Steven Taylor and Tomi Ahmasalo caputure Pro Mod and Pro Stock Wins at Inaugural Arctic Cat Snocross at The Speedway BROOKLYN, Mich. -- The names of Steven Taylor and Tomi Ahmasalo weren't familiar to many race fans Sunday at Michigan ...
Steven Taylor and Tomi Ahmasalo caputure Pro Mod and Pro Stock Wins at Inaugural Arctic Cat Snocross at The Speedway
BROOKLYN, Mich. -- The names of Steven Taylor and Tomi Ahmasalo weren't familiar to many race fans Sunday at Michigan International Speedway, but someday they'll be a part of a trivia question, as Inaugural Pro Open and Pro Stock champions of the first Arctic Cat Snocross at the Speedway.
Taylor and Ahmasalo join Inaugural MIS NASCAR champion Cale Yarborough (1969) and Inaugural MIS Open-Wheel champion Ronnie Bucknam (1968).
The enthusiastic crowd that embarked on MIS Sunday certainly got to see some exciting WSA Snocross action as both the Pro Open and Pro Stock finals produced great racing throughout both 16-lap finals.
Maybe the most intriguing story of the day came from Pro Open winner Steven Taylor, who captured the win in his first career Pro Open start. Taylor, who rides for the Blair Morgan Racing Ski-Doo team, got a perfect wholeshot from his 10th starting position and never looked back, despite a late charge from team owner Blair Morgan. The "Superman" of Snocross racing was breathing down Taylor's neck when Morgan's right front suspension broke with two laps to go. Team Polaris rider T.J. Gulla slipped by Morgan on the final lap to finish second, as Morgan held on for a third place finish. The only Michigander to compete in either Pro class was Jon Zelinski. from Bath, Michigan, who finished 11th in the Pro Open final.
"I just got the wholeshot," said first-time winner Taylor. "I was really focused on just going forward, I didn't look back once. I saw Blair with two or three laps to go and I said uh-oh. I just charged ahead as hard as I could. They told me afterwards that he broke, so I got lucky."
Taylor has suffered several injuries within the past year, including a broken collarbone and a concussion. With all the injuries and adversity he has gone through in the past year, winning at MIS became even more special.
"It put me off for a long time," said Taylor. "After all the injuries I've had in the last year and a half, it feels extra good to win."
Even though he finished third, proud team owner Blair Morgan couldn't be happier his 21-year old rider.
"I was totally pumped for Steve," added Morgan. "There's no other competitor that deserves is more. I was stoked to see him win."
The dominant rider of the WSA Snocross Worldwide Championship events were excited to compete for the first time at historic MIS.
"The facility is great," said third-place finisher Morgan. "There's probably no better place than a NASCAR facility to have a race."
In the Pro Stock class, Sweden native Tomi Ahmasalo also used a fantastic wholeshot to get out ahead and stay there, as he took the victory in the Pro Stock final. Team Polaris rider Dennis Eckstrom finished second and Carl Kuster, rider for the Blair Morgan Racing Ski-Doo, finished third.
Ahmasalo captured his second Pro Stock win in three weeks, and was excited to add his name to the record books as an Inaugural winner at MIS.
"This place is awesome," said Sweden native Ahmasalo. "It feels good to come into a different place and take the first final here. When you look at the record books and you're the first on the list, you'll always be first on the list."
In other action, Team Arctic Cat rider Jeff Snow won the Semi-Pro Stock Final with Ski-Doo rider and Hope, Michigan native Donald Leddy finishing second. Team Polaris rider Bobby LePage rounded out the top-three.
There's plenty more exciting racing action at MIS, as the 2004 summer race season kicks off back on the high banks this Father's Day weekend. June 18-20, the stars of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series, along with the ARCA RE/MAX Series, invade the two-mile oval for three days of competitive racing action.
Tickets and camping are still available for all 2004 summer events at MIS, including both NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series races, the June 20 SIRIUS 400 and the August 22 GFS Marketplace 400. For information, or to purchase tickets, log on to www.MISpeedway.com, or call the MIS ticket hotline at 1-800-354-1010.