Gardner Picks Up Big Win at Red River Valley; Aukland, Berg, Orvedal, Grager Also Victorious
I made it back to Red River Valley Speedway in West Fargo for a regular show on Friday night. Finally, a beautiful night weather-wise graced RRVS, which hasn't had great luck in the weather department this season. On hand was an excellent 98-car field.
The IMCA Sport Mods took center stage with a 40-lap, $1,000 to win main event as part of the Sanders Sports Mod Challenge. A great field of 23 cars were on hand to battle for that prize.
Chris VanMil of Barnesville jumped to the early lead of the IMCA Sport Mod main event ahead of Kelly Jacobson of Fargo.
There were two early cautions and five laps were pared from the race — I’m guessing they wanted to get the fireworks show going on a timely matter. The race was shortened to 29 laps because of time constraints.
On the restart with 30 to go, Doug Gardner of Glyndon got by Kelly Jacobson for second. Scott Jacobson of Fargo and Rich Pavlicek of Casselton also moved into the top five.
VanMil had about a five-car length advantage over Gardner, who kept the 41 car down to the bottom. Scott Jacobson overtook his son for the third spot and Pavlicek, who won the Sanders Challenge at Norman County Raceway on June 22.
Gardner took over the top spot from VanMil when the caution waved with 19 to go. Another car who had climbed into the hunt was Andy Wagner of Ada, who moved into fourth after starting 14th.
Gardner opened up about a second lead over VanMil with Pavlicek settling into third. That lead grew to 1.7 seconds with 15 to go. VanMil, running up high, had to contend with Pavlicek, who soon took over the second spot.
Gardner had built a more than 2.4 second lead but the caution — which he didn’t want to see in the least — waved with four left. A lapped car, who had been having some issues previously, caused an multi-car incident on the front straightaway with four laps left, as Pavlicek and VanMil were collected. Both were able to continue with some sheet metal damage.
ON the restart with four left, Gardner could ill afford a mistake — and he didn’t make any. His 41 machine ran in the ditch all race long and he picked up the $1,000 win with a heck of a run in the race that was shortened to 29 laps. Pavlicek was second. Scott Jacobson outlasted Kelly Jacobson for their with Ryan Restad of West Fargo topping Jake Hagemann of Fort Ripley for the fifth spot.
Jason Berg’s #100 POWRi Minn-Kota Lightning Sprint was on a rail from the green flag on Friday and the West Fargo ran away with a big win in the caution-free race.
There was a good battle for second between Garrison Miller of Fargo and Alex Truscinski of Greenbush, who started dead last on the 12-car field.
Berg’s lead was over four seconds as Truscinski was able to work by Miller for second. Dexter Dvergsten of Greenbush had worked into fourth.
Berg was never threatened at all, winning by 4.273 seconds. Truscinski was second, Miller was third, Dvergsten fourth and Travis Sureus of Fargo was fifth.
There is a lot of young talent in the IMCA Hobby Stock class locally, but there are some seasoned veterans who remain plenty formidable as well. One of those is 58-year-old Brad Orvedal of Fargo, who had an impressive performance on Friday.
Trouble struck two of the top contenders in the IMCA Hobby Stock class. Defending champion and point leader Tanner Engen of Detroit Lakes dropped out early with a mechanical issue. Brodee Eckerdt of Grand Forks was in the top five but ended up hitting the guard rail head on in turn two; he was ok but the damage ended his night.
After the restart Orvedal, who started third, opened up a big lead as Andrea Jacobson of Fargo and Tim Church of Moorhead battled for second. Dan Dowling of Davenport, who has switched to the class after running late models the past couple of years, was battling with Randy Randall of Park Rapids and Caleb Gardner of Glyndon for fourth.
Church got by Jacobson for second but Orvedal’s lead was insurmountable as he won by almost three seconds. It was Orvedal’s first win of the year, and his first in the new car he built in the offseason. Church settled for a solid second after starting seventh. Jacobson’s excellent season continued with a third-place finish; she has four top tive finishes in six starts this season.
Downing — who is aiming for the points title at RRVS — finished fourth with Randall finishing fifth.
Cody Peterson of Glyndon was the early leader of the IMCA Modified feature, but it was clear Matt Aukland of Glyndon wasn’t going to be denied.
Aukland took over the top spot a few laps into the race and opened up a straightaway on the field. Kollin Hibdon of Pahrump, Nev., soon took over the second spot from Dylan Goplen of Hannaford, N.D. Darren Pfau of West Fargo was battling Dave Shipley of Argusville, who started 11th, for fourth.
Aukland had a pretty nice lead, but Hibdon began to eat into the gap as Aukland encountered heavy lapped traffic. Shipley started to pressure Goplen for third.
Hibdon had caught Aukland by the white flag, and pulled beside on the final lap. Aukland drove hard into the final corner and made it stand for the win, his second of the summer at RRVS. The win was by only 0.329 seconds over Hibdon, who came from 12th. Goplen was third, Shipley fourth and Pfau fifth. Jesse Skalicky of Fargo worked by Peterson late for sixth.
A field of 11 IMCA RaceSaver Sprints — which I believe is the most there has been for a weekly show at Red River Valley Speedway — were on hand. I admit I was skeptical about adding another class locally, but the increase in numbers in the sprint class for this season is encouraging. And
Trevor Serbus of Olivia made the trip up north — more than 200 miles one way — well worth while with the feature win. He started fifth on the 11-car feature but got to the front for the win. Serbus is a top runner at Arlington Raceway weekly.
Marcus Rothenbacher finished a solid second with Brandon Rekow of Ellendale taking third. Tye Wilke of Detroit Lakes was fourth after starting seventh while Ty Hanten of West Fargo was fifth.
One interesting entrant in the sprint field was Dustin Bluhm. Bluhm has raced limited late models, late models and stock cars in recent years, but now has hopped into the #35 sprint. He went from 10th to seventh on the field.
Kalvin Kesselberg of Ada took the early lead in the IMCA Stock Car feature, but Andrew Jochim of Glyndon was the car who surged into the lead. Trent Grager of Carrington and Rob VanMil of Barnesville were on the move.
Jochim had a nice lead, but Grager — who started way back in 12th — was closing quickly. With seven to go he was within 0.363 seconds, and with five to go he made the pass. Jochim had VanMil on his heels.
Also making a nice run through the field was Travis Robertson of Moorhead in the #10R, as he moved into fourth.
Grager had opened a 1.022 lead over Jochim as the while flag waved, and went on to the win by about that margin. Jochim capped off a good night in second; he is headed for the Dakota Classic Modified Tour with his #21 machine next week.
VanMil was a solid third with Robertson and Kesselberg rounding out the top five. The stock cars again put on a great show as usual with 2-3 wide racing throughout the field.
Pierce, Schill and Blacklance Win at River Cities
Austin Pierce of Grand Forks topped Jade Hastings of Grand Forks for the Buffalo Wild Wings NOSA Sprint feature win Friday night at River Cities Speedway in Grand Forks. Mark Dobmeier of Grand Forks was third, Wade Nygaard of Grand Forks fourth and Nick Omdahl of East Grand Forks fifth.
It was mid-season championship night at the Bullring.
Lance Schill of Langdon picked up a pair of wins from the inside pole on the night. He won the Wissota Midwest Modified feature over Matt Schow of McIntosh, with Reise Stenberg of Argusville taking third. Jamie Dietzler of Larimore was fourth and Nate Reynolds of Hoople taking fifth.
Schill also won the Wissota Late Model feature over Joey Pederson of East Grand Forks. Shane Edginton of East St. Paul, Man., was third, Brad Seng of Grand Forks fourth and Ryan Corbett of Grand Forks fifth.
Aaron Blacklance of Thief River Falls won the Wissota Street Stock feature over Weston Ramsrud of Bagley. Seth Klostreich of Grand Forks was third, Dan McNamee of Arvilla fourth and James Meagher of Grand Forks fifth.
Mikkelson, Wolden, Bitzan Lead I-94 Winners
Ryan Mikkelson of Alexandria picked up the Wissota Late Model feature win Friday night at I-94 Sure Step Speedway in Fergus Falls.
Danny Vang of Deerwood, who won at I-94 earlier this year, was second. Bryce Sward of Nelson was third, Dave Mass of East Bethel fourth and Josh Zimpel of Braham fifth.
Ben Wolden of Fergus Falls topped Travis Saurer of Elizabeth for the Viessman Late Model win. Scott Zimmerman of Rothsay was third, Brad Staples of Herman was fourth and Scott Harrington of Waubay, S.D., was fifth.
Matt Baker of St. Joseph won the Wissota Midwest Modified feature over Brendan Blascyk of Hoffman. Travis Saurer was third, Brock Gronwold of Fergus Falls fourth and Corey Storck of Morris was fifth.
Dusty Bitzan of Brandon won the Wissota Modified feature over Brady Gerdes of Villard. Josh Thoennes of Nelson was third, Tyler Peterson of Horace was fourth and Travis Saurer fifth.
Kyle Dykhoff of Starbuck topped Ryan Satter of Dent for the Wissota Street Stock feature win. Justin Vogel of Brooten was third, Cory Dykhoff of Perham was fourth and Eric Riley of Morris was fifth.
Shawn Beto of Wahpeton has been the Short Tracker to beat at I-94 this season and he picked up another feature win. Brady Molter of Rothsay was second, Zach Kort of Fergus Falls was third, Kevin Wahl of Fergus Falls fourth and Cameron Haas of Fergus Falls fifth.