Aukland Shines at Dakota Mod Tour Stop at Jamestown; Highlights from BRRP and Viking
RaceChaser headed west to Jamestown Speedway for the first night of the 30th annual Dakota Classic Modified Tour. A total of 75 IMCA modifieds and 22 IMCA Stock cars were on hand.
The mod counts were very good, as they’ve been for years. The record is just over 100, and that was a few years ago. To expect that every year is asking a lot. I think if you can keep it at over 60 cars per night you have a heck of a tour. This year, tour director John Gartner added some passing points to help drivers qualify for the features as well.
I will say this — the tour flagman, Mike Van Genderen of Iowa, did not mess around. He kept the show moving and didn’t take a lot of laps under caution. Plus, he wasn’t quick to throw a yellow, either. Keep in mind the one-caution-and-you’re in rule was in effect in the heats. The eight IMCA Mod heats and three stock car heats were done in a hour.
Jamestown took some criticism for length of its shows earlier this year, and the track is clearly working on keeping things moving. The first mod heat was on the track at 6:58 p.m. — two minutes before start time — and I got out of there a little before 10:30 p.m. That’s not bad considering there were 16 races and some longer B mains. A year ago, at the same event, the modified feature had not started by midnight. So props to them.
The preferred line was the high side; there was a hole in turn one that gave some drivers trouble, but most of the track seemed decent. The bottom line never really came in like I’d hoped.
Making the modified feature from the RaceChaser area included Matt Aukland of Glyndon, who won his heat going away; Jarrett Carter of Lisbon, who won the opening heat by a comfortable margin; Casey Arneson of Fargo, who his his B main; Jason Grimes of Jamestown, who started 14th; Dylan Goplen of Fargo and Tyler Hall of Fertile.
Aukland put on a heck of a show to earn runner-up honors. He started fifth on the grid. Justin O’Brien of West Union, Iowa took the early race lead, but after a restart, it was Tom Berry Jr. of Newburg, ND who made a charge to the lead. Berry, who started seventh, passed O’Brien and took control. Aukland and O’Brien waged a great battle for second with Aukland earning that spot by a few feet at the line (O’Brien tagged the wall pretty hard but settled for third.
Grimes and Marlyn Seidler of Underwood were among the victims of an early crazy restart. Arkansas driver and former tour champ Jeff Taylor was on the pole and figured to to be tough to beat; however on a restart his car simply would not take off because of a broken axle, resulting in a logjam behind him. Grimes and Seidler were probably the two who were dealt a band hand there; both started in the top 14 but dropped well back as a result of that start.
I’ve never seen a race where three of the favorites — Ricky Thornton Jr. of Adel, Iowa, Hunter Marriott of Brookfield, Mo., and Taylor — were out so early. Marriott, a former tour winner, maybe made one lap before pulling in. Thornton was involved in an early spin, went into the pits for repairs, and came back out. He had made up some positions but flew off of turns three and four and called it a night after that.
Berry has been awesome this season. He now has eight wins, which have come at five different tracks: Nodak Speedway in Minot, Jamestown Speedway, McLean County Speedway in Underwood, Southwest Speedway in Dickinson and Dacotah Speedway in Mandan. Since April 26, he has finished in the top five 15 times (out of 16 races) with only one DNF. We’re watching a rising mod star here, folks.
Aukland was the top area driver and did a great job, but lets give props to Carter and Hall. These are two younger IMCA mod drivers who both made the show in a field of 75 cars, and racing against that caliber of competition of guys like Jason Hughes, Thornton and Marriott will only make them better. Both finished the race with their cars intact.
Jamestown legend John Corell had a miserable night. He was leading his heat race when he hit a hole in turn two and slid off the banking, narrowly avoiding the wall; he also slid off again moments later. It cost him a win and several positions and forced him to start a long way back in his B main.. He also took a DNF in the third B feature.
Thornton was the car to beat in the IMCA Stock Cars and he fought off challenges from multi-time tour winner Elijah Zevenbergen of Sibley, Iowa for the win. Valley City driver Tim Compson was the top local finishers, taking 12th after starting 14th.
Overall, the tour got off to a good start, let’s hope for good weather throughout the week.
VanMil, Wilke and Harstad Among BRRP Winners
Finally, the Buffalo River Race Park in Glyndon was able to get a show in. Saturday marked the track’s second program of the season. The remaining seven nights have been rainouts.
Chris VanMil of Barnesville won the IMCA Sport Mod with Matt Talley of Sabin taking second. Doug Gardner of Glyndon, Scott Jacobson of Fargo and Dave Siercks of Princeton, Minn., rounded out the top five.
Daniel Harstad of Fergus Falls won the IMCA Sport Compact feature with Casey Stremick of Harwood taking second. 12-year-old Cole Greseth of Harwood was third.
Adam Goff of Minot made the long trek east worthwhile with the win in the IMCA Hobby Stocks. Marvin Priem of Glyndon was second, Chase Peterson of Milaca third, Brad Orvedal of Fargo fourth and Tim Shiek of Fargo fifth.
Lawrence Veralrud, 78, won the Lightning Sprint feature.
Teenager standout Tye Wilke of Detroit Lakes won the INEX Legends feature. Brody Carlsrud of Moorhead was third and Dylan Johnson of Durbin fifth.
Harwood driver Brennan Borg won the IMCA Stock Car feature with Rob VanMil of Barnesville second and Rick Schulz of Horace third.
Satter Wins 2 Features at Viking
Ryan Satter of Dent picked up two wins Saturday night at Viking Speedway in Alexandria.
Satter won the Limited Late Model feature over Ben Wolden of Fergus Falls. Ryan Mikkelson of Alexandria was third, Rick Nelson of Alexandria fourth and teenager Bryce Sward of Nelson took fifth.
Satter also picked up the win in the Wissota Street Stocks after starting eight. Jonny Carter of Lisbon was second, Andrew Bangsund of Alexandria third, Jim Williams of Alexandria fourth and Justin Vogel of Brooten fifth.
Trevor Saurer of Dalton won the Wissota Super Stock feature with Jeff Crouse of Alexandria taking second and Bryan Hellerman of Parkers Prairie third.
Zach Johnson of Lowry on the Wissota Modified feature over Dusty Bitzan of Garfield. Brady Gerdes of Villard, Danny Bayer of Elrosa and Brett Hoium of Villard rounded out the top five. Hawley driver Blake Jegtvig started 20th but finished sixth.
Travis Engebretson of Cyrus topped Brock Gronwold of Fergus Falls for the Wissota Midwest Modified win. Ron Saurer of Dalton was third, Brandon Copp of Brule, Wis., fourth and Mason Lesmeister of Morris fifth.
--Jamie Thorstad of Morris topped Cody Lee of Alexandria for the Wissota Midwest Modified win at Madison Speedway.
Travis Scott of Glenwood was second in the street stock main event.
Eric Riley of Morris was third in the Wissota Street Stock feature while Cory Dykhoff of Perham was fifth.