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Friestad Wins IMCA Mod Feature at RRVS; Recaps from I-94 and River Cities Speedways as Well

Greg Friestad of Valley City won the shortened IMCA Mod feature.

I was at Red River Valley Speedway in West Fargo for the Tri-City Modified Series stop. A 92-car field was on hand at Red River Valley Speedway. A good field of 34 IMCA Modifieds signed in.

Full disclosure — I was filling in for Mike Spieker in writing the Fargo Forum article. That was a straight-news story which is separate from my blog.

My RaceChaser blog, is my opinion and mine alone, so my own personal views are included. Just to clarify.

The story, unfortunately, was the track. It was blazing fast and sticky — but had some very rough spots and it led to a very challenging night for the drivers. That is not a good combination at no matter what track you are at. And unfortunately the night did not end well.

The last race of the night was the IMCA Modifieds. Track officials worked and worked to try and get the track packed in and it never did. I think they were hoping it would dry out more with the sun and 80 degree temps, but the dew point was in the upper 60s most of the day.

The IMCA Modifieds got five laps in — and were absolutely hauling ass — before a caution came out. Then, Jonathon Miller of Enderlin — a rookie in the IMCA Modified who raced many years in the super stocks — rolled his 76 machine hard in turns three and four. Race officials called the race at that point — with just five laps completed — because the track simply wasn’t safe. In all my years of going to racing I am not sure I have ever seen a race called for that reason so quick into it.

I’m happy for Greg Friestad of Valley City for picking up the IMCA Modified win, which was his first in the division. I am not sure he envisioned picking up his win in quite that way. He also proposed to his girlfriend in victory lane and she accepted. So it was quite a night for Greg. Friestad is sporting the #37 on his car in honor of fellow Valley City driver Jeff Carpenter, who died in May of a heart attack.

I talked to a few drivers who were not happy with the condition of the track. Some just parked it for the night, and frankly, that is their right if they don’t feel like racing on that type of surface. Austin Arneson of Fargo won the second IMCA Modified B feature, which put him in the A-main, but he and brother Casey were on their way home well before the end of racing (which was well before the IMCA Mod feature) on Friday. Read into that what you want, but clearly that wasn’t a happy bunch if you are loading and leaving that early.

I’m sure it was frustrating for all involved, including track officials. They spent many laps rolling trying to get the track packed in and it just wouldn’t stay intact. A fast track is one thing, but one with big ruts in it is another.

Paul Colvin of Horace picked up his first win of the season in the IMCA Sport Mods; he took the lead after an early caution and built a commanding advantage. It was a good thing he built the lead, because Austin Veralrud of Barnesville made a big charge through the field. He started 15th and was probably the fastest car on the track at the end; he was in second and through lapped traffic, was closing the gap on Colvin when the checkered flag flew. Ryan Restad of West Fargo has ran well all year long at RRVS and took third, Billy Michaelsohn of Fargo was a solid fourth and Luke Johnson of Moorhead fifth.

The IMCA Stock Car feature put on a show. Rick Schulz of Horace led but was under a ton of pressure from Rob VanMil of Barnesville. VanMil has dominated the class locally since it arrived in 2017; and he appeared to be on his way to another win. But the #10 car of Travis Robertson of Moorhead thwarted those plans. Robertson was a bullet on the low line and caught VanMil and passed him for the lead, and went on to take his first RRVS win and his second feature win of the year overall. VanMil held off a hard-charging Tyler McDougall of Hawley for third.

The INEX Legends put on a good show, as they normally do. The race ended up being a three-car battle between Sean Johnson of Kindred, Tye Wilke of Detroit Lakes and Ryan Braseth of Ulen. Johnson led for a good portion of the race before being passed by Wilke. Wilke then had pressure from Braseth who found speed on the low line. Braseth made one last shot at Wilke off of turn four but the DL teenager held strong for another win. Braseth, Johnson, Andrew Jochim of Glyndon and Brody Carlsrud of Moorhead rounded out the top five.

There wasn’t much drama in the IMCA Hobby Stock feature as Mathew Olson of Morton, Minn., took the lead and dominated for the win. Tim Shiek of Moorhead was second and Marvin Priem of Moorhead third.

Ebert, Baker, Wolden, Kort Lead I-94 Victors

It was also a very fast track at I-94 Speedway on Friday, and that led to some eventful racing, particularly in the Wissota Midwest Modified class.

Matt Baker of St. Joseph prevailed in the Wissota Midwest Modified feature over Jason Hoffman of Villard. Ryan Gierke of Villard, Jeff Nelson of Perham and Nick Bruder of Long Prairie rounded out the top five. Only 10 of the 25 starters finished the main event. Unfortunately the race was marred by a bad crash, as Haley Lee got turned on the backstretch and rolled her 50H car several times. She was not injured, but the car was beat up bad. Several other cars were damaged in that crash. It seems like once or twice at year, the midwest modifieds have a big pileup like this at I-94. It is a fast track with a lot of speed.

Dan Ebert of Lake Shore picked up the Wissota Modified win over Dusty Bitzan of Brandon. Jason Thoennes of Garfield, Tyler Peterson of Hickson, ND and Brady Gerdes of Villard rounded out the top five. Ebert is an absolute bullet when he unloads at I-94.

Don Shaw’s unbeaten streak in the Wissota Late Models continued as he picked up his fourth straight win at I-04. Jeff Wildung of Nassau was second, Kevin Robertson of Enderlin third, Blair Nothdurft of Renner, S.D., fourth and Cole Schill of Horace fifth.

There were 16 late models on hand, and two interesting names — Travis Saurer has hopped into a late model and Cory Tammen of Moorhead made his first appearance of the season at I-94 in the 71X. Saurer did not finish.

Ben Wolden of Fergus Falls was back in victory lane in the Limited Late Models. Brad Staples of Herman was second and Dustin Bluhm of Herman was third. Scott Zimmerman of Rothsay, a limited late model rookie, was fourth and Larry Fitzsimmons of East Bethel was fifth.

Zach Kort of Fergus Falls topped Casey Stremick of Harwood, N.D., for the Short Tracker win. Johnathon Stramer of Erhard started 15th and finished third. Brent Engler of Barrett and Daniel Harstad of Fergus Falls rounded out the top five.

Dave Mass of East Bethel, driving the 12X Wissota Street Stock, won the main event in that division with Ryan Stater of Dent taking second. Bryan Crandall of Herman was third.

A total of 99 cars competed at I-94 Speedway.

Pederson Picks Up Career Win #1

Add Tucker Pederson of East Grand Forks to the list of first-time winners. The driver of the 27P car won the Wissota Street Stock feature Friday night at River Cities Speedway in Grand Forks. Pederson is the son of late model pilot Joey Pederson and sister of NLSA Lightning Sprint Car driver Kelsi Pederson.

Dan McNamee of Arvilla was second in the street stocks while John Halvorson of Warren was third.

Wade Nygaard of Grand Forks won the NOSA Sprint Car feature Friday night at the River Cities Speedway in Grand Forks. Nick Omdahl of East Grand Forks was second, Austin Pierce of Grand Forks third, Jade Hastings of Grand Forks fourth and Ty Hanten of West Fargo fifth.

Winnipeg driver Austin Hunter won the Wissota Midwest Modified feature over Matt Schow of McIntosh. Reise Stenberg was third, Nate Reynolds of Hoople fourth and Aaron Blacklance of Thief River Falls fifth.

Dustin Strand of East Grand Forks topped Shane Edginton of Winnipeg for the Wissota Late Model win. Bill Mooney of Selkirk, Manitoba was third.

Seventy cars competed at River Cities Speedway.

Other Notes

--Congrats to Dillon Thorpe for picking up the pure stock feature win Friday at Brown County Speedway in Aberdeen.

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