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Rock Solid Inaugural Season Wrapped-up at Granite City Speedway
November 28, 2012
Granite City Speedway
By: R.J. Sahlstrom (November 16)
An excellent crowd of racing enthusiasts joined forces to celebrate a successful 2012 season at the Granite City Speedway Awards Banquet. The initial event gave everyone involved a chance to remember some of the most exciting moments in dirt track racing at the Sauk Rapids oval. Highlights were enhanced by a slide show compiled by Katie VandeKamp focusing on 352 drivers, 20 nights of racing, 8 champions and 1 goal. Track Champions in all divisions were interviewed by Track Promoter and Banquet Emcee Chris Stepan and then given a chance to speak to the crowd.
Trips to victory lane were taken by 45 different drivers in the initial year of competition. Trophies were given to the top 10 finishers in the point standings for all WISSOTA divisions and the top 5 in the three track divisions. All drivers had an opportunity to vote for one of their peers as one pilot in each division was given the Sportsman of the Year Award. 7 drivers had perfect attendance over the 20 event season including the Triple Header Inaugural Granite City Gold Cup.
The WISSOTA Modifieds had the highest overall car count as 82 different race teams blazed the dirt trail. Nine drivers earned a trip to the checkers as WISSOTA National Champion Dave Cain led the way with seven feature wins. Jason Voigt didn’t win a single main event, but said “I drove very consistent and managed to find a way to finish every one of them” on his way to the track championship. Tim Johnson took Rookie of the Year honors and Eric Martini was voted Sportsman of the Year. Following Voigt in track points were Shane Sabraski, Cain, Johnson and Dan Ebert.
WISSOTA National Champion Shane Sabraski was one of only three drivers to find winners circle out of 53 competitors in the Super Stock division. He grabbed nine checkers on his way to the crown during a paramount season where he garnered close to 100 main event wins. Track Rookie of the Year went to Dexton Koch and Sportsman of the Year was given to James Trantina III. Rounding out the top five were Koch, National Runner-up Tim Johnson, Kevin Kraemer and Dave Read.
The WISSOTA Midwest Modifieds had the highest car count in any division for most events as 80 drivers battled for the winning trophy. Bud Martini led the way with nine victories as four other cars grabbed the remainder. Martini drove to the championship in his Fasttrack Chassis built by his brother and fellow competitor Eric. He gave testament to the track and its fine operations as he said “Granite City Speedway is priceless”. Dave Barrett earned Rookie of the Year and Corey Eystad got a well-deserved honor as Sportsman of the Year. Following Martini in the final standings were Shane Sabraski, Denis Czech, Joe Voigt and Eystad.
Justin Pogones won three different 2012 Track Championships in the WISSOTA Street Stocks. The Granite City Champion stole the microphone from Chris Stepan as he informed the crowd he would be wheeling two different cars in the 2013 season. To the relief of many of the 56 drivers that rolled on the Speedway in 2012 he said they were both Street Stocks. WISSOTA National Champion Dave Read led a group of six winners as he claimed the checkers seven times in his injury shortened campaign. Read was honored by his fellow drivers with the Sportsman of the Year award. He was given a well-deserved standing ovation by the crowd after delivering a speech that left tears in the eyes of many in attendance. William Brenny was crowned Rookie of the Year. Kurt Becken finished in the runner-up spot chased by Christina Wollak, John Adams and Read.
The WISSOTA Mod-4’s showcased close to 50% of the nationally registered drivers as 43 different pilots were in action during the season. Kyle Thell ended up third in the National point standings and won the main event at Granite City eight times on his way to taking the track point title. Thell will be driving a new car in the 2013 season as his brother Keith will climb in behind the wheel of Kyle’s 2012 car. Eight other drivers also found victory lane during the season. Adam Olson was crowned Rookie of the Year and Mike Rau earned Sportsman of the Year. Trailing Thell in the point standings were Chad Funt, Dean Larson, Rau and Matt Halls.
2012 Track Champion David Eich will be sporting a new car in the Pure Stocks next season as he shoots for his second track point title in a row. He will be challenged by many others including 2012 runner-up David Dosh.
Keith Thell gave the Hobby Stock drivers one less target to aim at as the initial Track Champion announced he was moving up to the Mod-4’s next season. Adam Thompson finished second in the final tally out of 24 different entries.
The Hornet division was led in points by Brandon Mehrwerth who is currently undecided as to his racing endeavors in 2013. Trailing him at the end of the year was rookie driver Matthew Dibb.
A special presentation was made to Brian Riedemann as the “Best Pace Truck Driver Ever”. He worked very hard to help make Granite City Speedway a success in the initial year. It was not uncommon to find him numerous places on any given night and was known to do over a dozen jobs during that event. Thanks number 92!
Anticipation is the operative word as the action-packed 2013 schedule will be released in the near future. Twenty dates will be on tap as the season opener is already slated for Sunday, May 12th. On the regular weekly program will be WISSOTA Modifieds, WISSOTA Super Stocks, WISSOTA Midwest Modifieds, WISSOTA Street Stocks, WISSOTA Mod-4’s, Pure Stocks and Hornets. As an added attraction the Hobby Stocks will be making a return appearance 6 to 10 times. The second season of operation will be capped off with the 2nd Annual Granite City Gold Cup featuring three full action-packed racing programs.
Also on the schedule for the second year in a row will be the United States Modified Touring Series (USMTS), Upper Midwest Sprint Car Series (UMSS), Northern Vintage Stock Car Racers (NVSR) and “Mystery Payout Night”. Stand on guard as the Late Models will be making their first conquest of Granite City Speedway next season. It will be their first appearance on the Sauk Rapids oval since 1981.
Excitement is already building for the 2013 racing season at the Granite City Speedway. Race fans will be witnesses to some of the best dirt track racing talent in the United States. Please keep in touch with current happenings and track future information as it becomes available by checking the track website at http://www.gcspeedway.com/.