Dobmeier Makes Triumphant Return; Greseth, Berg, Blacklance Victorious at River Cities
I was at River Cities Speedway in Grand Forks for the first night of the Wayne Anderson Cup. A nice field of 25 Buffalo Wild Wings NOSA Sprints were on hand along with a great field of 30 NLRA Late Models.
Sprint car star Mark Dobmeier of Grand Forks made his comeback in the #13 BWW NOSA Sprint and that was the big highlight of the evening. Dobmeier was seriously injured in a crash at Cedar Lake Speedway in Wisconsin in July 2020 and has been out recovering and rehabbing ever since. He suffered a broken back that required a lot of rehab and healing.
“It feels absolutely awesome,” Dobmeier said to me during an intermission interview. “It was good to be back in the car and get moving and actually have the driving suit on. It’s a long time coming but I had lot of support behind me the whole time.”
And it didn’t take him long to return to the dominant form that has made him a premiere sprint car driver in this region.
Tim Estenson of Fargo led the Buffalo Wild Wings NOSA Sprints feature early with Jack Croaker of East Grand Forks giving chase.
Croaker, looking for his first career NOSA win, took over the top spot with Dobmeier now in second. Dobmeier soon took over the top spot and looked the Dobmeier of old, opening up a good advantage.
“Right back to where I was before, I felt like,” Dobmeier said, referring to the heat race. “Once you get moving and racing —any time you’re racing you zone out everything else. Once the green flag flies nothing matters but the race that you are in.”
Brendan Mullen of Grand Forks was also running well. He started eighth on the end. field and moved into second, but was more than two seconds behind Dobmeier. Jade Hastings of Grand Forks, the defending NOSA champion, settled into third in a race that endured several cautions.
Dobmeier won by 2.140 seconds for his 166th NOSA win of his career. It was a triumphant return after seeing his career get put in jeopardy with the injury last summer. I remember him showing me a picture of the X-ray with the plates and screws in his neck/upper back -- this was not some routine injury.
“I was so close to all kinds of stuff — it’s not very fun to talk about,” Dobmeier said. “I was very lucky. I’m extremely fortunate to be standing here and be able to race.”
Mullen, Hastings, Wade Nygaard of Fargo and Austin Pierce of Grand Forks — who started 15th — rounded out the top five. Croaker settled for sixth. Shane Roemeling of Grand Forks made a 15-position improvement in the feature, starting 22nd and placing seventh.
Mike Greseth’s outstanding rookie season in the late models continues as he prevailed for the NLRA win. Greseth, interviewed above, started the inside pole and settled into second behind Lance Schill of Langdon.
Schill was strong and had a few car length lead, and once he got into lapped traffic, Greseth made his presence known. Greseth made the pass for the lead; a few moments later Schill spun on the front stretch, and pulled in shortly after.
Shane Edginton of Winnipeg became Greseth’s newest challenger for the top spot. Edginton started sixth but had moved into third shortly before Schill’s caution. On the restart he kept the heat on Greseth for the lead. Brad Seng of Grand Forks was in third.
Dustin Strand of East Grand Forks engaged in a good battle for fourth with Cole Babcock of Rothsay, who was running well in the #2* machine. Late model rookie Jason Strand of Portland also was lurking inside the top five.
A late restart changed things — Babcock got shuffled back while Strand went to the top side and took over second from Edginton. He set his sights on Greseth for the top spot. Strand’s charge would come up short as Greseth picked up his fifth win — in 13 starts — in 2021. He extended his NLRA point lead to 34 points over Edginton, who finished third behind Strand.
One driver who put together a good run, and needed it, was Cole Schill of Horace. Schill tested the #44 machine last Saturday morning at I-94 Sure Step, looking for some speed. He seemed to have found some, and worked into the top five after starting ninth, taking home a fifth-place finish. Strand finished sixth after starting 11th.
I felt for Babcock, who deserved a top five finish but got shuffled back on the restart.
It doesn’t seem to matter what car Aaron Blacklance of Thief River Falls is driving this season — his street stock or midwest modified — he’s been fast. He entered the night with eight feature wins on the season, and added another on Thursday.
Bryce Reimer of Cavalier led the first several laps; River Cities fans remember early in the year that car was airborne off of turn two. This time, however, the #03 stayed on all four wheels and looked on his way to the win.
Dan McNamee of Arvilla was giving chase for the lead, with Trey Hess of Lakota also in the hunt.
Blacklance, who started sixth, was patient. He would work into the top three and got around McNamee, setting his sights on Reimer.
John Halvorson of Warren also had worked into the top five after starting eighth with defending champion Ryan Johnson of Karlstad in tow.
Blacklance made the move on Reimer and led the final few laps for his ninth win of the year. Reimer, McNamee, Halvorson and Johnson rounded out the top five. 18 of the 19 starters finished in what was a very clean race.
Speaking of clean races, the Wissota Midwest Modifieds — who’ve been known to have some equipment tore up at River Cities at times — ran a caution free race. Jory Berg of Grand Forks, interviewed above, was standing tall at the checkered flag after surviving what was a terrific battle for second.
Outside pole sitter Tanner Theis of New Rockford took over the top spot on the green with Reise Stenberg of Argusville settling into second. Berg, who started fifth, moved into third and challenged Stenberg in what was a big-time race for the second spot. That battle was soon joined by Lance Schill of Langdon, who has xx wins at River Cities this season.
Berg made the pass of Stenberg and then set his sights on Theis. Stenberg, now had to contend with Schill for third.
Berg took over the top spot and went on to lead the final few laps to pick up the win. Stenberg got by Theis for second with Nate Raasalka of Grand Forks edging Schill for fourth.
—Tyler Peterson of Hickson was back behind the wheel of Donny Schatz’s late model. Schatz is racing the NASCAR truck race at Knoxville this weekend. Peterson finished eighth after starting 12th.
—Rich Pavlicek of Casselton was behind the wheel of Bob Sagen’s #99 Wissota Midwest Modified.
—One driver who is having a tough summer is Ryan Corbett of Grad Forks. He made the feature in the NLRA Late models but recorded a DNF. In bis last four starts he has three DNFs and one DNS.