Bleess’ Awesome Autumn Continues With Grant Junghans Memorial Win

Photos by Todd Boyd

On a history-making night at the 81 Speedway where crew members, fans and racers honored the late Grant Junghans and paid tribute to hall-of-fame promoter C. Ray Hall, a young driver from Chatfield, Minnesota, named Jacob Bleess forever etched his name into dirt modified racing lore.

With the champagne still not dry on the Featherlite Fall Jamboree trophy he took home on September 21, Bleess gave the audience in Park City, Kansas, an encore performance with a wire-to-wire victory at the 4th Annual Grant Junghans Memorial.

Following a heat race win, Bleess revealed his formula for success in the main event: “Stay consistent, keep the tires on it and not get passed.”

The Rest Of The Formula

The racing surface was spectacular and racy all weekend but locked down right away in Saturday’s feature race and put passing at a premium.

Drawing the pole position was the one box Bleess checked just to be sure.

“Got that clean air right away and knew if I had the lead and just quarter-throttle the whole time and keep the tires under it—I didn’t really see that many people blow tires—so I knew I was pretty good for how much I was saving,” a smiling Bleess said during his victory lane celebration. “It was a good night.”

Race For The Lead

Bleess, who finished seventh in Friday night’s Chisholm Trail Showdown nightcap, beat reigning World of Outlaws Late Model Series champ Brandon Sheppard into the first corner and that was all she wrote.

“When you’re out front leading, you can set the pace and the guys behind you are usually going a little harder than you,” Bleess added. “No one was blowing tires so I knew we were going to be okay.”

Remembering one of the most popular USMTS racers ever, Saturday’s Grant Junghans Memorial main event paid $10,002 to the winner while each of the 24 main event starters earned no less than $1,202.

Bleess was 22 years old when he took the checkered flag Saturday night but will celebrate his 23rd birthday after midnight on the same day that Junghans was born. He would have been 31 on Sunday.

The racing world lost Junghans on March 12, 2016, after a courageous six-year battle with a rare form of neuroendocrine cancer. The Grant Junghans Memorial is an opportunity for his family, friends, fans and fellow competitors to remember the good times and racing memories shared in his 27 years with us.

Junghans was first diagnosed with cancer in February of 2010. Despite on-again off-again chemotherapy treatments and numerous surgeries, he never lost his sense of humor, fighting spirit or natural-born tendency to be decent to others.

He was also the 2009 USMTS Rookie of the Year and that award has since been renamed in his honor.

Second Career Win

Saturday’s triumph was the second career USMTS win for Bleess. His first came 55 days earlier at the Deer Creek Speedway during the 21st Annual Featherlite Fall Jamboree.

Sheppard finished second Saturday while another Lucas Schott, who topped the inaugural Grant Junghans Memorial in 2016, came home in third.

Tyler Wolff held off the 2017 event winner and reigning USMTS National Champion Rodney Sanders for fourth while Tanner Mullens, Dereck Ramirez, Darron Fuqua, Ryan Gustin, and Chase Junghans rounded out the top 10.

A former USMTS competitor, Chase Junghans is the younger brother of Grant Junghans.

Saturday was also the final event as owner/operator of the 81 Speedway for award-winning promoter C. Ray Hall, ending a historic 58-year run at the helm.

Friends of dirt track racing that stepped up to support this event include A&A Electric & Underground, Malvern Bank, MB Customs Race Cars, Ramirez Motorsports, Rancho Milagro, Real Racing Wheels, Rick Beebe Heating & Air Conditioning and Shop Quik Convenience Stores.

Lap Sponsors

Lap sponsors for the 50-lap main event include A One Automotive, Aceco Rental & Sales, AJ’s Café, BMJ Enterprises, Broadway Truck & Auto, Caney Valley Speedway, Designs Unlimited, Dirt Life Illustrated, Dirt Monthly Magazine, Doherty Brothers Construction, Duvall Electric, First Class Septic, FYE Motorsports, GW Performance, Hacienda Mechanical, Hass Horizontal, Hoker Trucking, Hughes Racing Chassis, Humboldt Speedway, Mesilla Valley Transportation, Mississippi Thunder Speedway, Monarch Motor Speedway, MSRMafia.com, New Point Lighting & Design, Nick, Larry and Blonde Bomber, OFI Performance, RaceKnowHow.com, Roy and Becky Thackery, S&S Fishing & Rental, SouthernStockyards.com in memory of John Stand, Vado Speedway Park, VanderBuilt Race Cars/Gresham Services and Wichita Tank Racing.

To learn more about the United States Modified Touring Series (USMTS), visit USMTS.com online or call (515) 832-7944.

OFFICIAL RESULTS

United States Modified Touring Series (USMTS)
4th Annual Grant Junghans Memorial
81 Speedway, Park City, Kansas
Saturday, November 16, 2019

Showing finishing position, starting position in parentheses, car number, driver, hometown and money won. The top 12 in heat race passing points advance to the Casey’s General Stores “A” Main.

SIMPSON PERFORMANCE PRODUCTS HEAT RACE #1 (8 laps):
1. (4) 21 Jacob Bleess, Chatfield, Minn.
2. (2) 15W Alex Williamson, Rushford, Minn.
3. (6) 18 Chase Junghans, Manhattan, Kan.
4. (1) 25C Johnny Cammon, Wichita, Kan.
5. (10) 52 Ryan McAninch, Hutchinson, Kan.
6. (7) 4RJ Jared Russell, Wagoner, Okla.
7. (3) 86 Eric Main, Hutchinson, Kan.
8. (8) 06 Andrew Wallace, Wichita, Kan.
9. (5) 23 Justin Rexwinkle, South Coffeyville, Okla.
10. (9) 15 Blake Davis, South Coffeyville, Okla.

FAST SHAFTS HEAT RACE #2 (8 laps):
1. (3) 17 Mike Striegel, Wheatland, Mo.
2. (2) 81 Cody Simpson, Quinlan, Texas
3. (4) 9T Cole Traugott, Woodward, Okla.
4. (9) 34 Kale Westover, Blair, Okla.
5. (5) 96JR Jon Herring Jr.., Woodward, Okla.
6. (6) 7 Treyton Gann, Ponca City, Okla.
7. (1) A2 Randy Wilson, Wichita, Kan.
8. (10) 11N Gene Nicholas, Lowell, Ark.
9. (8) 32R Daniel Richey, Wichita, Kan.
10. (7) 51T Tim Thomas, Fargo, N.D.

EDELBROCK HEAT RACE #3 (8 laps):
1. (7) 02 Tanner Mullens, Wichita, Kan.
2. (8) 55 Ryan Gustin, Marshalltown, Iowa
3. (9) 87 Darron Fuqua, Mayetta, Kan.
4. (3) 9R Brody Robe, Wichita, Kan.
5. (4) 00 Cody Jolly, Jasper, Mo.
6. (10) 32B Josh Lanterman, Derby, Kan.
7. (2) 3 Arne Anderson, Watertown, S.D.
8. (6) 30 Tad Davis, Chanute, Kan.
9. (5) 29 Keith Hammett, Brookland, Ark.
DNS – 9 Andy Eickhoff, Albion, Neb.

MSD PERFROMANCE HEAT RACE #4 (8 laps):
1. (5) 4B Brandon Sheppard, New Berlin, Ill.
2. (6) 20 Rodney Sanders, Happy, Texas
3. (9) 4R Dereck Ramirez, Woodward, Okla.
4. (4) 28 Wendall Bolden, Greenville, Texas
5. (8) 65 Tyler Davis, Haysville, Kan.
6. (2) 77D Edward Leecy, Derby, Kan.
7. (1) 37J Ronnie Burkhardt, Topeka, Kan.
8. (7) 52C Alex Cammon, Wichita, Kan.
9. (3) 5F Drake Findley, Bryant, Ark.
10. (10) 0K Kendall Kemp, Maize, Kan.

VP RACING FUELS HEAT RACE #5 (8 laps):
1. (3) 4W Tyler Wolff, Fayetteville, Ark.
2. (8) 69 Lucas Schott, Chatfield, Minn.
3. (4) 57 Duke Erickson, Sioux Falls, S.D.
4. (5) 01A Drew Armstrong, Alexander, Ark.
5. (1) 1 Kirby Robe, Wichita, Kan.
6. (6) 2G Brandon Givens, Perry, Okla.
7. (2) 5D Devon Havlik, Iowa Falls, Iowa
8. (7) 22B Rick Beebe, Shawnee, Kan.
9. (9) 22N Kevin Newell, Wichita, Kan.

REAL RACING WHEELS “B” MAIN #1 (15 laps, top 6 advances):
1. (2) 9T Cole Traugott, Woodward, Okla.
2. (3) 52 Ryan McAninch, Hutchinson, Kan.
3. (1) 81 Cody Simpson, Quinlan, Texas
4. (8) 4RJ Jared Russell, Wagoner, Okla.
5. (16) 29 Keith Hammett, Brookland, Ark.
6. (4) 65 Tyler Davis, Haysville, Kan.
7. (7) 00 Cody Jolly, Jasper, Mo., $152
8. (6) 32B Josh Lanterman, Derby, Kan., $152
9. (5) 9R Brody Robe, Wichita, Kan., $152
10. (18) 51T Tim Thomas, Fargo, N.D., $152
11. (9) 77D Edward Leecy, Derby, Kan., $152
12. (17) 22N Kevin Newell, Wichita, Kan., $152
13. (13) 06 Andrew Wallace, Wichita, Kan., $152
14. (12) 5D Devon Havlik, Iowa Falls, Iowa, $152
15. (10) 86 Eric Main, Hutchinson, Kan., $152
16. (14) 52C Alex Cammon, Wichita, Kan., $152
17. (15) 23 Justin Rexwinkle, South Coffeyville, Okla., $152
18. (11) 3 Arne Anderson, Watertown, S.D., $152
19. (19) 0K Kendall Kemp, Maize, Kan., $152

REAL RACING WHEELS “B” MAIN #2 (15 laps, top 6 advances):
1. (1) 34 Kale Westover, Blair, Okla.
2. (3) 01A Drew Armstrong, Alexander, Ark.
3. (14) 22B Rick Beebe, Shawnee, Kan.
4. (9) 2G Brandon Givens, Perry, Okla.
5. (2) 57 Duke Erickson, Sioux Falls, S.D.
6. (5) 28 Wendall Bolden, Greenville, Texas
7. (12) 11N Gene Nicholas, Lowell, Ark., $152
8. (7) 1 Kirby Robe, Wichita, Kan., $152
9. (6) 96JR Jon Herring Jr.., Woodward, Okla., $152
10. (13) 30 Tad Davis, Chanute, Kan., $152
11. (17) 15 Blake Davis, South Coffeyville, Okla., $152
12. (4) 25C Johnny Cammon, Wichita, Kan., $152
13. (15) 32R Daniel Richey, Wichita, Kan., $152
14. (8) 7 Treyton Gann, Ponca City, Okla., $152
15. (11) 37J Ronnie Burkhardt, Topeka, Kan., $152
16. (18) 9 Andy Eickhoff, Albion, Neb., $152
17. (16) 5F Drake Findley, Bryant, Ark., $152
18. (10) A2 Randy Wilson, Wichita, Kan., $152

CASEY’S GENERAL STORES “A” MAIN (50 laps):
1. (1) 21 Jacob Bleess, Chatfield, Minn., $10,103
2. (2) 4B Brandon Sheppard, New Berlin, Ill., $5305
3. (6) 69 Lucas Schott, Chatfield, Minn., $4103
4. (3) 4W Tyler Wolff, Fayetteville, Ark., $3305
5. (5) 20 Rodney Sanders, Happy, Texas, $2805
6. (4) 02 Tanner Mullens, Wichita, Kan., $2303
7. (10) 4R Dereck Ramirez, Woodward, Okla., $2103
8. (9) 87 Darron Fuqua, Mayetta, Kan., $1802
9. (7) 55 Ryan Gustin, Marshalltown, Iowa, $2005
10. (11) 18 Chase Junghans, Manhattan, Kan., $2006
11. (13) 9T Cole Traugott, Woodward, Okla., $1704
12. (12) 15W Alex Williamson, Rushford, Minn., $1604
13. (14) 34 Kale Westover, Blair, Okla., $1504
14. (15) 52 Ryan McAninch, Hutchinson, Kan., $1393
15. (19) 4RJ Jared Russell, Wagoner, Okla., $1383
16. (21) 29 Keith Hammett, Brookland, Ark., $1272
17. (23) 65 Tyler Davis, Haysville, Kan., $1464
18. (8) 17 Mike Striegel, Wheatland, Mo., $1252
19. (22) 57 Duke Erickson, Sioux Falls, S.D., $1242
20. (18) 22B Rick Beebe, Shawnee, Kan., $1232
21. (16) 01A Drew Armstrong, Alexander, Ark., $1424
22. (24) 28 Wendall Bolden, Greenville, Texas, $1414
23. (20) 2G Brandon Givens, Perry, Okla., $1202
24. (17) 81 Cody Simpson, Quinlan, Texas, $1303

Lap Leader: Bleess 1-50.
Total Laps Led: Bleess 50.

About the author

USMTS Admin

The United States Modified Touring Series (USMTS) is a fast growing and very popular open-wheel dirt Modified touring series in the United States.
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