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Braseth, Gronwold, Arneson and Pavlicek Lead Winners at Norman County Raceway

Ryan Braseth (29) won the INEX Legend feature Thursday at NCR.

Norman County Raceway in Ada opened the season on Thursday with a solid 61-car field in attendance. Some familiar names found victory lane during action at the 3/8-mile oval.

Veteran Rich Pavlicek is running an IMCA Sport Mod this year and got his season off to a strong start with the win over Chris VanMil of Barnesville. Luke Johnson of Moorhead was third, Scott Jacobson of Fargo fourth and Andy Wagner of Ada finished fifth after starting 10th.

Pavlicek had raced an IMCA Mod in recent years and was dang tough in the Wissota Midwest Mods prior to that.

It shouldn’t come as much of a shock that Tim Gonska of Brainerd won the IMCA Hobby Stock feature. He’s been a force to be reckoned with at North Central Speedway in Brainerd and Princeton Speedway in recent years. He won 11 features last year, including nine at NCS. So his feature win shouldn’t show anyone on Thursday. Fargo veteran Tim Shiek was second with Brad Orvedal of Fargo third. Gonska, by the way, was seventh in IMCA Hobby Stock national points last season.

I hope we see more hobby stocks at Ada as the season goes along.

Fergus Falls driver Brock Gronwold has raced six times so far this season (not including his Arizona racing in January).. He now has three wins already in the Wissota Midwest Modifieds. Gronwold has two wins at Miller Central Speedway in Miller, S.D., and picked up his third of 2020 at Norman County. The #2G car will be a big-time force to be reckoned with once his local tracks of I-94 and Viking Speedways open.

Hunter Hougard of Warren had a nice run, starting seventh but finishing in second. It was his second top five finish so far this season. Brendan Blascyk of Kensington was third, Justin Jones of Onamia fourth and Jeff Nelson of Perham fifth.

Ryan Braseth of Ulen was runner-up at Sheyenne Speedway on Monday in the INEX Legends and continued his good week with a feature win in his #29 machine. He started fourth. Tony Brockhouse of Glyndon was second and Tye Wilke of Detroit Lakes was third. Brody Carlsrud of Moorhead, who won at Sheyenne on Monday, was fourth while teenager Ashton Spieker picked up the first top five finish of his career by taking fifth.

It was a great start to the season for Mike Anderson of Walcott, N.D., in the IMCA Stock Cars. He only ran a handful of shows last year but had six top fives, all coming at Red River Valley Speedway in West Fargo. On Thursday he picked up the feature win over Rob VanMil of Barnesville and Travis Robertson of Moorhead. If you are beating those two — who have a pile of wins between them — you’ve run a good race.

Todd Heinrich of Fargo was fourth and Kalvin Kesselberg of Ada, who started 10th, worked his way up to fifth at the checkered in a nice run for the #11 car.

I wonder how often Fargo’s Austin Arneson has not won an IMCA Modified feature when he starts on the pole. My guess it has rarely happened, if ever. He picked up the win on Thursday. It was a good run for the 3S Jesse Skalicky of Fargo who started seventh and finished second. Casey Arneson of Fargo was third. Aaron Johnson of Brainerd and Tyler Hall of Fertile rounded out the top five.

NCR Notes

—Andrew Jochim of Glyndon, who has raced in the legends class the past several years, made his IMCA Stock Car debut on Thursday in Ada. He finished seventh in the feature after starting. It’ll be interesting to see his progress this season.

—I hope to see more Legend cars at NCR this season. Eight competed in the opener. I’ll be focused on Legend car counts at Red River Valley Speedway on Friday.

—Ada’s sister track, Red River Valley Speedway, opens on Friday in West Fargo.

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