Friesen Wins Second Straight, Franz Holds Lead over Wheeler in NCRA Modifieds MCCOOL JUNCTION, Neb. (Sept 9, 2005) -- Jason Friesen treated the hometown fans at Junction Motor Speedway Friday night to what they came to see -- a victory in the...
Friesen Wins Second Straight, Franz Holds Lead over Wheeler in NCRA Modifieds
MCCOOL JUNCTION, Neb. (Sept 9, 2005) -- Jason Friesen treated the hometown fans at Junction Motor Speedway Friday night to what they came to see -- a victory in the O'Reilly/NCRA Modified Series, presented by Hoosier Racing Tires.
"Racing in front of your home fans is got to help you do better," he said. "When you come back to your home track you just have a better feeling."
It didn't take Friesen long to feel right at home and grab the lead; once he did, he never looked back in capturing his second straight series win.
Friesen started the feature on the inside of the third row but moved up to fourth as the pack went into turn one to start the race. At that point, pole sitter Brian Powers led the way, followed by Shannon Gilchrist, Scott Green, and Friesen.
Green moved around both Gilchrist and Powers on the first lap to take the lead. Friesen also passed Gilchrist, who shuffled to fifth when Troy Johnson got by him as well.
Friesen dispatched Powers the following lap to take over second and engage Green for the lead.
The only caution of the race came out on lap three. On the restart, Friesen dropped low to take over the lead from Green. Powers, Gilchrist and Johnson rounded out the top five at the end of three laps.
Friesen gradually pulled away from Green, building a straightaway lead by lap seven. Powers and Chad Wheeler paired off to battle for third and fourth, with Gilchrist in fifth.
At home, in front of his fans -- "there's nothing like being at home" -- this was Friesen's night. Even after encountering lapped traffic on lap 12, Jason maintained his lead over Green, who was never able to challenge.
Friesen easily took the checker for his third career NCRA modified series win and the second of the season, coming the last two weekends. He jumped from fifth to third in season points.
"No yellows didn't hurt a thing (in winning easily)," he said. "We had a good car. We could come off the corners and put it to the mat, and away we went. That was the best feeling."
"The track was good tonight; it was racy top and bottom. I was going on the bottom and the top and it didn't seem to hurt."
Green beat back the late race challenge of Wheeler to finish second, with Chad holding on to third. Powers and Gilchrist rounded out the top five.
Current points leader Brian Franz came into tonight's race locked in a tight battle with Chad Wheeler for the top spot in the standings, but encountered a night he would just as soon forget.
With a good draw in his heat, Franz had moved up to fourth until cutting a tire on the last lap. He slowed and limped across the finish line in seventh, earning no championship points.
"Tonight was no fun at all," he said. "It just started out bad with a flat in the heat and that just put us behind all night. It was just one thing after another."
Wheeler saw a chance to gain some ground and did just that with a third place finish in his heat, which was right after Brian's.
Franz also encountered problems in both the C and B features, getting hit and spinning, changing another tire and returning to the track under the same caution. He finished fourth in both features and was able to transfer to the A, thanks in no small part to an excessive attrition rate, where he finished 11th.
"These are the nights you dread but you expect them," Franz said. "We've had such good luck all the time that it's going to happen. You just try to recover, keep your head up and come back the next day because it's a whole new day."
Franz won the admiration of his closest competitor with the way he made lemons out of lemonade.
"Brian did a helluva job for all the problems he got handed tonight," Wheeler said. "Everybody gets a lot of problems, too, but it's how you accept your problems and make yourself better; avoid your problems and work through them. That's what makes a racecar driver better."
In the A feature, Wheeler had a good chance to make a dent in Brian's points lead, Chad started the A feature in sixth with Franz was four rows behind him.
Wheeler was bumped on the start and fell back two spots to 10th before he got going. Once he did, Chad charged to the front, moving into the top five on lap four. He took over fourth the following lap, and stayed there for several laps.
On lap 14, Wheeler passed Powers for third and unsuccessfully challenged Green for position the final six laps, before finishing in third.
"The racecar was pretty good all night long," Wheeler said. "I had it a little tight and the track tightened up a lot, but I'll take a third for the first time being here."
Unofficially, Wheeler only gained 25 points on Franz, who now leads by 70 points with just two events remaining.
Cherokee Casino and Heat 1 (10 laps):
1. Brian Powers, Wichita, Kan.; 2. Jason Friesen, Sutton, Neb.; 3. Dave Hardesty, Minneapolis, Kan.; 4. Brian McGowen, Wichita, Kan.; 5. Scott Styskal, David City, Neb.; 6. Jarrod Johnston, Concordia, Kan.; 7. Mike Goldfuss, Sutton, Neb.; 8. Bob Zoubek, Dorchester, Neb.
Cherokee Casino and Heat 2 (10 laps):
1. Scott Green, Derby, Kan.; 2. Tony Gregg, Hastings, Neb.; 3. Greg Stephens, Wichita, Kan.; 4. Jerry Phillips, Galva, Kan.; 5. Tom Svoboda, David City, Neb.; 6. Mike Johnson; 7. Brian Franz, Newton, Kan.
Cherokee Casino and Heat 3 (10 laps):
1. Troy Johnson, Concordia, Kan.; 2. Marc Hurd, Wichita, Kan.; 3. Jason Roe, Wichita, Kan.; 4. Shawn Olnes, Albion, Neb.; 5. J.C. Wyman, Griswold, Iowa; 6. Jeremy Leiting, Raymond, Neb.; 7. Bill Flegg, Omaha; 8. Shawn Brock, Joplin, Mo.; 9. Brandon Blochlinger, Concordia, Kan.
Cherokee Casino and Heat 4 (10 laps):
1. Shannon Gilchrist, Derby, Kan.; 2. Alan Dix, Stockton, Kan.; 3. Chad Wheeler, Muskogee, Okla.; 4. Brent Burkhart, Hutchinson, Kan.; 5. Jon Thompson, Superior, Neb.; 6. Lonnie Veteto, Belleville, Kan.; 7. Travis Govern, Wichita, Kan.; 8. Dustin Briley, Goddard, Kan.; 9. Joe Cleveland, Bennington, Kan.
C feature (8 laps -- top 10 transfer):
1. Lonnie Veteto; 2. Mike Johnson; 3. Dustin Briley; 4. Brian Franz; 5. Travis Govern; 6. Shawn Brock; 7. Scott Skyskal; 8. Mike Searns; 9. Mike Goldfuss; 10. Brent Bohmont; 11. Joe Cleveland; 12. Jeremy Leiting; 13. Bill Flegg; 14. Brandon Blochlinger; 15. Bob Zoubek.
B feature (12 laps -- top 10 transfer):
1. Brent Burkhart; 2. Greg Stephens; 3. Dustin Briley; 4. Brian Franz; 5. Jon Thompson; 6. Jason Roe; 7. Scott Styskal; 8. Travis Govern; 9. J.C. Wyman; 10. Mike Goldfuss; 11. Shawn Brock; 12. Jerry Phillips; 13. Mike Stearns; 14. Brent Bohmont; 15. Lonnie Veteto; 16. Jarrod Johnston; 17. Tom Svoboda; 18. Brian McGowen; 19. Shawn Olnes; 20. Mike Johnson.
A feature (20 laps):
1. Jason Friesen; 2. Scott Green; 3. Chad Wheeler; 4. Brian Powers; 5. Shannon Gilchrist; 6. Alan Dix; 7. Greg Stephens; 8. Marc Hurd; 9. Troy Johnson; 10. Brent Burkhart; 11. Brian Franz; 12. Dustin Briley; 13. Dave Hardesty; 14. Tony Gregg; 15. Scott Styskal; 16. Jason Roe; 17. Travis Govern; 18. J.C. Wyman; 19. Mike Goldfuss; 20. Jon Thompson.