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Final-Turn Pass Worth $10k for Sabraski in ‘Border Battle’ Night 2 Mod Main at Gondik Law Speedway


FYE Motorsports Promotions

Final-Turn Pass Worth $10k for Sabraski in ‘Border Battle’ Night 2 Mod Main at Gondik Law Speedway

Superior, WI, June 30 – After two second-place finishes, Shane Sabraski decided he wasn’t going to finish runner-up again.

Sabraski, of Rice, MN, chased down race-long leader Brandon Copp, pestered him often, and finally snuck by on the final corner of the 50-lap WISSOTA Modified feature to capture the $10,000 winner’s check to conclude night 2 of the eighth annual Great Lake Border Battle, presented by FYE Motorsports, on Sunday night at Gondik Law Speedway.

In Sunday’s other headliners, Johnny Broking (WISSOTA Late Models) and Kyle Copp (WISSOTA Super Stocks) fended off Sabraski in their respective features, while Tyler Vernon took home the WISSOTA Midwest Modified feature win, and Cade Nelson scored his second USRA Limited Late Model feature win of the weekend.

The first eight rows of the WISSOTA Modified A-main had been set based on passing points from Saturday’s two rounds of heat races, and Sabraski was not yet in the field. So it took an extra 15 laps and a second-place run in his semi-feature for him to garner the 19th starting spot in the 24-car feature field.

Copp, meanwhile, started the spotlight event alongside polestarter Ryan Gierke and, after the pair sized each other up over the first lap and change, Copp worked his way by on the high side of the big smooth, slick GLS oval and took charge on lap 2, and he stayed there after the race’s first of only two caution-flag slowdowns – for Justin Weinberger’s stopped racer on lap 3.

The race stayed under green for the next 36 laps, allowing Copp to build up a commanding lead. Positions were swapped frequently behind him, as Jeremy Nelson claimed second from Gierke, and behind them Kaden Blaser, Jody Bellefeuille, Mike Anderson and JT Johnson debated top-five spots among themselves and, occasionally, others.

Sabraski was busy slicing his way through the field during the first ten laps, making his way to fifth by lap 11, while Copp had well over a one-second lead. As the leader reached the tail-enders, Nelson, Gierke, Bellefeuille and Sabraski were deeply involved in a fierce competition for the other top-five positions.
Just after the race’s mid-point, Sabraski had just taken fourth from Gierke – who had his hands full while trying to negotiate the tricky “black-ice” racing surface – when he bounced off of the turn 2 wall on lap 28, setting him back a spot and costing him some valuable momentum. But he recovered well enough to regain fourth within a couple of laps.

Bellefeuille grabbed second from Nelson on lap 32 while maneuvering through heavy lapped traffic, but he was a good three-and-a-half seconds behind Copp. Bellefeuille cut a full second off of that deficit as the leader worked through backmarkers, and then the complexion of the race changed dramatically when sixth-running Kaden Blaeser’s car stopped against the turn 4 wall on lap 39. This cleared the leaders of having to work through slower traffic – but it also put Bellefeuille and now-third-place Sabraski on Copp’s rear bumper for the restart.
Sabraski took second from Bellefeuille on the restart and hounded Copp for the lead. With five laps to go Copp had built what looked to be a insurmountable one-second gap, but Sabraski charged one last time, taking the white flag alongside Copp’s driver’s door just .026 seconds back. Copp drove the same line that had worked for him since lap 3 – high and smooth – but Sabraski dove strong to the inside going into turn 3, slipped high coming out of turn 4 to grab some traction, and edged Copp at the stripe by .171 seconds for career feature win number 898.

“We had been kinda trying to do stuff (to the car) all weekend to make it better and better, and it just got worse and worse,” Sabraski told the fans from Victory Lane afterwards. “So we went back to the basics – and here we are.”
Bellefeuille was a short distance back in third, followed by Gierke and a late-charging Johnny Broking, who had started 11th.

Race two of Gondik Law Speedway’s season-long KME Series for WISSOTA Late Models saw familiar names battling at the front for most of that feature’s 35 laps, but two long-time drivers with significant success here, running as divisional rookies, lead the way to the checkers.

Broking, of Grand Rapids, MN, started from the pole but it was Lukas Koski who claimed the early lead. Broking then gave up second to Pat Doar on lap 5, and Doar quickly disposed of Koski for the lead two circuits later. Broking followed Doar into second after another time around, but by then Doar was well on his way to a 1.5-second cushion.

The first stoppage of the race was for a scary roll of Skeeter Estey’s car in turn 4 on lap 12, and the restart was costly to Doar, as Broking used a daring move to snare the lead. Over the next 11 laps Broking built a solid second-and-a-quarter margin until he caught the tail-end of the field, at which point Sabraski had worked his way from his eighth starting spot to challenge Doar for second.
On lap 24 fourth-place Kyle Peterlin’s car stopped along the outside wall at the end of the front straight. On the ensuing restart Sabraski snuck low to pull alongside Broking going into turn 3, and the paid slid up the turn 4 hill, but Broking recovered to outrun Sabraski back to the flagstand and maintained the lead. Broking rim-rode the rest of the way, while Sabraski skated through the middle lanes, and Broking held on to win by less than a quarter-second for his first feature win in a Late Model at Superior – and certainly the biggest since climbing into the division this year, as he collected a $2,500 check.

Twelfth-starting Ashley Anderson finished third at a distance, while Doar held on to fourth ahead of James Giossi.

The WISSOTA Super Stocks ran their 25-lap feature non-stop for the second night in a row here, with Copp, of Brule, staving off a determined Sabraski for the $1,000 win. Copp started from the pole, with DJ Keeler alongside and Sabraski directly behind him, but within a couple of laps Copp had established control of the pace.

Once Sabraski had laid claim to second but working his way past Keeler, he was about a full second back of the leader, but steadily he reeled his way to Copp’s trunklid, with the pair running almost side-by-side as they caught the slower end of the field by mid-race. At about the same time Curt Myers took over third by getting past Keeler, bringing Doug Koski along to fourth.

Copp and Sabraski were mired in heavy slower traffic over the final six laps, but each worked their way through without incident. The pair finished under the checkers completely surrounded by lapped cars, with Copp about a half-second ahead of Sabraski, and the pair well ahead of Myers, Koski and Tristan LaBarge.

After a two-car get-together to start the 25-lap, $1,000-to-win WISSOTA Midwest Modified A-main, outside-front-row starter Vernon, of Mason, beat defending national champ Zach Benson to the front for the early advantage. Joey Jensen, however, was quicker than both and stole the lead away a lap later, having fought his way through some heavy traffic the lap before, and he and Vernon drew steadily away from Benson and the rest.

Jensen was separating from Vernon by lap 5 when Kalan Wagner spun to bring out a caution flag, and the restart gave Vernon a chance to challenge for the lead, but debris on the track delayed the event once again on lap 6. Gavin Paull, who was running sixth at the time, spun on that restart, and on the next try Vernon dove low and Benson swept high to attempt a three-wide pass of Jensen, but the leader held true.

On lap 8 Vernon made one last inside dive for the lead, and this one stuck as he powered ahead for good. As the final 19 laps clicked off non-stop, Vernon had Jensen nipping at his heels until they reached the tail of the field on lap 17, after which Vernon extended his lead to a final winning margin of 1.945 seconds for what he called the biggest win of his career in Victory Lane afterwards.

Benson maintained third throughout the long green-flag run to the finish, followed by Jason VandeKamp and William Moelter.

The 14-year-old Nelson, of Hermantown, MN, walked away to a second USRA Limited Late Model feature win during the Border Battle weekend – matching a feat his father Darrell Nelson did in a WISSOTA Late Model in 2019.

After a caution-marred feature the night before, the visiting class clicked off its 20 laps non-stop, allowing Nelson to be more dominant tonight than last night. The fan-favorite youngster started on the pole and was never really challenged, outrunning fellow front-row starter Steven O’Brien Jr and pushing his lead to a second-and-a-half within four short laps.

Behind Nelson there was plenty of action as the laps flew by. Eventually Patrick Kelley steamed up to take on O’Brien for second, winning that battle with five laps left, and in the late stages the battle for third between O’Brien and Matthew Larson got a little heated, with contact causing some pieces of O’Brien’s car body to become discarded.

But Nelson was undeterred, lapping a couple of backmarkers late in the run and flying to the very popular win by 8.104 seconds – roughly shy of half a lap – over Kelley. O’Brien fended off Larson for third, and first-time visitor Kory Ressie came home fifth.

Bright sunshine and comfortable mid-70s temperatures coaxed a good-sized crowd to the speedplant at the western end of Lake Superior, but the conditions challenged the track’s prep crews to keep moisture in the red-clay surface. The result was a track that was smooth and black-slick but still offered multiple grooves from top to bottom.

For more information on the Gondik Law Speedway, log on to the track's website, www.gondiklawspeedway.com.

WISSOTA Late Models
Feature: 1-10: Johnny Broking, Grand Rapids, MN; Shane Sabraski, Rice, MN; Ashley Anderson, Elk Mound; Pat Doar, New Richmond; James Giossi, Hudson; Josh Zimpel, Braham, MN; Steve Laursen, Cumberland; Jeff Massingill, Keewatin, MN; Travis Budisalovich, St Paul, MN; Darrell Nelson, Hermantown, MN.
11-20: Zach Wohlers, Cohasset, MN; Kevin Burdick, Proctor, MN; Daniel Bargender, Chippewa Falls; Mike Anderson, Jim Falls; Mike Prochnow, Menomonie; Harry Hanson, Eveleth, MN; Dylan Kromschroeder, Cambridge, MN; Kyle Peterlin, Hibbing, MN; Mike Bellefeuille, Duluth, MN; Lukas Koski, New Richmond.
21-24: Kevin Eder, Cameron; Dave Flynn, Superior; Skeeter Estey, Kelly Lake, MN; Derek Vesel, Hibbing, MN.
Heat 1: Laursen; Giossi; Sabraski; Bargender; Hanson; Flynn; Burdick; Jase Lien, Mora, MN; Wohlers; Eric Lillo, Proctor, MN.
Heat 2: Broking; Bellefeuille; Eder; Prochnow; M Anderson; Billy Kendall III, Walker, MN; Brett Shafer, Menomonie; Ben Heinle, Bovey, MN; Anthony Woodhull, Superior.
Heat 3: Koski; Kromschroeder; Budisalovich; A Anderson; Vesel; Todd Gehl, Solon Springs; Jeff Provinzino, Hibbing, MN; Danny Vang, Deerwood, MN; Mike Klippenstein, Proctor, MN.
Heat 4: Zimpel; Doar; Nelson; Peterlin; Estey; Adam Ayotte, Elk River, MN; Mark Heinle, Bovey, MN; Massingill; Trent Follmer, Brainerd, MN.
Semi-Feature 1: Vesel; Burdick; Prochnow; Wohlers; Gehl; Vang; Lien; Follmer; M Heinle; Lillo; Kendall.
Semi-Feature 2: Flynn; Peterlin; Hanson; Massingill; Provinzino; Ayotte; Klippenstein; B Heinle; Woodhull; Shafer.
WISSOTA Modifieds
Feature: 1-10: Shane Sabraski, Rice, MN; Brandon Copp, Brule; Jody Bellefeuille, Carlton, MN; Ryan Gierke, Villard, MN; Johnny Broking, Grand Rapids, MN; Jeremy Nelson, Alexandria, MN; Dave Cain, Corcoran, MN; Darrell Nelson, Hermantown, MN; Mike Anderson, Jim Falls; Billy Kendall III, Walker, MN.
11-20: JT Johnson, Milaca, MN; Brandon Dolman, Evansville, MN; Colin Chaschuk, Thunder Bay, ON; Al Uotinen, Superior; Kennedy Swan, Chippewa Falls; Andrew Inman, Canyon, MN; Cody Wolkowski, Thunder Bay, ON; Tanner Gehl, Solon Springs; Kaden Blaeser, Chippewa Falls; Cole Spacek, Phillips.
21-23: Jake Smith, St Joseph, MN; Dan Ebert, Lake Shore, MN; Justin Weinberger, Elk Mound.
Semi-Feature 1: Wolkowski; Sabraski; Gehl; D Nelson; Jack Rivord, Superior; Brennan Gave, Princeton, MN; Clayton Wagamon, Ramsey, MN; Devin Fouquette, St Cloud, MN; Nick Ayotte, New Richmond; Rick Rivord, Superior.
Semi-Feature 2: Spacek; Dolman; Inman; Uotinen; Zach Benson, Princeton, MN; Duane Dale, Hibbing, MN; John Toppozini, Thunder Bay, ON; Travis Schulte, Becker, MN; TJ Heinle, Bovey, MN.
WISSOTA Super Stocks
Feature: 1-10: Kyle Copp, Brule; Shane Sabraski, Rice, MN; Curt Myers, Cameron; Doug Koski, Chisholm, MN; Tristan LaBarge, Kelly Lake, MN; DJ Keeler, Superior; Shane Kisling, Butternut; Scott Lawrence, Superior; Rick Simpson, Thunder Bay, ON; Andy LaBarge, Hibbing, MN.
11-13: John Toppozini, Thunder Bay, ON; Don Livingston, Washburn; Rita Anderson, South Range.
Heat 1: Copp; Keeler; Toppozini; T LaBarge; Kisling; A LaBarge; Simpson.
Heat 2: Sabraski; Koski; Myers; Livingston; Lawrence; Anderson.
WISSOTA Midwest Modifieds
Feature: 1-10: Tyler Vernon, Mason; Joey Jensen, Forest Lake, MN; Zach Benson, Princeton, MN; Jason VandeKamp, Scandia, MN; William Moelter, Elk Mound; James Vendela, South Range; Cody Carlson, Superior; Ashley Boyum, International Falls, MN; Deven VanHouse, Silver Bay, MN; Jake Smith, St Joseph, MN.
11-20: Garrett Paull, Fort Frances, ON; Cole Boston, Lindstrom, MN; Paul Ripley, Duluth, MN; Jimmy Latvala, Solon Springs; Ryan Savoy, Superior; Don Craig, Thunder Bay, ON; Jesse Polson, Superior; Wyatt Boyum, International Falls, MN; Justin Bassa, Cotton, MN; Joshua Kough, Proctor, MN.
21-24: Kalan Wagner, International Falls, MN; Taylor Madrinich, Duluth, MN; Darrin Lawler, Grand Rapids, MN; Andy Jones, Princeton, MN.
Heat 1: Benson; Wagner; VandeKamp; Vendela; David Simpson, Thunder Bay, ON; Boston; VanHouse; Eric Gadach, New Richmond.
Heat 2: Paull; Moelter; Jones; J Kough; Polson; Bassa; Reagan Ruffi, Iron River; Lawler.
Heat 3: Vernon; Jensen; Smith; Ripley; Madrinich; Savoy; Matthew Cunha, Chisholm, MN.
Heat 4: Latvala; Carlson; A Boyum; Craig; Keegan Kough, Proctor, MN; Cory Jorgensen, Duluth, MN; W Boyum.
Semi-Feature: Boston; VanHouse; Polson; W Boyum; Bassa; Savoy; Madrinich; Lawler; K Kough; Ruffi; Jorgensen; Cunha.
USRA Limited Late Models
Feature: 1-8: Cade Nelson, Hermantown, MN; Patrick Kelley, Wyoming, MN; Steven O'Brien Jr, Red Wing, MN; Matthew Larson, Lake Elmo, MN; Kory Ressie, Alma; Derek Berg, Amery; Jason McFadden, Jim Falls; Chad Prissel, Rock Falls.
Heat: Nelson; Larson; O'Brien; Berg; Ressie; Kelley; McFadden; Prissel.

Article Credit: Article by Nick Gima

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