BELGRADE, MT (Jan. 28) - Gallatin Speedway had a great season, so to put 2011 to rest and start the 2012 season, we needed to party…or maybe just have our banquet! The first order of business was rookie of the year in WISSOTA Street Stocks. Aaron Amundson, Taylor Martin and Robert Petroff were all vying for the coveted title of ROTY, but only one earned bragging rights. Each driver showed flashes of brilliance, Martin with his heat race win, Amundson with some impressive saves and main event finishing positions, and Petroff keeping his nose clean throughout the events he competed in. When the time came to announce, the young drivers hearts were probably pounding as Taylor Martin was named Gallatin Speedway’s ROTY in WISSOTA Street Stocks. Unfortunately, no new Super Stock or Modified drivers competed for ROTY honors.
All season long, WISSOTA Street Stock racing at Gallatin had 20-plus cars and surprisingly few cautions. In the fifth overall finishing position was 2010 champion Paul Lease. Lease showed great speed throughout the year but flat tires plagued his entire season. Fourth position was occupied by Ron Imberi, who had good nights but was never able to pull off a win. Dwayne Fowler had the best season of his racing career and stacked up two victories using his unique high line, which helped him nab a third place finishing position. Nick Hunter won the biggest race in Montana (Gibson Guitar Supernationals), but came up just short with a second place finish, missing the championship by just a few points. The 2011 WISSOTA Street Stock Champion at Gallatin Speedway was Deer Lodge’s own Beau Brown. Brown showed will, determination and had a little bit of luck this season, racking up wins like Skittles. Brown also competed in the Midwest Modified class and won in his very first race – that’s an impressive first year.
WISSOTA Super Stocks had a little bit of everything this year, including a battle that has been brewing for a few years now and great racing. Finishing the year in the sixth position was Jordan Tocci. Tocci had a roller coaster year this season. The lowest of lows had to be his terrifying wreck in the Street Stock division, but perhaps erasing that completely out of his mind was the win in the Supernationals. Fifth position went to Dan Guenther, showing serious muscle toward the end of the season running near the front every week. Unfortunately for Guenther, the wins remained elusive. Cal “Rockin’ Chair” Rossner travels all the way from Wyoming every week to race at Gallatin Speedway and this year was rewarded with a win and a fourth place overall finishing position. Troy Hyde attempted to win back-to-back championships and nearly did so, leading until the second to last week when a wreck took him out of it. Hyde’s wreck relegated him to third in the points.
Belgrade natives Ty Clemens and Jeremy Meirhofer fought each other throughout the season for wins, and it was only fitting that they had to wait until the checkered flag of the final race of 2011 to know who had won the championship. Ty Clemens nabbed a win this year but it wasn’t enough. Meirh fer claimed his first-ever championship by one point over Clemens.
The WISSOTA Modifieds had great car counts all year with a bunch of traveling drivers coming to town to put on a show. Fifth position went to one of the home-track heroes, Tony Steward, driving a unique purple #89 car. Steward won his fair share of heat races but couldn’t quite capture the main event victory. Fourth position went to traveling driver Dennis Hurd. Hurd showed great speed throughout the season and ran consistently in the top five but was also unable to achieve a win. Chad Johnson took his Wicked Chassis to victory lane often this year, but after missing an event his hopes for a championship were dashed. Second position in WISSOTA Modifieds went to Emory Wells. Wells gave it his all with his Blue Modified. He ran strong and won several times but wasn’t quite able to beat the 2011 Modified champion, Erin Shane. Shane has been dominating Gallatin Speedway for years and this season was no exception. He won more races than anyone at Gallatin Speedway and had early no bad luck. Shane is a crowd favorite and also won the Gibson Guitar Supernationals in his class.
Congratulations go out to all the champions and ROTY drivers. This year held everything: breathtaking finishes, three-wide racing and high speeds. The 2012 season looks to be a great year and everyone is very excited to stomp on the ol’ loud pedal. Remember to visitgallatinspeedway.com for up-to-date information. We will see you in May