The Ben Wandahsega Off-Road Race Team pulled into beautiful Owatonna, MN, on Thursday night, words alone cannot express what a great job all the volunteers have done leading up to this opening event for the newly formed World Series of Off-Road ...
The Ben Wandahsega Off-Road Race Team pulled into beautiful Owatonna, MN, on Thursday night, words alone cannot express what a great job all the volunteers have done leading up to this opening event for the newly formed World Series of Off-Road Racing. With dual responsibility of Super Stock race truck owner/racer and local track promoter for rounds I & II at the Steele County Fairgrounds, Don Williams and his girlfriend Sue have taken the reigns and brought South East Minnesota a truly "ground shaking" experience.
Nearly 150 racers were pitted, teched-in and ready for practice. The track is set up much like Lake Odessa, MI, or even Antigo, WI. Lots of moguls, jumps, some high speed sections and lots of potential "hot-spots" for some close-fender, bump and pass action. The first practice session was well attended and received by many. A nice crowd of local race fans were there to witness our style of racing that has been made increasingly popular in Michigan and Wisconsin. We're very grateful to the city of Owatonna allow us the opportunity change up our venue and put a little mud in the eyes of our neighboring Minnesotans.
As the Super Trucks rumbled onto the track, spectators and WSORR Officials were preparing for the inaugural race at the Owatonna Speedway with much anticipation. Baseball Legend and 'double' World Series winner Jack Morris, our honorary Grand Marshall made the official announcement of "Gentlemen, Start Your Engines!" That being said, more than 5,500 HP took to the starting line.
When the green flag dropped, Ben wasted no time taking to the front of the pack. Half-way through lap 1, Team Wandahsega was clearly making a statement. By lap 3, Baudoux was coming on strong and Ben knew that mistakes were not an option as he led his #297 Super Truck methodically though the very technical short course. "Horsepower isn't the key element on this type of track. Finding a good line, keeping it, and staying consistently on the gas is", Ben stated. Although Ben and Dan had some side-by-side action at midpoint of the race, Team Wandahsega took the Forest County Potawatomi, Toyo Tires Chevy to the checkered flag with no doubt in who was the strongest finisher of the afternoon. Round I finishers as follows: 1st Ben Wandahsega, 2nd Dan Baudoux, 3rd Don Williams.
With torrential down-pouring rain throughout the night, the race track took on a whole new personality. The first few classes of racers had to make quite a few strategic changes to their racing styles, as they attempted to navigate through some flooded areas of the track.
The Super trucks took to the starting line and RJ Flanagan, team spotter, reminded Ben to "Take it slow, let the others bunch up in the muck in the first corner, than make your move." That was exactly what Ben did. Yes, due to the win on Saturday, race order was reversed and that sent team Wandahsega, along with Baudoux, to the back of the pack. With Ben's patience, he was able to navigate to the front of the crowd of trucks and take the lead. The only contention during the race was the lap traffic. "My Toyo Open Country M/T's worked flawlessly, especially in the corners where all my competitors were having so much trouble", stated Ben after the race. I interestingly enough, another common front runner, Dan Baudoux wasn't a threat, commenting later to Ben on how he wasn't able to get anything going during that race.
The 15 lap, round II event ended with the same podium finishers as in round I. 1st position to Ben Wandahsega, 2nd position to Dan Baudoux , and rounding out the podium with Don Williams in 3rd position.