The Great Northern Sportsman Series (GNSS) presented by Dean’s Sattelite opened their second season on Memorial Day at Columbus 151 Speedway and in many ways, the new season started the same the old season ended.A constant threat of rain hung over race day in Columbus on Monday, eerily similar to the threat of rain that hampered the series’ final race of 2013 at LaCrosse Fairgrounds Speedway. And much like last year’s final race at LaCrosse, Devin Schmidt was the driver to beat in the 40 lap feature event.
When the checkered flag flew Monday afternoon, the young driver from Belle Plaine Minnesota was tops among the 15 racers from three states, pocketing his second straight GNSS win.
Another Minnesota racer, Michael Gilomen, lead the field to green and took the initial lead. Schmidt, along with Johnny Robinson II, trailed Gilomen in the races early paces. The first caution flag of the day was displayed on lap eight, bringing the field together. On the restart, Schmidt worked inside of Robinson for the second position, setting his sights on the race lead.
The second caution was displayed on lap 13 and on the following restart, Gilomen was challenged by Schmidt for the lead. Along with Gilomen and Schmidt, fast qualifier Steven Sauer also challenged for the top spot after taking the high side on a ‘cone restart.’ Schmidt’s challenge eventually earned him the lead on lap 15, while Sauer’s high side gamble came up snake eyes.
Soon after Gilomen fell back to second, Sparta Wisconsin racer Chris Weber challenged for the runner up position. Weber inherited second and kicked Gilomen back to third. The final caution came on lap 27, giving the field one last chance at advancement. Schmidt and Weber broke away, battling for the lead while was Gilomen now occupied with Dusty Mann. Mann blasted past Gilomen late, taking yet another spot away from the pole sitter.
Schmidt guided the field after that final yellow, racing to the checkers ahead of Weber. The win was Schmidt’s second GNSS win, while the runner up was Weber’s best career GNSS finish. Mann ended the race in third, with Gilomen fourth. Steven Sauer ended a roller coaster day in fifth position.