Ebert Wins Advantage RV Tour at I-94; Blascyk Anderson, Youngquist, and Wolden Continue Winning Ways
RaceChaser blog was back at I-94 Sure Step Speedway for the Advantage RV Mod Tour show on Friday. An excellent 34-car field was on hand in the mods aiming to claim the $1,500 top prize.
There were 29 Wissota Midwest Modifieds on hand and car counts in the other three classes were solid.
Once again, the weather looked like it would play a factor as the radar didn’t look good, and neither did the skies. The modifieds got their 40-lapper in, and it turns out the rain went just south of the track so the whole show got done. Which had to relieve owner Don Shaw and track officials.
Dan Ebert of Lake Shore, interviewed above, is one of the more talented modified drivers around, in my opinion. I’ve seen him win numerous times and that #60 car just unloads fast at I-94.
Brady Gerdes of Villard drew the inside pole and held the early lead. On a restart, Ebert, a former tour champion, made the pass for the top spot.
Things got dicey towards the front as Gerdes and Shane Sabraski of Rice, the RV Tour point leader, had contact down the front stretch. That contact left Gerdes with a flat tire, and he slowed to bring out the caution. He was forced to go to the pits to change it. In this particular situation, I think Gerdes kinda got the shaft as I thought Sabraski — a driver I respect highly — got into him. I don’t think it was intentional, probably hard racing, but it probably ended the hopes for the victory for Gerdes, who had to go to the taiil to change the fire. Gerdes later pulled in with some front suspension issue.
Ebert was flying around the high side and opened the lead. Landon Atkinson of Little Falls settled into second. Several cars were battling in the top five, which included Tyler Peterson of Hickson, Sabraski, Ryan Gierke of Villard and Dave Cain of Corcoran.
Peterson worked his way to the third spot and set his sights on Atkinson in what turned into an excellent battle for position. On the move was Jeremy Nelson of Alexandria, who started 18th but worked into the top five.
Ebert opened up a sizable advantage with Peterson taking over second. That battle wasn’t over as Atkinson would pressure Peterson til the final lap. Nelson got by Sabraski for the fourth spot. Cain, who is not having a good year on the RV Tour, later pulled in.
Peterson and Atkinson ate into a little of Ebert’s leader but didn’t get nearly close enough to mount a challenge. Atkinson put the heat on Peterson for second and a few times looked to be in position to pull off the pass; but one time a lapped car slowed him, allowing Peterson to retain the spot.
Ebert went on to earn the win with Peterson outlasting Atkinson for second. For the record, Ebert and Atkinson have been regulars on the USMTS tour this year; in fact according to my research it was Ebert’s first Wissota show of 2021. Atkinson has run a handful of Wissota shows this year. The USMTS tour is off this weekend and frankly it was good to see both on hand.
Nelson was the Hard Charger, taking fourth after starting 18th. He made quite a comeback on the night after not finishing his heat. Sabraski, the tour point leader, was fifth with Gierke running a solid sixth. Zach Johnson of Lowry finished seventh after starting 16th while Dusty Bitzan of Brandon finished eighth after starting 22nd.
It’s time to start including Brendan Blascyk of Kensington as one of the elite Wissota Midwest Modified drivers in western Minnesota, in my opinion. The performance he put on Friday was evidence of that.
The Wissota Midwest Modified feature got off to a rough start. In took four restarts before a lap was completed. The class has several new drivers and that inexperience shows at times, unfortunately, with spinouts.
Once the race got going, it turned into one of the best Wissota Midwest Modified features I’ve seen at I-94 in some time.
Travis Saurer of Dalton, driving one of Scott Bintz’s cars, took the lead from the outside pole. Point leader Brock Gronwold of Fergus Falls moved into second and Blascyk, who started seventh, moved into third.
The top three ran a feverish pace on the cushion and were absolutely flying. They pulled well ahead in the field.
Mike Nichols of Watertown, who started 14th, moved into the top five and began battle with Austin Chyba of Browerville. He runs well every time I see him at I-94, and took over the fourth spot.
Gronwold tried a slider on Saurer, but Saurer would have nothing of it and squeezed the #2G car into the wall, leaving Gronwold’s car with some right side body damage. But the race continued. Saurer would later scrape the wall himself.
A restart changed the complexion with five laps left. Blascyk was third, and had to take the lower line — which seemed to be a disadvantage considering how fast the top was — on the restart. It turned out, the bottom line had cleaned off, and Blascyk found speed on the restart. He worked the line on the bottom of Saurer and soon took over the stop spot. He pulled away over the final few laps to pick up the win, his fifth feature win of 2021.
Gronwold continued to pressure Saurer til the finish but had to settled for third. Nichols capped off a great run in fourth with Chyba taking fifth.
A shoutout to Kyle Langland of Enderlin, who has been plagued with motor trouble this season. He started way back in 26th in the feature and worked his way up to ninth at the checkered. For that racing team, considering the horrendous luck Kyle has had this season, that felt like a win.
National point leader Parker Anderson of Phillips, Wis., continues to pile up wins in his Wissota Street Stock. He won Thursday at KRA Speedway in Willmar and then worked his way to the front to pick up the win.
Anderson moved into top spot. Kyle Dykhoff of Starbuck, last week’s winner, moved into second as Ryan Satter of Dent pressured him.
On a late restart, Dykhoff went to the high side looking to gain on Anderson. He did in turns three and four but lost a little ground in one and two and didn’t get close enough to make the pass. Anderson picked up his 19th win of 2021; he is the national point leader and is in a great position as we enter mid-July. Dykhoff took second with Satter, who is dominating the points at I-94, taking third. Kyle Anderson of Jamestown ran in the top five all night and ran a solid fourth with Joe Potter of Euclid edging 14-year-old Cole Greseth of Harwood for fifth.
There was a $100 bounty placed on Kevin Youngquist of Barney by Matt Pederson in the Short Trackers. That meant if someone beat Youngquist, who entered the night with three straight feature wins and a sizeable point lead.
It turns out, the bounty will have to go on for another week. The #00 car has been the class of the Short Tracker division at I-94 all year, and he picked up his fourth straight win and fifth overall after starting eighth. The bounty will increase by $50 each week until Youngquist is beaten (and finishes the feature). The #00 is humming along,
Curtis Huseth of Underwood was second, Brady Molter of Rothsay was third, Shawn Beto of Wahpeton fourth and Jacob Hagen of Elbow Lake fifth.
Speaking of bounties, it might be time to put one on Ben Wolden in the Viessman Late Models. He picked up his 10th feature win of 2021 after starting eighth on the 13-car field. He’s well on his way to a fourth straight Viessman Late Model championship at I-94.
What a run for Limited Late Model rookie Nick Thoreson of Fort Ransom. He started on the outside pole and finished a season-best second. Thoreson is a former hobby stock driver.
Sam Zender of Fergus Falls was third, Dustin Johanneck of Litchfield fourth and Scott Zimmerman of Rothsay fifth.
Edginton, Stenberg, Dobmeier, Blacklance Win at River Cities
Shane Edginton of Winnipeg had a heck of a run in the Wissota Late Model feature. He started 22nd on the field and got to the front for the feature win. Late model rookie Jason Strand of Portland is running extremely well of late — he took second after starting eighth. Brody Troftgruben of Grand Forks was third, Joey Pederson of East Grand Forks fourth and another late model rookie, Cole Haugland of Brocket, was fifth.
Mark Dobmeier of Grand Forks is 2-for-2 on his comeback. He won the Buffalo Wild Wings NOSA Sprint feature for the second straight night after starting fourth. Brendan Mullen of Grand Forks was runner-up for the second straight night. Austin Pierce of Grand Forks, who led early, was third with Wade Nygaard of Grand Forks and Jack Croaker of East Grand Forks rounding out the top five.
Reise Stenberg of Argusville picked up his second Wissota Midwest Modified feature victory of 2021. Thursday’s winner Jory Berg of Grand Forks was second with Jason Halverson of Devils Lake taking third. Patrick Sobolik of Hallock and Randy Thompson of Lakota rounded out the top five.
Aaron Blacklance continues to be a force in the Wissota Street Stocks, picking up his second straight win and fifth overall in the #5BA car. Blacklance also won on Thursday. Ryan Johnson of Karlstad was second, Dan McNamee of Arvilla third, John Halvorson of Warren fourth and Trey Hess of Lakota fifth.
Joel Larson of Fertile topped Adam Sobolik of Grand Forks for the Western Renegade Non-Winged Sprints feature. Brandon Palm of Portland was third.
—Congrats to Karter Reents of Glenwood for picking up his first career Wissota Super Stock feature win Friday at Fiesta City Speedway in Montevideo.