Author’s Note: The Best of 2019 series is based upon a few things for each category, but ultimately boils down to my opinion from the events I attended at each track. If you have a moment that you remember fondly from this summer, feel free to leave a comment! There are numerous other categories I could have gone with as well, so if you have something that doesn't fit in these, feel free to comment as well!
Before diving into this article, I would like to take a moment to thank the crew, drivers, and fans of Eagle River Speedway for such a great summer. The five hours of driving on Tuesday nights was well worth it because of all of you, so thank you!
Best Event: Kids’ Night
Eagle River Speedway’s Kids’ Night was one of the highlights of the year from any track the Rose Racing Report visited in 2019. The event, which feature a multitude of raffles, giveaways, and even a grand prize of tickets to a Packer game, brought together fans both young and old to pack the track’s grandstands in one of the biggest crowds the track saw all summer. On top of prizes, fans also were able to get an up close viewing of the cars and meet the drivers of Eagle River Speedway during intermission.
Aside from a large crowd and excited kids, the night also saw some of the best racing we had seen all summer. Each of the tracks divisions put on massively entertaining races, highlighted by the Pure Stock, Stock, and B Modified divisions. In the Pure Stocks, Roger Walker took the win in a hotly contested battle with Tristan Velria. The Stocks saw Ryan Valeria hold of “Hot” Rod Snellenberger to grab the checkered flag. Both of these races had great battles throughout the field, as well. The best race of the night, and arguably the year, was the B Mod feature.
While there were battles throughout the field in the B Mod feature, the one everyone was watching was the battle for the lead. Jason Zdroik and Evan Call, each running their own line with Zdroik on the outside and Call on the inside, fought tooth and nail for the majority of the race. One lap Call would lead, the next it would be Zdroik. A late race yellow flag bunched the field together, leading to a restart that saw Zdroik leap into the lead and take the win, with Call in second and Jesse Aho somehow working his way to third.
Best Race: B Mod Shootout
While the best racing of the year was seen at the Kids’ Night event, I felt it right to choose a race that also saw great racing but had a larger impact on the track as a whole. The B Mod Shootout welcomed numerous additional drivers to the track for the race’s 1,000 dollar purse.
As mentioned above, the racing was great in the Shootout. A myriad of yellow flags
throughout the race kept the field tightly bunched with drivers swapping positions every lap. Up front, things were quite unpredictable with several front runners finding trouble. Michael Truscott spun from the lead while Marcus Dunbar had mechanical issues that ended his night, just to name a few of the issues. In the end, Bruce Belland survived the cautions and outlasted the competition to take the win and 1,000 dollar check.
Why would I choose this race as best race of 2019 for Eagle River Speedway even though the racing wasn’t the most exciting of the year? Simple, this race was a big part, in my opinion, in helping grow the car counts for the B Mod division through the rest of the season. While the car count has constantly been steadily increasing, the Shootout helped pull in new drivers, several who would appear back at the track again before the end of the year. This, combined with the quality of racing seen in the Shootout, made this my preferred choice for the Eagle River Speedway Best Race of 2019.
Honestly, almost any race from any of the track’s divisions could have filled his spot. I can’t express how great the racing was in all of the divisions at Eagle River this summer. If you need a track to visit in 2020, this is a great one to check off your list.
Wildest Moment: Blake Hartman Flips, Recovers to Win both Race and Championship
Heading into the final night of the year, Blake Hartman had virtually clinched the Junior Micro Sprint championship. Regardless of his result, the title would be his. As the laps ticked away, Hartman and Josh Nevoraski tussled for the lead. Heading into the third turn late in the running, the two drivers split a lapped car. After passing the car, the two drivers made contact and went spinning. Hartman’s car hooked and flipped onto its side. Blake was okay inside the car, so track crews righted it and he went on to not only finish the race, but win it as well.
That’s Gotta Hurt Moment:
(Tie) B Mod Shootout Pile Up & Jason Zdroik Slams the Wall (No Picture): In our pick for Race of the Year, a grinding crash collected multiple cars in the fourth turn (Below). All drivers were uninjured in the incident.
The other crash that made us wince happened late in the season when Jason Zdroik dynamited the frontstretch wall exiting turn four. He, too, was uninjured.
Dominant Drivers (Most Wins in Respective Division): Tommie Springer, Rod Snellenberger, Keith Troutman, Jason Zdroik, Ashley Schoone.
Make sure to keep an eye out for more of our Best of 2019 Series from the rest of the tracks we visited this summer, as well as a Best of 2019 Photo Edition. Thank you all for the support this summer, and we'll see you at a track soon.
By Todd Rose