The dusty, dry-slick oval at Black Hills Speedway demanded many things from drivers Friday night. A heavy right foot on the gas pedal was not one of them.
“Just use your head and stay smart,” said Rapid City’s Troy Murner of his flag-to-flag feature victory in the Wissota street stock division. “Easy on the throttle and easy off.”
Finesse and patience were the order of the evening in spite of something the speedway has seen far too much of this year.
Rain has bedeviled the 2013 speedway schedule, including a washout of Monday’s World of Outlaws Late Model Series stop. Another brief shower hit just before race time Friday.
Randi Miller (Winged 360 Sprints), Eric Mass (Wissota Late Models) drove to dominating wins. Jamie Neumiller outdueled Kevin Aga and Chad Horst in the Wissota Super Stock division
Miller had the 360 Sprint field covered, cruising the high line to claim his third feature win of the year.
“I’m not much of a bottom-feeder. I like going around the top. (Turns) one and two had a nice groove. Three and four didn’t have much,” said Miller, fresh off a trip to Montana last week to race with the American Sprint Car Series national 360 tour where he tallied a 15th at Billings and a 13th at Great Falls.
Clint Anderson of Belle Fourche, Aaron Wendt of Rapid City, Eric Flatmoe of Sturgis and Tom Sires of Rapid City rounded out the top five.
Mass said the dry conditions were well to his liking in a dominating run in the late model feature, well in front of John Bey of Sturgis and Virgil Randall of Kyle.
“I prefer it like that. If you have a better car than somebody, you can drive almost anywhere to get around them. You’re not forced to drive one line. It’s easier on equipment,” Mass said.
Kyle Harkin’s first-ever feature victory in the Wissota Midwest Modified division and Murner’s fourth feature win of the year came in races marred by heavy crashes.
Marty Erivez of Gillette finished second. Shawn Pudwill’s strong run in a higher groove earlier in the race showed Harkin, of Hermosa, the way.
“I saw Pudwill on one of those restarts and he showed me the outside, Otherwise I probably wouldn’t have been up there. I like these dry-slick tracks. They’re a lot easier on equipment. I know that,” Harkin said.
That wasn’t the case for longtime racer Mike Kress of Rapid City, whose car was destroyed in a frontstretch tangle, rollover and fire early in the feature.
Lyndon Bolt, Trevor Shorb and Darin Hauff were among the drivers eliminated from contention in the crash, which caused a 15-minute red flag.
Kress’s No. 95, a brand-new car at the start of the season, was badly mangled.
“I’m okay, but we’re done for the year,” Kress said afterwards.
Murner stayed well in front of a pair of car-crunching incidents. James Stands very nearly rolled Dean Fairbanks’ No. 171 after being slammed by Owen Ferguson, who had no other place to go on the slick track.
Leonard Ferguson’s Chevy slid out of control going for second on the final lap and collected half the field behind him. Michael Logelin, Arlo Provost, Richard Jordan and Kory Provost were all caught up in the crash, but kept their top-five finishes with results reverting to the last completed lap.
Jamie Neumiller aced his fourth Wissota super stock feature of the year, picking the time and place to pass Aga of Sturgis and Horst of Rapid City.
“It was slick out there. It was just a matter of staying patient and finding the right time to go,” Neumiller said.
“Toward the end I was able to get to the top in one and two and make the back straightaway as long as possible to get enough of a run on (Aga),” he said.
Horst led early but faded with either a broken rocker arm or an ignition problem, he said. Kolten Young slipped by for third on the last lap.
Lany Reber of Rapid City (non-winged sprints), Troy Leiker of Gillette (IMCA A modified) and Alan ‘Chico’ McNeil of Rapid City (IMCA thunder stock), all prevailed over short fields in their respective features.