Friday Night Under the Lights

Thursday, January 26, 2017

(January 26, 2017) - Nothing quite beats racing under the lights, which is exactly how Round 3 of the TLR Cup Tour went down during Friday Night Thunder at the AMSOIL World Championship Derby in Eagle River. Miraculously, the banked half-mile track withstood unusually warm weather and mid-January rain for drivers to put on a great show. 

Pro Champ 440 drivers completed time trials on Thursday night to determine the sixteen fastest sleds, which would race through two qualifying heats on Friday night to make their way into the 16-lap final. Cardell Potter timed in as the fastest sled, followed by Matt Schulz and Colt Dellandrea - pilot of the only Arctic Cat in the class.

When it came time for the final on Friday night, it was the #13 Polaris of Nick Van Strydonk who was first off the line and set the race pace, with Matt Schulz close behind. Halfway through the race, the first red flag was thrown and the field would be reset. Once again Van Strydonk got the holeshot and was followed this time by the #53 of Colt Dellandrea. With another red flag thrown a few laps later, the field lined up for another staggered restart but Dellandrea and Potter jumped the line and were ordered to restart from the back.

The green flag lifted again and it looked like it was Van Strydonk's race to win, when his sled lurched off the line and came to a hault - the victim of a blown belt. With his machine safely out of the race line, the race continued and Gunnar Sterne, driver of the #220 Ski-Doo was now the race leader. Potter charged hard from the back to put pressure on the #38 Ski-Doo of Schulz and would make the pass for second with a few laps to spare. 

Sterne would take his second ever Pro Champ TLR Cup Tour win, along with the pole position for Sunday's WC. Potter and Schulz finished second and third, respectively.  Nick Van Strydonk went on to be named the World Champion, with Potter as the runner-up and Sterne in third.

In the ever growing Outlaw 600 class, a full field put on nothing short of a great show for fans all weekend and in the TLR Cup points race Friday night. Coming around corner four for the rolling start, New Hampshire's Tim Hibbard asserted the lead in his #32 machine. Hibbard has won in Eagle River before and his win on Friday resulted in his first TLR Cup Tour points for the season. Trever Spokely drove his #65 Outlaw to the second position, which pushed him up to the top spot on the points board. Dave Levra, #66, rounded out the top three.  

Factory Stock 600, the newest class on the TLR roster, is certainly gaining traction and turning heads as drivers race sleds just like those you ride on the trail. Ross Erdman, driver of the #311 Arctic Cat, earned his second win in the series Friday night, asserting a slight lead for the #1 spot in points. James Hicks finished second and Bill DeVault earned his second podium finish of the season and now sits second in class points.

Up next is the Wausau 525 Snowmobile Championship this weekend, featuring Rounds 4 and 5 of the Tour. 

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