Stock Car Racing: Bawden surrounded by success in Mod 4 class
North Central Speedway featured a lot of racing action Saturday, May 15.
BARROWS — Racing and family.
Those are the two keys for drivers who are out at the area tracks each weekend. Heavy family involvement is a way of life and that is certainly the case for Mod 4 driver Tommy Bawden.
But family comes first and for Bawden it meant stepping away from the sport for a while.
“I started racing go-karts back in 2007 and I did that for five years,” Bawden said. “I jumped into a Mod 4 in 2012 and we won the national rookie of the year. We raced two more years and then had a baby boy. He was a 26-week micro premature and we toned it down because family comes first.”
His son Ryder is healthy and now at the track with his dad almost every weekend. His dad’s racing career is also very healthy. In the last year, he has become the most dominant driver in the class, winning last year’s championship by 126 points; the most of any class. He picked up right where he left off with three wins in four races at North Central Speedway, including a win in the feature Saturday, May 15.
Bawden has found a home in the Mod 4 class after moving up to another class after Ryder’s health improved.
“We moved up to a B-Mod and we had a lot of good runs with that, but it wasn’t a good fit for me,” Bawden said. “So we went back down to the Mod-4 because it was more affordable and we have been having a lot of fun with it.”
Bawden has been having a lot of fun and his performance has served notice to other drivers in the class that a points championship goes through him.
He started from the fourth row in the 15-lap feature event, A multi-car crash on the first lap caused damage to the back quarter panel of his car. But Bawden kept going. He worked his way to the front on the fifth lap. Excessive caution flags resulted in a green-white-checker finish, but Bawden left no doubt about who the winner would be, pulling away for the win in front of Abby Garin and Jamie Lenarz.
“It looked like when everyone went into the first corner one of the guys just got crossed up a little and I kind of went in the middle of a couple of guys,” Bawden said. “He just came down on me and there was some damage, but we think it is all cosmetic.”
On an average weekend, Bawden will race three nights, as is the case with a lot of the drivers who come to North Central Speedway. Bawden did a lot of winning last season, but he missed one main goal.
“Last year, we were only able to get two wins in a weekend and one of my biggest goals was to get three in one weekend,” Bawden said. This year, we actually made it happen and I was really jacked about that and the next weekend we got another win for our fourth in a row.”
And the Saturday night stop at NCS is one he always looks forward to.
“This has always been one of my favorite tracks and when I got back down into the Mod 4 class I was able to come up here and run again,” Bawden said. “Maybe it just comes from the pure excitement of being back here, but the track is more of a “D” shaped than an oval and for some reason, I do better on those.”
And having his family and friends with him makes it all sweeter.
“Ryder is doing great,” Bawden said. “He is with me all the time. His mother and I have split, but we get along great and she lets him come out to the track racing all the time. I am so blessed and thankful for that.”
Other winners on Saturday night were Aaron Johnson for the Modifieds and Dylan Nelson in the Super Stocks. Kris Peterson won his first Stock Car feature race at NCS and David Siercks made it back to the winner's podium for the Sportmods.
It was Devin Larson holding the checkered flag at the winners stand for the Hobby Stocks and Travis Roush winning for the Sport Compacts.
Feature: 1-Aaron Johnson, 2-Chuck Olson, 3-Shawn Fletcher
Heat 1: 1-Aaron Johnson, 2-AJ Viehauser, 3-Zack Fletcher
Heat 2: 1-Chuck Olson, 2-Shawn Fletcher, 3-Ryan Putnam
WISSOTA Super Stock
Feature: 1-Dylan Nelson, 2-Austin Niemeyer, 3-Tim Johnson
Heat 1: 1-Dylan Nelson, 2-Dustin Nelson, 3-Tim Johnson
Feature: 1-David Siercks, 2-Jake Hagemann, 3-Jacob Jordan
Heat 1: 1-Tom Anderson, 2-Jacob Jordan, 3-Dru Nelson
Heat 2: 1-David Siercks, 2-Mark Martini, 3-Jake Hagemann
WISSOTA Mod Four
Feature: 1-Tommy Bawden, 2-Abby Garin, 3-Jamie Lenarz
Heat 1: 1-Patrick Sprecht, 2-Brian Feda, 3-David Fortier
Heat 2: 1-Tommy Bawden, 2-Gerrald Nohner, 3-Jonathen Feda
Heat 3: 1-Skyler Smith, 2-Jamie Lenarz, 3-Abby Garin
IMCA Stock Car
Feature: 1- Kris Peterson, 2-Rob VanMil, 3-Trent Grager
Heat 1: 1-Tim Gonska, 2-Erick Thiesse, 3-Chanse Hollatz
IMCA Hobby Stocks
Feature: 1-Devin Larson, 2-Tim Otterness, 3-William Herron
Heat 1: 1-Chris Seidel, 2-Chase Peterson, 3-Ryan Kleinschmidt
Heat 2: 1-Brandon Bombardo, 2-Scott Herron, 3-William Herron
IMCA Sport Compacts
Feature: 1-Travis Roush, 2-Nathan Kohl, 3-Curtis Huseth
Heat 1: 1-Alyssa Nelson, 2-Jenna Hagemann, 3-Bayden Ruikka
Heat 2: 1-Greg Kohl, 2-Travis Roush, 3-Harry Ruikka
Heat 3: 1-Nathan Kohl, 2-Curtis Huseth, 3-Tristan Raths