Buschell Wins UP Championship Snow Drags

by Skip Schulz on January 21, 2015

Lake Linden, Michigan’s, Jerry Buschell won the TOP GUN Feature at Saturday’s Ontonagon County Economic Partnership (OCEP) Upper Peninsula Snow Drag Championships. Buschell defeated team-mate, Paul Voelker and John  Mihelich in the final. Voelker and Mihelich are from Laurium, Michigan. All 3 drivers were on Ski-Doos.

Buschell kept his 3-year unbeaten streak going by also winning the Pro Mod 700 class, took a second in Pro Mod 800, and a 3rd in the Open Mod Final. It was the “Sling Shot,” 600 horsepower, Turbo of Jeff Moleski that had the crowd excited throughout the day. Moleski’s snowmobile not only dominated in the Open Mod class, but thrilled the crowd when his Jaws Performance, S-3 Engineering, Michigan Power Sports turbo-charged 4-stroke snowmobile challenged Buschell to a special race at the end of the day. Moleski, from Howell, Michigan, gave Buschell a 3 sled lead at the starting  line. Moleski easily won the special race.

Moleski, racing with the Stilson Race Team drove over 12 hours to get to the first event of the Ojibwa Casino/MASTERS Racing Series event in Ontonagon, Michigan.
“We drove through white-out conditions from below the (Mackinaw) bridge to be at this race. Fortunately we left a day early to make sure we got here. We haven’t had any snow back home to even test on,” commented Nick Stilson.
Stilson won Race Stock 600, took a second in Race Stock 800, Mod 700, and a 3rd in  Mod 600 classes. Stilson was on Arctic Cats.

While Stilson Racing made the long trip to the Western UP worthwhile, Buschell’s teammates, did well. In addition to Voelker’s second in Top Gun, Ken Cohen won the Pro Mod 800 class.

MASTERS, which stands for Mid America Snow and Terrain Expert Racers, opened their 15th year of sanctioning snowmobile races. The OCEP UP Snow Drag Championships, had drivers from both Michigan Peninsulas and Wisconsin competing on both Stock and Modified snowmobiles. The machines raced side-by-side on 3 North Country Snowmobile Club groomed lanes. The machines hit speeds over 100 MPH in 500 feet.
The snowmobile racer that has won more races then any other driver in the circuit history, Matt Lacosse of Champion, Michigan won the Race Stock 800 class on a Ski-Doo. It was Lacosse’s sons, Nathan and Carter, that won the 120 cc class.

In addition to Lacosse Racing, another team that has been with the MASTERS Racing Circuit for years is Wood Brothers Racing. Wood Brothers Racing, from Michigan’s Keweenaw Peninsula, took home a UP Snow Drag Championship class by winning the Trail Stock 600 class. Dave Wood on an Arctic Cat won that class. Dave’s son, Trevor took a second in Race Stock 600.

Taking advantage of his home-town special built snowmobile race track was Ontonagon’s Adam Hawkins. An Ojibwa Casino Racing Series champion from last year, Hawkins defeated Lacosse and Stilson in the Pro Mod 600 class final.   Hawkins was on a Polaris.

“When you look at having Rosely Racing from the Lower Peninsula, Minkel Racing from Rice Lake, Wisconsin, and one of our Circuit’s best snowmobile racers, (Adam) Hawkins from Ontonagon, we had the ‘cream of the crop’ at the races,” commented MASTERS President, Skip Schulz. Ontonagon County Economic Partnership President, Bill Fischer, told the drivers and the fans to expect an even bigger race next year.

“We want to let everybody know that we’re already committing to the MASTERS and the UP Championship Snow Drags to host the race in 2016,” stated Fischer.

The Ojibwa Casino/MASTERS Snow Drag series now heads to Sagola for the Sagola Sportsman Club Tip Up Town Snowmobile Drags. The Snow Drags will be on Eddy Lake, next to the Sagola Sportsman Club on Saturday, February 7th. The circuits first Snowmobile Hillclimb will be on February 21st when they host the Mid America Championship Hillclimb (MACH) in Caspian, Michigan. The first Hillcross will be at Keyes Peak in Florence, Wisconsin on March

1st. The Ojibwa Casino series includes stops at Marquette Moutain in Marquette, Michigan, and Mont du Lac, located near Duluth, Minnesota.


For the second year in a row, the Ojibwa Casinos of Baraga and Marquette will be the exclusive Title Sponsor of all 3 of the MASTERS Racing Circuits Snowmobile Race Series for the 2015 winter season.

The Ojibwa Casinos, located in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, have been a close friend to all snowmobilers for a number of years. Not only are the two casinos located in the heart of excellent snowmobiling, the Casinos have groomed snowmobile trails right to the Casino.

The Ojibwa Casino of Baraga has a snowmobile special that not only has special low room rates for snowmobilers, but the package includes FREE Gas at the Pines Convenience Store, and a FREE Drink in their lounge.

The Ojibwa Casino of Marquette is a popular destination after the MASTERS Races at Marquette Mountain. It will once again be Representatives of the Ojibwa Casino in Marquette that will be the Trophy Presenter of the Marquette Mountain TOP GUN Uphill Drag feature winner and the TOP DOG Hillcross Feature winner.

The Marquette Mountain Uphill Drags is the longest running event of the MASTERS 15 year history. This years event will run for 2 days, April 4th and 5th. Qualifying in both the Uphill Drags and the Hillcross will be on Saturday, with the Finals running on Sunday, April 5th.

The Ojibwa Casino sponsorship of the MASTERS Hillclimb, Hillcross, and Snow Drag Series. The 3 different forms of Snowmobile Racing has events in Michigan, and Wisconsin, including the MASTERS Snow Drag Series NATIONALS Championship and the MASTERS Hillcross Nationals at Mont du Lac in the Duluth, Minnesota area. Those Nationals will be held on Sunday, April 12th.

The day before the Snow Drag Nationals and Hillcross Nationals, Mont du Lac will host one of the most challenging Snowmobile Hillclimbs in the Midwest. This will be a qualifier for the 2016 World Championship Snowmobile Hillclimb in Jackson, Wyoming.

The final qualifier for this year’s World Championship Snowmobile Hillclimb will be the Wisconsin State Championship Hillclimb at Keyes Peak, just outside of Florence, Wisconsin. This unique Hillclimb offers a different type of challenge for the Hillclimbers. It will run on Saturday, Feb 28th.

The following day, Keyes Peak will be the home of the Wisconsin State Championship Hillcross. That will take place on Sunday, March 1st.

The first Hillclimb of the season that is a part of the Ojibwa Casino MASTERS Hillclimb series is the Mid America Championship Hillclimb (MACH) in Caspian, Michigan. This is at a steep hill that is only used for this major Snowmobile Hillclimb. The site offers the fans a great chance to watch the competition from the warmth of their vehicle. The MACH will take place on Saturday, Feb. 21st. This will be a qualifier for this year’s World Championship Hillclimb in Jackson.

The Ojibwa Casino MASTERS Snow Drag Series opens with the first event of the year. That is the Ontonagon County Economic Partnership Upper Peninsula Snow Drag Championships. That race takes place behind the MASTERS Offices in Ontonagon, Michigan. The races are on a track specifically built for Snow Drag Racing. These facilities provide the fans with the chance to watch the races from their vehicle. This will take place on Saturday, Jan 10th.

One of the most popular events in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan every winter is the Sagola Sportsman Club Tip-Up Town. This event has a long history of many forms of snowmobile racing. Once again this year, snowmobile racers will race side-by-side on the snow covered surface of Eddy Lake. After the races the Sagola Sportsman Clubhouse hosts a party like nothing around. The second ‘leg’ of the Ojibwa Casino MASTERS Snow Drag Series at Tip Up Town will be on Saturday, Feb 7th.

The 10 event Ojibwa Casino MASTERS schedule has something for everyone. Whether it’s the extreme riding of the Hillclimb series, the big air of the Hillcross series, or the fastest stock and modified snowmobiles of the Snow Drag Series, racers and fans will be hitting the snow like nothing before this winter.


OCEP to be Title Sponsor of Snowmobile Races

by Skip Schulz on December 22, 2014

The Ontonagon County Economic Partnership will once again be the Title  Sponsor of the Upper Peninsula Championship Snowmobile Drag Races. The races will take place on Saturday, January 10th. The popular races will take place behind Skip and Sandy Schulz’s Home on 610 Greenland Road. The races will take place on the undeveloped portion of James K Paul Street, next to Ontonagon REA.

The side-by-side snowmobile drag races started at this location close to 10 years ago, and with new leadership of the North Country Snowmobile  Club, the races returned to the Village of Ontonagon last winter. Once again this year the North Country Snowmobile Club will be providing the preparation of the race track. Bob Burrows of the North Country Snowmobile Club will also keep the track groomed during the event.

Last year the event drew the top snowmobile drag racers that race professionally on snow. The racers came from throughout the Upper Peninsula, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. The track has three lanes, with the snowmobiles racing side-by-side for 500 feet. The machines hit speeds close to 100 MPH.

It was at last year’s UP Championship Snow Drags that was the debut race for Ontonagon’s Adam Hawkins and Travis Houtari. Hawkins went on to win the Points Championship in his class in the Ojibwa Casino MASTERS Racing Circuit Series. Houtari was one of the top racers in his class.

The event is sanctioned by the Mid America Snow and Terrain Expert Racers,  commonly known as the MASTERS Racing Circuit.  The MASTERS is one of the  longest running Snowmobile Race Circuits in the Midwest. Skip and Sandy Schulz of the MASTERS started to run snowmobile events in the Upper Peninsula in 1991, and officially organized the MASTERS in 1995. The MASTERS runs Snowmobile Hillclimbs, Hillcross, and Snow Drags throughout the Midwest. This year, the MASTERS has 12 race events scheduled, with the OCEP UP Championship Snow Drags being the first race of the season.

“When you organize and run as many snowmobile races as the MASTERS has  done and will do once again this winter, we see what the races does for a community. The races brings racers and race teams to a community. When  they are here, they spend money,” commented MASTERS President, Skip Schulz.

The MASTERS hopes that with local sponsorship, the purse for this year’s OCEP UP Championship Snow Drags will be over $3000. The feature class in  the MASTERS Ojibwa Casino Snow Drag Series is TOP GUN. 2 of the last 3 TOP GUN Point Champions are former Ontonagon residents. Jeff Szanto was
the TOP GUN point champion in 2012, Chris Nordang was the TOP GUN Champion  in 2013. Chris Nordang go is the son of Tom and Lynda Nordang of Ontonagon.

The MASTERS has heard that Tom Nordang may make a return to Snowmobile  Racing at the OCEP UP Championship Snow Drags, racing one of Goldbach Race Team sleds.

“The driver that fans are going to want to see is Jerry Buschell of Calumet. Buschell has not been defeated in close to 100 races in the Pro Mod 700 Class. Jerry (Buschell) is considered to have the fastest 700cc snowmobile in the entire Midwest, if not in the entire US. His Ski-Doo is so fast that he enters it and many times advances to the finals of the Pro Mod 800 class,” commented Schulz.

It was at the last meeting of both the Ontonagon County Economic Partnership and the North Country Snowmobile Club that both organizations gave their unanimous support of the races. The Village of Ontonagon Village Council also unanimously supported the event.

“When you travel to other communities throughout the winter to put on an  event, from organizing the event, to running the event, it is great to be able to bring the racers to our community, and this would not be possible without the support of our village and area. Support we’re going to be  looking for in the next few weeks,” concluded Schulz.

The MASTERS is looking for a non-profit organization in the community to use the event as a fund-raiser by running a concession stand. If your organization would be interested in having the concession stand, you’re asked to contact Skip or Sandy Schulz, at 906-884-9101.

For more information on this year’s OCEP UP Championship Snow Drags, or you can go to the MASTERS Facebook page, Masters Racing Circuit.


Top Pro Snowmobile Racer to Compete at UP Championships

by Skip Schulz on December 22, 2014

The Mid America Snow and Terrain Expert Racers, commonly known as the MASTERS Racing Circuit, has had a confirmation that Nick Stilson of Howell Michigan, will be competing at the Upper Peninsula Championship Snow Drags. The Ontonagon County Economic Partnership (OCEP) will host the 2nd Annual UP Championships in Ontonagon, Michigan, on Saturday, January 10th.

During the writing of this Press Release, Stilson was at Jaws Performance in Nepean, Ontario, Canada. Jaws Performance, one of the top Snowmobile Race facilities in North America, is working on Stilson’s TOP GUN snowmobile. TOP GUN is the featured class in the MASTERS Racing Circuit. This is the class where sleds are modified to produce speeds of over 100 MPH on a 500 Foot groomed Snow surface.

“TOP GUN is for the most serious Snowmobile Drag Racing Teams, and having Stilson invest the time, travel, and money to compete with us in the MASTERS this year is exciting,” commented MASTERS Racing Circuit President, Skip Schulz.

The past 3 years,  the TOP GUN Champions at the end of the year has come from Iron County, Michigan, and 2 of the 3 champions have a history tracing back to where the OCEP UP Championships will be held, that is the Village of Ontonagon. The 2012 TOP GUN Champion was Jeff Szanto, the 2013 Champion was Chris Nordang, and last years champion was Louie Goldbach. Goldbach and Nordang are from Iron River and Szanto is from Crystal Falls.

“Louie (Goldbach) knows I am going to be at the UP Championships, so all I can say is ‘game on.’ I’m looking forward to racing our Jaws Performance sled against his team of racers,” commented Stilson.

TOP GUN sleds can be up to 1200 cc, as long as they are naturally aspirated. Turbo and Nitrus sleds run in the MASTERS Open Mod Class. The MASTERS also has Pro Mod Classes for 600, 700, and 800 cc. This long running Snowmobile Race Sanctioning Circuit also has Race Stock 600, Race Stock 800 classes, and if there is an interest in Trail Stock sleds, the circuit will run classes for ‘showroom stock’ classes.

Stilson will travel over 10 hours to get from Howell, Michigan, located in the Lower Peninsula to race at the OCEP UP Championships in Ontonagon. Last year, racers from throughout the Upper Peninsula, Wisconsin, and Minnesota took part in the races. While MASTERS Staff have been involved in Snowmobile Racing for over 30 years, the circuit started sanctioning Snowmobile Races in 1995. The Circuit also sanctions and promotes Snowmobile Hillclimbs and Snowmobile Hillcross.

Following the OCEP UP Championships, the circuit will run it’s second Ojibwa Casino Race Series Snow Drags on Eddy Lake, next to the Sagola Sportsman Club. The Sagola Sportsman Club Tip Up Town races will be on Saturday, February 7th. The first Hillclimb will be the Mid America Championships (MACH) at Caspian, Michigan, on Saturday, Feb 21st. Keyes Peak in Florence, Wisconsin will be the final qualifier for this years’ World Championship Hillclimb. The Wisconsin State Championship Hillclimb at Keyes Peak will be on Feb 28th, with the following day, Sunday, March 1st, being the circuits first Hillcross event of the year. The circuits longest running event is the Marquette Mountain Uphill Drags. Marquette Mountain will run both Snow Drags and Hillcross on April 4th and 5th. The Ojibwa Casino Race Series Hillclimb, Hillcross, and Snow Drag Championships will run on April 11th and 12th at Mont du Lac in Superior, Wisconsin.

“While Goldbach Racing’s Iron County Sherriff’s Department DARE team did dominate in the TOP GUN class last year, I think with (Nick) Stilson teaming up with Jaws Performance, along with the Buschell/Voelker team our of Calumet, Michigan, the Snow Drag race for the TOP GUN Championship is up for grabs. The OCEP UP Championships will show the teams and fans as to who will have the ‘target’ on their back,” commented Schulz.

Work on the Pit and Fan area for the races in Ontonagon have been going on throughout the year. The North Country Snowmobile Club will handle all the grooming of the track proceeding and during the race. Sonco Ambulance, Pat’s Motorsports, Citizens State Bank, Domitrovich Insurance, Peninsula Graphics, and other community-involved businesses’ will once again help in providing a cash purse estimated to be over $3000.

“This event not only helps us in promoting Ontonagon County Economic Partnership, but also brings people from all over to Ontonagon. That is what all our MASTERS Race Circuit events do, that is bring dollars into a community,” concluded Schulz.

The OCEP UP Championship Snow Drags will take place behind the MASTERS Race Circuit offices, 610 Greenland Road.  This is behind Ontonagon REA, and across the street from the Ontonagon Baptist Church on M-38, Ontonagon. Fans will be able to watch the races from the comfort of their vehicle, with admission only being $2.00/person. The MASTERS is looking for a Non-Profit organization to sell Coffee, Hot Chocolate and Hot Dogs.

For more information on the MASTERS, or the OCEP UP Championship Snow Drags, you can contact Schulz at 906-884-9101.


Marquette Mtn. Snow Drags and Hillcross 2014

by Skip Schulz on April 11, 2014

2014 Marquette Mtn.


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