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Atkinson Wins Fallen Linemen Special at Viking; More Wins for Carter, Dykhoff and Wilke

Landon Atkinson after his win on Saturday (photo from Laura Hess-Ulman)

RaceChaser was at Viking Speedway in Alexandria on Saturday night for the Race for the Fallen Linemen for the Wissota Modifieds, plus night 1 of the annual Labor Day NLRA Doubleheader. A great field of 113 cars was on hand.

The bottom lane was the clear place to be for most of the heats and B features. When that happens you tend to get some bumping and spins. The modified B main was a caution-filled mess. In the features there was a little more racing up top, as Landon Atkinson and Jeff Wildung found some speed up there.

The problem with Viking and being a half-mile is the races can get spread out quickly, and this happened in a couple of features especially in the late models and midwest modifieds. There was some decent racing throughout the night but a lot of follow the leader too.

Landon Atkinson of Little Falls (interviewed above) is having quite a month. He won the USMTS race at I-94 Speedway on Aug. 20, taking home $3,000, and picked up $2,500 on Saturday for winning the Wissota Modified feature. Atkinson led every lap. He had some pressure from Dusty Bitzan of Brandon, who moved up to second after starting eighth, but weathered those challenges to win the Fallen Linemen race for a second time.

Bitzan is having a great season in the 10X machine; he took second, and finished in the top five for the 15th time in 2019. Brian Haben of Appleton also ran a strong race; he ran in the top three all night and took third. Track champion Brady Gerdes of Villard was fourth, and Zach Johnson of Lowry was fifth.

One night on the mods — Scot Danzeisen of Herman, the multi-time track champion who is the all-time wins leader at the track, made quite a move through the field. He started 20th and worked his way to seventh by the checkered.

The Wissota Street Stock feature was shaping up to be a battle between Ryan Satter of Dent and Justin Vogel of Brooten. Satter took the lead from his pole spot, but engine trouble ended his night early. Vogel (interviewed above) took over the lead and topped Jim “Nitro” Williams of DeGraff for the win, his 22nd of 2019. Williams, by the way is the all-time street stock wins leader at Viking. Travis Scott of Glenwood was third, Jeff Crouse of Alexandria fourth and Mike Hart of Erhard fifth. Only seven of the 14 starters finished.

It wouldn’t be a trip to Viking without a little controversy, and that happened in the Wissota Super Stock feature. Bryan Hellerman of Parkers Prairie took the lead from the green but was eventually tracked down by track champion Trevor Saurer of Dalton. The battle got tense as the laps wound down and there was contact on the final lap. Saurer was charged with the yellow and Hellerman was declared the winner. Dave Mass of East Bethel, who has more 520 career wins, was second while Jeff Crouse of Alexandria was third.

I didn't see the incident between Saurer and Hellerman so I won't comment further.

Jason VandeKamp of Scandia took the lead from the green flag in the Wissota Midwest Modified feature and cruised to a pretty drama-free win. The race only had one caution, by the way. Justin Froemming of Alexandria was second, Sam Zender of Fergus Falls third and Brandon Copp of Brule, Wis., who won at I-94 on Friday, was fourth. Zender, by the way, picked up his first career win at week ago at Viking.

Track champion Brock Gronwold of Fergus Falls had trouble in his heat and did not finish, but made a big charge through the field in the feature. He started 22nd and was up to fifth at the checkered and with a few more laps, could have moved higher.

Wildung started on the pole for the late model feature and was never seriously challenged despite a couple of cautions to pick up his first win of 2019. Mike Balcaen of Winnipeg was second, Lance Matthees of Winona third, Brad Seng of Grand Forks fourth and Dave Mass fifth. Cole Schill of Horace had a nice run, moving up to sixth after starting 14th.

By the way, Dustin Strand of East Grand Forks finished ninth and Don Shaw of Ham Lake finished 10th; those two had a dispute a few weeks back at an NLRA show, but this time no problems, at least that I could see. So no round 2 this time, ha.

Viking Notes

—I talked to Sam Zender of Fergus Falls, who won his first career Wissota Midwest Modified feature on Aug. 24 at Viking. Zender's primary car, a 2017 GRT, was damaged pretty bad at I-94 in July and as a result he had to race his backup car for a few weeks. Well the 2017 car is running well, and both cars will be in action at the Wissota 100. Zender’s backup car will be driven by Trevor Saurer of Dalton; Zender will drive Saurer's backup super stock as well.

—I talked to Clarence Washburn of Hector for a future RaceChaser blog feature. Washburn has been racing since 1970 and he still loving racing in the late models — at age 76. He had a power-steering issue prior to the B main and was unable to make the call unfortunately. Think about the late model class of a second on Saturday: Washburn is 76, and Bryce Sward of Nelson, a rookie in the division, is 15. Pretty cool.

—14-year-old Jack Koranda ran really well in the street stock feature and crossed the finish third, but was disqualified for not having reverse working in his car, which was too bad.

—It seems like every night I go to Viking Speedway to watch a late model race, Jeff Wildung starts on the front row of his heat and in this case, the feature…

Justin Tammen of Clara City has moved into the super stocks for 2019. He got totally hosed in the heat race — he was spun and that cut his left rear tire — but came back to finish seventh in the feature. His brother, Cory, is in a late model now.

--Landon Atkinson now has a late model as well. He plans to run that at some specials in the weeks ahead.

--Long-time veteran Lorin Johnson of Miller, S.D., was in town in the Wissota Midwest Modifieds. He ran in the top five for quite a while but finished 10th.

Rodin, Carter Win at Jamestown

Lucas Rodin of Marion, N.D., captured the Wissota Midwest Modified feature over Randy Klein of Lisbon. Brennon Weight of LaMoure was third, Grant Hall of Brandon, Manitoba fourth and Aaron Michel of Jamestown was fifth. Rodin is having quite a summer in his B mod, winning the Dakota Dream at Sheyenne Speedway and also capturing the special at Devils Lake.

Congrats to Reise Stenberg of Argusville for winning the track title in the midwest modifieds, his second of 2019. He also won the title at Norman County Raceway. Both are the first of his career in what has been a breakout season.

National point leader Jonny Carter of Lisbon picked up his 22nd win of 2019 in the Wissota Street Stocks and put the finishing touches on his track championship. Dustin Erickson of Ypsilanti was second, Bob Banish Jr. of Milnor third, Todd Carter of Lisbon fourth and Kelly Hoerner of Bismarck fifth.

Darren Pfau of West Fargo won for the second time in as many nights to win the IMCA Modified feature. Casey Arneson, who wrapped up the track championship with the win, was second, with Josh Eberhardt of Jamestown third. John Corell of Jamestown and John Nord of Enderlin rounded out the top five.

Aberdeen driver Jayden Michaelsohn topped Dylan Sandberg of Bismarck for the Bomber win. Matt Miller was third, Lane Stoppleworth fourth and Billy Carow fifth. Carow was the 2019 track champion.

Drew Papke of Bismarck topped Donavin Wiest of Wishek to win the INEX Legends. Terry Sahr of Jamestown was third and Dylan Johnson of Durbin was fourth. Wiest was the 2019 track champion.

Up next at Jamestown is the annual Jamestown Stampede on Sept. 20-21.

Skalicky, Clark, Berg Win Night 1 of Corn Cob Nationals at BRRP

Night 1 of the Corn Cob Nationals at Buffalo River Race Park is in the books.

The big race of the night was the $5,000 to win Sport Compact feature which was won by Grady Shearer of St. Cloud. Jason Reinke of Moorhead was second. Brennan Urbach of Englevale was fourth.

The race attracted drivers from Minnesota, North Dakota, Iowa, Wisconsin, Nebraska and Missouri. Only 11 of the 27 starters finished.

Jesse Skalicky of Fargo won the IMCA Modified feature over Myles Tomlinson of Turtle Lake. Allen Kent of West Fargo was third, Brennan Borg of West Fargo fourth and Bryce Borgen of Perley, driving Bob Sagen’s 99 machine, was fifth.

Matthew Clark of West Fargo won the IMCA Sport Mod feature over Scott Jacobson of Fargo. Matt Talley of Sabin was third, and Torey Fischer of West Fargo finished in the top four for the second straight night as she continues to build late-season momentum. Deryk Voller of Dickinson was fifth.

Brad Orvedal of Fargo topped Todd Gettel of Mahnomen for the IMCA Hobby Stock win. Maranda Borg of Harwood was third, Caleb Gardner of Glyndon was fourth and Andrea Jacobson of Fargo was fifth.

Jason Berg of West Fargo won the Lightning Sprint feature for the second straight week. Dev Malmlov of Moorhead was second.

Tye Wilke of Detroit Lakes is on fire at BRRP in the INEX Legends. He started eighth and picked up another win on Saturday, his 14th overall. Andrew Jochim of Glyndon was second, Alex Braseth of Ulen third Steven Kuntz of Bismarck fourth and Brody Carlsrud of Moorhead fifth.

Tonight (Sunday) is the second night with the NOSA Sprints coming into town.

Saturday notes

—Kyle Dykhoff of Starbuck is really fast right now. He won another Wissota Street Stock feature, this time at Greenbush Race Park on Saturday. He won at I-94 Speedway on Friday. John Halvorson of Warren was third, Dan Aberle of Finley fourth and Jake Froemke of International Falls fifth.

Haley Lee of Starbuck was runner-up for a second straight night in the Wissota Midwest Modified. The 50H is really good right now.

Lance Schill of Langdon won both the Wissota Modified and Wissota Midwest Modified feature. Ward Imrie of Winnipeg was second in the modified feature.

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