Stock Car Racing: Blanchard, Esler duel for championship
BARROWS—Dean Blanchard Jr. and Jerry Esler dueled each other in the Mod 4 feature race Saturday night at North Central Speedway, and they will duel for a point's championship next Saturday night.
Blanchard Jr. and Esler both started from row three and quickly got out front running with Gerry Nohner in a fight for the top spot.
With Blanchard Jr. running out front in the top spot, Esler was able to get by Nohner but Blanchard Jr. held off Esler to get the win.
Going into Saturday night's race Esler led Blanchard Jr. by just two points. With the win Blanchard Jr. moved to within one point of Esler. The two are great friends on and off the track and share a shop. It is why Blanchard Jr. is more pleased with where the two drivers stand in the points then what the results next week will be.
"We have been at this since last year hoping that we could be in this spot racing side by side," Blanchard Jr. said. "It is doesn't matter who wins as long as the trophy comes back to our shop."
Blanchard Jr. won a track championship last year but didn't get a feature win until late in the season. This year Blanchard Jr. has multiple feature wins, but is in a fight with Esler for the top spot
"It is the exact same car that I had last year. This year a lot of things have clicked. I have gone a lot of years not making it there. Next year it might not happen."
Blanchard Jr. and Esler, along with close friend Jess Geesey are part of a small group of Mod 4 drivers who are also focused on growing their class and encouraging young drivers to be a part of the Mod 4 class.
16 drivers have been part of the field, including female drivers Abby Garin, Markia Smith, Drue Fletcher, and Elizabeth Roush.
"Our poor little class doesn't get enough credit," Blanchard Jr. said. "We turn faster laps than the Modified cars some nights. Hopefully we can get it to grow, that's all we want. I don't care who is winning, I just want it to grow."
David Siercks has been leading the Northern Sport Modified class points race for most of the year. The defending 2016 champion scored feature wins early in the race, but had gone the last few weeks without one. Jake Heggeman was one of the hottest drivers through the summer and he had cut Siercks lead to nine points.
Starting from the third row in the 15-lap feature with Hagemann, Siercks was able to get the top spot and he ran to the checkered flag, and in doing so moved his points lead to 12, all but clinching the title for a second straight year.
Other winners were Brendon Yamry in the Sport Compact class, Robert Young III for the Hobby Stocks, and Jake Goetze in the Super Stock class.
Modified driver Aaron Johnson recorded his first career NCS feature win in the 20-lap race to end the evening.
IMCA Sport Compacts:
Feature: 1-Brendon Yamry, 2-Core Mehrwerth, 3-Derek Stanoch
Heat 1: 1-Brendon Yamry, 2-Derek Stanoch, 3-Corey Mehrwerth
IMCA Hobby Stocks:
Feature: 1-Robert Young III, 2-Joe Gonska, 3-Timothy Gonska
Heat 1: 1-Tom Anderson, 2-Robert Young III, 3-David Dosh
Heat 2: 1-Joe Gonska, 2-Dylan Cash, 3-Timothy Gonska
NCS Mod 4s:
Feature: 1-Dean Blanchard Jr., 2-Jerry Esler, 3-Gerry Nohner
Heat 1: 1-Jess Geesey, 2-Chad Funt, 3-Dean Blanchard Jr.
IMCA Northern Sport Modifieds:
Feature: 1-David Siercks, 2-Adam Bohlman, 3-Jacob Jordan
Heat 1: 1-David Siercks, 2-Mike Brenny, 3-Jacob Jordan
NCS Super Stock:
Feature: 1-Jake Goetze, 2-Chris Wark, 3-Dylan Nelson
Heat 1: 1-Jake Goetze, 2-Chris Wark, 3-Curtis Newberg
Feature: 1-Aaron Johnson, 2-Shawn Fletcher, 3-Chad Funt
Heat 1: 1-Mark Prueser, 2-Mark Martin, 3-Ashley Mehrwerth
Heat 2: 1-Brandon Mehrwerth, 2-Aaron Johnson, 3-Shawn Fletcher