VETERAN RACERS NELSON ESTEY SHOW THE WAY AT AMSOIL RV TOUR STOP
By Jerry O’Brien
6-9-17 Superior, WI
The Advantage RV Modified Tour for WISSOTA Modifieds made an appearance at the
AMSOIL Speedway Friday night for the second stop on the “Race to the Hill” tour. The four race
northern swing by the tour leads up to the third annual “King ON the Hill” Sunday June 11th.
A nice field of 39 WISSOTA Modifieds came to the speedway with nine drivers who follow
the tour in the field. Naturally, fans and drivers were greeted by a cold, windy Present courtesy of
Lake Superior. Also on the card were WISSOTA Midwest Modifieds as well as WISSOTA Pure
The format for the Advantage RV Modified Tour includes four 12 lap qualifying heat races
with the top three in each automatically advancing to the 40 lap main event and the top two in
each heat qualifying for the redraw. Those who did not qualify through a heat race compete in
one of two 15 lap Semi Features with the number advancing depending on the number set for the
feature. The redraw is done in front of the fans with each of the first and second place drivers
picking a rolled up T-Shirt numbered one through eight. The number drawn represents a starting
spot in the first four rows of the feature.
When all of this was accomplished, it was time to begin the three main events starting with
the WISSOTA Pure Stocks going for 15 circuits. At the green flag Mike Blevins jumped from
the outside of the front row to the lead with Cory Jorgenson to second ahead of Al Rapp, Dylan
Shelton and Kyle Copp. Blevins kept the #10X out front while several cars battled for position.
Headed toward the front was Kyle Copp from outside row four. Fresh off his first career feature
win less than a week previously, Copp was looking for more. The first caution flag flew when
Richard Dzelak, Jr, in his second night back racing in several years, stopped in turn four, then
rolled into the pits. The restart came with two laps in and Blevins retained the point with
Jorgenson second and Copp third, but caution number two occurred before a lap could be
completed as Caitlyn Carlson slowed in turn two after being involved with the number 15k of
Tyler Keup. Once again Blevins maintained his lead but Copp slid into second but once again the
caution flag flew, again for Caitlyn Carlson. The restart came with 13 laps still remaining.
Blevins still led Copp, but before any racing could occurr, the fourth yellow flag flew when Joe
Pajtasch spun his number 37 in turn two. This time everyone settled down and Blevins shadowed
by Copp began to pull away from a battle for third between Chad Carlson, Jorgenson, Justin
Madsen and Shelton. This group was soon joined by Ryan Savoy and the duel for the lead
disappeared into the distance as Copp tried every way he could to wrest the lead from Blevens.
Copp made the pass for the lead and Blevins got back by the next lap. Copp again got the better
of the former champ with another lead pass only to have Blevins regain the lead again. While all
eyes were on this battle, the four car race for third tightened considerably. Blevins then pulled a
couple of car lengths on Copp and went on to remain perfect at the speedway for 2017, three
sweeps, heat and feature in three races this season. Copp, Carlson, Shelton and Savoy finished in
the top five.
Next came 20 laps for the WISSOTA Midwest Modifieds with 22 cars taking the green flag.
This race would prove to be a very difficult one as a total of nine caution flags flew. A bad start
reset the field when Nick Daronco got a little anxious and jumped the start. It seemed to
deteriorate from there. Tyler Vernon started from the pole and managed to stay out front of all
the carnage leading Cody Carlson, Craig Lofdahl, Shane Howell, Daronco and Mark Kangas
through the mine field. After the fourth caution flag, Daronco managed to capture the lead from
Vernon who fell to fourth behind a fast closing Skeeter Estey and Carlson. With three quarters of
the race still left, Daronco raced out to a nice lead as Vernon made a move into second followed
by Carlson as Estey dropped to fourth and new player Deven VanHouse made the top five. Yet
another yellow flag just before half way set the restart with eleven circuits remaining. At this
point Dan Kingsley who always seems to appear out of nowhere in the second half of races, was
eighth. As Daronco continued to lead and hold off Estey, Kingsley and VanHouse began to make
their moves as Carlson began to fade. Estey took the lead as the laps began to wind down.
Cautions seven and eight occurred with four then three laps remaining and Estey firmly in the
lead and Kingsley got past Daronco for second. With just three laps left caution flag number nine
flew for a pileup at the exit of turn two involving Carlson, Jeff Forseen, Wyatt Boyum, Mclean
Andrews and Howell. Howell and Carlson were able to drive away but the incident was pinned
on Carlson who was forced to start at the rear ending a good run. Estey led Kingsley, Daronco,
VanHouse, Vernon, Howell and Lofdahl. This order would shuffle in those three laps due to hard
racing. Estey took the win, his second of the season at the speedway, Daronco got by Kingsly for
second, VanHouse finished fourth and Howell retained the fifth spot. Fourteen of the 22 starters
were around at the end. Carlson managed an 11th place finish.
Then it was time for the big show as 25 WISSOTA Modifieds rolled onto the speedway for
their 40 lap main event. Some hard racing and some really good luck in the draw put two very
experienced drivers who knew the speedway well having both won several championships ove
the years. Defending track champion Darrell Nelson found the T-Shirt with the number two on it
in the redraw after winning the fourth heat, and Kelly Estey zoomed in on the T-Shirt with the
number one on it for the pole position after finishing second to Andy Davey in heat one.
At the green flag, Nelson surged ahead of Esty to the lead with Dan Ebert taking second
followed by Mike Anderson as Estey slipped back to fourth. Fifth place was held by Jeremy
Nelson who had won the night before. Nelson remained in control as the laps flew by with no
sigh of a caution flag. Ebert maintained the second spot while Anderson and Estey traded third
and fourth sporadically. Further back a number of drivers began to make some moves, Jeremy
Nelson and Bll Byholm raced for fifth well back from the leaders while Dave Cain and Jody
Bellefeuiille began to move forward. At the half way point Estey had secured third and Cain had
gotten by Jeremy Nelson into the top five soon followed by Bellefeuille into sixth. Nelson had
just begun to encounter traffic with a nice lead over Ebert when that all disappeared as Andy
Jones got tangled up in turn two bringing out what would prove to be the only caution period.
With everyone close and no traffic to impede progress, good starts by everyone in the front group
was imperative. With fifteen laps to go, Nelson got a smooth start and kept out front but Estey
was able to get by Ebert and set his sights on Nelson. Cain took aim at Ebert next while Jeremy
Nelson got by Bellefeuille as they both eventually pushed Ebert back to a sixth place finish.
Anderson was seventh, Bill Byholm eighth, Neil Balduc ninth and Kevin Eder moved up from
13th to round out the top ten. Twenty-one of the twenty-five starters were running at the end.
With one caution flag, the 40 lap event took seventeen minutes to run.