‘Open the flood gates’: Klingele wins first sport mod feature of Adams County Speedway season


QUINCY — Tanner Klingele has come oh-so-close to that elusive first sport mod title, but has yet to raise a championship trophy.

Four times in the last nine years he has finished runner-up in the points standings at Adams County Speedway. He has knocked on the door virtually every season since the inception of the sport mod class in 2011. 

This might be the year that Klingele finally knocks that proverbial door down.

“Open the flood gates, baby, this is the first of many,” Klingele said shortly after Sunday night’s triumph in an 18-lap feature that kicked off the series’ points racing.

Klingele emerged victorious in a three-way struggle with Reed Wolfmeyer and defending sport mod champ Logan Cumby. In all likelihood, this was the first of what will likely be numerous sheet-metal skirmishes between those three drivers, who are the consensus favorites to battle for this year’s track title.

Klingele, who managed to stay in front of the field flag-to-flag, saw what had been a sizable advantage whittled down considerably as the front of the field worked its way through lapped traffic over the last third of the race. Wolfmeyer and Cumby had been able to close within striking distance.

“I figured I was a sitting duck when I got into the lappers (lapped cars) and Reed and Logan were closing in on me,” Klingele said.

Klingele, who started on the pole, was eventually able to withstand all the volleys from Wolfmeyer and Cumby, mainly by utilizing his familiar low line. He also pointed to his good fortune of starting in front of the pack. 

“The easiest place to win a race from is the front row,” Klingele said.

The feature victory was Klingele’s ninth since the track reopened in 2022, tops among all sport mod drivers.

Other feature winner Sunday night were Jamie Wilson in the crate late models, Austin Becerra in the modifieds, Robert Cottom in stock cars and Jaden DeLonjay in 4-Cylinders.

Wilson was able to get past eventual runner-up Jason Perry on the 22nd lap of the 25-circuit crate late finale and power to his first feature victory since July 23, 2023.

“You talk about fun … man, that was a race,” Wilson said. “Jason’s a tough guy to get around.”

Perry, who won the 2012 track crown, wound up second ahead of Sam Halstead, Spencer Havermale and Jackson Frankel. Both Havermale and Frankel are series rookies.

Wilson figures to be one of the top contenders for the crate late title, a points race that is officially wide open after defending champ Tommy Elston was forced from the 18-car field early in the feature. A mechanical issue sidelined Elston, who had to settle for a last-place finish and finds himself starting the points season in a 42-point hole.

Jamie Wilson (75 points), Perry (70), Halstead (65), Havermale (60), Frankel (55) and Vance Wilson (50) are atop the early leaderboarrd.

Two-time defending modified champ Becerra bounced back from a disastrous opening week that saw him finish 20th in the May 5 feature. Becerra led Sunday night’s main event from start to finish, turning back Dave Wietholder, Chase Holland and Mike Vanderiet and Jacob Rexing in a strong 20-car lineup.

Wietholder mounted a couple of late challenges, but could not get past Becerra, who said he was well aware of the challengers coming up behind him in the latter stages of the race.

“I knew they were getting close to me at the end, but the car was good on the bottom tonight and I just stayed there,” said Becerra, who has won a series-best 16 features since 2022.

Wietholder (135) maintains a comfortable points lead over Vanderiet (108), Becerra (106) and Rexing (97) after two weeks. Wietholder, a four-time series champ and two-time runner-up, is seeking his first modified title since 2019.

Cottom, who won eight features in each 2023 and 2022, chalked up No. 1 this season by leading all 15 laps of the stock finale. Rudy Zaragoza, the 2022 series champ and 2023 runner-up, finished second ahead of Rexing and Rickey Frankel III.

Cottom, who struggled on opening night a week earlier when he finished a distant fifth, was admittedly relieved.

“I didn’t have a good night last week,” he said. “Tonight was a lot smoother.”

Rexing (78), Cottom (76), Frankel (76), Zaragoza (76) and Levi Long (71) pace a tight early season points race in the stocks.

Jaden DeLonjay’s victory in the 4-Cylinder division was his first since May 28, 2023. His win at least temporarily derailed the series dominance of his brother, two-time defending champ Jeffrey DeLonjay, who had won 14 of the previous 15 4-Cylinder features dating to midway through the 2023 campaign.

“I’d just like to thank Jeffrey for not bringing his (regular) car tonight,” Jaden DeLonjay said.

Jeffrey DeLonjay finished fifth Sunday night.

Following Jaden DeLonjay, who led all 15 feature laps, across the finish line were Dyllan Bonk, Matthew Mackey and Travis DeMint.

Leading the points parade are Jaden DeLonjay (145), Jeffrey DeLonjay (130), Bonk (125), DeMint (120) and Landon Neisen (98).

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