at 952/445-2257 and check the Internet at www.goracewaypark.com