Round 3 of the WRCR Winter Series was held at the Washtenaw Farm Council Grounds in Saline, Michigan. The 2017/18 season at the Washtenaw RC Raceway is drawing entries beyond the levels of the past five years. With 139 entries in nine classes, most classes had multiple heats of racing action with Stock Buggy fielding 28 cars. This round the traffic ran counter-clockwise making the back straight super fast. The Stock Buggy class continued to grow in round 3 reaching 28 entries. This round 2010 ROAR National Champion joined the party securing TQ for the event after three qualifiers. As the top group jockeyed for starting position behind Kenny, the fight to stay in the A-main continued until the last laps of the last heat. Patrick Ferris and Nat Potter made their last ditch effort to improve their qualifying times vying to bump Tom Erickson and Gary Reiser and getting into the big show. The laps clicked off with both drivers in range. Nat could not hold the pace and finished behind Gary. Patrick was able to finish strong slipping between Tom and Gary. Gary then had to edge up his times to respond. The final group ran fast and smooth which allowed Gary to set the pace he needed in the opening half. All it took was a few laps missing his marks to degrade his pace. In the end he produced his best finish of the day but was not good enough to remain in the A-main.
With Kenny Ferris starting from the point, the rest of the Stock Buggy A-main drivers had their work cut out for themselves to stay close enough to challenge. The entire pack started off clean and speed through the first turn and into the wall jump. Kenny leading Forrest Remington, Dan Dresselhouse and Chris Peterson into the Step-Table. Chris edged ahead of Dan still chasing the lead pair. Very close racing ensued with Forrest pressing Kenny keeping Dan and Chris close behind. Forrest errored first tumbling his buggy into the tube clipping Kenny and letting Dan assume the lead. Chris was close behind and the top three raced hard. Dan set a blistering pace and was able to get through the back markers without trouble. Chris maintained a small gap behind him. Kenny was hit by a lapped car and flipped losing precious time. The rest of the pack started to bunch up with Ben Belote, Johnny Walker, and Forrest Remington battling for fourth place. Both Forrest and Ben had trouble slipping behind Tom Erickson at the finish. Dan held onto his pace and crossed the line in 1st place. Chris finished in 2nd place 3.9 seconds back. Kenny held solid in 3rd place.
With two full heats, qualifying was fast a furious in the 4WD Open Buggy class. Dan Dresselhouse set the early pace to beat with the rest of the field close on the clock. Points leader Chris Peterson waited till the last round to set a faster time to steal the TQ away from Dan. Ben Belote secured the third spot again very close behind. The main event merged all twelve cars into one main. The start of the seven minute main event was all but clean. Dan and Chris darted to the inside and hugged the tube around the first turn. Ben followed close behind with Tom Erickson too close causing contact. Ben clipped the tube as Tom shifted away. This collected a few cars that picked the inside line. Chris and Dan speed through the sweeper with Tom and Johnny Walker in tow. Through the table tops in the back straight Chris landed wrong rolling and flipping his buggy. Dan, Tom and Johnny avoided this and were able to cross the line forming the lead group. Both Dan and Tom started to gap Johnny as Forrest and Patrick Ferris moved in behind. Patrick, who started in the eleventh position edged out both Forrest and Johnny to take over the third position for a few laps until Chris regained his pace. Chris moved into third place but it became evident that his crash on the opening laps was not without damage. Johnny was able to get around Chris for third and then Forrest passed him into fourth place. As the clock counted down to zero Ben moved into fifth position passing Chris. Forrest crossed the line in 4th place. Johnny finished solid in 3rd place. Tom held on for 2nd Place. Dan secured his third win of the day.
Following the tone of the day, Modified Short Course Truck also formed two heats due to the larger turn out. Josh Salewsky set the early TQ. Tom Erickson joined the class and pressured Josh without success. Randy Drapinski had a great run in the 3rd qualifier but not good enough to eclipse Josh’s initial run. The last main of the day started with the field flowing through the track in starting order. Mark Riegle was the first to make a move. Mark started in the fourth position and passed Tom over the step-table and into the sweeper. Josh crashed bad causing the cars behind to chose a path. Randy and Tom were able to get by unscathed but Mark was collected up. Josh and Mark both quickly worked back up to speed passing Tom initially. Josh reeled in Randy and passed by for the lead. Tom was not done and pushed hard setting his fastest lap of the race and passed Mark but it did not hold. Mark was able to regain the position ahead of Tom. Anthony Wright and Kevin Heller had their own battle going on for fifth place. Josh, Randy and Mark finished 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place within 8 seconds.
In round 3 the Open Stadium Truck class was the largest it has been in a long time. Two heats were formed for qualifying providing clean runs for everyone. Josh Salewsky and Dan Dresselhouse traded top qualifying all day with Dan capturing his second TQ of the season in this class. Andy Dresselhouse was able to edge out Josh to start from second position. The tone sounded and the field jumped through the first turn and over the wall jump. Josh endowed sending him back in the pack as Andy was able to pass his brother to take the lead. This lead was short lived as Dan passed Andy for the lead within two laps. Josh worked his way back up the field fast and began to pressure Andy for second spot. Randy Drapinski and C.J. Boka joined in behind Josh. The order flipped in one lap as Josh assumed the second position with Andy in tow in third. Then Randy passed Andy leaving C.J. to fight for fourth. C.J. held onto fourth place for a few laps but Andy was able to get past as the race came to a close. Dan crossed the line first for his fourth win of the day. Josh crossed only a few seconds behind in 2nd place and Randy closed out the race crossing the line in 3rd place on the lead lap.
This season, the 4×4 Short Course Truck class has seen two winners, Matt Lemorie and Conner Stanley. Conner could not attend leaving Matt a chance to gain the advantage. Even without Conner, Qualifying was challenging as always. Matt set the early pace but Mark Riegle was able to secure the TQ points as qualifying finished. Matt settled for second spot with Andy Dresselhouse in third. Mark led the way with Andy and Matt pressing. Mark was sent wide after the wall jump leaving Matt the chance to grab clean air and lead into the start-finish line. C.J. Boka avoided crashes and an upside down Andy to move into the third position. The opening laps always see drivers pushing the limits to get into the lead or chase. Kevin Heller and Gio Enea were both able to move past Mark and C.J. to take over second and third position early. Matt kept clicking off sub 20 second laps in the lead growing the gap to second. Andy was also charging with low lap times and began to pass people. He had to pass Brian Hurt first who had a good set of opening laps. Then C.J. Boka. He passed Gio and then even Kevin before trouble ensued. Kevin, Gio and C.J. were not giving up. The four drivers began to change positions every lap. Gio came out on top first and held second position for most of the main event. Andy followed and secured third position with C.J. behind him. Just past the five minute mark C.J. was pressuring Andy and Gio at the same time. The three would battle for the second spot. Andy was able to get out front and lay down some super fast laps leaving Gio and C.J. behind. When the tone sounded, Matt crossed the line for the win. Andy held onto 2nd place and Gio was able to hold off C.J. for 3rd place.
Dan Dresselhouse has a perfect season going in the Stock Short Course class capturing both wins and both TQ points in the opening rounds. With the TQ in round 3, he continued his dominance as the A-main began. Dan wasted no time at the start leading the field through the wall jump. Tom pushed hard to stay close to Dan as Patrick Ferris passed Andy and then Tom before the start-finish line. Lap number two saw Patrick stuff a tube at the same corner that Sean got by Tom to assume the second position. Dan settled into a fast pace after the opening laps and began to increase the gap to Sean. Andy got around Pat to take hold of third place running a faster pace. The seven minute main event continued with Dan dominating another main event. Sean began to see Andy in his mirrors as the closing seconds approached. At the end, Dan finished in 1st place. Sean held on by just 1.9 seconds in 2nd place with Andy in 3rd place.
This season the Stampede class has been very competitive with drivers that are closely matched limited to Stampede chassis and tires which seem to normalize the cars well. Matt Lemorie recorded wins in both of the opening rounds of the series giving him a strong advantage early on. In qualifying, Ben Belote began the day setting the early pace. His Green Rapter covered stampede ran smooth and stable as he secured the TQ position. C.J. Boka challenged each round but could not knock Ben off the top spot. The race results were not an accurate record of how many times positions changed during the race. The start of the race was delayed hoping that Matt could repair his truck and challenge Ben for the win and maintain his advantage in the series. It was not in the cards as the racers minute expired without Matt on the track. The initial laps saw Ben leading C.J. and Joe gates as the three clocked similar laps and maintain even gaps all ahead of the rest of the pack. The battle royal began before the mid point as each turn and obstacle saw changes in position. Ben crossed the line in first place often after retaking the position from Joe or C.J. It was on the last lap that Ben stuffed a tube allowing C.J. by and for the win. Joe was also able to avoid Ben and finish in 2nd Place. Ben crossed the line in 3rd Place ahead of 4th place Josh Aker.
Still going strong, the 1/16th and 1/18th Mini class placed nine cars into the main event. Joe Gates and Josh Salewsky have split wins in the first two rounds without racing each other. This round they were both on track to see who would take the points advantage for the season. Qualifying was exciting as both Josh and Joe were able to run fast and strong. Randy Drapinski was also running well and challenged them both for the coveted Top Qualifier position. Josh came out on top with Joe in second and Randy in third. The main event started on a damp track. Josh jumped out into the lead right away even flipping his Mini Truggy and maintaining the lead ahead of Joe. Randy stuffed a tube sending him back letting Matt Lemorie and Ben Belote get by. Randy was able to rejoin the fight and positions began to change each lap between second through fifth place. Josh continued to click off the laps maintain a large gap over the rest of his challengers. It was not until the closing laps that second and third place started to break away from the rest. Joe and Randy swapped spots nearly every jump making the close of the race very exciting. Randy’s transponder stopped working but the announcer worked the keyboard to keep track of the laps. When the tone sounded with Josh on a victory lap taking the win giving him the most wins of the season. Randy edged out Joe capturing 2nd place leaving Joe in 3rd place. Matt Lemorie finished in 4th place and also maintaining the points lead before the mid season drops are recorded.
Washtenaw tradition has the Novice class leading off the main events. This class is always strong at Washtenaw RC Raceway which targets growing new racers. Two full groups of racers filled up for qualifying. Newcomer Greg Smith dominated qualifying securing the TQ spot in each round. Cade Riegle returned to WRCR and was able to capture the second position on the starting grid with Chris Smith in third. At the start of the A-main, the pack charged into the first turn in starting order without any problems. Greg lead the pack with Cade and Chris directly behind him. Carrie Pilarksi could not match the pace of the lead group but held strong in the fourth spot she started from. Behind Carrie, Tyson Bowling passed Todd Aker, Clay Hurt and Travis Massey after a first lap pile up collected these three drivers. Todd recovered well and put down his fastest lap of the race passing Tyson and even Carrie to assume the fourth spot. He could not hold off Carrie who ran very consistent laps avoiding tubes and crashes. Carrie assumed fourth place as the lead trio began to stretch out. Greg and Cade were closely match running comparable lap times. The closing laps saw Cade closing the gap quickly as Greg had some hard laps. The last lap began right before the tone leaving the lead pair on the clock with less than two seconds between them. Cade pushed as hard as he could to catch Greg without success. They crossed the line as they started with Greg capturing the win, Cade finishing a very close 2nd place, and Chris with a solid finish in 3rd place.
The next points event is planned for Saturday, December 16th, 2017.