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“Thaw Brawl” LaSalle Speedway Saturday; Recap/photos by Stan Kalwasinski

Alberson wins LaSalle’s Thaw Brawl

By Stan Kalwasinski

LaSalle, Ill., May 8—Racing in the rain most of the way, Garrett Alberson won the 10th annual MARS Racing Series, DNJ Intermodal Services-sponsored, 60-lap Thaw Brawl dirt late model stock car special at the LaSalle Speedway Saturday evening.  The program was a makeup date for the annual racing event that was weathered out in late March.

The 32-year-old Alberson, a New Mexico native, now living in Dubuque, Iowa, wheeled the Ken Roberts Motorsports-owned, Nutrien AgSolutions/Roemer Machine & Welding/Preston Telephone Co./Done Right TV/Capri College-sponsored No. 59 to the victory that was worth $12,000 for the winning effort.

A field of 17 started the 60 lapper at the high-banked, quarter-mile, dirt oval with Brian Shirley jumping into the lead at the start.  Shirley, the Thaw Brawl winner in 2016, set the pace with Tanner English and Alberson giving chase.  English worked inside Shirley a few times with Shirley pulling away after the challenges.  Just passed the halfway mark, the first of two yellow flags flew for debris on the raceway.

On the restart, Alberson, the event’s fastest qualifier, charged by Shirley on the outside, taking the lead away from Shirley as the rain fell.  It was pretty much Alberson the rest of the way with Shirley finishing 1.318 seconds behind the winner as starter Tom White’s checkered flag flew.

English came home third with Ryan Unzicker taking fourth.  Unzicker won Friday night’s preliminary 25-lap main event for the MARS cars.  Jason Feger, Jeremiah Hurst, Travis Stemler, Bob Gardner, Ryan Weistart and Dale Markham rounded out the top 10.

“I had run the bottom and middle (of the track) pretty much trying to take care of my right rear tire,” said Alberson.  “I think the rain kind of helped my tires take back off.  It kind of fell into our favor.  I made an aggressive run on that restart.  It paid off.”

For the second night in a row, Allen Weisser of Peoria, Ill., was the winner of the $500-to-win DIRTcar modified feature race.  The race was halted and called complete after seven laps because of a heavy downpour of rain.  Hunt Gossum and Travis Kohler finished behind Weisser.  The DIRTcar street stock feature was canceled because of the rain.

The Finish:

Garrett Alberson, Brian Shirley, Tanner English, Ryan Unzicker, Jason Feger, Jeremiah Hurst, Travis Stemler, Bob Gardner, Ryan Weistart, Dale Markham, Jake Miller, Jeff Ridell, Kyle Cooper, Rich Bell, Kolby Vandenbergh, Mike Mataragas, Mike Chasteen Jr.