By: Paul Reichert
July 21, 2023
We have witnessed many great feature battles throughout the years here at Tomah-Sparta Speedway. When a feature race has a hotly contested battle with champions, everyone always notices the intensity of the fight over the win picking up a few notches. The battle could feature a former champion, the current champion and even a future champion in the making. The Late Models returned to historic ‘Daytomah’ for round two of their Triple Crown Series, and it turned into a very exciting race. Last year’s inaugural champion Jesse Bernhagen gave Allen Borntrager a run for his money, but Borntrager pulled away to score the win and put himself on the verge of becoming the second champion.
Jesse Bernhagen made quick work of Tom Luethe to settle into first at the start of the Late Model feature. Filling in for his brother Drew behind the wheel of his ride, Bernhagen was running well in his first appearance of the year at ‘Daytomah’. Round One winner Allen Borntrager was slowly whittling away at the lead held by last year’s Late Model Triple Crown champion. Just before halfway the fight was on over the top spot between the past champion and the possible future champion. Borntrager got a run on the outside of Bernhagen to power into the lead position on lap nine. Things would not be easy for Borntrager as Bernhagen kept him within striking distance for the rest of the race. Over the course of the second half of the race, Bernhagen tried to find an opening to challenge Borntrager for the lead. Bernhagen got as close as a couple car lengths, but Borntrager maintained the lead all the way to checkered flag to go two-for-two in the Late Model Triple Crown.
The Clark Powersport of Hillsboro Hobby Stock feature started with a Lockington sibling battle over the lead. Landon nosed ahead of Shelby to lead lap one, but Shelby powered by her cousin to secure the number one position on lap two. Even though she was showing the way in the feature, Shelby was being hounded by Andy Moore for the top spot. Moore dove to the inside on Lockington to be the new ‘king of the mountain’ on lap six. Shelby spun out in turn one on lap eight to slow the action briefly. Former Tomah champion Robby Robinson started alongside of Moore, and immediately powered by him to take over the race lead. Moore moved to the outside to power past Robinson to reclaim the lead with four laps to go. Robinson and Lockington tangled in turn three on lap 12 to change the complexion of the race. Even though Robinson started at the back of the field, he quickly surged past both Lockingtons to take one last shot at Moore.for the win. Robinson only got as close as a car length and a half as Moore drove off to Tomah Area Credit Union Victory Lane for a fifth time in 2023.
Tim Murphy, Sr. powered around Brayden Bernhagen for the top spot at the start of the TACU Credit Union Six Shooter feature. Greg Brown, Jr. started right behind him and followed Murphy, Sr. into second a lap later. Murphy, Sr. ran wide in turns one and two on lap four, and that allowed Brown, Jr. to settle into first place. The yellow flag came out on lap seven when Brown, Jr. and Murphy, Sr. tangled in turn two. That would turn the lead over to Mike Gratz on the restart,a nd he did not waste any time pulling away from the pack. Two laps after the restart Gratz would have his mirrors full of Dustin McCracken, his chief rival and main competition this year. McCracken searched high and low for a way around Gratz for the top position, but Gratz maintained his line and kept a tight hold on the lead. Andrew Moore moved into third with five laps to go and tried to close the gap on the lead duo. Gratz was able to stand his ground and fight back McCracken to notch his third feature win this season.
In the HIgh School Racing Association feature, Braydon Lockington outran Trinity Aasen to take the lead entering turn one. The caution flew on lap two for Ghage Moore and MItchell Berg get together in turn three. Soon Lockington would have company for his position in the form on Curtis Hellickson. Hellickson took to the outside line for a fantastic side-by-side battle with Lockington. Hellickson had the lead at the end of lap five, but Lockington got a better run in turns three and four to take the lead back the next time around. Hellickson ran a bit wide in turns one and two on lap seven and that let Lockington take total control of the race. With just five laps to go Ryatt Dobbratz caught Hellickson to make the fight over secods his second checkered flag victory of the year.
Action continues next Friday, July 28 with another exciting race program at Tomah-Sparta Speedway that features the Modifieds, Sportsmen, Hobby Stocks, Hornets, Six Shooters and the Mini-Vans. The ‘kings of chaos’ hit the track once again for the Tire Race Chaos event. With all of our regular ‘Daytomah’ divisions in action, make sure to bring along your goodie bags as we will try again to hold Fan Photo and Autograph Night. Gates open at 5:00, qualifying revs to life at 6 and the high octane racing gets into gear at 7:30.
Call the track office at 608-461-1920, visit our web site at tomahspartaspeedway.com or check out the track’s Facebook page for more information about Tomah-Sparta Speedway and the 2023 schedule of events.
Late Model Triple Crown Series Round 2
Feature (20 laps): 1. Allen Borntrager, 2. Jesse Bernhagen, 3. Tom Luethe
Heat #1 (10 laps): 1. Allen Borntrager, 2. Jesse Bernhagen, 3. Tom Luethe
Qualifying: 1. Jesse Bernhagen 15.683, 2. Allen Borntrager 15.715, 3. Tom Luethe 16.782
Clark Powersport of Hillsboro Hobby Stocks
Feature (15 laps): 1. Andy Moore, 2. Robby Robinson, 3. Shelby Lockington, 4. Landon Lockington
Heat #1 (8 laps): 1. Andy Moore, 2. Robby Robinson, 3. Landon Lockington, 4. Shelby Lockington, 5. Seth Gnewikow
Qualifying: 1. Andy Moore 17.595, 2. Robby Robinson 17.871, 3. Shelby Lockington 17.907, 4. Seth Gnewikow 18.592, 5. Landon Lockington 19.897
TACU Credit Union Six Shooters
Feature (15 laps): 1. Mike Gratz, 2. Andrew Moore, 3. Tory Lockington, 4. Greg Brown, 5. A.J. Finnegan, 6. Zachary Morgan, 7. Patrick Reeves, 8. Tim Murphy, Sr., 9. Austyn Blank, 10. Brayden Bernhagen, 11. Dustin McCracken (DQ)
Heat #1 (8 laps): 1. Tim Murphy, Sr., 2. Tory Lockington, 3. Zachary Morgan, 4. A.J. Finnegan, 5. Brayden Bernhagen, 6. Patrick Reeves
Heat #2 (8 laps): 1. Mike Gratz, 2. Dustin McCracken, 3. Andrew Moore, 4. Chris Brown, 5. Greg Brown, 6. Austyn Blank
Qualifying: 1. Mike Gratz 18.028, 2. Dustin McCracken 19.077, 3. Andrew Moore 19.175, 4. Greg Brown 19.598, 5. Chris Brown 19.664, 6. Austyn Blank 19.733, 7. Tim Murphy, Sr. 19.745, 8. A.J. Finnegan 20.245, 9. Tory Lockington 20.304, 10. Zachary Morgan 20.321, 11. Brayden Bernhagen 20.321, 12. Patrick Reeves 21.690
High School Racing Association
Feature (15 laps): 1. Braydon Lockington, 2. Ryatt Dobbratz, 3. Curtis Hellickson, 4. Caleb Arneson, 5. Monty Odegard, 6. Trinity Aasen, 7. Logan Backus, 8. Ghage Moore, 9. Kennedy Krueger, 10. James Gratz, 11. Zachary Neal, 12. Chip Woodin, 13. MItchell Berg
Heat #1 (8 laps): 1. Braydon Lockington, 2. James Gratz, 3. Zachary Neal, 4. Kennedy Krueger, 5. Logan Backus, 6. Chip Woodin
Heat #2 (8 laps): 1. Monty Odegard, 2. Curtis Hellickson 3. Mitchell Berg, 4. Ghage Moore, 5. Trinity Aasen, 6. Caleb Arneson, 7. Ryatt Dobbratz
Qualifying: 1. Caleb Arneson 19.515, 2. Mitchell Berg 19.632, 3. Ghage Moore 19.758, 4. Curtis Hellickson 19.814, 5. Ryatt Dobbratz 19.895, 6. Monty Odegard 20.142, 7. Trinity Aasen 20.227, 8. Braydon Lockington 20.366, 9. Kennedy Krueger 20.761, 10. Trenton Frye 20.808, 11. Logan Backus 21.014, 12. Chip Woodin 21.029, 13. James Gratz 21.204 14. Zachary Neal 21.681