After a long winter, it’s finally time to think about Gallatin Speedway’s racing tacos…I mean racing season. Last year was a year for the record books as Erin Shane dominated the Wissota A-mod class en route to yet another championship, Beau Brown won another one in the street stocks and for the first time, local hero, Jeremy Meirhofer won a championship in the Super Stock class. But that was last year and in racing, that might as well been fifty years ago. Now everyone’s got their cars all dolled up and lookin’ pretty. Everyone is eager, and nobody’s feelings are hurt (yet). This is my own little preview for the 2012 season.
Wissota street stock racing has been dominated by the “Deer Lodge Street Gang” (Nick Hunter, Paul Lease, Kenneth Hunter, and Beau Brown) for the last few years now but this year could be different. I’m sure they will all win at least one race this year and are surely considered the favorites but I always enjoy looking at the dark horses and certainly at the top of the “dark horse” list is Dwayne Fowler. Fowler stole two wins from the street gang last year and made his presence felt all season long. If Fowler can run better at the beginning of the season there is no doubt in my mind that he will be a contender. Another man who showed great runs and great strength was Dan Bowlin; Bowlin ran great and dominated his heat races early in the year. As the season wore on, Bowlin’s bad luck kept striking and kept him from winning again. Perhaps the largest dark horse of the year is young Taylor Martin. Martin showed gigantic strides in confidence and skill, by the end of the year he was contending with the leaders in his heat races and showing that he is the future of Wissota Street Stocks. Young Taylor can’t have a sophomore slump if he wants to back up his Rookie of the year honors with race wins.
Wissota Super Stock racing had its fair share of wrecks, drama and excellent finishes (perhaps un-fair share of drama) and this year looks to be the exact same. Although Jeremy Meirhofer won the championship by one point over Ty Clemens, both will contend for wins but I do not consider either the favorite. This pre-season the top dog of the super stocks has to be, once again, Troy Hyde. Hyde was strong all year last year and looked like he was on his way for yet another championship when bad luck- and emotions got in his way. Once again we will look at the Dark horses. Dan Guenther ran so well at the end of the year last year, that nobody could overlook him. If Guenther can get a little bit of luck and maybe get a few good draws he will be in the racing towards the front…now the man that I really think will get a couple wins and possibly nab a championship is a wily veteran, Dave “Medium-Husky” Norris. Dave led multiple races last year just to have bad luck bite him every week. Norris is looking to run a full schedule all the way from Wyoming so watch out for this guy.
Perhaps the biggest question mark of the year is the modifieds. Last year Erin Shane dominated all year long but this year could be a different story. Shane may be the favorite but young gun Emory Wells wants to take that honor from him. Wells could be the closest thing to Ricky Bobby Gallatin Speedway has. Wells is a Lightning bolt every week but in true style, he wins or gives everything trying to win. Not necessarily a new face in the modifieds but definitely one to keep an eye on is Kasey Brown out of Billings Montana. Brown is a rocket and with top notch equipment he will certainly be one to keep an eye on…. Now for the dark horses. The top of my dark horse list is definitely Dennis Hurd. Hurd ran in the top five nearly every week last year and showed glimmers of greatness in heat races with dominating wins. , Chad Mcfadden is the biggest question mark out of the bunch. Mcfadden came within a hundred yards of winning his first career race win he missed the cushion by inches and Erin Shane stole the victory.
This year is going to be fast, and the mud is going to fly, but for now we wait in hibernation just a little bit longer. The cheers of excited fans are just weeks away, the smell of methanol and high octane fuel is no longer out of reach, and dreams of winning the first race are now attainable. We will see you in just a short amount of time, and be sure to check out Gallatin Speedways brand new site! Thank you for reading!