Stock Car Racing: Heat a challenge for drivers over the weekend
North Central Speedway action over the weekend
BARROWS — A week ago, drivers dealt with rain drops clouding their vision.
On Saturday June 5, they dealt with sweat drops as the temperature rose to 91 degrees at the start of the races at North Central Speedway.
For Mod Four driver Abby Garin, who finished in sixth place behind winner Robert Holtquist, both the rain and the heat provided challenges.
“The heat is hard on your body but the rain makes it hard on the track and sometimes hard to see," Garin said. "You need to pick your battles."
Garin is one of many drivers who often competes on Friday, Saturday and Sunday night at area tracks, spending time in the car but also out of the car in the pit area preparing. The team has two big circulating fans in the pit area, and she also likes to freeze wash clothes to keep her cool.
"The biggest challenge is just to keep yourself hydrated," Garin said. "We get super busy so sometimes we forget to stay on that. Last night, at Princeton, the feature took quite a while so by the end we were struggling with the heat, but the key is to stay hydrated and cold wash clothes work great."
Veteran Super Stock driver Tim Johnson has seen it all during his years on the track. Johnson and his team used to run three cars each weekend but he has dialed that back recently and nights like Saturday make him happy with that decision. He also focused on hydration during and after the night's racing.
"We made sure that we packed enough beer in the cooler for tonight and a bunch of water," he said. "It's not all that bad. I was running around in my fire suit all zipped up and the boys asked me, ‘isn't it hot?’ I said. ‘This is easy, we are only running one car.’ Usually we run three cars and then it's back-to-back-to-back and you are sweating and that is terrible. It does take a toll on a guy. You have sweat and dirt on your face, but it's not that bad. There were plenty of nights when we were running hot and heavy with three cars and three straight days of racing when it was 90 degrees plus and we just kept going and going."
The turnout out for the Super Stock class was lighter Saturday night with just six cars making the feature. Johnson led for 14 of the 20 laps before car issues forced him to retire.
"You definitely don't want to mess your car up," Johnson said. "Especially when the sun is beating on you and the boys are all sweating and asking ourselves, "what are we doing out here". It is a challenge if you mess up."
Shawn Fletcher picked up his second win of the season and he is locked in a points race with fellow Modified driver Aaron Johnson. Last weekend, a steady rain was falling but the drivers told flagman Jess Geesey that they wanted to finish. Running the last race on Saturday was a small benefit as it had cooled a few degrees.
"A lot of times the car will overheat but luckily we have a big radiator now," Fletcher said. "But it is definitely a sauna in there. We don't even realize it is a lot of racing but afterwards we sure noticed it."
The conditions also made Fletcher's decision on Friday night's racing easier.
"Last night we didn't race," he said. "We just took the night off because it was so hot and said that we would just do our local track on Saturday night."
Feature: 1-Shawn Fletcher, 2-Aaron Johnson, 3-Tyler English
Heat 1: 1-Aaron Johnson, 2-AJ Viehauser, 3-Shawn Fletcher
WISSOTA Super Stock
Feature: 1-Dylan Nelson, 2-Austin Niemeyer, 3-Dustin Nelson
Heat 1: 1-Dylan Nelson, 2-Tim Johnson, 3-Dustin Nelson
Feature: 1-Mark Martini, 2-Jacob Jordan, 3-Jake Hagemann
Heat 1: 1-Mark Martini, 2-Jacob Jordan, 3-Michael Swanson
Heat 2: 1-David Siercks, 2-Dru Nelson, 3-Mike Brenny
WISSOTA Mod Four
Feature: 1-Robert Holtquist, 2-Tommy Bawden, 3-Dustin Holtquist
Heat 1: 1-Robert Holtquist, 2-Dean Larson, 3-Abby Garin
Heat 2: 1-Nick McCann, 2-Tommy Bawden, 3-Gerrald Nohner
Heat 3: 1-Dustin Holtquist, 2-Patrick Specht, 3-Adam Prieve
IMCA Stock Car
Feature: 1-Thomas Ahrndt, 2-Tim Gonska, 3-Kris Peterson
Heat 1: 1-Tim Gonska, 2-Kris Peterson, 3-Thomas Ahrndt
IMCA Hobby Stocks
Feature: 1-Brandon Bombardo, 2-Chase Peterson, 3-Dave Johnson
Heat 1: 1-Dave Johnson, 2-Brandon Bombardo, 3-Ryan Kleinschmidt
Heat 2: 1-Chris Seidel, 2-William Herron, 3-Scott Herron
IMCA Sport Compacts
Feature: 1-Jenna Hagemann, 2-Nathan Kohl, 3-Greg Kohl
Heat 1: 1-John Ademan, 2-Zach Besmehn, 3-Jenna Hagemann
Heat 2: 1-Greg Kohl, 2-Tristan Raths, 3-Harry Ruikka
Heat 3: 1-Nathan Kohl, 2-Marcus Ammerman, 3-Kaleb Ruikka