Gallatin Speedway was putting on the largest race of the year and the only mood that could only be described was intense. The rookies had butterflies and the veterans were eager to show everyone that they were top dog. Although the heat races were a little rough the “Fast Dashes” and Late Model main event went by nearly without error. Vance Lorenz absolutely checked out on everyone for the street stock dash. Ryan Fasching held off a hard charging Jeremy Meirhoffer to win the super stock dash. Paul Leach rotated amazingly through the center of the corners to take the Wissota Modified Dash. Now was the time for Friday nights main event. The Wissota Late Models were going on the track and once again Kelly Hample started on pole and wanted to run away with his third victory of the year.
With the green flag flying Kelly Hampel got a jump on the field and took the point. Jimmy Zaremski stopped nearly immediately, and a caution flag waved. When the green flag waved again Hampe got the lead but Rick Herman wouldn’t give up all night. Those two drivers were the class of the field this night and both wanted bragging rights for winner of the Supernationals. In the final laps Herman was on Hampels back bumper. This was a true David Vs. Goliath, Herman gave it all but Hampel was just too strong. Kelly Hampel wins the 2011 Gibson Guitar main event for the Wissota Late Models. Rick Herman crossed the line second Rock Degele crossed third Dave Freeman fourth and Jason George came across fifth.
On Saturday night the B mains and A mains were run for the Street Stocks, Super Stocks and Modifieds. Absolutely no shortage of action would be held because on top of the weekly classes Gallatin Speedway brought in the Sprint Cars! The stands were packed and the Wissota Street Stocks were first up to try for the Guitar. After the cars crossed the line Marvin Gonzales grabbed the lead and into turn 1 the big one happened. Nearly every car from 6th back was involved in the pile up. All but one car were able to continue but Rod Lorenz’s chances were gone and had to be towed off the track. On the restart it became apparent that Nick Hunter wanted this win BAD. Nick had his Red Dragon Racing car on the high line and challenged Gonzales for the lead. The two drivers ran side by side, lap after lap but Nick Hunter was the victor of the battle and took the lead from Gonzales, who was now under attack from the dash winner, Vance Lorenz. The leaders were now catching lapped traffic and they gave Nick Hunter a very hard time. This let Gonzales and Vance Lorenz get to the back bumper of Hunter, but once again Hunter just out muscled them. The lappers were everywhere and if one driver was held up the most it was Lorenz. The lapped traffic raced three wide in front of him and he just had nowhere to go. The two drivers with a chance was Marvin Gonzales and Nick Hunter. With the white flag in the air it became apparent that nobody would catch Nick Hunter and he crossed the line right where he started the year, in the first position. Marvin Gonzales ran second, Vance Lorenz third, Beau Brown fourth and Dwayne Fowler raced his way to fifth position.
Sprint cars did their salute to the fans by running 4 wide by the front stretch and that set the stage for their main event. Joe Ramaker started on pole and David Hoiness started to his outside. The green flag waved and Ramaker got the lead, but a little deeper in the pack someone had to check up and the 7x car of Paxton Lambrecht went airborne momentarily but landed on his wheels and kept going without causing a caution. Ramaker had a commanding lead and it was barely even started but nobody gave up. The 23n car of Brock Lemley tried everything to catch, moving from high line to the low line, to the middle line, but nothing worked. A caution came out for a spin, and it changed the whole complexion of the race. On the restart Ramaker hesitated momentarily and that was all Brock Lemley needed to get around him. The checkered flag was in hand and Brock Lemley won with style. Joe Ramaker finished runner up, David Hoiness third, Phil Dietz fourth and Jerry Brey rounded out the top five.
The sprint cars got off the track and the ultra-competitive Wissota Super Stocks took the track with force. Pat Lamere was on pole, trying to make the night a real feel-good story. Lamere was missing the entire nose cone, had wrecked decking and a wadded up side on his car after his heat race but managed to get in all put back together and had a shot to win the race. Jeremy Meirhofer started to his outside and when the green came out Meirhofer stole Lamere’s chances at a win by taking the lead fast. The second place battle was between Dan Guenther, Pat Lamere, and Jordan Tocci. No driver was giving an inch but Tocci got around both by using the lowest line humanly possible and set his sights on Merihofer. It was obvious that Tocci would him but could the young gun get around the veteran speedster? To everyone’s surprise, Jordan Tocci not only caught Meirhofer and drove right under and took the lead. Tocci would not give up the low line, and in corner 3 and 4 he was literally hitting the tires. If you were going to beat the young driver you would have to do it on the outside. A little farther back two drivers made their presence known, Cal Rossner and Jason Martin were flying on the inside line. They may have been faster than Tocci but could they catch him? That answer was no… The only driver with a chance was the track champion, Meirhofer. Meirhofer got a run on the high ine and got beside Tocci but couldn’t make it stick. Jordan Tocci won his first Wissota Super Stock main event at the biggest possible race in Montana to do it. Jeremy Meirhofer ran second, Dan Guenther came across with a great 3rd place run, and B main winner, and back of the pack starter, Jason Martin battled all the way up to the fourth position. Rounding out the top five was Cal Rossner.
The final race of the season is bittersweet to say the least. It’s a relief and also depressing . This year the Wissota A Modified’s had the honor. Starting on pole was Dennis Hurd from Billings Montana. To his outside was Paul Leach, winner of the dash the day before. The drivers took five starts to get the race going but once it did, the drivers raced with style, charisma, and with a serous lack of fear. Erin Shane got the lead into the first corner, but behind him a storm brewed. Rock degele, Maurice Myre, and Paul Leach raced three wide, eventually Degele too second and stayed on the high line to reach the back bumper of Erin Shane. In a blink of an eye Degele was around the 52 of Shane and then he just checked out. A caution flag waved and Degele wanted nthing to do with the low ine. Even leading the field he ran high on the track. Mark Wermling battled with Leach for a few laps and did come out with the second position, and that proved pivotal a little later. Deeper in the pack was last week’s runner up. Chad Mcfadden, making fast headway in the middle of the track, a place where few drivers dared to go. With less than five laps left the battle for second was four wide between Wermling, Shane, Leach and Chad Johnson. The yellow flag came out but no cars were seen on track. A second look held Mike Dever on the top of the hill to the outside of the track(the second car to do that this year). The green flag came out and nobody had a single thing for Rock Degele and he crossed the line first, apparently winning the race, Mark Wermling crossed second, Erin Shane third, Paul Leach fourth and Maurice Myre fifth. The reason I say apparently winning the race is the scale. Degele scaled light (reportedly 26 lbs light) so Degele was disqualified and the win went to Mark Wermling!
The season is finally over at Gallatin Speedway, congratulations to Beau Brown, Jeremy Meirhofer, and Erin Shane on their track championships as well as Mark Wermling, Kelly Hampel, Nick Hunter, Jordan Tocci and Brock Lemley for being this year’s Gibson Guitar Supernational champions. If you’re still aching for some racing, you can still visit the Montana Roundup at Great Falls the final weekend in September. The rest of us will enjoy a rare weekend off. Have a wonderful and safe off-season, thanks for reading and I will see you all soon!