Kloos wins at Highland, collects first MARS win
HIGHLAND, Ill. (May 31) — Surviving a first-lap skirmish, Michael Kloos of Trenton, Ill., led every lap in the first round of the Tri-State Challenge on Thursday at Highland Speedway for his first career MARS DIRTcar Series victory and a $3,000 payday.
On a night when misting rain threatened the action, Kloos turned back El Paso, Ill., runner-up Ryan Unzicker’s final charge for the victory at the quarter-mile oval. | Slideshow
Kloos, Unzicker and polesitter Daryn Klein of Collinsville, Ill., were each involved in a first-lap caution as they went three-wide exiting turn two. Because of the multicar accident on the first lap, each driver retained their starting spots and Kloos went ahead from outside the front row on the second attempt.
Kloos and Unzicker were followed across the line by series points leader Jesse Stovall of Galena, Mo., in the Al Humphrey-owned No. 6. Kevin Cole of Christopher, Ill., and Tony Jackson Jr. of Lebanon, Mo., rounded out the top five in the first of three weekend events.
Kevin Weaver of Gibson City, Ill., was running second midway through the main event when a broken tie rod forced him out as the first retiree.
Notes: Kloos drives a Gerstner & Sons Motorsports Pierce Race Car with sponsorship from Gerstner Plumbing, M&E Auto Body, TMCI Transportation, C&K Heating and Cooling, Hank’s Bowl and CC Food Marts. ... The victory was the fifth of the season for Kloos between Highland and Belle-Clair Speedway. ... It was his first victory since Tuesday’s death of popular St. Louis-area racing announcer Mike Meurer, who famously intoned “Michael, Michael, Michael Kloos” when introducing him. ... Frankie Martin of DuQuoin, Ill., one of the night’s fast qualifiers and a previous winner this season at Highland, got into the turn-four wall in the feature but managed an eighth-place finish. ... Chilly, breezy conditions along with misting rain hampered the night’s action, but the racing action was completed. ... MARS competitors continue the Tri-State Challenge with $5,000-to-win events at Paducah (Ky.) International Raceway on Friday and Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55 in Pevely, Mo., on Saturday.
Tri-State Challenge: (1) Michael Kloos, (2) Ryan Unzicker, (3) Jesse Stovall, (4) Kevin Cole, (5) Tony Jackson Jr., (6) Jason Zobrist, (7) Chad Zobrist, (8) Frankie Martin, (9) Mike Schulte, (10) Jim Moon, (11) Clay Baumann, (12) Torin Mettille, (13) Bobby Martintoni, (14) Justin Asplin, (15) Brandon Morton, (16) Adam Tischhauser, (17) Leroy Johnson, (18) Travis Homer, (19) Daryn Klein, (20) Billy Knebel, (21) Kevin Weaver. Fast group qualifiers (among 21 cars): Martin, Weaver, Cole. Heat race winners: Klein, Kloos, Unzicker.