Street fight: Frederick, Shelhamer tied atop Street Stocks standings with Ulmer close behindOne month ago, Zach Frederick was on cruise control. The Hebron native’s first Southwest Speedway season championship was in sight and there weren’t many competitors in his rear-view mirror.
By: Dustin Monke, The Dickinson Press
One month ago, Zach Frederick was on cruise control.
The Hebron native’s first Southwest Speedway season championship was in sight and there weren’t many competitors in his rear-view mirror.
Oh, how things can change in auto racing.
Entering tonight’s championship races, Frederick finds himself tied with T.C. Shelhamer atop the Wissota Street Stocks. To make matters more interesting, they are only three-points ahead of Travis Ulmer.
None of the three has ever won a season championship at the track.
“It’s definitely frustrating,” Frederick said. “It’s going to be interesting and exciting.”
Frederick suffered a DNF (did not finish) on Sunday night after he was black flagged during the feature race for allegedly causing two cautions — only one of which he believes was the correct call.
“The first one was definitely my fault. I had no problem going to the back,” Frederick said. “The second one, there was absolutely no way.”
With Frederick out of the race, Shelhamer and Ulmer finished first and second, respectively, and set up tonight’s chase for the title.
Shelhamer, a veteran from Plevna, Mont., said he has been running better than ever since an adjustment before the fourth night of racing this summer.
“I don’t know how to describe it,” Shelhamer said. “The car has been working well and I’m very comfortable at this point. I’ve never been this comfortable in a car.”
Ulmer, a Dickinson native who now lives in Mandan, can barely contain his excitement leading up to the races.
“In nine years of racing in this class, I’ve never seen a tie like that,” Ulmer said. “Even three guys being that close, it’s pretty amazing.”
While Ulmer is only three points back, he knows that making up that difference is going to be extremely challenging in a class that generally only draws a dozen cars or less a night.
“I’ve got to go out there and win my heat and the feature, just to get the three points,” Ulmer said. “If they (Frederick and Shelhamer) do good, that’s my only way of having a shot.”
‘Miracle’ keeps Jahner alive in Pure Stocks
Chad Jahner saved his season by about 20 seconds on Sunday.
If he had waited any longer to get his car onto the track for the Pure Stocks feature, they would have started without him. He would have earned no points for the race and his chances of winning his first season championship would have been lost.
“It was nothing short of a miracle that I made it,” Jahner said. “Everything had to work right.”
After breaking a lower ball join on the right front side of his car in the heat race, Jahner realized he didn’t bring a spare. So, he drove back to his home in Dickinson and picked one up.
His pit crew furiously worked to put the ball joint on in the moments before the feature was set to begin.
“They were pulling on the track to start the feature and I still in the pits with the car on the jack,” Jahner said.
They didn’t have time to put on his right front shock, however. He completed the race without it and finished sixth, keeping his title hopes alive.
Jahner comes into championship night with 397 points, seven ahead of second-place Shaun Olheiser.
Seven points is a bit of a cushion in a smaller class like the Pure Stocks, so Jahner said he hopes to race clean, avoid an early breakdowns and stay close to Olheiser — even if he is behind him.
However, with no feature victories this season — Jahner has compiled his points with many strong finishes — ending the season with the checkered flag in his window is tempting.
“I would like to get the feature win,” Jahner said. “I’d like to polish it off with a feature win and leave no doubt.”
Surprise, surprise: It’s Seidler vs. Decker for Modifieds title
Marlyn Seidler was hoping for a milestone year at the Nodak Speedway in Minot.
The veteran IMCA Modifieds racer from Underwood is tied for the most season championships at the track with six. The flood that devastated much of the Souris Valley, including the race track, kept him the becoming the winningest champion at the track — at least this season.
“We were really looking for our seventh one,” Seidler said. “That would have singled us out.”
Instead, he may have to settle for another Southwest Speedway title.
Seidler has a six-point lead on Dickinson’s Jeff Decker and a 10-point lead over two-time defending track champion Eric Paul heading into tonight’s races.
It is Decker’s first full year back at the track since 2008, and he’s made the most of it. Even if he feels he could have had a much better season.
“We had some issues with the engine, fuel pressure issues that we finally worked out,” Decker said. “It cost me a lot of DNFs. It kind of killed the year for me. But when I do run, I’m running pretty good.
“This year, I didn’t exactly go out hoping to win a championship. I just wanted to win some races and be consistent.”
Southwest Speedway point standings
Next: Season Championships, 7 p.m. today
Thunder 4’s: 1, Derek Nitschke, 414. 2, Steve Jahner, 388. 3, Kendall Booke, 386. 4 (tie), Scott Hagemeister; Cody Hulse, 371. 6, Devon Wandler, 336. 7, Cory Reisenauer, 187. 8, Nylee Boyce, 96. 9, Jamie Schalmann, 43.
Pure Stocks: 1, Chad Jahner, Dickinson, 397. 2, Shaun Olheiser, Dickinson, 390. 3, Darren Kruger, 381. 4, Cole Lewis, Dickinson, 377. 5, Brandon Renner, Zap, 356. 6, Terry Zastoupil, 355. 7, Mark Selle, Dickinson, 311. 8, Casey Vernon, Dickinson, 310. 9, Brandon Deavy, Dickinson, 272. 10, Hunter Domagala, 231. 11, Lester Iverson, Belfield, 202. 12, Scott Gartner, 110.
Wissota Street Stocks: 1 (tie), T.C. Shelhamer, Plevna, Mont.; Zach Frederick, Richardton, 404. 3, Travis Ulmer, Mandan, 401. 4 (tie), Steve Johnson; Monte Gawryluk, Dickinson, 361. 6, Rick Johnson, Bismarck, 354. 7, Terry Zastoupil, Dickinson, 334. 8, Hailey Jordan, Dickinson, 321. 9, Josh Olheiser, Dickinson, 314. 10, J.D. Kuntz, Dickinson, 251. 11, Geoff Hellman, Mandan, 187. 12, Travis Sadowsky, Dickinson, 165. 13, Bill Miller, Plevna, Mont., 149. 14, Eric Anderson, 138. 15, John Feist, Bismarck, 138.
IMCA Modifieds: 1, Marlyn Seidler, Underwood, 233. 2, Jeff Decker, Dickinson, 227. 3, Eric Paul, Dickinson, 212. 4, Dwight Burwick, Dickinson, 210. 5, Steven Kuntz, Bismarck, 205. 6 (tie), Josh Jones, Dickinson; Randy Burwick, Hettinger, 203. 8, Darrell Bauer, Mandan, 199. 9, Tracey Domgala, Bismarck, 196. 10, Jason Wolla, Williston, 181. 11 (tie), Brian Miller, Baker, Mont.; Dale Burwick, Dickinson, 172. 13, Travis Olheiser, Dickinson, 170. 14, Allan Frederick, Hebron, 155. 15, Lenny Makowski, Belfield, 144. 16, Bob Miller, Baker, Mont., 134. 17, Travis Ulmer, Dickinson, 133. 18, Wyatt Dinius, Dickinson, 120. 19, Fran Martin, Lefor, 116. 20, Brian Brennan, Rozet, Wyo., 115. 21 (tie), Joren Boyce, Minot; Kirk Wojahn, Gladstone, 104. 23, Ryan Rosser, Gillette, Wyo., 103. 24, Rusty Cornielson, Dickinson, 99. 25, Spencer Wilson, Minot, 97.