Carter, Carr Pick Up Wins at Devils Lake Opener
RaceChaser finally gets to talk about actual racing! Made the trip to Devils Lake Speedway near Crary, N.D. on Saturday for that track’s season opener. More than 70 cars were on hand from four different states as the 1/4-mile oval kicked off the season. The weather was really nice, and it felt AWESOME to be at a racetrack and not talk about the Covid-19 virus! And yes, fans in the stands seemed to be practicing social distancing as they were spread out. The only people sitting together were families. I spent time in the infield and pit area things seemed fine as you can space pretty well there. Devils Lake is a really, really banked track. It looks that way from the stands but you have to stand on it to appreciate it. I went to the infield to take a few pictures and it is a steep climb down and up. For a season opener the track was in pretty good shape, considering there was snow on the ground not that long ago. There were good fields of cars in the two Wissota classes with 20 street stocks and 26 midwest modifieds. Both classes had some very good quality as well. Todd Carter of Lisbon picked up where he left off a year ago, winning the Wissota Street Stock feature by several car lengths. Carter looks strong once again in 2020 and watch out for him at Jamestown and Sheyenne Speedways this summer. The veteran looks to have the #19 car dialed in to kick off the season Carter got some pressure from Jake Froemke of International Falls, Minn., who briefly took the lead before the yellow came out. Froemke and Carter also had a great battle in their heat race.
A few laps later, Froemke — who was really fast on the lower line — slipped up in turns one and two which led to a chain reaction crash behind him. He was charged with the yellow and had to go to the rear. But he wasn't done yet. Carter wasn’t threatened for the win after that but there was a lot happening behind him. Kyle Anderson of Jamestown, Trajan Schmidt of Watertown, S.D., Parker Anderson of Phlillips, Wis., and Cory Dykhoff of Perham, Minn., were battling hard for spots in the top five. Anderson finished a strong second while Schmidt, who started 16th, was third. Froemke made a great comeback from the caution, working his way back to fourth at the checkered. Dykhoff probably had a top five finish in his hands but some contact led to a few cars spinning, and he suffered the worst of it with a flat tire and some front end damage to end his night. Some of the driving in the street stock feature was a little rough for this time of year. I understand everyone being antsy to race but some of it driving seemed a bit overaggressive and led to a few bent-up cars. It was good to see Brittany Smith of St. Joseph, Minn., back in her street stock. She won the Wissota Hornet National Championship in 2018 and ran a handful of Street Stock shows in 2019. She will just keep getting better and better the more laps she gets behind the wheel of the #5 car. Her brother Jake Smith finished ninth in the Wissota Midwest Modified feature. And the Old Man, Jerry Lamb of Lisbon, is back for year 51 behind the wheel as his street stock was back on the track. The ageless one just turned 70 in late April. It seemed the worst place to be in the Wissota Midwest Modified feature was in the lead. Brocket, N.D., driver Cole Haugland set the pace from his outside pole spot, but a few laps into it lost a wheel and went off the backstretch, ending his night. Lucas Rodin of Marion took over the lead and got pressure from Aaron Blacklance of Thief River Falls, Minn.; however Rodin’s night ended later when he lost power steering. Blacklance led after the restart by Carrington driver Preston Carr went to the high side and flew into the lead to pick up the win. Blacklance was second; Nate Reynolds of Hoople was a solid third, while St. Stephen, Minn., driver Brandon Mehrwerth was fourth. Mehrwerth is a solid runner out of central Minnesota and his sister, Ashley is darn tough in the midwest modifieds as well.
Carr, by the way, has won the Jamestown Stampede two straight years. He's fast. An interesting name was in the Midwest modified field — Alan Olafson of Blackduck, Minn. Olafson is a long-time top runner in the modifieds in the Bemidji area and finished fifth. There were 12 Western Renegade Non-Winged Sprints in attendance in their weekly debut. I’m thinking if 10-15 cars show up each night the season will have been a success for the non-winged sprints at Devils Lake, which is the only track in North Dakota to run them weekly. The racing in the class was solid although Jon Lewerer of Andover, Minn., was in total control in winning the feature by nearly half a lap. There were a few cautions but no major incidents. Myles Tomlinson, the Western Renegade series owner/operator, estimated there are 6-8 more cars there weren’t quite ready or couldn’t make Saturday’s show. Tomlinson, by the way, finished fifth in his non-winged debut. The Pure Stocks attracted cars from as far away as Bemidji, Minn., and Bismarck, N.D. with a total of 14 in attendance. It was Minot driver Alex Tvedt that had the field covered, winning by a comfortable margin over Finley’s Steven Richards. Dylan Steele of Jamestown was fifth after starting 13th and avoided a few of the wrecks and spins ahead of him to post a good finish. The hard-luck award in the Pure Stocks goes to Billy Carow of Jamestown. He was running in the top three in the feature before clobbering the turn four wall hard; frankly he was taken out, no other way to describe it. The front end of the car was heavily damaged, ending his night. Hopefully he’ll have it ready for the Jamestown opener.