TWIN BILLING AT AMSOIL: Massingill, Kaanta put on a show in Twin 25s in Superior

After winning the first 25-lap Late Model feature, John Kaanta was asked to do the blind draw to determine the starting order for the second feature during the Amsoil Twin Ports Twin 25s on Sunday night.

Racing fans watch the action from behind the fence at a curve at Amsoil Speedway in Superior on Sunday. (Steve Kuchera /

After winning the first 25-lap Late Model feature, John Kaanta was asked to do the blind draw to determine the starting order for the second feature during the Amsoil Twin Ports Twin 25s on Sunday night.
Kaanta drew No. 10, meaning he would start 10th for the grand finale before about 2,000 fans at Amsoil Speedway in Superior.
“It’s possible,” Kaanta said.
Just not very likely, especially when Jeff Massingill raced the way he did.
Massingill, a Keewatin resident, dominated the second 25-lap race en route to his first feature win at the track, winning by about a half straightaway over runner-up Adam Hensel of Baldwin, Wis.
“We made some adjustments after the first feature that paid off,” Massingill said. “The track came around as the night went on, become a little more racey. Everyone knows at this track, the start is everything, and I knew with the drivers behind me, I had to get going in a hurry.”
He sure did.
Starting on the inside of the second row, Massingill bolted to the front and wasn’t held back by a pair of cautions. The last came with 15 laps to go, and Massingill didn’t flinch.
For his part, Kaanta, of Elk Mound, Wis., put on the show of the night in winning the first feature. Jeff Provinzino dominated the early going before the two drivers engaged in a classic duel over the last five laps. Provinzino skillfully made his car as wide as a truck in keeping Kaanta at bay, but Provinzino struggled for traction in Turn 2. Kaanta made his final charge on the last lap, taking the inside and edging the Hibbing driver by a bumper at the finish line. Officially, Kaanta won by one-tenth of a second.
“Jeff would gain on me in the one corner and I’d try make it up in the other,” Kaanta said. “It was a great race, and I was just fortunate enough to get him by a whisker.”
Kaanta worked all the way up to finish fourth in the second feature, earning top overall honors for the night. Nobody has ever won both features in the 10-year history of the event, but Kaanta has come close, taking second in the first feature in 2012 before rallying from 16th to win the second feature.
“The track was real slippery,” Kaanta said. “I was scratching for every little piece of traction I could get, but congrats to Jeff. I don’t think it would have made any difference. Every time I tried to gain a little on him, he checked out. He really had it going.”
Each feature win paid $1,500, with a $1,000 bonus if someone could have won both.
Massingill’s father, John, won a Twin 25 feature in 2007 when it was at Proctor Speedway.
“And now for me to do it, that’s pretty cool,” the younger Massingill said.
Jeff Massingill gave a shout out to his crew and sponsors after the race.
“They help me out way more than I deserve,” he said. “If it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t be here.”

  • Hermantown driver Darrell Nelson, who won a Late Model feature on Saturday night at Cedar Lake Speedway in New Richmond, Wis., didn’t get the breaks he needed on Sunday. Nelson’s car broke down in his heat, meaning he had to go through the last-chance qualifier to make the feature. He did just that, but after finishing the first feature 11th, he wasn’t able to take advantage of the inverted order used to determine the start of the second race.
  • Mack Estey of Kelly Lake held off pole-sitter Tyler Kintner, as well as his brother, Skeeter Estey, to win the 20-lap Midwest Modified feature. Michael Blevins of Hibbing won in Pure Stocks.

Kintner is in his first year in Midwest Modifieds and is having a banner year driving Skeeter Estey’s car from last year, with five feature wins at Grand Rapids, one at Hibbing, two at Proctor, one in Superior and one in Rice Lake, Wis.

At Amsoil Speedway, Superior
Sunday’s Results
Late Models
Heat 1
1. Adam Hensel, Baldwin, Wis.; 2. Rick Hanestad, Boyceville, Wis.; 3. Terry Lillo, Duluth; 4. Zach Wohlers, Pengilly; 5. Kyle Peterlin, Hibbing; 6. Tim McMann, Duluth; 7. Jay Kintner, Hibbing. DNF: Riley Matthews, Murillo, Ontario.
Heat 2
1. Harry Hanson, Evelth; 2. Jeff Provinzino, Hibbing; 3. Aaron Lillo, Proctor; 4. Chad Mahder, Eau Claire, Wis.; 5. Cory Jorgensen, Hermantown; 6. John Toppozini, Thunder Bay; 7. Kevin Carlson, Hermantown. DNF: Darrell Nelson, Hermantown.
Heat 3
1. Mike Balcaen, Winnipeg, Manitoba; 2. Jared Siefert, Luxemburg, Wis.; 3. Pat Doar, New Richmond, Wis.; 4.Don Shaw, Ham Lake, Minn., 5. Kelly Estey, Kelly Lake; 6. Travis Budisalovich, Minneapolis; 7. Robbie Cooper, South Range.
Heat 4
1. John Kaanta, Elk Mound, Wis.; 2. Jeff Massingill, Keewatin; 3. Dave Esse, Cloquet; 4. Gregg Hill, Eveleth; 5. Scott Herrick, Proctor; 6. Trevor Wilson, Superior; 7. Josh Johnson, Superior.
Last-Chance Qualifier
1. Shaw, 2. Nelson, 3. Hill, 4. McMann, 5. Budisalovich, 6. Jorgensen, 7. Carlson, 8. Herrick; 9. Matthews, 10. Wilson, 11. Kintner, 12. Cooper. DNF: Johnson, Toppozini.
Feature 1
1. Massingill, 2. Hensel, 3. Shaw, 4. Kaanta, 5. Balcaen, 6. Mahder, 7. Hanestad, 8. Siefert, 9. A. Lillo, 10. Nelson, 11. Doar, 12. Esse, 13. McMann, 14. Carlson, 15. Provinzino, 16. Kelly Estey, 17. Herrick. DNF: T. Lillo, Peterlin, Hill, Hanson, Budisalovich. DNS:  Jorgensen, Wohlers.
Midwest Modifieds
Heat 1
1. Deven VanHouse, Silver Bay; 2. Tyler Kintner, Hibbing; 3. Mack Estey, Kelly Lake; 4. Tyler Luger, Iron River; 5. Scott Herrick, Proctor; 6. Lance Solem, Duluth; 7. Cole Chernosky, Thunder Bay; 8. Justin Madsen, Foxboro; 9. Rob Ranttalo, Thunder Bay.
Heat 2
1. Paul Niznik, Medford; 2. Jake Gondik, Foxboro; 3. Carey LePage, Culver; 4. Jason VandeKamp, Scandia, Minn.; 5. David Simpson, Thunder Bay; 6. Donnie Lofdahl, Proctor; 7. Jamie Smart, Kakabeka Falls, Ontario. DNF: Cody Carlson, Superior; Mike Jacques, Thunder Bay.
Heat 3
1. Skeeter Estey, Kelly Lake; 2. Nick DaRonco, Mountain Iron; 3. Dan Wilson, Hibbing; 4. Dan Kingsley, Superior; 5. Josh Heavirland, Cloquet; 6. Michael Blevins, Hibbing; 7. Eric Gadach, Deer Park, Wis.; 8. Eric Anderson, Chisholm.
1. M. Estey, 2. Kintner, 3. S. Estey, 4. VanHouse, 5. Niznik; 6. DaRonco, 7. Wilson, 8. VandeKamp, 9. Heavirland, 10. Herrick, 11. Kingsley, 12. Carlson, 13. Luger, 14. Solem, 15. Blevins, 16. Lofdahl, 17. Chernosky; 18. Gadach, 19. Ranttalo. DNF: Anderson, Gondik, Simpson, LePage, Jacques, Smart, Madsen.
Pure Stocks
Heat 1
1. Lucas Carlson, Cloquet; 2. Jeff Christman, South Range; 3. Alex Smith, Solon Springs; 4. Mark Korte, Duluth; 5. Jon Hammitt, Cloquet; 6. Tyler Carlson, Duluth; 7. Andy Poll, Two Harbors. DNF: Carter Nelson, Hermantown; Deven Reynolds, Cloquet.
Heat 2
1. Michael Blevins, Hibbing; 2. Tim Carlson, Superior; 3. Ryan Savoy, Superior, 4. Erik Pederson, Saginaw; 5. Jason Simonson, Superior; 6. Shaina Rapp, Saginaw; 7. Ryan Madsen, Foxboro. DNF: Annika Hammitt, Cloquet.
1. Blevins, 2. L. Carlson, 3. Savoy, 4. Jeff Christman, 5. A. Hammitt, 6. Tim Carlson; 7. Rapp, 8. Pederson, 9. Poll, 10. Nelson, 11. Tyler Carlson. DNF: Madsen, Korte, J. Hammitt, Smith, Simonson, Reynolds.

Related Topics: SUPERIOR
Jon Nowacki joined the News Tribune in August 1998 as a sports reporter. He grew up in Stephen, Minnesota, in the northwest corner of the state, where he was actively involved in school and sports and was a proud member of the Tigers’ 1992 state championship nine-man football team.

After graduating in 1993, Nowacki majored in print journalism at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, serving as editor of the college paper, “The Aquin,” and graduating with honors in December 1997. He worked with the Associated Press during the “tobacco trial” of 1998, leading to the industry’s historic $206 billion settlement, before moving to Duluth.

Nowacki started as a prep reporter for the News Tribune before moving onto the college ranks, with an emphasis on Minnesota Duluth football, including coverage of the Bulldogs’ NCAA Division II championships in 2008 and 2010.

Nowacki continues to focus on college sports while filling in as a backup on preps, especially at tournament time. He covers the Duluth Huskies baseball team and auto racing in the summer. When time allows, he also writes an offbeat and lighthearted food column entitled “The Taco Stand,” a reference to the “Taco Jon” nickname given to him by his older brother when he was a teenager that stuck with him through college. He has a teenage daughter, Emma.

Nowacki can be reached at or (218) 380-7027. Follow him on Twitter @TacoJon1.
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