Haley Lee Breaks Through for First Win, Carter, Becker, Walton an Gregor Victorious at Sheyenne
Some nights exceed my expectations. I was guessing 22-25 NLRA Late Models at Sheyenne Speedway and 32 showed up. They were part of a 102-car field that were on hand in front of the biggest crowd I've seen at Sheyenne (added additional seating was almost full as well.)
24 Wissota Midwest Modifieds, including some high quality competition, also were on hand.
While the NLRA Late Models were the show class, big news, at least to me, was Haley Lee of Starbuck (interviewed above) winning her first career Wissota Midwest Modified feature. She took the lead after a restart and led the rest of the way, driving a flawless race. When you consider there were 24 midwest modifieds, and the three cars giving chase behind her -- Nate Reinke, Zach Reinke and Randy Klein -- know Sheyenne as well as any B driver -- I think it's a huge way to get your first career win.
Arin Beyer of Jamestown led early, but Lee worked around him on the outside and built some breathing room. Defending track champion Nate Reinke was on the move from his ninth starting starting spot. Lee didn't flinch and picked up her first win. Nate Reinke, Zach Reinke, Klein and Reise Stenberg of Argusville took spots second through fifth.
I had told her dad Jerry it was a matter of time before Haley would hit victory lane. She was running in the top five pretty regularly and knocking on the door for that first win. Well, beating a good field of cars, she has that first checkered flag. Her dad Jerry was one proud dad; and I am happy for that whole family. Very nice group of people (and they also carry some RaceChaser stickers, too)
A week after transmission issues sidelined him early, Lisbon driver Bo Gregor was back in victory lane in the Hobby Stocks. Brent Vetter of Wishek set the pace for the first several laps, but Gregor found a little quicker line up here and passed him for the lead as the two cars engaged in a pretty good battle for a few laps. Gregor had some breathing room at the finish line for another win at Sheyenne this season. Vetter, Jordan Sours of Lisbon, Jayden Michaelsohn of Aberdeen and Wade Vasvick of Ellendale rounded out the top five.
Jonny Carter is fast right now in the Wissota Street Stocks, but his uncle Todd Carter (interviewed above) is as fast as anyone now. Carter started eighth on the field and worked his way to the front to pick up his sixth win of 2019. Jerry "Old Man" Lamb was second, Bob Banish Jr. of Milnor was third, Jonny Carter fourth and Royce Jawaski of Horace fifth.
Neil Walton of Englevale became the first repeat winner in the Mini Stock class this season with a good win. Zach Muralt of Gwinner was second, Dalton Aabrekke of Lisbon third, Matt Bogart of Milnor fourth and Mason Bogart of Milnor fifth.
The featured class of the night was the NLRA Late Models and 24 cars took the green. Shane Edginton of Winnipeg, who is second in the Wissota national points, took the early lead. There were a bunch of cautions -- too many for my taste -- but by the end it was national point leader Chad Becker of Aberdeen who rose to the top to pick up the win from his fifth starting spot. He caught Edginton in lapped traffic and took over the lead and led the rest of the way to pick up a big win, which no doubt boosts his national title hopes with 32 cars in attendance.
Of course, there was some controversy in the late models between Don Shaw of Ham Lake and Dustin Strand. I'll confess I was working on my blog in my car (and could see about half the track for the lates, lol) because it was past 10 p.m. so I didn't catch parts of the late model feature. I didn't see either the racing incident or the postrace stuff. So I will NOT comment on stuff I don't see. One thing I've learned on racing is the more a story is re-told, the less accurate it becomes. Kinda like a fishing story. I will report the facts, and the fact is Shaw and Strand were both disqualified.
Guess what? Shaw and Strand will be seeing quite a bit of each other in the next few weeks. There is an NLRA doubleheader at Viking on Labor Day weekend, plus the John Seitz Memorial at week later.
So after that was settled, the finishing order behind Becker was Curt Gelling of Aberdeen, Brad Seng of Grand Forks, Cody Skytland of Horace (driving Donny Schatz's #15 car) and Mike Balcaen of Winnipeg.
--The track was pretty much one lane for most of the heats and dry but came around nicely with two and three lines for features. The bottom line with Sheyenne is more (good) dirt is needed for this surface. Quite a bit more. The native surface is sandy and doesn't hold moisture the best. Some dirt was added this past offseason, which was a start, but in talking to Hunter Carter and Benji Froemke more is needed. Stuff that is less sandy, anyway. It's not because of lack of effort because Hunter Carter works his tail off on that track each week. The racing in the features was pretty good, by the way.
--Sheyenne put up an orange tarp on some backstretch fencing -- where people often stand to watch -- and it got hit right away as a hobby stock car went through it in the opening heat race. He was actually able to continue and no one was hurt. The hobby stocks got off to a shaky start -- a greasy track and one guy driving way over what the track conditions were and trying to win on the first corner are a bad combo. Dylan Steele, who won at Jamestown on Saturday for his first career win, suffered the worst of it.
--The top three drivers in the latest Wissota Street Stock national points -- Jonny Carter, Justin Vogel and Eric Riley -- were in attendance. IN fact, five of the top 10 were at Sheyenne as Kyle Anderson (seventh) and Kasey Ussatis
(ninth) also competed.
--WOO Sprint star Donny Schatz of Fargo was scheduled to run his late model on Sunday and had committed to coming earlier in the day; however he told track promoters he had to leave on an emergency flight around 5 for Indianaplis and couldn't make it; so Cody Skytland ran the car. It was unfortunate, but remember Schatz is a pro driver who's races 100-plus times a year, and his schedule can change at the drop of a hat. It isn't the track promoters fault he couldn't make it and it was an unfortunate deal.
--Tom Corcoran and Jerry Lamb are each in their 50th year of racing, and they were honored at intermission by the track at intermission. A nice gesture Another interesting note: Rich Thomas of Aberdeen in his 70s and has raced forever it seems and was there in his late model; plus you have guys like Todd Carter and Mike Balcaen who've raced a long time and won a lot of races that were in attendance. Carter's street stock is pretty darn fast right now.
--Kelly Jacobson of Fargo, who normally runs IMCA Sport Mods at West Fargo, ADa and Glyndon, brought his #51 JCar machine to compete in the Wissota Midwest Modifieds. He ran pretty solid, finishing ninth. Another Fargo driver, Brad Orvedal, competed in his 3XL car in the IMCA Hobby Stocks.
--The long haul of the night goes to Dave Smith of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. He competed in the 06 late model. He started 20th on the field but worked his way to seventh at the checkered, a pretty good night overall. Winning that award in the street stocks was James Stands III of Rapid City, S.D., who ran his #166 Wissota Street Stock.