Becker goes back-to-back for Challenge Cup 19 win

PHOTOS BY MIKE CARROLL/PLAINSMAN In the upper photo, Chad Becker of Aberdeen, Gary Brown Jr. of Brandon and Trevor Walsh of Watertown battle for position during a WISSOTA late model heat race on Saturday at Dakota State Fair Speedway. In the lower photo, Adam Brotherton of Huron leads Scott Tyrrell of Rapid City and Dawson Zabel of Selby through turns one and two during their Midwest modified heat race on Saturday.

HURON — The hot streak continued for “The Hotshoe” on Saturday night at Dakota State Fair Speedway.

After earning a starting spot on outside of the second row for the 40-lap feature race, Chad Becker of Aberdeen powered to the front on the second lap and led the rest of the way to claim the $10,000 top prize during Challenge Cup 19.

“This MB Custom was on point, the Pro Power pulled hard, we come on to some stuff and that’s good,” said Becker, who has won during his past three appearance at the Huron oval. “I got to the front, which I wanted to do, and laid some good laps down. It was smooth and fast, so I had a blast.”

Through passing points earned in a pair of heat races, the top eight drivers earned a spot in the redraw for starting positions in the feature race for the sixth event on the Structural Buildings WISSOTA Late Model Challenge Series schedule.

Eric Mass of Rapid City drew the top starting position with Curt Gelling of Aberdeen grabbing the second spot on the outside of the front row.

Jeff Massingill of Keewatin, Minn., started third, while Becker started fourth and was followed by Jake Redetzke of Eau Claire, Wis., Dustin Arthur of St. Lawrence, Josh Skorczewski of Aberdeen and Scott Ward of Watertown.

Mass managed to lead the opening lap, but Becker moved to the front of the 26-car field on the second lap.

With Becker solidly in control, the leaders reached lapped traffic on lap eight. Mass was left to battle with Gelling for the second spot.

The first caution of the race appeared at lap 17, allowing the rest of the field to pull up on Becker’s bumper once again.

While the restart didn’t do much to slow Becker’s pursuit of the win, it did allow Gelling to make his way around Mass for the second spot. Mass settled into third, where he would stay until the second and final yellow flag of the race waved 10 laps later.

Mass capatilized on another opportunity and was able to regain the second spot on the restart with 14 laps remaining.

“The first restart I picked the bottom and figured I could go across the bottom and slide back up into second and I just botched the restart and couldn’t do it,” Mass said. “The second one, I just figured I had to get it down, because that was probably a $2,500 pass so that was a pretty big deal.

“Then I kind of rode it out towards the end and that was a pretty big deal,” he said. “It’s so hot outside, the engine was running hot and I was just trying not to abuse things.”

Becker went unchallenged the final 14 laps to collect his 25th career win at DSFS speedway and the big money that came with it.

“This will be my fourth $10K check, so I’ve been doing pretty good,” Becker said “I want to thank all my sponsors and family, we couldn’t do it without all of our sponsors, so that’s a big thing.

“I also want to thank Orville for putting these things on. He’s awesome,” he said. “I can’t imagine him not being around here. And the fans, thanks for coming out.”

With the runner-up spot, Mass turned in one of the better finishes of his career at the Huron oval.  

“I ran a lot of top fives — fifths, sixths and sevenths. I am always good at the end, it was just a matter of having a good starting spot to begin with,” Mass said. “Everything fell into place finally. It was a tough couple nights and things finally worked out.”

Gelling would finish third, followed by Skorczewski and Cole Searing of Huron, who started ninth and battled some of WISSOTA’s heavy hitters throughout the race to secure the top-5 finish.

The WISSOTA Midwest modified division served as the support class for the late models on Saturday and also found a familiar face in Victory Lane at the end of the 15-lap feature race.

Adam Brotherton of Huron, who won during Thursday’s event at the speedway, held off Tracy Johnson of Lake Preston for his third straight victory and 13th overall at his hometown track.

Brotherton started ninth in the 22-car field that took the green flag to start the race, but was able to move closer to the front when some of the car in front of him were involved in a multi-car pile up on the first lap.

After wreckage was cleared, polesitter Scott Tyrrell of Rapid City led the first two laps. Britt Williams of Ft. Pierre, who started alongside Tyrrell on the front row, used the outside to claim the top spot for the third and fourth laps before the field was slowed for the second and final caution of the race on the sixth lap.

The restart provided Brotherton the opportunity he’d been looking for as he ducked to the inside of the track in turn four to power past Tyrrell and Williams for the top.

Tracy Johnson moved into the second spot the following lap and began his pursuit of the leader, which ended up just short on the final lap.

Scott Hansen of Garden City, who started 13th, was third, followed by Lane Johnson of Miller, who worked his way back to fourth after causing the melee on the opening lap and being sent to the back of the field.

Williams was fifth, followed by Cory Berquist of Huron and Tyrrell.

The third of four events scheduled this season at Dakota State Fair Speedway will take place on July 1 and include the public fireworks display to kick off the Fourth of July celebration. The final night of racing at the Huron oval is slated for Aug. 21.

Both of the final racing events will feature all five classes — WISSOTA street stocks, Midwest modifieds, super stocks, modifieds and late models.

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