In what ended up being three days of racing at the Emo Speedway, the top performance during the Rainy River Valley Agricultural Society’s annual fall fair belonged to Street Stock driver Scott Messner.
Messner, who hails from Bemidji, Mn., captured the feature races on both Friday night and Sunday afternoon to easily capture the Rea Memorial trophy in his class, which marked the third time in the last four years he’s come away with that honour.
“I have never swept both nights before so that’s awesome,” enthused Messner, who previously won the Rea Memorial trophy in 2008 and 2009.
“This feels great,” he added. “And I love coming up here, as well, as this is a good track with a lot of fun people.”
On Friday night, Messner recovered from an early-race spin to work his way back up through the field to take the lead away from Carlee Bosma, then held off division points leader Don Bowman for the checkered flag.
“I didn’t want to race too hard early on after I spun, so I just wanted to kind of ride along and take my time to get up there,” Messner explained.
“I got around the 17 [Jeff Wickstrom] and I was able to catch up to Carlee, and I was able to go high on her going into Turn 3 and 4, and I think she heard me because she went up to the top of the track.
“When she did that, it was just enough for me to get underneath her to take the lead,” Messner explained.
After Saturday night’s races were washed out by rain, Messner continued his winning ways Sunday afternoon, prevailing over Ron Westover in a battle that saw the two drivers trade the lead on multiple occasions.
“That was a ton of fun,” Messner enthused. “I love racing with Ron as he races clean, and he’s someone that you can run side-by-side with as a result.
“He showed his nose inside of me, so I gave him room and let him by, and I just followed him for a couple laps before I started to get to back underneath him and we raced side by side once again.”
Messner also captured heat races on Friday and Sunday, with Westover winning the other heat on Sunday while Darryl Dessere captured the checkered flag in the second heat on Friday.
In the WISSOTA Midwest Modifieds, the Rea Memorial trophy went to Matt DePiero after he captured the checkered flag in the feature Sunday afternoon following a fourth-place showing Friday night.
“This is huge,” said DePiero, whose feature win Sunday was his second of the season.
“You grow up watching the races at the Emo Fair and you always hope that you can win it one day, and to actually do it is like nothing else,” the Fort Frances native added.
Having spent most of the feature trailing John Hettinga, DePiero was able to weave his way through a swarm of lapped traffic on the final lap to take a narrow victory.
“As we are coming down to the finish, I could see Chuck [Lambert] up ahead running the same line as John,” DePiero recalled. “So I knew if I could hold my line, I could get a run on him.
“Then the 20 car [Glenn Godin] got into the picture to make things really interesting, and I had to thread the needle with the lapped traffic to take the lead,” he added.
The heats were won by Brady Caul, Paul Veert, and Tylar Wilson, with Wilson’s victory coming Saturday night before the rains hit.
Meanwhile, the Friday night feature was just as close as Sunday’s race, with class points leader Christopher Leek holding off Cody Wolkowski and Lambert for the checkered flag.
“This feature win is pretty big, and definitely one to remember,” enthused Leek, who has won two features this season.
“Cody was doing really good up high there, and I didn’t really know that Chuck was that close behind me as I was just focused on Cody,” he admitted.
“But I just managed to hold both of them off.”
Kevin Monteith, Cody Ossachuk, and Wilson came away with heat wins Friday night.
Finally, in the WISSOTA Modifieds, the Rea Memorial trophy was won by Emo native Joey Galloway, now residing in Manor, Sask., who had finishes of third- and second-place in the feature races during the weekend.
“Overall, it was a good weekend,” Galloway smiled.
“It kind of sucks to come home without getting a feature win, but by the sounds of it, we put on a good show for the fans and that’s all that matters,” he reasoned.
Galloway, who did win a heat race on Sunday, had a great chance to capture the checkered flag in the feature race later that afternoon, but both he and teammate Derrick Big Eagle were nipped at the finish line by Emo’s Dwayne Pelepetz.
“We were coming out of the fourth corner and Derrick pushed up a little bit, so I was able to sneak underneath him and I just tried to get by him a little bit quicker and I ended up just spinning my tires,” Galloway explained.
“Then the 12 car [Pelepetz] just came out of nowhere and it ended up being a really close finish.”
“I don’t know what happened to them at the end,” noted Pelepetz. “They both just slowed down in front of me at the same time, and I was able to drop underneath them both for the win.
“This is the most glamorous feature win I’ve ever had, as with the Rea Memorial and the Emo Fair going on, it’s a big one for the track,” he added.
Greg Ferris and Glen Strachan joined Galloway in capturing heat wins Sunday.
On Friday night, Winnipeg’s Ward Imrie was the driver to beat as he worked his way from ninth place in the feature to capture the checkered flag over Scott Splittstoesser and Galloway.
“It was a handful there early on,” Imrie admitted. “I thought I could sneak under everyone on the bottom there for a while, but that didn’t really work all that well at the start of the race.
“All of a sudden, though, the chips fell in the right place basically, and I was put into a good place on a couple of re-starts and I was able to work through the middle and the bottom.
“But it could of went the other way, too,” he stressed.
Imrie also captured a heat race Friday evening, with the other heats going to Big Eagle and division points leader Gavin Paull.
Sunday afternoon also saw the Winnipeg Super Trucks make a return to the Emo Speedway, with Eric Guyot capturing the checkered flag in the feature following a spirited battle with his older brother, and heat winner, Jerome.
“As we were coming to the white flag, he got up a little bit higher than he had previously, and I was able to get right beside him and we started to bang wheels and doors,” recalled Eric, who won a make-up feature Saturday evening before the rain came.
“Going into the first corner, I made sure that I got away from him to avoid making any contact, and he got in there a little bit too hot and spun out on his own.
“I’m sure, though, it’s still going to be a long ride back home with him, and I might just ride in the trailer all the way back,” he laughed.
Regular racing action will resume at the Emo Speedway this coming Saturday night (weather permitting) as the season championships will be crowned, in addition to the Keith McNally Memorial event for the Street Stocks.
Hot laps are at 7 p.m., with the first race at 7:30.