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Area Drivers Making Noise at Wild West Shootout, Other Notes

Dustin Strand, center, won the modified feature on Friday at the Wild West Shootout. (Photo from Wild West Shootout website)

RaceChaser blog would love to be in Arizona for the Wild West Shootout…especially with the ending to the modified feature on Saturday night at Arizona Speedway in Queen Creek, Ariz.

Matt Leer of Bruce, Wis., and Tyler Peterson of Hickson, a RaceChaser-area driver probably didn’t have a beer together after the finish of that feature.

Here is what happened. Peterson made a slider — and cleared Leer with plenty of room in turns one and two — to take the lead on the final lap. Peterson took a lower line in turns three and four, and Leer made a run underneath. He drove into turn four very hard and bumped Peterson out of the way into the wall and that was enough to win the feature by a few inches.

Postrace interviews of course get interesting in those cases — especially when you do them in the heat of the moment right after the race — and were posted by the Wild West Shootout on Facebook. Leer called it a “racing deal” but Peterson was just plain pissed and didn’t hold back. As one might expect in after an on-track incident that decides the win. Emotions run high.

Some of the Facebook comment thought it was a cheap move by Leer, some thought it was just hard racing. I guess it depends on who you are pulling for or what you define as hard racing or dirty racing. For the record, no cars were destroyed or anything. Was it hard racing, yes, was it too aggressive in Leer’s case, probably. But I’ve also seen far worse driving, unfortunately.

I know Peterson and watched him race many times and he races people clean. His slider in one and two left plenty of room. I’ve also seen Leer race a handful of times and he has been a quality runner the nights I’ve seen him run. So this isn’t like these are two drivers who go out and wreck people every week.

At the least, it gives people something to talk about — which is sometimes a real good thing in racing. It gets people fired up — and I’d love to see more of this type of crowd reaction up here.

Not to be lost in the finish between Leer and Peterson is who they beat to the finish line. That includes Minnesota standout Lucas Schott, who was third, 2019 USMTS champ Rodney Sanders, who was fourth. Dustin Strand of East Grand Forks was fifth.

Speaking of the Wild West Shootout, several RaceChaser-area drivers are down there and doing well.

One of the big news items of the week was Strand’s performance in the modified feature on Friday, picking up the win. He beat Sanders for the win with Peterson taking third. Strand is having an excellent week in Arizona with four top 10 finishes, including three top five finishes heading into tonight’s final night.

Fergus Falls driver Brock Gronwold has pretty well during the action in Arizona. He won the X Mod (B modified) feature on Jan. 11 and has finished in the top 10 three times. His win on Jan. 11 came in dramatic fashion with a late pass of former Wissota Midwest Modified national champion Skeeter Estey (who won last night’s feature).

Marion, N.D., driver Lucas Rodin has finished in the top six in the past two nights in the X mods, including a third-place finish on Saturday. He finished behind Estey and 2019 Wissota Midwest Modified national champion Cole Searing of Huron, S.D., on Saturday.

Some other RaceChaser drivers competing in Arizona include Blake Jegtvig and Travis Saurer and if you want to include drivers who compete at some RaceChaser area tracks, that would include Don Shaw, Cole Haugland, Bryan Kakela and Lance Schill.

Other notes

—The Sheyenne Speedway banquet has been rescheduled for Saturday, Feb. 8. It was supposed to be held on Saturday (Jan. 18) but the snowstorm and wind forced its postponement. The social/happy hour begins at 5 p.m. at the Ransom County Expo building at the county fairgrounds in Lisbon.

—The Viking Speedway 2019 awards banquet is set for Saturday, March 21 at the Corral Saloon and Eatery in Nelson, Minn. The reception begins at 5 p.m. on March 21.

—The Steffes Wissota Street Stock Tour has a great schedule. It will make two stops each at Jamestown and Sheyenne Speedways, but also includes stops at I-94, Dacotah, Tri-County, River Cities and Viking Speedway among others. The top eight finishes county towards the point fund. The more drivers that register, the bigger the point fund will be. Give a ton of credit to Benji Froemke, the co-promoter at Sheyenne, for putting this together. It's important for street stock drivers -- who've been asking for a tour or series like this locally -- to support this as often as possible. It's a great deal.

—Look for some blogs on area schedules as they come out. I won’t do a traditional preview but may highlight 3-4 events at each track.

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