‘Hired gun’ captures Street Stock feature

Lucas Punkari

The defending champion in the Street Stock division at the Emo Speedway will be finding himself in a bit of a strange situation heading into this Saturday’s races.
The car he drove to a feature victory last weekend will be out on the track—just without him at the wheel.
“I’ll be wandering around the pits with a sign that says, ‘Will race for food,’” Ron Westover laughed.
Westover, whose regular car is sidelined with motor problems, had been filling for Libby Wilson in her #500 car for the past couple of weeks as she was attending her senior class trip and then prom on consecutive race nights.
“Normally I don’t even want to come to the track if I’m not racing,” Westover noted.
“It’s tough to even watch when you know that you have a car sitting at home.
“But when I got here last week, [Libby’s dad] Tylar [Wilson] said that he needed a driver so I jumped right in.
“Now I don’t know if I want to get out of it,” Westover smiled.
After Tylar Wilson and crew member Troy Calder made adjustments to the car during the week, Westover found the vehicle more to his linking this past Saturday night as he took the checkered flag in both the heat and feature.
“They added a little more cross-weight to the car and a couple of other things, and it was just perfect out there tonight,” he enthused.
After a couple of mid-race incidents, Westover found himself having to hold off Don Bowman on a number of late restarts as the Bemidji, Mn. driver was looking for his second-consecutive feature win.
“I was really worried about that,” Westover admitted.
“Don is really sneaky good on the restarts,” he noted. “He’s right there every time, and he’s always ready to take the spot away from you going into Turn 1.”
In the end, Bowman settled for the runner-up spot while Richard Visser earned a third-place showing in the 15- lap main event.
Midwest Mod
Arguably the best race of the night on Saturday took place in the WISSOTA Midwest Modified feature.
Tylar Wilson and defending division champ Brady Caul ran wheel-to-wheel for top spot for a number of laps, with Christopher Leek lurking in the weeds waiting to see if the top two would make a mistake.
In the end, Wilson took the win, using the high side to his advantage to grab the lead from Caul with only a handful of laps remaining.
“I didn’t think I was going to be able to pull it off,” Wilson enthused. “Brady left that top lane open, and it ended up having a little bit more grip up there.
“I just kept driving into the corner a little bit harder every lap, and it all worked out,” he reasoned.
Wilson very nearly lost the top spot on the final lap as Caul closed right back in on the leader, but simply ran out of time.
“Tylar had started to pull away up top, so I moved up right behind him to try and catch him,” Caul explained.
“I found that the car was really working up top in Turns 1 and 2, and I was able to get really close, but it wasn’t enough,” he sighed.
Despite the loss in the feature, it was a huge bounce-back week for Caul, who failed to finish the season-opener feature after losing a driveshaft in the race’s early stages.
“We changed some stuff from last week and it just didn’t work very good in the heat race,” Caul noted.
“We went back to the set-up that we had before our mishap last week, and it ended up working really good in the feature.
“So we’re going to keep things exactly the same when we come back [this Saturday],” he vowed.
Set-up changes also proved to be a big part of Wilson’s success Saturday night after recording a pair of third-place finishes in the season-opener.
“The car wasn’t handing all that good, so we basically went back to the drawing board and started from scratch,” Wilson recalled.
“Things are working really good now, and I hope they will continue to stay that way.
“Just as long as we stay out of any crashes,” he quipped.
Third place in the feature went to Leek, who also won a heat earlier in the evening.
Last week’s feature winner, Chuck Lambert, who also captured a heat victory on Saturday, rebounded from damage suffered in a multi-car dust-up in the early laps to finish in fourth spot.
Action resumes this Saturday at the Emo Speedway, with hot laps at 7 p.m. and the first race at 7:30 (weather permitting).
The grandstand gates open at 6 p.m.
This week will feature a tire race for kids during intermission.