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Dominant Diemel Wins 3rd Seitz Memorial; Vogel, Peterson, Carr Add Victories

Photo courtesy of AJ Diemel Racing Facebook page.

The 15th annual John Seitz Memorial wrapped up Saturday night at River Cities Speedway, and it was the A.J. Diemel show in what might have been the most convincing victory in the history of the event.

It looked like River Cities was going to avoid any weather issues this, but a passing shower came through around 7:45 and led to a short delay. But compared to last year’s wet weather this year was pretty uneventful.

The 92-lap, $9,200 to win late model race is the capper to the weekend. And it was the AJ Diemel show as he absolutely destroyed the field, especially over the final 60 laps. He lapped all the way up through seventh place and won by more than 13 seconds in perhaps the most dominating performance in Seitz Memorial history.

Chad Mahder of Bloomer, Wis. was the leader at the fuel stop the came out after lap 32.

But Diemel assumed control after that. He passed Mahder for the lead shortly after the fuel stop and it was all over after that. He moved through lapped traffic almost effortlessly and turned the 92-lapper into a race for second.

Mahder ran in second for a long time. Shane Edginton of Winnipeg was battling Cole Searing for third while the teammates Don Shaw of Ham Lake and Dave Mass of East Bethel battled for fifth.

With 18 to go, Mahder suddenly slowed and pulled in on the backstretch with Edginton moving into second. Soon, Searing took over the spot, but moving up to join the battle was former Seitz winner Shaw.

Diemel was closing in on the fifth and sixth place cars of Mass and Brad Seng of Grand Forks as the white flag waved. In fact, as he crossed the checkered flag he got into Seng and both went spinning. But he had already crossed the checkered and everyone had taken the white flag, so I don’t think a call was necessary in that case.

Diemel won by more than 13 seconds over Shaw, who edged Searing for second. Shaw started 14th. Searing, who started 11th, is the national point leader and runaway leader for Wissota Late Model rookie of the year.

Edginton was fourth and Mass fifth. Seng, 2021 NLRA champion Mike Greseth of Harwood, Jake Redetzke of Eau Claire, Bryce Sward of Nelson and two-time defending champion Aaron Turnbull of Estevan, Sask. rounded out the top 10. It was a pretty clean race with no cautions over the final 60 laps, and 21 of the 26 starters finished.

Lapped traffic became a factor in the Wissota Street Stock as Justin Vogel was the leader but had to check up for a lapped car, and that allowed Aaron Blacklance of Thief River Falls to make a move into the lead with nine to go. But it wasn’t over.

Vogel fought back on the higher lane and regained the spot. But also making a charge was two-time River Cities Speedway champion Ryan Johnson of Karlstad who was making up ground quickly on the higher lane. Tucker Pederson of East Grand Forks also had worked into contention.

Vogel made the move but Johnson was closing fast as the leaders moved into lapped traffic.

Vogel picked up a big win — which is going to help his hopes of finishing second in the Wissota Street Stock national points with Parker Anderson well in front — and took home $1,292. Vogel always seems to show up when the money is on the line, and as I mentioned on Thursday, is getting hot just in time for the big money shows. I expect him to be a prime contender at the Wissota 100 next week.

Johnson settled for second with Blacklance taking third. Pederson was fourth. Jonny Carter of Lisbon had a big run. He started dead last in the 18-car B main and won it; and started 17th in the A main and got up to fifth. With a caution, who knows what kind of factor the #46 would be.

Anderson made a good run himself, going from 18th to seventh.

After a couple of early cautions, including a multi-car melee in turn one, the Wissota Midwest Modified feature turned into a dandy. Jason Halvorson of Devils Lake took the lead from the pole but soon had company as the #5C of Preston Carr of Carrington was in pursuit.

Matt Schow of McIntosh, the 2020 River Cities Speedway champion, was also moving up and was into third and closing on the top two.

Carr made his car work well on the bottom line and he was all over Halverson. Carr made the pass down the front stretch to take over the lead. Soon, Schow was applying pressure on Carr.

Carr would recover and opened up a few car lengths on Schow by the checkered to pick up the win. I’m not sure where it ranks as far as feature wins for Carr in his career but it might have to be among the biggest.

Schow was second and Halverson was third. Jory Berg of Grand Forks started 13th but was patient and moved into fourth by the finish. Former Wissota national champion Brock Gronwold of Fergus Falls was fifth.

Matt Aukland of Glyndon took the lead from the pole of the Wissota Modified feature. A couple of cautions slowed the field but once the racing got going, Aukland had some breathing room.

Superman Mike Stearns of Hecla, S.D., a former national champion, moved into second ahead of Dale Ames of Huron and Joseph Thomas of Glyndon.

Peterson was patient — at least early — running the lower line. But after a later restart, he put the foot to the floor of the #1TPO and absolutely took off on the higher lane. In one lap, he went from fifth to second with a breathtaking move, and was closing quick on Aukland.

Peterson made the pass for the lead, and seconds later, Aukland spun his #12 machine in turns three and four to bring out a caution. He would pull in after that.

On the restart, Peterson pulled away from Stearns and was in firm command as he picked up his second win of the weekend. And with the win, unofficially, Peterson took over the the national points lead. He is very, very determined to get that national crown, and his Black Widow car is as fast as any Wissota Modified right now. Peterson won at Madison on Monday, the first night of the Seitz on Friday and on Saturday which bolsters those national title hopes.

Stearns, who is having a pretty dang good season himself, finished second for a second straight night. Ames, despite significant sheet metal damage on his right side, finished third. Zach Johnson of Lowry earned his second straight top five, taking fourth ahead of Aaron Blacklance.

Matt Gilbertson of Montevideo was having a good run and moved into the top four, but had trouble shortly after and pulled in. Jordan Duray of Halma had a nice race, going from 15th to sixth.

RCS Notes

—Blacklance was doing triple duty, racing a street stock, midwest modified and modified. The modified he drove was owned by Chris Edmonds of Larimore. Blacklance plans to race in the A mods next year. He is the first driver believed to have raced in three divisions in the same night at River Cities (if someone can verify something different I’ll change it.)

—Only two late model drivers — Don Shaw and Brad Seng — have qualified for the A main in all 15 Seitz Memorials.

—The father-daughter racing team of Scott and Morgan Ward of Watertown both qualified for the A main in the late models.

—Aukland and Erv Grossman of Fargo have raced IMCA mods at Red River Valley Speedway regularly but have also done some Wissota racing in 2021. Aukland was having a good run before he spun in turns three.

—Going back to Friday, Austin Pierce of Grand Forks is on some kind of roll in the Buffalo Wild Wing NOSA Sprints. He's won six features in a row at River Cities and is on his way to the season championship for a second straight year at the Bullring.

Trone Wins 2 at Sauerkraut 500

Tempest Trone of Litchville won the Sports Compact feature Friday during action at the Sauerkraut 500 at Tri-County Speedway in Wishek over Justin Hainline of Lisbon. Mike Nichols of Watertown, one of several drivers battling for teh Wissota Midwest Modified national champion, took the win in that class over Lucas Rodin of Marion, who is now second in the national points. Nate Reinke of Lisbon was third.

During Saturday’s action at the Sauerkraut 500, Tye Wilke of Detroit Lakes won the INEX Legends feature.

Trone made it two in a row in the Sport Compacts with another win over Brennan Urbach of Lisbon.

Nate Reinke topped Lucas Rodin of Marion for the Wissota Midwest Modified feature.

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