Race like a girl

ESCANABA – The Upper Peninsula International Raceway held its third annual Race Like a Girl event with local Girl Scouts Saturday evening.

The event, the seventh of the 2014 Season sponsored by the Bays de Noc Convention and Visitors Bureau, saw great racing action, along with the appearance of Reagan May, racing on dirt for the first time in six years.

The racing slate began with the Street Stock division running a make-up feature from the rained-out June 21 event. When the checkered flag fell, Tyler Winling, driving the number 5 car usually wheeled by Paul Wagner, won the 20 lap feature. Behind Winling were Ron Jenshak in second and Kurt Schwalbach in third.

The night’s showcase division, the 500 Micro Sprints, ran their heat race next. The top two in points coming into the night, Kristy Peterson and Jesse Liss, finished in that order after 10 laps were run. Third place went to Kyle Getchell. Peterson escaped disaster early in the race when she made contact with a spinning lapped car, recovering very nicely to claim the win.

Next up on the agenda were the 600 Sprints to run two heat races. Heat 1 was won by Christian Groleau and Heat 2 went to Jeff Ives.

The Street Stocks came back for the second time in the evening to run two heat races. The first heat was won by Tyler Winling, making his record for the night 2-0. Rob Kirkpatrick came across the line in second, with Zach Wennesheimer third. Oddly enough, none of these drivers took the white flag in the top three, however, the top two cars of Jeff Sullivan and Kurt Schwalbach spun, opening up the top two positions. Heat 2 featured a duel to the finish between the top two in points Ron Jenshak and Rob Willis. Jenshak edged out Willis to win.

The kids came out next in the Junior Micro Sprint Division. Points leader Ty Springer was not in attendance, leading to a guaranteed new points leader. After a heated battle, rookie Avry Corrigan took the checkered flag, followed by Logan Getzloff in second and Joey Stankowicz in third.

Making their way out next the Modifieds for two heat races. Asphalt and TUNDRA Series racer from De Pere, Wis., Reagan May made her return to dirt track racing after a six year hiatus in the second heat, racing in a car that NASCAR driver Kenny Wallace raced in last month. Heat 1 was won by Lonnie Dalgord and Heat 2 was taken by Matt Valiquette. Second was points leader and 2013 Track Champion Dale Peterson, and third was Reagan May who recovered from an early spin.

The final heats of the night were run by the Sport Fours. Heat 1 was captured by Randy DeGrave, Heat 2 was won by Tyler Corwin and the third and final heat was won by Kirk Millette.

After on-track introductions of all of the lady racers; Justina Liss, Hattie Bourdeau, Stephanie Wolf, Kristy Peterson, Jodi Borchert, Maggie Martin and Rhianna Carne the 500 Micro Sprint drivers, the Showcase Feature for the 500 Sprints went green. When all was said and done, Kristy Peterson went to Victory Lane for the fifth time this year. Behind her in second was Paul Hosking, and in third, a great performance by young Justina Liss.

A last chance qualifying race for the Sport Fours saw a familiar face in Victory Lane with Justin Lauscher, qualifying him for the feature. Coming across the line with a great run in second holding off all challengers was Hattie Bourdeau, awarding her the second transfer spot.

Jeff Ives went undefeated on the night, winning both his heat, and the 600 Micro Sprint Feature. The feature ran without any major incidents until the last lap. Points leader Josh Bartel’s car broke down and spun to the infield as he ran in second place. Bartel was credited with last place, making for a major shakeup in the points. Christian Groleau, and Jim Groleau, both passed Bartel and ended up in second and third in that order.

The Junior Micro Sprints ran their feature next. Dylan Larsen of Shiocton, Wis. claimed the checkered flag after a battle with both Avry Corrigan and Logan Getzloff. Corrigan and Getzloff came home in second and third respectively.

In the Mighty Modifieds feature, Reagan May ran into an early issue as her right front tire blew, sending her to the pits. After being behind the wall for several laps, Reagan came back out and finished the race. Winning the feature was Matt Valiquette, with Dale Peterson in second. Third place with another great run was Lonnie Dalgord.

The final Feature to run was the Sport Fours’ feature race. The transfer drivers, Justin Lauscher and Hattie Bourdeau, both worked their way through the field fighting for top five positions throughout the race. Lauscher was able to work his way to the front and win the feature. Second place was Kirk Millette, and third was claimed by Nick Leisner.

UPIR’s Race Like a Girl Night was packed full of action, and also showcased the talent of the lady drivers at UPIR. UPIR would like to thank Reagan May for her appearance, along with Bays de Noc Convention and Visitors’ Bureau for sponsoring Reagan’s appearance and for their continued support.

UPIR would also like to thank all of the other sponsors for their ongoing support, David Tovar and 3D Racing for donating the bikes and you, the race fans for supporting local racing in Escanaba.

UPIR goes back to racing Aug. 17 sponsored by the Island Resort and Casino during the U.P. State Fair. Grandstand admission is free and opens at 5 p.m. EDT, with green flag racing beginning at 6.