WMSD U.S. Sand Nats/PTN July '09 Race Recap

lead.jpgThe 17th Annual Appletree Automotive U.S. Sand Nationals featuring the 2009 Pro Truck Nationals series ended up being one of the largest events seen at West Michigan Sand Dragway in years. With entry numbers up over 200 and racers from all across the country, the race had a national event like feel to it. Let’s take a look at the racing action from this event.

Photos Courtesy Lone Star Graphics.

Pro Truck

The 2009 Pro Truck Nationals series concluded at this event with a points battle for the history books. Coming into the event, any of the top eight or so entries in the point series had a legitimate shot at the title. Leading the points heading into this event was the Compromised Racing team of Nick Disselkoen and Steve Bobeldyk. After an unfortunate racing incident with their truck over the 4th of July at WMSD, the team was able to finish off the season with Ryan Fredricks’ “Little Red Jeep”.

The dramatic point series conclusion started off with point leader Bobeldyk having problems in his round one match up with Trent Everett, Jr.; handing Trent the win. Point series runner-up Rich Simon also had an early exit as Kyle Homik laid down a good win to take the round one victory. This opened the door up for several of the other contenders. Only two rounds of eliminations were completed, setting up some wild scenarios for Sunday’s final rounds.

Heading into Sunday, only three racers still had a shot at the championship. Bobeldyk was still hanging on at the top of the point sheet; however he was tied with Casey Kellough, who was still in eliminations. Bobeldyk’s only hope would be for Kellough to lose in the upcoming third round of eliminations. The dark horse possibility for the championship would be Ben Dozeman in the Bad Company Jeep. Ben started Sunday needing to go two rounds further than Kellough to have a shot at the championship. Kicking off the third round of eliminations, was an all-Jeep match up with Kip Martin’s Primal Scream entry taking a close win over Brent Lokker. The second pair would have huge point series implications as Kellough’s entry stumbled when coming up on the trans brake, handing the win to Kyle Homik’s Insinnerator Blazer. The final pair of the round would have a huge impact on the championship. If Ben Dozeman were to win this round, he would get the bye into the final round, putting himself into a three-way tie along with Bobeldyk and Kellough. He would need to win the final to win the championship. This quarter-final round match up was decided at the tree as Gary Golombisky turned on the red bulb with his Bronco sending Dozeman into the three-way tie.

In the semi-final round, Kyle Homik was able to take a starting line advantage, however he could not run close enough to the dial to hold off the big top end charge of Kip Martin. This set up a final round between Martin and Dozeman. The outcome would either be a three-way race off for the championship if Dozeman loses, or a Dozeman win would seal the title by just one round. In the final, Dozeman would leave first .027 to .070 and hang on at the stripe by a margin of victory of .001 to win the final PTN race of 2009 as well as the series championship. Congrats to the Bad Company team on the 2009 PTN Pro Truck class championship.

Ben Dozeman

Kip Martin

Kyle Homik

Fastest 4x4

The Fastest 4x4 Shootout exceeded expectations with a strong four entry field at WMSD. The class consisted of point leader Ryan Wilson from Kentucky with his nitrous fed small block-powered Altered, Missouri’s Dan Wies with his naturally aspirated small block Altered, another Missourian in Josh Stephens with his screw-blown BAE Hemi powered Blown Income Altered, and Michigan’s Brian McWethy in the screw-blown BBC powered “The Boss” Funny Jeep.

Qualifying saw some exciting passes in the second round. After round one, McWethy held down Low ET with a 3.28 in his Funny Jeep. Stephens kicked off round two with a stout 3.090 shutting off at about 250’ with the Blown Income Altered. This was an amazing pass considering his 100’ squirt earlier in the day was the first pass after a problem plagued first two passes of the season in Cleves and Bonne Terre. McWethy would come up to the line next loaded for bear trying to take over that top spot. He would run a personal best ET of 3.091 that would narrowly just miss the top qualifying position.

Round one kicked off with Stephens facing off with fellow Missouri campaigner Wies. At 300’, it would be Stephens running a sizzling 3.05 to out run Wies’ 3.45. Wies’ loss would lock up the 2009 PTN Fastest 4x4 Shootout championship for Ryan Wilson. Wilson would be up in the next pair along side McWethy. Ryan would take a starting line advantage, but it would be the big power of “The Boss” that McWethy would use to drive around for a 3.27 to 3.49 victory.

This set up the final round that the crowd had anticipated seeing all weekend long. These two groups have a lot of history and controversial races at past events. Off the line, McWethy would leave first, but from there on it was Stephens driving away with a 3.04 victory over McWethy’s trouble plagued 3.49. Congrats to the Blown Income team on a stellar performance all weekend long.

Josh Stephens

Brian McWethy

Friday Night Classes

The PTN series put on their normal Friday night program at WMSD with their 3.5 Index class as well as a couple added classes. The popular 3.5 Index class saw 16 entries vying for the class win. An Ohio versus Michigan final round would ensue between Ohio’s Kathy Ellington with her Black Widow Altered and Michigan’s Mike Page with his blue Chevy Blazer. At the far end, it would be Ellington taking the big win. Ellington also won the extra $50 for being the first racer to defeat Ben Dozeman in 3.5 Index competition in 2009, earlier in eliminations.

A new class tried out for the first time by the PTN crew was the Sportsman Truck class. This consisted of vehicles that met the Pro Truck class body rules with the addition that these vehicles must be capable of having a second seat (left hand steer). Twenty-three entries showed up to compete in this class. When the dust settled, it was NSDN Editor Tom Bray facing off with Mike Moll in the final round. Bray took a slight starting line advantage and would run nearly dead-on the dial to take the big win.

Rounding out the Friday night program was an ATV bracket class run on a Sportsman tree. Eliminations culminated with a final round match up between two snowmo-powered bikes in Brad Adams and “Shocker Father” Steve Ewing. This would be Adams’ night as Brad would ride on to take the class victory.

Kathy Ellington

Mike Page

Pro Bracket Classes

Jay Poortenga backed up his win at Ionia in the Pro Truck class from the weekend prior with a huge win in Quick 16 competition at WMSD defeating Willie Berzley in the final round. Pro 1 would be an all-dragster final round with Dave DeLoof taking the win over Arizona’s Keith Ahart. Brian Walla brought his Pro 2 dragster out for the first time this year and would cut right through the field to take the class victory, defeating John Ramlow in the final round. Walla would come close to a double up, earning a runner-up finish in the Pro 3 class to Brian Wagner, who would take the victory with his Jeep. Last but not least was the Pro ATV Shootout that had a great sponsor backing for this event; it would be Rich Wood continuing his winning ways defeating a red lighting Stephanie Thorpe in the final round to take the win.

Jay Poortenga

Willie Berzley

Dave DeLoof

Keith Ahart

Brian Walla

John Ramlow

Brian Wagner

Rich Wood

Sportsman Bracket Classes

The Sportsman 1 class saw a final round between Mandee Reynders’ Jeep and Ross Abraham’s Procharger-equipped Chevy Truck. Ross would turn on the red bulb handing Reynders her second Sportsman 1 victory in as many races in 2009. Roger Young would slice through the Sportsman 2 class to take the victory with his Runnin’ Wild Jeep defeating Dave Weaver with his Dragster in the final round. Once again, it would be Rich Wood doubling up as he would go on to defeat Jeff Jareo in the final round of the ATV class.

Mandee Reynders

Rich Wood

Junior Classes

In the Junior Dragster class, point leader Elise Shaffer drove to the victory over Tyler Walla in the final round. Junior ATV was once again won by Caitlynn Page as she drove her quad to the final round win over point leader Devin Reust. The Mighty Midgets final round saw an unbelievable sibling final round as brother and sister faced off with Dylan DeHaan taking the win over younger sister Mallory DeHaan.

Elise Shaffer

Caitlynn Page

Dylan DeHaan

WMSD Point Standings

Just past the half way point in the 2009 WMSD point series season, Pro ATV racer Dylan Beld still holds a narrow points lead over Pro 1 and 2 racers John Ramlow and Dave DeLoof. Nick Bennett continues to lead the Sportsman point series with his ATV, only four points ahead of a tie between Steve Ewing and Dan Genge for second place. Devin Reust (Junior ATV), Elise Shaffer (Junior Dragster), and Joshua Rammacher (Mighty Midgets) are the current Junior point series class leaders.

Photo Bonus

Kentucky's Ryan Wilson emerged as the 2009 PTN Fastest 4WD Shootout Champion.

Bob Gill finished off his MI trip on a high note, running a best of 3.12 at WMSD.

Dan Wies made the trip from Missouri and lowered the B/4WD record with a great 3.38 pass.

Chilicothe Ohio's Casey Kellough ended up 2nd in PTN Pro Truck class points in 2009.

Mike Dzek competed in the Pro ATV class at WMSD with his New Mexico-based two-wheeled ATV.

David Anderson had a strong weekend with a semi-final finish in both Pro ATV and ATV.

Missouri's Ed Bunch ventured over to WMSD to finish out the 2009 PTN series in the Pro Truck class.

Steve Lanvermier made the haul from Missouri with his small-block Chevy powered Altered.

Another of the Missouri entrants was Kevin Betzer on this ATV as part of the Precision Powersports team that had entries in both the ATV and Pro ATV classes.

Dave Weaver did a great job, taking home a runner-up finish in the Sportsman 2 class with his dragster.

Robert Emmendorfer brought his unique Mustang to WMSD to compete in the Sportsman 2 class.

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