Stock Car Racing: Hagmann, Johnson and Gonska go back-to-back
BARROWS — For Sportmod 2020 points champion Jake Hagemann, the first championship was the sweetest, but the second one sounded better and better as time went on.
Entering the season as 2019 defending champion, Hagemann didn't necessarily have his sights set on the points prize.
"The first one was awesome," Hagemann said of the 2019 championship. "This one we really didn't try to go for points, but five races in we were leading so we kept going and it was nice to win back-to-back."
With a five point lead over David Siercks heading into the final night of points racing Saturday, August 29 at North Central Speedway, Hagemann was clear eyed about what he needed to do to gain the title.
"After drawing the second spot after the heat, I knew that I just needed to finish the race and be next to the guy (David Siercks) that was in second so I know exactly where I needed to finish," Hagemann said.
In the 20-lap feature, Hagemann started from the front row and Siercks, who got a bad draw after heat races, started in row 10 at the back of the field. The front row was key for Hagemann as he was able to stay away from trouble with several caution flags coming out in the early part of the race.
"I started up front so I got to stay away from all that (caution flags)," Hageman said. "That was definitely something I was concerned about not wrecking."
Five laps in it was Hagemann with the lead, followed by Mark Martini and Jacob Jordan. Trailing by nine points at the start of the night, Martini still had a chance to win if Hagemann were to crash out of the race. That didn't happen, but Martini caught Hagemann in the feature and was in the lead at the 10-lap mark of the race.
With five laps to go, Martini was in the top spot with Tim Bergerson in second and Hagemann in third. It stayed that way through another caution flag that brought out a green-white-checker finish. At the end the order stayed the same with Martini, Bergerson and Hagemann getting the top three spots.
Siercks had a great run, gaining 16 spots through the feature to finish in fourth place, but it was Hagemann winning the points championship by six points over Siercks and seven over Martini.
Hagemann's sister Jenna and their cousin Greg Kohl were locked in the tightest race in the IMCA Sport Compact class as the two were tied heading into the final night of racing. Kohl accumulated four wins through the season. Hagemann had not made it to the winners podium, but with nine top five finishes in 12 features she put herself in the top position.
Kohl started from row three with Hagemann in row five of the 12-car feature. Both drivers worked their way through traffic and with three laps to go. Kohl was running out front with Hagemann in the fourth spot. It stayed that way on the final lap and Kohl had his first points championship, winning by three points over Hagemann.
Jake doesn’t think Jenna will join Jake in the Sportmod class anytime soon.
"She really doesn't like rear wheel (racing), but I am still going to try to make that happen," Jake said.
Two other 2019 champions repeated for 2020, one by a comfortable margin and one that came right down to the final lap.
In the IMCA Modified class, Aaron Johnson was 35 points up on the closest competitor, Erick Thiesse, heading into the final night. Johnson left no doubt, finishing behind Dalton Magers in the feature race for a second place finish to claim the points championship.
The Hobby Stock class was a much different story where defending champion Tim Gonska led Dave Johnson by just one point heading into the final night. After 10 laps Johnson led the race, but Gonska was in the third spot. With five laps to go it was the same order. Heading into the final lap Gonska needed to stay in the top three to get his title and he did that, finishing behind Johnson and Brandon Bombardo for third place. By the thinnest of margins (one point), Gonska claimed his 2020 championship.
Super Stock driver Austin Niemeyer didn't have any wins to his credit during the season, but his consistency (seven top five finishes in eight feature races) gave him a 16-point edge and he stuck with that same pattern, finishing in fourth place behind feature winner Butch Butcher to win the season points championship.
Tommy Bawden may have had the most dominant racing season, claiming six wins and a perfect 10-for-10 in top five finishes. His sixth win came in the final race and it gave him the points crown by a margin of 110 points.
The racing season will come to an end with the Mighty Axe Nationals Sept. 5-6.
IMCA Sport Compacts
Feature: 1-Greg Kohl, 2-Nathan Kohl, 3-Kaleb Ruikka
Heat 1: 1-Nathan Kohl, 2-Alyssa Nelson, 3-Kaleb Ruikka
Heat 2: 1-Jenna Hagemann, 2-Greg Kohl, 3-Keyonna Young
IMCA Hobby Stocks
Feature: 1-Dave Johnson, 2-Brandon Bombardo, 3-Tim Gonska
Heat 1: 1-Brandon Bombardo, 2-Chad Visser, 3-Chase Peterson
Heat 2: 1-Scott Herron, 2-Tim Gonska, 3-Devin Larson
Wissota Mod Four
Feature: 1-Tommy Bawden, 2-Chad Funt, 3-Adam Prieve
Heat 1: 1-Adam Prieve, 2-Chad Funt, 3-Keith Roush
Heat 2: 1-Tommy Bawden, 2-Francis Hauber, 3-Cody Mason
Feature: 1-Mark Martini, 2-Tim Bergerson, 3-Jake Hagemann
Heat 1: 1-Jacob Jordan, 2-Mark Martini, 3-Chris VanMil
Heat 2: 1-Troy Jordan, 2-Tim Bergerson, 3-Tim Siercks
Heat 3: 1-Tom Anderson, 2-Chris Siercks, 3-Torey Fischer
Wissota Super Stock
Feature: 1-Butch Butcher, 2-Dustin Nelson, 3-Dylan Nelson
Heat 1: 1-Dustin Nelson, 2-Dylan Nelson, 3-Tim Johnson
Feature: 1-Dalton Magers, 2-Aaron Johnson, 3-Shawn Fletcher
Heat 1: 1-Aaron Johnson, 2-Pete Hines, 3-AJ Viehauser
Heat 2: 1-Luke Hines, 2-Dalton Magers, 3-Mark Blood