Sobbing wins inaugural Ray Haase Tribute Race

Jesse Sobbing led start to finish of the inaugural Ray Haase Tribute, pocketing $3,500 for his July 3 IMCA Sunoco Late Model victory at Off Road Speedway. (Photo by Dennis Meyer)

By Randy Pospishil

NORFOLK, Neb. (July 3, 2024) – Off Road Speedway hosted a special event Wednesday night honoring Ray “the Hummer” Haase, a long-time racer who, with his brother Robert, were the founders of Riviera Raceway.

As part of the ceremony, Haase’s well-known No. 02 car served as a pace car leading 21 IMCA Sunoco Late Models through parade laps just before the start of the inaugural Ray Haase Tribute Race at Off Road Speedway.

The feature race, won by Jesse Sobbing, finished a weather-abbreviated program of heat races, time trials, and “B” features in six classes, with features to be completed on Friday, July 12 along with a regular night of racing.

Four qualifying trials and an equal number of heats pared the 34 Late Models entries from Nebraska, South Dakota, Iowa, and Illinois into a starting field which included a number of prominent drivers, including Cory Dumpert and Anthony Roth, the top two points leaders at Off Road Speedway, along with Sobbing, Tad Pospisil, and Justin Zeitner.

Sobbing made the most of a starting position on the pole, leading all 25 laps as a number of drivers, including racing teammate Zeitner, battled for second place and a chance to contend for the lead.

Roth started on the outside of row one and competed with Zeitner in a back-and-forth drama for the first 12 laps before being passed by Pospisil.

Meanwhile, Sobbing caught a couple of breaks just as he was nearing lapped traffic, once with 16 laps remaining and again with six laps left, when a caution re-organized the field and cleared the track ahead of him, although bringing his pursuers to his rear bumper on the restart.

But Sobbing promptly re-established his three-car lead both times while Zeitner, Pospisil, a late charging Dumpert, and also Matt Haase, who relentlessly competed throughout the race to catch the leaders, continued the chase.

Sobbing ultimately captured the $3,500 win, with Zeitner holding on for second place and Dumpert taking third after converting a move inside of Pospisil in turn two into momentum down the backstretch.

Fittingly, Matt Haase, Ray Haase’s grandson, earned fourth, edging Pospisil who finished fifth.

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