Sorensen Claims 5g’s At Gopher 50Cole Queensland
Spring Valley, MN (July 6)
By: Todd Narveson
The USRA Modifieds were the companion division for the World Of Outlaw Late Models for the 40th Annual Bigelow Homes Gopher 50. After three inches of rain fell the night before, it was a beautiful sun drenched race day at Deer Creek Speedway.
Thirty-seven Modifieds checked in for the $5000 to win show before a huge crowd for this summer classic. They ran four heat races where the top 12 in passing points were locked in for the 35-lap feature. A pair of B-Mains qualified six cars each for the 24-car starting field.
Tralo Companies of Owatonna again had the “Tralo Challenge” for the top eight in passing points. Starting with the number one driver on points, they had the option to give up their draw spot to start 11th and 12th for a $5000 bonus if they could win the feature. Just before the redraw, Tralo upped the ante and made it a $10,000 bonus for a possible $15,000 to win.
Dustin Sorensen and Jake Timm both opted not to take the challenge. Then Brandon Davis accepted to start 11th while the crowd roared their approval. Erik Kanz took his draw spot and then Rodney Sanders also accepted the challenge to start 12th much to the crowd’s delight.
The 35-lap main event started off with the pack saluting the crowd with a parade lap. During the parade lap the pole position was left open in the missing main formation in memory of Karl Fenske who passed away on Wednesday after a short bout with cancer at the age of 63.
Fenske was a seven-time Deer Creek modified feature winner and also a 4-time Gopher 50 Late Model feature starter. Fenske and his #99 cars were legendary in this area and will definitely be missed in the racing community. The #99 modified of Josh Angst honored Fenske by changing his green number to Fenske’s well known red for the weekend.
Zack Vanderbeek drew the number one frisbee to start on the pole with Erik Kanz alongside to start the main event. Vanderbeek edged out front but Kanz held his ground while Sorensen moved to third on lap two. Kanz was right on Vanderbeek and stole the lead on lap three.
Sorensen then went after Vanderbeek for second while the lead trio ran in tight formation. Kanz continued to set the pace while Vanderbeek and Sorensen dueled for second. Sanders had already charged to sixth on lap five.
Sorensen threw a slider at Kanz to take the lead, but Kanz went right back after it and reclaimed the lead on lap six. Kanz ran the low groove and Sorensen was up high and they were side-by-side for the lead. Sorensen nabbed the lead on lap seven while Sanders was now to fifth.
The top three remained close and Sander who ran the extreme high line had now rallied to fourth on the eleventh circuit. Vanderbeek and Kanz raced for second with Vanderbeek able to finally make the pass on lap 12. Sanders put on a show with sparks flying off the right rear quarter panel on the wall and he chased doen Kanz.
Sorensen stretched his lead out a bit and entered slower traffic. Sanders got by Kanz for third on lap 16 and then the races lone yellow flag waved on lap 20 to tighten up the pack and give the leaders a clear track in front of them.
Sorensen was then challenged by Vanderbeek on the start and they went for the lead for a couple of laps. Brandon Davis and Josh Angst found some momentum and moved towards the top five. Sorensen able to get away from Vanderbeek’s challenge, but Vanderbeek now had to fend off Sanders.
Sorensen led the rest of the way to claim his biggest career win so far. Sanders edged Vanderbeek for second, but came up one spot short of the big bonus. Vanderbeek ended up in third while Davis finished in fourth and Angst finished fifth.
During the intermission break Jerry and Carol Ingvalson along with Ron and Diane Nelson were honored for their 40-years with the Gopher 50. It was Ingvalson who took a big risk back in 1980 to start this Late Model race and the tradition continues 40-years later.
Thank you to Bigelow Homes, Miner’s Outdoor & Rec, Carroll’s Corn, Rochester Eagles Club, Tralo Companies along with the Blooming Prairie Lions for their support of this legendary summer event.
A Feature 1 (35 Laps): 1. 19-Dustin Sorensen, ; 2. 20-Rodney Sanders, ; 3. 33Z-Zack Vanderbeek, ; 4. 50-Brandon Davis, ; 5. 99-Josh Angst, ; 6. 49-Jake Timm, ; 7. 07-Cory Crapser, ; 8. 4A-Joel Alberts, ; 9. 23K-Eric Kanz, ; 10. 90-Steve Wetzstein, ; 11. 89-A.J. Diemel, ; 12. 8S-Tony Schill, ; 13. 51-Chris Oertel, ; 14. 33-Joe Ludemann, ; 15. 3C-Chet Atkinson, ; 16. 35B-David Baxter, ; 17. 44H-Adam Hensel, ; 18. 02-Jacob Dahle, ; 19. 24-Charlie Steinberg, ; 20. 5D-Devon Havlik, ; 21. 98-Kevin Stoa, ; 22. (DNF) 19R-Ryan Gustin, ; 23. (DNF) 91-Shawn Ryan, ; 24. (DNF) 6-Ryan Ruter, 
B Feature 1 (10 Laps): 1. 90-Steve Wetzstein, ; 2. 98-Kevin Stoa, ; 3. 8S-Tony Schill, ; 4. 35B-David Baxter, ; 5. 44H-Adam Hensel, ; 6. 24-Charlie Steinberg, ; 7. 74-Mark Noble, ; 8. 29H-Joe Horgdal, ; 9. 23-Darwin Karau, ; 10. 96-Greg Jensen, ; 11. 72-Doug Hillson, ; 12. 51.-Blake Arndt, ; (DNS) 75-Christopher Elliott,
B Feature 2 (10 Laps): 1. 4A-Joel Alberts, ; 2. 07-Cory Crapser, ; 3. 02-Jacob Dahle, ; 4. 6-Ryan Ruter, ; 5. 91-Shawn Ryan, ; 6. 33-Joe Ludemann, ; 7. 55H-Aaron (A.J.) Hoff, ; 8. 61T-Tammy Soma Clark, ; 9. 77-Jacob Stark, ; 10. 782-Miah Christensen, ; 11. 51W-JT Wasmund, ; 12. 71-Jason Cummins, 
Heat 1 (8 Laps): 1. 23K-Eric Kanz, ; 2. 19R-Ryan Gustin, ; 3. 5D-Devon Havlik, ; 4. 51.-Blake Arndt, ; 5. 6-Ryan Ruter, ; 6. 35B-David Baxter, ; 7. 96-Greg Jensen, ; 8. 61T-Tammy Soma Clark, ; 9. 44H-Adam Hensel, ; 10. 75-Christopher Elliott, 
Heat 2 (8 Laps): 1. 49-Jake Timm, ; 2. 33Z-Zack Vanderbeek, ; 3. 89-A.J. Diemel, ; 4. 98-Kevin Stoa, ; 5. 02-Jacob Dahle, ; 6. 07-Cory Crapser, ; 7. 8S-Tony Schill, ; 8. 74-Mark Noble, ; 9. 72-Doug Hillson, 
Heat 3 (8 Laps): 1. 50-Brandon Davis, ; 2. 99-Josh Angst, ; 3. 20-Rodney Sanders, ; 4. 24-Charlie Steinberg, ; 5. 90-Steve Wetzstein, ; 6. 23-Darwin Karau, ; 7. 51W-JT Wasmund, ; 8. 29H-Joe Horgdal, ; 9. 33-Joe Ludemann, 
Heat 4 (8 Laps): 1. 19-Dustin Sorensen, ; 2. 3C-Chet Atkinson, ; 3. 51-Chris Oertel, ; 4. 4A-Joel Alberts, ; 5. 91-Shawn Ryan, ; 6. 55H-Aaron (A.J.) Hoff, ; 7. 77-Jacob Stark, ; 8. 782-Miah Christensen, ; 9. 71-Jason Cummins,