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Tesch turns ‘hat trick’ in Kasson Labor Day Klash
posted: Sep 08, 2010 8:49:31
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KASSON, Minn. – The Dodge County Speedway in Kasson, Minn., always seems to produce a nail-biting thriller whenever the USMTS Casey’s General Stores National Tour pays a visit, and Sunday night’s 9th Annual Labor Day Klash was no different.

Johnny Scott, who clinched the 2010 DandyLand Farms Rookie of the Year Award one race earlier, raced his way into the redraw and drew the pole position for the 40-lap WIX Filters “A” Main and led the first three laps.

Mike Sorensen, who pocketed $4,100 with a victory the previous night at the Deer Creek Speedway, powered around the outside of Scott to take the lead on lap 4.

Sorensen paced the action through lap 10 but Steve Wetzstein found his way to the point after a few laps of door-to-door racing with Sorensen and proceeded to build a six-car-length lead over the field using the shortest route around the 1/3-mile dirt oval.

Meanwhile, Jon Tesch was grinding away at the high side cushion and making his way to the front from the 15th starting spot. He got around Scott for third on lap 19, and then passed Sorensen for second three laps later but Wetzstein’s quick pace and thick lapped traffic made cutting into the leader’s advantage a difficult task.

Tesch struggled for two laps to get around the lapped car of Doug Hillson, but Hillson wound up giving Tesch the break he needed when mechanical problems forced him to stop on the racing surface to bring out the race’s only caution on lap 33.

Back under green, Wetzstein and Tesch drove away from the field to battle for the win by themselves. With Wetzstein still way down low and Tesch running way up high, the two streaked down the back-stretch and front-stretch each lap side by side.

Tesch edged in front to lead lap 37 and the “Wizard of Watertown” never relinquished the lead again as he crossed beneath flagman Ryne Staley’s checkered flags less a car-length ahead of Wetzstein.

It was Tesch’s third $3,000 triumph in the last six days after going winless for the season until taking a rain-shortened win on Tuesday in Marshalltown, Iowa, and his second career win in Kasson.

Wetzstein earned a healthy runner-up paycheck to help alleviate the heartbreak while 2007 USMTS National Champion Jason Krohn finished third ahead of Scott.

Zack VanderBeek failed to qualify for the main event the previous night, but made up for it Sunday night as he climbed to fifth at the finish after starting 20th on the 26-car grid and earned the PBM Performance Products Hard Charger Award by passing one more car than Tesch.

Sixth through tenth, respectively, went to Jason Cummins, Rodney Sanders, Sorensen, Bobby Swanson and 2010 Dodge County Speedway track champion Josh Angst.

For the drivers chasing Jason Hughes in the Hunt for the USMTS Casey’s General Stores National Championship presented by Bad Boy Mowers, it was a rare opportunity to help narrow the points gap.

Second-ranked Ryan Gustin finished 11th in the main event, holding Hughes to a 12th-place finish and his first finish outside of the top-10 in the first 14 events of ‘The Hunt.’

Hughes’ advantage is now 85 points over Gustin with five races left to determine the 2010 USMTS National Champion. Tommy Myer lost ground but is still third, 123 markers behind the leader. Fourth is VanderBeek (-126), followed by Krohn (-213), Kelly Shryock (-238), Sanders (-308), Dereck Ramirez (-326), Tesch (-354) and Scott (-371).