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Massingill Masters Granite City For $5k Payday


Wissota Late Model Challenge Series

Massingill Masters Granite City For $5k Payday

The 2023 season for the Structural Buildings WISSOTA Late Model Challenge Series wrapped up it’s Central Minnesota swing on Sunday, August 27th with the series’ first stop since 2021 at the Granite City Motor Park in Sauk Rapids, Minnesota and the event produced one of the best race-long battles the series has seen all season long.

Nick Panitzke kicked off the night by setting fast time and a new GCMP track record with a lap of 13.809 seconds around the banked oval, while Daniel Bargender, Pat Doar and John Kaanta topped the three qualifying heat races early in the night’s program.

Bargender and Kaanta earned the front row for the night’s 40-lap, $5,000-to-win feature event with both drivers in search of their first Structural Buildings WISSOTA Late Model Challenge Series victory of the 2023 season. Kaanta took off at the drop of the green and ran alone out front for the first dozen laps, while Bargender, Sam Mars and Doar were in a great battle just behind for runner up honors.

As the race began to approach the half way point, Kaanta continued to lead with the leaders getting into lapped traffic just before the first caution of the event flew on lap 25, which slowed the action and bunched the field back up to Kaanta’s rear bumper.

On the restart, Kaanta again took off in control, while Doar began to put pressure on Bargender for second, with Mars and Jeff Massingill making a push for fourth just behind. A third side-by-side battle was taking place just behind between Chad Mahder and Ryan Mikkelson as well, as all drivers were searching for the fastest line on the ultra-racey GCMP surface.

The second caution flew on lap 29 and closed the field once again and this time on the restart Doar used the high line to pull alongside Kaanta for the lead momentarily on lap 30 with Mahder and Massingill charging after Bargender for third. One lap later, the final caution of the night flew, setting up a ten-lap dash to the checkered with Kaanta out front.

The final double file restart of the night saw Kaanta take off once again with Massingill racing to the inside of Doar for second and then pulling up alongside Kaanta for the lead a lap later. The trio ran three-wide of the top spot through turns three and four for a brief second before Kaanta was able to put a car length on Massingill until Jeff was able to get great drive off the extreme low side of the track and snatch the lead with just two laps to go.

Once out front, Massingill hit his marks and raced the final 2 circuits out front and landed the $5,000 payday. Kaanta crossed the line in a close second with Mahder, the night’s Hard Charger, rounding out the podium after his 10th to 3rd run. Doar and Mars rounded out the night’s top five finishers.

Justin Pogones won the WISSOTA Street Stock feature, Zach Benson won the WISSOTA Midwest Modified main event, Justin Schelitzche won the WISSOTA Hornet feature, Shane Sabraski won the WISSOTA Super Stock feature and Don Eischens won the WISSOTA Modified feature event to wrap up the night.

Full results can be found on www.MyRacePass.com

The next 2023 Challenge Series events are scheduled over Labor Day weekend, kicking off on Thursday, August 31st at the Halvor Lines Speedway in Proctor, MN, followed by the Grand Rapids Speedway in Grand Rapids, MN on Friday night, September 1st, before back to back races on Saturday and Sunday, September 2nd and 3rd at the Hibbing Raceway in Hibbing, Minnesota to cap off the four event holiday weekend.

Submitted By: Camryn Sullivan

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