By: Gary Jacob|
Where: Rapid City, SD
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Rapid City, SD -- Using the same high line that he had discovered in his second place dirt modified feature finish, Chris Johnson from Rapid City drove his Ford powered Mastersbilt to a feature win in the 25 lap main event for the WISSOTA dirt late models Friday night at Black Hills Speedway. Johnson was one of the few fast Black Hills regulars that did not follow the Montana Tour segment of the NAPA/MDA Series the previous weekend, but he was ready for all of those drivers when they returned to home track action this week. Behind the $800 came Deadwood’s John Bey in the $675 runnerup slot. Bey finished off the previous weekend with a Saturday night win in Billings MT and a Sunday night triumph at Sheridan WY. Bey now has 8 wins and 6 seconds on the season in his Mastersbilt. NAPA/MDA defending champion and current point leader Eddie Kirchoff from Gillette WY ran fourth tonight behind Nathan Kjerstad in the 25 lapper.
There was a 14 car dirt late model turnout and they were divided into a pair of heat races. Kjerstad won the opening heat race over Bey, Mike Stadel and Eric Mass as Johnson settled for a fifth place finish. Kirchoff won heat 2 over Shad Karna, Morris Oberle and NAPA/MDA point runnerup Steve Neumiller. Karna had the outside front row starting slot for the 25 lapper and led one lap before Kjerstad took over. Hofer spun in turn 2 for the first over several caution flags. Johnson was coming forward from a third row start and he made a move around Kjerstad for the top spot only to have the pass nullified by a yellow flag for a wild slide off the backstretch by Neumiller. Kjerstad could not continue to fend off Johnson’s challenge and Johnson raced into the lead. Bey then worked his way from the fifth row around Kjerstad into second. Bey closed to Johnson’s rear nerf at the white flag, but Johnson did not bobble on the final round and Johnson won ahead of Bey, Kjerstad and Kirchoff. Oberle put his MoPar in fifth ahead of Neumiller, Karna, Mass, Stadel and Bey’s teamcar wheeled by Brent Nielsen. Despite his home town track racing late models on Friday night, Forest Canipe made the long tow from Casper WY and ran 11th, the final car running at the checkered.
There is just one weekend of action remaining on the 2005 NAPA/MDA Series and the top ten in points will split the $17,000 point fund with $5000 going to the champion after that weekend of racing in Rapid City and Gillette in the middle of August. Coming off the big three races last weekend, Kirchoff holds a 9 point lead on Neumiller, is 14 ahead of Bey, 20 in front of both Mass and Kjerstad. Scott Anderson holds down sixth, 13 ahead of Ron Hochhalter, 14 in front of Stadel and 38 ahead of Wes McKenney. Daryn Waldo from Montana is 2 behind McKenney and 4 in front of Nielsen. 12th ranked Rich Herman from Montana is still in contention for point money, 25 behind Waldo.
Summary Heat 1-Nathan Kjerstad, John Bey, Mike Stadel, Eric Mass, Chris Johnson. Heat 2-Eddie Kirchoff, Shad Karna, Morris Oberle, Steve Neumiller, Forest Canipe. Main-Johnson, Bey, Kjerstad, Kirchoff, Oberle, Neumiller, Karna, Mass, Stadel, Brent Nielsen, Canipe, Lynn Amick, Dan Hofer, Billy Taylor.