Wissota Late Model Challenge Series
In Photo Finish, Massingill Stuns Burdick in Rapids Thriller
The 2023 season for the Structural Buildings WISSOTA Late Model Challenge Series rolled into the Grand Rapids Speedway in Grand Rapids, Minnesota for the 29th annual WISSOTA Classic on Friday night, September 1st and saw Jeff Massingill steal the lead and the win from race long leader Kevin Burdick in the final set of turns to win in a photo finish thriller to cap off the night.
Ryan Mikkelson started the night by setting fast time with a lap of 14.117 seconds around the tight oval, while John Kaanta, Harry Hanson and Kevin Burdick topped the three qualifying heat races early in the night’s program.
Burdick and Jeff Provinzino earned the front row for the night’s 40-lap feature event with Burdick taking the lead on the initial start and leading the field into turn number one before a multi-car pileup in turn three slowed the race on the second lap.
As the field went back to green, Burdick took back off into the lead with Provinzino, Hanson and Massingill quickly embarking in a three-car battle for second as Burdick slipped away into the night.
The field chased Burdick during the first eight laps until the second and final caution flag flew over the field for a tangle on the backstretch, which bunched the field once again for the restart.
On the double file restart, Burdick again took off into the lead with Massingill in tow. Just behind the leaders, John Kaanta and Mikkelson were in a great battle for third with a three wide battle between Kyle Peterlin, Pat Doar and Sam Mars taking place just behind.
Burdick and Massingill drove off a bit, while all eyes were on what seemed to be a 20-lap battle between the 23, 11 and 28 cars, while Mikkelson and Kaanta were joined by Provinzino in their quest for a podium finish.
As the laps began to wind down, Mikkelson and Massingill were closing on Burdick in lapped traffic and Mikkelson dove under Kevin to take a shot for the lead with just two laps to go, only to have Massingill dive to the bottom in the next corner and take second back and close in on Burdick as the white flag flew.
The field rumbled around the Iron Range oval for the final time and Massingill was able to get just to the inside of Burdick entering turn three and was able to win the drag race to the line and win in a true photo finish, by just 0.048 seconds to the enjoyment of the big crowd. Burdick settled for second with Mikkelson third, just ahead of Provinzino and Kaanta, who rounded out the top five. Mars, Peterlin, Jake Redetzke, Doar and Derek Vesel were the top ten finishers at the line.
Shane Sabraski won the WISSOTA Modified feature. DJ Keeler won the WISSOTA Super Stocks feature. Jason VandeKamp won the WISSOTA Midwest Modified feature. Kevin Baumgarner won the WISSOTA Pure Stock feature.
Full results can be found on MyRacePass.com
The next 2023 Challenge Series event is scheduled for Saturday, September 2nd at the Hibbing Raceway in Hibbing, MN with a 5pm start time.
Submitted By: Camryn Sullivan