Big Nights for Goplen, Ferris, Atkinson and Carter
RaceChaser headed back to Red River Valley Speedway in West Fargo for the Dakota Cat Shootout and IMCA Stock Car King Pin Shootout.
For the record I also wrote the article for the Forum...that was a straight news article, and my blog reports include my own opinion, to clarify.
There were great car counts in the IMCA Sport Mod (25) and Modified classes (20) and a solid 13-car IMCA Stock Car field signed in. It was the Dakota Cat Mod Shootout along with the rescheduled King Pin Klash for the IMCA Stock Cars. Plus, it was Ladies Night and Meet and Greet for the modifieds and sport mods. So a lot was happening at REd River Valley.
There were a couple of very happy drivers at the end of the night, perhaps none happier than Dylan Goplen of Fargo. He's been close several times with runner-up finishes but on this night, he wasn't going to be denied. He led every lap of the Dakota Mod Shootout to pick up his first IMCA modified feaure victory of his career. Casey Arneson of Fargo was applying plenty of pressure as the laps waned, but Goplen didn't flinch to earn the win. He did a terrific job as one of the fastest cars around, Casey Arneson, was in hot pursuit. Goplen had won some b-mod features but this was his first IMCA win.
Arneson and Dave Shipley put on a big-time show racing for second, running side-by-side for several laps. It was good, clean racing between two veteran drivers; I'd like to video that and send to some guys who think you can't race someone side-by-side without touching them. Arneson held off Shipley for the spot.
Jesse Skalicky of Fargo seems to be finding his groove of late. He started 15th on the grid but worked his way to fourth at the checkered thanks to finding a pretty good low line. Billy Kendall of Baxter was fifth. One note about Kendall -- he is moving, or has moved, to the eastern North Dakota area, as he recently took a job at Bobcat.
Another happy driver was Brandon Ferris of Moorhead (interviewed above), who won a duel with his cousin Reile Sailer of Fargo to pick up his first career feature win in the IMCA Sport Mod. Sailer led for several laps using the high line but Ferris was terrific on the lower line, passing Sailer and opening up a decent lead at the finish. The battle was crazy for second as Chris VanMil, Austin Veralrud and Ryan Restad battled with Sailer for the spot. VanMil finished second, Veralrud's solid season continued with a third-place finish with Restad and Sailer rounding out the top five.
Ferris and Sailer, by the way, are first cousins.
Mathew Olson has been the car to beat for most of the summer at RRVS in the IMCA Hobby Stock, but it was veteran Tim Shiek who was up to the challenge. Shiek fended off Olson to win the feature, with Olson second and Adam Goff of Minot third.
Andrew Jochim made a nice charge through the field to win the INEX Legends. The Glyndon driver started ninth and picked up another win, his ninth of 2019. Alex Braseth of Ulen edged Tye Wilke of Detroit Lakes for second; Wilke, by the way, raced much of the feature with a flat. Brody Carlsrud of Moorhead was fourth and Kaitlyn Skalicky of Fargo fifth.
Rick Schulz of Horace (interviewed above) drove a flawless race to win the IMCA Stock Cars, and he had to, since the #40 of Rob VanMil was lurking. VanMil has been the car to beat locally in the class. Schulz had a good line and never wavered to pick up his third win of 2019. VanMil, Brennan Borg of Harwood, Tim Church of Fargo and Todd Heinrich of Fargo rounded out the top five.
--Rich Pavlicek of Casselton is running one of the few IMCA Modified Skyrocket Chassis that I know of in this region. That was a chassis built by multi-time USMTS national champion Kelly Shyrock.
--I continue to be puzzled by the drop in numbers in the INEX Legends. Sheyenne had eight on Sunday, Norman County had 11 on Thursday and RRVS had 11 on Friday. RRVS usually was in the upper teens for car counts and often at 20 last year. I don't get it. It is a good, affordable class for young drivers to hop into. I think of Tim Estenson (who is now doing some 410 sprint racing in California), Tye Wilke and Brody Carlsrud, to name a few examples.
--One class I am curious to see what looks like in the next few years is the Hobby Stock/Bomber Pure Stock class. RRVS, NCR and Sheyenne fight to get to 10 cars a night in the class; Jamestown does a little better in the mid teens usually. Buffalo River is usually around 10-12 which isn't bad. I've talked to a few drivers who say finding parts for these cars is becoming tougher and tougher. We will see, I think it's a good competitive class at most tracks.
--The track was in nice shape on Friday. It was smooth and dried out some for feature time but there were two pretty good lanes.
Atkinson Wins USMTS at I-94
Landon Atkinson of Fergus Falls picked up the biggest win of his racing career with a victory at the United States Modified Touring Series stop at I-94 Speedway in Fergus Falls on Friday.
Atkinson topped a smaller-than-expected but stout 28-car field to pick up win over Dereck Ramirez of Woodward, Okla. Zack Vanderbeek was third, Rodney Sanders of Happy, Texas was fourth and Hawley driver Blake Jegtvig had a nice run, taking fifth after starting 15th.
Brock Gronwold of Fergus Falls picked up his first I-94 Speedway win of 2019, topping Ashley Mehrwerth of St. Stephen for the win. Corey Storck of Morris was third, Brendan Blascyk of Kensington fourth and Cody Lee of Alexandria fifth.
Ben Wolden of Fergus Falls won another Limited Late Model feature, topping Brad Staples of Herman for the win. Tony Croninger of Watertown was third, Rick Nelson of Alexandria fourth and Dustin Johanneck of Litchfield fifth.
Carter Takes Home Big Money at River Cities
It's funny what happens when you put up a good purse for the Wissota Street Stocks - a bunch show up. 36 cars showed up at River Cities Speedway for the Big Al's Construction Street Stock special. The event was $1,200 to win and $150 to start. It reinforces my theory that a small tour or series would be great for the streets.
Helping River Cities some was the fact that the streets were off at I-94 because of the USMTS show. Hats off to the people who organized that race.
What a year Jonny Carter of Lisbon is having. He picked up win No. 18 on Friday and took home the $1,200 top prize.
And what a great run for Jake Froemke of International Falls. He started 21st on the field and worked his way to second at the checkered. Kyle Anderson of Jamestown also ran well, taking third after starting 14th. Trey Hess of Lakota and Bryce Reimer of Cavalier fifth.
Kelsi Pederson of East Grand Forks is 2-for-2 on the week. A night after winning at Norman County Raceway, Pederson won the NLSA Lightning Sprints feature on Friday at River Cities. Alan Truscinski of Greenbush, Presley Truedson of Kennedy, Brody Hutton of Manvel and Murray Temple of Hartney, Manitoba rounded out the top five.
Eric Haugland of Lawton prevailed in the Wissota Midwest Modifieds over Austin Hunter of Winnipeg and Lance Schill of Langdon. Jory Berg of Grand Forks and Nate Reynolds of Hoople rounded out the top five.
Austin Pierce of Grand Forks made a huge charge through the field in the NOSA Sprints. He started 15th on the field and went on to earn the win over Wade Nygaard of Grand Forks.
Shane Roemeling of Grand Forks, Ty Hanten of Fargo and Casey Mack of East Grand Forks rounded out the top five.
Hats off to Ryan Corbett of East Grand Forks for prevailing in the Wissota Late Model feature. He ran well at Cedar Lake last weekend. Dustin Strand of East Grand Forks was second, Joey Pederson of East Grand Forks was third, Shane Edington of Winnipeg fourth and Brad Seng of Grand Forks fifth.