Hillson Shocks USMTS Crowd At Lansing on Friday night

Published 8:32 am Tuesday, June 1, 2010

It was an absolutely amazing day for racing to kick off the Memorial Day weekend at the Chateau Raceway. The Casey’s General Stores USMTS Modifieds invaded the facility for their first of two appearances this season.

The pit area was jammed packed with a season high one-hundred fifteen race cars. Race fans turned out in droves to pack the facility and veteran modified driver Doug Hillson had them on their feet screaming during the modified feature.

In the Misgen Auto Parts Pure Stocks, Jason Newkirk put everything together tonight and claimed his first win of 2010. Newkirk drove from the outside of row four, took the lead just before half-way and cruised to the win.

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Newkirk also recorded the clean sweep after winning his heat race earlier in the evening. Stacy Krohnberg had another solid run in second with Brandon Shaner third. Dustin Sletten came from tenth to finish fourth and Brady Krohnberg was fifth.

As the Wissota Amsoil Dirt Track Series, RS Auto Rebuilders Street Stocks rolled on to the track for their feature, an eerie full moon was rising over turn two. The demons and gremlins crept to the surface in this race.

Mike Blowers led from the start, but this race had issues right from the start. Numerous yellow flags for spins and crashes put a damper on things as green flags laps were in the minority.

Blowers led until Bobby Kilby took the lead on lap seven. Right after that, Blowers was contacted by Dan Holland sending Blowers spinning. Several cars got caught up in the melee and a couple were knocked out.

The race was eventually cut to a green, white, checkered dash to the finish after the sixth green flag yellow. Kilby held on the last two laps to record his first win of 2010 and a clean sweep to make it more memorable.

A.J. Zvorak finished second as Jesse Stahl was third. Matt Eustice and Tony Shaner finished out the top five that saw less than half of the nineteen-car field around at race end.

Billy Steinberg and Beau Lammers led the field to the green for the Wissota Amsoil Dirt Track Series Farm Boy BBQ Wissota Midwest Modified feature. Lammers would break on lap one ending his night.

Jason Born quickly moved from row two up to the lead as he was being chased by Greg Pfeifer Jr. and then Brandon Davis. Born would see some challenges from those two drivers, but was up to the task this evening.

Born was able to lengthen his lead at times, but a yellow flag flew with two to go and put everyone back to his rear bumper. It did not matter as Born was on a mission and got to the checkered flag first.

Born was the third driver to get out the broom for the clean sweep and it was also his first win this season. Pfeifer Jr. had another great run in second with Davis third. Scott Clobes and Bill Stettner finished off the top five.

The Power 96/KQAQ970 AM IMCA Stock Cars were gunning for $500 to win tonight. Seventeen cars began their 20-lap main event. Sean Johnson led from the drop of the green flag.

David Moriarty rolled his car on lap seven bringing out the red flag. He was uninjured in the crash, but was done for the evening.

Johnson drove a superb race as Justin Temeyer challenged until dropping out of contention. Merlyn Hegland also tried to wrestle the top position away, but Johnson held a steady line.

Johnson led the entire distance to score the win. Hegland was second with Phil Holtz third. Dan Mackenthun and Randy Brands were also in the top five at the checkered flag.

Doug Hillson has been a steady fixture on the USMTS Casey’s General Stores National Tour with more than 100 career starts during the eleven-year history of America’s premier dirt Modified series.

Hillson’s white and orange #72 home-made chassis is a familiar fixture on the race track and his face familiar in the pit area. But Friday night the 53-year-old from Blooming Prairie ventured into unfamiliar territory: victory lane.

Hillson’s career-first USMTS feature win came on familiar ground, however, as the USMTS Casey’s General Stores National Tour invaded the Chateau Raceway in Lansing, where Hillson notched his career-first track championship last year.

With each of the 26 starters in Friday night’s WIX Filters “A” Main fighting for every inch of real estate around the clay-covered 1/3-mile bullring, four cautions slowed the pace throughout the main event.

Jason Cummins earned the AFCO Pole Award then redrew the pole position for the main event with Hillson starting on the outside of the front row. At the drop of the green flag, Cummins beat Hillson into the first turn and powered into the lead down the back-stretch.

Farther back in the field, a six-car pile-up brought out the race’s first yellow flag before the opening lap could be completed, so the drivers realigned in their original starting spots for a complete restart. This time, however, Hillson gained the advantage entering the first corner and muscled his way past Cummins to lead lap 1.

“I wasn’t sure what that line would be like going in the first time, so I took it kind of easy and Jason was able to get a run on me,” Hillson said. “When the caution came out, I said ‘Man, this ain’t gonna happen again’ and I was able to make it stick in the turn.”

It proved to be the only pass Hillson had to make as he led the final 39 laps and crossed beneath the checkered flags in front of a packed house of racing fans standing and cheering on their local favorite. The win was worth $2,000.

After the first-lap do-over, Cummins kept the pressure on the leader throughout the first 15 circuits but tagged a tire barrier on lap 16. The contact sent Cummins’ racecar into a spin that collected Jon Tesch and sent both drivers spinning into the infield.

Nine-time USMTS National Champion Kelly Shryock inherited the second spot, but could never mount a strong challenge for Hillson’s position over the remaining 24 orbits. Shryock settled for the runner-up paycheck while Mike Sorensen took third after starting the race in the 14th position.

Steve Wetzstein garnered fourth, while Tim Donlinger came from 17th to finish fifth ahead of Bumper Jones who started 22nd and seized PBM Performance Products Hard Charger Award. Steve Holzkamper, Tommy Myer, Johnny Scott and Ryan Ruter rounded out the top ten.

Racing will resume at the Chateau Raceway next Friday, June 4, with the 13th Annual Mike Guttormson Memorial Race. The event will pay $1000 to win USRA Modifieds with hot laps at 7 p.m. and racing to follow. Go to www.chateauraceway.net for more information.