It’s been two years since Mike Sterling found himself in the Winner’s Circle at Brainerd International Raceway, so he savored the moment on Sunday, despite his frustrations with his car.
Sterling, who has spent most of the last five years chasing Brian Mahnke in the King Street Class, laid claim to the class title last weekend during the 6th Annual Street Car Showdown, which was the first race in the three-race Muscle Car Series.
Sterling is the first to admit that he benefited from some good fortune. Mahnke, for example, had car issues and wasn’t able to race Sunday during eliminations. He has been nearly unbeatable in the last five years, having swept the series’ King Street Class two of the last three years and winning 10 finals, with four runners up finishes in the series’ five-year existence.
Sterling was able to overcome car issues as well Sunday. His yellow 1966 Chevelle wasn’t running well, and it’s one of the few naturally aspirated cars left in the King Street Class, so it needs to be performing at a high level to be competitive, he said.
“The car was iffy all weekend,” he said. “I wasn’t real happy. I’ve got a lot of work to do (before the next series race, the
PleasureLand RV Show & Go). We’re trying some new stuff so we’ll see what happens.”
Sterling beat Ryan Baker in the finals with a time of 8.237 seconds and a speed of 164.97 mph. Baker ran 8.779 seconds at 152.95 mph. It was the first finals appearance for Baker and equally gratifying for Sterling, who helped Baker build his 1970 Chevelle.
Bill Krech and Jake Delmonico picked up where they left off last year, by winning the Pro Outlaw and Outlaw classes, respectively. Both won series championships last year, with
Delmonico sweeping the series.
Krech was the top qualifier with a wicked run of 6.463 seconds and 214.04 mph. Krech and his 1964 Camaro knocked off Rick Schmidt in the finals with a pass of 6.500 seconds and 212.56 mph. Schmidt ran a 6.689-second, 211.83-mph pass with his 2011 Mustang in the semifinals but could only muster a 8.132 and 116.54 in the finals.
Delmonico may have benefited from some misfortune in the finals against Bubba Romanyskyn and his ’67 Camaro, which had the fastest speed of the weekend at 200.83 mph in the semifinals. Delmonico’s top speed had been 174.87 mph, so he had his work cut out for him. But Romanyskyn’s car fouled and then broke on the final pass, handing over the title to Delmonico and his ’68 Camaro.
In the Real Street Unlimited Class, defending champ Jim Ripley raced his way to the finals in the last six straight series races, but didn’t compete Sunday. That opened the door for Ian McNiven, who won a very close finals race with Ryan Lawrence. McNiven’s time was 9.037 seconds and Lawrence’s was 9.041 seconds.
In Real Street Natural, defending champ Matt Sathre’s streak of eight straight finals appearances was broken Sunday. He posted the top speed of 157.19 mph but wasn’t able to race in the eliminations. Kelly Rutz filled the void by winning the finals rounds over Bill Meyer with a run of 9.331 seconds and 145.77 mph. Meyer ran 9.991 seconds and 134.38 mph.
The following are the final two rounds of eliminations for each class in the 6th Annual Street Car Showdown. To view the points standings, click here.
Finals: Bill Krech of Inver Grove Heights def. Rick Schmidt of Dickinson, N.D.
Semifinals: Krech def. Dick Malik of Blaine; Schmidt def. Ray Fuchs of Bowman, N.D.
Finals: Jake Delmonico of St. Paul Park def. Bubba Romanyskyn of Belfield, N.D.
Semifinals: Delmonico def. Vern Laurin Jr. of Duluth; Romanyskyn def. Wayne Bellanger of Robbinsdale
Finals: Mike Sterling of Oak Grove def. Ryan Baker of Isanti
Semifinals: Sterling def. Jason Geiger of Hanska; Baker def. Chris Orr of Superior, Wis.
Real Street Unlimited
Finals: Ian McNiven of East Selkirk, Manitoba def. Ryan Lawrence of Red Wing
Semifinals: McNiven def. Bill Rolow of Crosslake; Lawrence def. Jad Carlson of Hermantown
Real Street Natural
Finals: Kelly Rutz of Randall def. Bill Meyer of Andover
Semifinals: Rutz def. Darrell Godbout of Carlton; Meyer had a bye
Finals: Todd Malik of Andover def. Jason Bergeson of Cottage Grove
Semifinals: Malik def. Randy Belehar of Detroit Lakes; Bergeson had a bye
660 Outlaw Street
Finals: Dale Peterson of Big Lake def. David Senderhauf of Zimmerman
Strip Eliminator 1
Finals: Kevin Sand of Cambridge def. Roger Peterson of Menahga
Semifinals: Sand def. Kerry Hemenway of Park Rapids; Peterson had a bye
Strip Eliminator 2
Finals: Logan Ellenson of Park Rapids def. Bill Larson of Eveleth
Semifinals: Ellenson had a bye; Larson def. Guy Stengel of Blaine
Strip Eliminator 3
Finals: Cameron Novak of Rice def. Gary Tesar of Medina
Semifinals: Novak def. Don Haataja of Brainerd; Tesar def. Gondy Hanson of Iron
Finals: Tim Anderson of Carlton def. Justin Olafson of Park Rapids
Semifinals: Anderson def. Pete Trombley of Cokato; Olafson had a bye
Finals: Chris Moormen of St. Michael def. Keith Sand of Cambridge
Semifinals: Moormen def. Dan Boyce of Minnetonka; Sand def. Bill Diers of Clear Lake
Index Class Champion
Finals: Jesse Haugesag of Prior Lake def. Brad Nybo of Coon Rapids
Semifinals: Haugesag had a bye; Nybo def. Zach Stengel of Blaine
Finals: Eric James of St. Cloud def. Austin Siemers of Milaca
Semifinals: James had a bye; Siemers def. Pat Huebner of Bloomington
Finals: Chad Hoffman of Lafayette def. Kevin Sand of Cambridge
Semifinals: Hoffman def. Dave Sash of Duluth; Sand def. Dave Imgrund of Brainerd
Finals: Mike Hammerstrom of Bemidji def. Darwyne Hansen of Brooklyn Park
Semifinals: Hammerstrom had a bye; Hansen def. Ryan Stellmach of Willow River
Finals: Jesse Haugesag of Prior Lake def. Bryan Hansen of Minneapolis
Semifinals: Haugesag def. Russ Storms of Cologne; Hansen had a bye
Finals: Zach Stengel of Blaine def. Ben Brooks of New Richmond, Wis.
Semifinals: Stengel had a bye; Brooks def. Douglas Brown of Waterville
Finals: Justin Iverson of Saginaw def. Nate Hubert of Ramsey
Semifinals: Iverson def. Jeff Purdham of Albertville; Hubert def. Ron Wilkins of Brainerd
Finals: Bruce Morley of Brainerd def. Natalie Appleby-Laurin of Duluth
Semifinals: Morley def. Lonnie Ellenson of Park Rapids; Appleby-Laurin had a bye
Finals: KC Brager of Pillager def. Aaron Hall of Rogers
Semifinals: Brager def. Logan Ellenson of Park Rapids; Hall had a bye
Finals: Brad Nybo of Coon Rapids def. Gary Tesar of Medina
Semifinals: Nybo had a bye; Tesar def. Jessica Purdham of Albertville