Hanestad's rally gives him Red Clay Classic win
By Nick GimaABC Raceway
ASHLAND, Wis. (Sept. 29) — Rick Hanestad of Boyceville, Wis., was right at home on ABC Raceway's red clay. Taking the lead from Paul Brust on the 38th lap, Hanestad led the remainder of the 50-lapper for a $4,000 victory in the 32nd annual Red Clay Classic, one of WISSOTA's major late-season events. | Slideshow
“My car really worked well on this track,” said Hanestad, who started 10th. “There was a lot of room to run, and I could go pretty much wherever I wanted."
Top WISSOTA rookie Kyle Peterlin of Hibbing, Minn., worked up to second in the final laps while Brust, of Rice Lake, Wis., was third. Polesitter Steve Laursen of Cumberland, Wis., a two-time Red Clay Classic winner, ended up fourth.
Laursen led the Late Model field to the green and built a strong early lead while Peterlin slipped past Caley Emerson into second three laps in. Darrell Nelson took advantage of an Emerson bobble to take third three laps later, but he lost that position to an inside move by Steve Isenberg during the next circuit.
Laursen’s lead had grown to half-straightaway before the race’s lone slowdown occurred on lap 11 for Jeff Broking’s spin. Over the next half-dozen laps after the green flag reappeared, Brust flexed his car’s muscle, working the outside line to get around Isenberg and Peterlin on consecutive laps and then challenging leader Laursen for nearly three turns of the oval before taking over the top spot on lap 16. During the same laps Hanestad had clipped his way through to fourth with 12th-starting Joel Cryderman following into sixth.
With Brust cruising along, Peterlin threatened on several occasions to take second from Laursen. This allowed Hanestad to close the gap, set up on the high line and sweep by Peterlin into third at mid-race, with Cryderman overtaking Nelson for fifth.
Then Brust began catching the backmarkers on lap 29, which forced him to slow his pace and cost him his healthy lead. This worked to Hanestad’s advantage, as he maintained a patient, steady line around Peterlin and then Laursen and drew on Brust over the next nine laps. When Hanestad finally had an opening he drag-raced Brust under the flagstand for the winning pass as the field completed lap 38.
From there Hanestad maneuvered through the slower traffic until he found some open track over the final five laps to get to the checkered flag first.
Hanestad is sponsored by Minor Trucking, Cars On Broadway and Brown Seed. ... Hanestad picked up his fourth career victory at ABC, but first in a Late Model. His last victory in Ashland came June 1, 2002, in a street stock. ... Pat Doar started 20th and finished sixth. ... Five-time Red Clay Classic winner Tom Nesbitt started 22nd and finished seventh. ... The three-division event drew 39 Late Models, 75 super stocks and 73 modifieds. ... Saturday's action was delayed more than two hours by light rain. ... The record purse of $70,000 was paid out. ... Only six cautions were throw in 115 laps of feature action among the three divisions. ... A frightening crash punctuated Friday's preliminaries. Keane Laakson and Nick Musel were battling for a feature transfer spot in a heat race when they made contact exiting turn four. Musel’s car turned sideways in front of Laakson’s and began to barrel-roll and ended up on its roof on the frontstretch. Musel was a little shaken but otherwise uninjured, and, with help from Darrell Nelson's team, he was able to get the car repaired for the next day's consolation race.