Ebert Wins Modified Thriller at I-94; Dykhoff and Howell Crowned Kings; Several Area Notes
King of the Dirt was crowned in the Wissota Street Stock and Wissota Midwest Modified classes Friday at I-94 Speedway in what was an action-packed night of racing. With the Limited Late Models and Wissota Late Models off, a field of 80 cars signed in for the four classes.
Before I get to the King of the Dirt, let’s start with the best race of the night — the Wissota Modified feature. This will go down as the best modified race I’ve seen all year. This was on an incredibly fast race track.
Mike Greseth of Harwood took the lead from the green flag over Blake Jegtvig of Hawley. Greseth led the first 12 laps before a caution came out. Greseth maintained the lead after third yellow of the race, and things got crazy. First, it looked like Tyler Peterson of Hickson was going to overtake Greseth; but Travis Saurer of Dalton capitalized on a restart to take over second. He put a ton of pressure on Greseth for the lead. Peterson, meanwhile was in a good battle with Dusty Bitzan of Brandon for third. Jason Thoennes of Garfield, who started 10th, also was in the top five battling.
The cautions also brought another driver into the mix — Dan Ebert of Lake Shore (interviewed above). Ebert’s 60 car was flying. He moved into third, and then made a big move into turn one — overtaking both Greseth and Saurer — to take the lead with less than two to go. Saurer remained in second; Bitzan, Peterson and Greseth went three-wide down the backstretch for third one the final lap, with Bitzan edging Peterson for the spot. Greseth was fifth in what may be the best modified race of the year at I-94 as it seemed about six drivers could have won it. This just in, Dan Ebert is a heck of a race car driver.
Kyle Dykhoff of Starbuck, interviewed above, has been runner-up in the Wissota Street Stocks three times at the King of the Dirt and was looking for a breakthrough. Thanks to a pass on the final lap, he got it.
Joe Potter of East Grand Forks led the street stock feature early but Eric Riley of Morris took the lead. Riley had a decent advantage on the field but that was erased with a caution with four laps left. The caution brought Dykhoff and Ryan Satter of Dent right on Riley’s bumper and things got crazy. Riley led at the white flag, however he made contact with the wall in turn two, and that opened the door for Dykhoff, who made the pass and went on to take the win. Satter was second, Riley held on for third. Tyler Klugman was fourth but was DQed postrace, moving Chuck Olson of Evansville into fourth and 14-year-old Jack Koranda of Bluffton into fifth.
Keep in mind, this is Dykhoff’s third night in that car. He raced a midwest modified earlier this year but is now back in the street stock in a Kurshinsky chassis he had that just needed to be put together.
I sure felt for Eric Riley. He is one of the nicer guys I’ve met through this blog and he has piled up second place finishes this year but is still chasing that first win of the season. He was pretty bummed after the race. Ultimately, what probably hurt Riley more than anything where the yellow flags. He had opened up a few car length lead and honestly I thought he had it won, but the yellows brought two very good runners, Satter and Dykhoff, back into the mix. The contact with the wall was his undoing.
Another guy to feel bad for was Travis Scott of Glenwood. That driver has miserable luck at I-94. On Friday he was running in the top five all night and was catching Satter for third when he made contact with the wall in turns three and four and rolled his 71X machine. He probably had at least a top four finish ruined by the crash.
The final King crowned on the night came in the Wissota Midwest Modified. Travis Engebretson of Cyrus led the first half of the race; however after a restart he hit the wall in turns one and two, and this opened the door for Shane Howell of Buffalo to take the lead. Engebretson pulled in a short time later. Howell had built up a decent advantage; but Corey Storck of Morris was closing in. Storck drove the wheels off of his #57 car and was right on Howell’s trail entering the final laps. Howell survived the challenge to become the King of the Dirt in the midwest modified class. And chances are he will still be partying in the pit area at 9 a.m. on Saturday morning.
Storck settled for second, Justin Froemming of Alexandria third, defending King Cody “The Cobra” Lee fourth after starting 13th, and Brandon Mehrwerth of St. Stephen was fifth. Matt Baker of St. Joseph started 21st and finished sixth. Kyle Langland of Casselton also ran in the top three or four most of the night and finished in seventh.
Daniel Harstad has been the Short Tracker to beat all-year at I-94, and it takes a pretty good performance to defeat him. Casey Stremick was up the challenge. He took the lead from Harstad early in the feature. Harstad was all over Stremick for the final 7 laps of the race, and pulled beside him entering three; but Stremick was too strong in reaching the checkered first. I am checking into the final results of the race; Stremick was listed as the winner, but in postrace inspection, Stremick was apparently DQed, so Harstad was awarded the trophy and feature winner sticker. I will verify this as soon as I can.
Last week's winner Austin Lammers of Pelican Rapids held off Zack Kort for third. Danielle Stevens of Erhard has a nice run, finishing fifth after starting 11th on the grid.
—Froemming is having a pretty good month financially. He won the Gierke Memorial at Viking Speedway on July 13 which was worth $1,092; last Friday he won $1,400 for the special at Fiesta City Speedway. Froemming is one of the fastest midwest mods around right now and he is one driver I will pick as a favorite at the Wissota 100 later in the year.
—Eric Platzer's #15 Wissota Midwest Modified took a hard rollover in his heat. The Ottertail driver was running well and led for several laps but hit a hole in turn 3 and the car just caught and rolled. The car was complete junk; in fact it ripped the entire rear end out of the car. Only one tire remained on the car. The safety equipment did its job as Platzer walked away.
One thing I'd like to see after crashes like Platzer's -- using two wreckers, or a flatbed, to haul a car that damaged off the track. This is just a constructive comment (and not only about I-94, I've seen it elsewhere), but I don't like seeing cars dragged off the track that way. I know it's not good for the track surface or the car. Just a thought (a few drivers I visited with felt the same). I've seen it at other tracks, too.
—Megan Blomgren of Eagle Bend made her first appearance at I-94 in the #44 Wissota Street Stock. She is a rookie in the class after racing in the pure stocks previously. I don’t get to Viking all the much anymore so I don’t get to see Megan race as much, but she had a solid eighth-place finish on Friday.
—The street stock numbers were not what I had hoped, in part because several of the Lisbon/Jamestown cars who might have come over were out at the Governor's Cup at Dacotah Speedway in Mandan,N.D. The doubleheader (two complete shows) pays $500 to win and $75 each night, so can't blame drivers for heading out there for a good purse with two chances to win. (Jamestown Speedway is off this week).
—If you think the heat races don't matter at events like this, think again. Matt Baker of St. Joseph, who has three wins at I-94 Speedway this year, was in a transfer spot but spun in turn four; and as a result it send him to the B main, and having to start a long way back in the field. Zimmerman driver Eric Lamm had mechanical trouble in his heat and also had to go to the back of the B. With as tough as the competition is at I-94, starting in the back creates a big uphill battle. Both Baker and Lamm qualified for the A main out of the B main, by the way.
—Scot Danzeisen of Herman made his season debut in the 5D machine in the Wissota Modified. He won his heat but pulled in early in the feature. He is the all-time wins leader at Viking Speedway and has oodles of track championships at the half-mile oval.
—One driver who just hasn’t figured out I-94 this season is Blake Jegtvig of Hawley. He ran in the top five in the modified feature but had a DNF. Jegtvig has two wins at Viking Speedway this year but has not run as well at I-94.
—Cody Skytland of Horace was back in his #75 Wissota Modified machine ,a few weeks after blowing a motor. He had a DNF in the feature.
Imrie, Seng Win at River Cities
Ward Imrie of Winnipeg topped Dustin Strand of East Grand Forks for the win in the Wissota Modified division at River Cities Speedway in Grand Forks on Friday. Imrie sure runs well at River Cities.
Tucker Pederson of East Grand Forks topped Bryce Remier of Cavalier for the win in the Wissota Street Stocks. Ryan Johnson of Karlstad was third, Bradon Miller of Lakota fourth and John Halvorson of Warren fifth.
Lance Schill of Langdon topped Cole Haugland for the Wissota Midwest Modified feature win. Nate Reynolds of Hoople was third.
Brad Seng of Grand Forks won the Wissota/NLRA Late Model feature over Shane Edginton of Winnipeg. Strand, Cole Schill of Horace and Joey Pederson of East Grand Forks rounded out the top five.
Murray Temple won the NLSA Lightning Sprint feature over Kelsi Pederson of East Grand Forks.
The NOSA Sprints had the night off; they were running at the Governor’s Cup in Mandan.
—Dustin Bluhm of Herman won the Wissota Late Model feature Friday at the Fiesta City Speedway in Montevideo. Casey Meyer of Wahpeton was second and Shawn Meyer of Wahpeton was third. Bluhm, by the way, is back in the Wissota Late Models after a stint in the Limited Lakes.
—Justin Vogel of Brooten won the Wissota Street Stock feature at Fiesta City. He has 11 wins on the year.
—Casey Arneson of Fargo topped brother Austin Arneson for the IMCA Modified win Friday at the first night of the Governor’s Cup at Dacotah Speedway in Mandan. Myles Tomlinson of Turtle Lake was third.
—Andrew Jochim of Glyndon won the INEX Legends feature at Dacotah with Tye Wilke of Detroit Lakes second and Brody Carlsrud of Moorhead third.
—Jonny Carter of Lisbon added another win — his 14th of the year — in the Wissota Streets at Mandan. Todd Carter of Lisbon was fifth. Mark Dobmeier of Grand Forks topped Wade Nygaard of Grand Forks for the NOSA Sprint win.
—Congrats to Mike Stearns of Hecla on picking up the Wissota Modified win at Brown County Speedway.
—Kasey Ussatis of Nome was second in the Wissota Street Stock feature at BCS.