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Ferris, Johnson and Robertson Lead Winners at Red River Valley

Sean Johnson (58) held off Tye Wilke for the INEX Legends Win

RaceChaser was at Red River Valley Speedway in West Fargo for Friday's program. A great 90-car field was on hand.

The weather was an issue, and as the skies darkened to the west, sprinkles fell during some of the features, to the point of a little harder rain in the latter two races. The big key, as long as it is just sprinkles/light rain, is to keep cars on the racetrack, and RRVS officials did that. Hustling to beat the rain, the six features were completed in 70 minutes, and there was some outstanding racing.

What a race for the win it turned out to be in the IMCA Sport Mods. Matthew Clark of West Fargo led early but Scott Jacobson of Fargo overtook him for the top spot. But making a run on the outside was Brandon Ferris of Moorhead, interviewed above, in the #5F. It soon turned into a classic duel between the two over the final 1/3 of the race — Jacobson running low and Ferris running high.

Ferris carried the momentum from the high line into a slight lead on the final lap. Jacobson made a run in turns three and four but Ferris held on for a thrilling win, his second of his career. It was a terrific, clean race for the lead between those two.

Rich Pavlicek of Casselton, who won Thursday at Norman County Raceway, started ninth but worked up to third at the checkered to cap off a solid run. The hard charger of the race was Kelly Jacobson of Fargo; he started 13th after a DNF in the heat race and charged to fourth by the finish. Charlie Jensen of Pelican Rapids was fifth.

Much like the sport mod feature, the battle for the lead was intense to the checkered in the INEX Legends feature. That race came down to two drivers who are battling for the points lead — Sean Johnson of Kindred, interviewed above, and Tye Wilke of Detroit Lakes, who has four wins in the legends at RRVS this season.

Wilke was all over Johnson, who ran the higher line and could ill afford a mistake. Several times Wilke got beside Johnson and at one point, appeared to have the run he needed to take the lead. Each time, however, Johnson fended off the challenge in a battle that went to the end. Johnson held on for his second win of 2021. Wilke was second.

Zander Bauer of Gwinner, a second-year driver in the INEX Legends, is quietly putting together a solid 2021 season. He finished third on Friday, and now has five top five finishes in 12 starts. Joshua Wiest of Jamestown was fourth and Tony Brockhouse of Glyndon was fifth. Again, it was another hard-fought, clean dogfight for the win.

It looked like Todd Gettel of Mahnomen would run away with the IMCA Hoby Stock feature. That is, until a caution came out.

Gettel had a good lead over Alyssa White of West Fargo, who was battling Tanner Engen of Detroit Lakes, interviewed above, for second. When the caution came out for a Dylan Krueger spin, that brought White and Engen to Gettel’s bumper. On the restart, Engen made the pass for the lead and went onto to his third feature win of 2021.

White made a late pass of Gettel to get second; she’s run well of late. Gettel was third. Veteran Brad Orvedal was fourth after a good run with William Herron of Brainerd taking fifth. A good 12-car field was on hand in the hobby stocks.

Austin Arneson of Fargo looked like he was on a mission Friday in the IMCA Modifieds. Racing for only the seventh night this year, Arneson charged quickly to the front from his eighth starting spot and rolled to his second win of 2021. And by rolling, I mean lapping up to 10th place — even after a restart.

Arneson took a commanding lead but there were two good battles on the track — Dave Shipley of Argusville and John Nord of Enderlin for second, and Tyler Hall of Fertile and Jesse Skalicky of Fargo for fourth.

With Arneson checked out, Shipley and Nord went at it hard for second as Hall and Skalicky closed the gap on second and third themselves. With the high line the fastest lane for the top cars, you needed to be on your game to make a pass for position towards the front. Late in the race, Nord took advantage when Shipley slowed for lapped traffic to make the pass for second.

Arneson won easily with Nord edging Shipley for second, capping off a great battle. Hall, who leads Skalicky and Allen Kent of West Fargo by 16 in the points, was fourth with Skalicky taking fifth. Jarrett Carter of Lison had a good run through the field, taking seventh after starting 15th.

The IMCA Stock Cars always put on a good show at RRVS, and Friday was no exception. Shayne Laske of Moorhead — a two-time Wissota Mod 4 National Champion — hopped behind the wheel of one of Brandon Schmidt’s 219 cars and took the early lead. However, there was a pack of cars behind him fighting for position, which included Travis Robertson of Moorhead, Trent Grager of Sykeston, Andrew Jochim of Glyndon, Rick Schulz of Horace and Kalvin Kesselberg of Ada.

After a caution, Robertson, interviewed above, got a great start and got by Laske for the lead with Jochim and Grager soon moving up. Laske would pull in moments later with problems.

The race for the lead was between Robertson, Grager and Jochim, and it was fantastic. Jochim’s hopes for a win ended wit ha spin in turn four. I only caught the tail end of the 21 going around so didn’t see what happened, but he was charged with the yellow. It was a tough break.

Grager applied the pressure to Robertson with Kesselberg and Schulz moving into the top four. Robertson would hold on for the win, his second of 2021, with Grager, who won Thursday at NCR, taking second. Kesselberg’s great season continued with a third-place finish with Schulz, who started 13th, taking fourth.

Brennan Borg of Fargo started 17th and finished fifth.

The Minnesota IMCA Racesaver Sprint Tour was on hand with nine cars in attendance. Trevor Serbus of Olivia, who won Thursday at Norman County Raceway, looked on his way to a comfortable win, but a tire went down on the #10 machine and he pulled in with about four laps left. Brett Geldner of St. Peter assumed the lead and went on to take the win. Brett Allen of Gaylord was second, Ty Hanten of West Fargo fourth and Brandon Rekow of Ellendale fifth.

RRVS Notes

—I visited briefly with Tim Compson of Valley City, a long-time racer. He had his IMCA Stock Car out for the first time this season. After having a rough heat race, Compson loaded it up for the night. Compson’s race shop is busy — he has two sons, Collin and Zander, who are racing INEX Legends cars. Tim also hopes to have his late model out in the weeks ahead.

—Nick Thoreson of Valley City, a former hobby stock driver, is behind the wheel of an IMCA Modified. The car is listed for sale. He finished 14th.

—Michael Johnson of Moorhead made his season debut Friday at RRVS in his familiar #84 IMCA Modified. He finished 10th after starting 16th.

Mars Wins Late Model Special at I-94 Sure Step Speedway

Jimmy Mars of Menomonie, Wis., won the Wissota Late Model Challenge Series Friday night at I-94 Sure Step Speedway in Fergus Falls. Pat Doar of New Richmond, Wis., took second, Jeff Massingill of Keewatin was third, Darrell Nelson of Hermantown was fourth and Shane Edginton of Winnipeg was fifth.

The ageless Ron Saurer, 68 of Dalton won his second feature of the season in the Wissota Midwest Modified class. He won at Viking last week. Brock Gronwold of Fergus Falls started dead last on the field and finished second. Dan Pederson of Underwood was third, Jeff Nelson of Perham fourth and Brennan Gave of Princeton fifth.

It was a good night for the Saurer family as Travis Saurer of Elizabeth topped Ryan Gierke of Villardd for the Wissota Modified feature. Dusty Bitzan of Brandon was third after starting seventh while Brady Gerdes of Villard was fourth and Darrell Nelson of Hermtnaon was fifth.

Ryan Satter and Parker Anderson seem to be having a lot of battles in the Wissota Street Stocks at I-94 Sure Step Speedway, and Satter prevailed once again. Right now, he is just dominating the class at I-94 and Viking. Anderson settled for second with Kasey Ussatis of Nome taking third after starting sixth. Ryan Pommerer of Oriska and Tyler Klugman of Wheaton rounded out the top five. And a tip of the hat to rookie Cole Greseth, who finished a solid sixth, tying his best finish in a street stock.

Kevin Youngquist of Barney, N.D., padded his point lead in the Short Tracker with another feature win. He started eighth. His nephew, Shawn Beto of Wahpeton, finished second. David Wahl of Fergus Falls, Brady Molter of Rothsay and Devin Goulet of Fargo rounded out the top five.

Friday Notes

--Billie Christ of Jamestown won the Wissota Street Stock feature Friday night at Brown County Speedway in Aberdeen.

Justin Vogel of Brooten topped Eric Riley of Morris for the Wissota Street Stock win at Fiesta City Speedway in Montevideo on Friday.

--The Rebel Midwest Modified Tour was slated for River Cities Speedway on Friday with 42 cars in attendance but the show was rained out unfortunately. The tour will be at Greenbush Race Park on Saturday and at River Cities Speedway on Sunday.

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