Harstad, Wolden and Nelson Crowned Kings of Dirt; Arneson, Carter, Schlotfeldt and Pierce Add Wins
Updated: Jul 14, 2019
Thanks to my three-year-old who is pretty good at sleeping and a very understanding wife, I was able to sneak down to I-94 Speedway for Friday's show. It was the King of the Dirt for the Wissota Modifieds, Limited Late Models and Short Trackers.
A great field of 110 cars -- including 34 midwest modifieds and 33 mods -- were on hand.
The first King of the Dirt to be crowned was in the Short Trackers, with 15 cars taking the green. Daniel Harstad of Fergus Falls, interviewed below, is having a pretty good year in his #77 machine; he started in the front and established a decent lead.
But it was by no means a runaway, as Casey Stremick of Harwood, N.D, made his presence felt. He pressured Harstad and it wound up as a pretty good battle for the lead. Harstad won, picking up his fifth feature win of 2019. Stremick was second, Brent Engler of Barrett third, Austin Lammers of Pelican Rapids fourth and Danielle Stevens of Elizabeth fifth.
It was a good battle in the Limited Late Models between Ryan Mikkelson of Alexandria and Ben Wolden of Fergus Falls -- two of the cars I would have considered the favorites for the King of the Dirt going into the feature. Mikkelson led for a long part of the race but Wolden was relentless in his pursuit; with six to go, Wolden took over the lead and checked out on the field. Mikkelson finished second, Ryan Satter of Dent was third, Brad Staples of Herman fourth and first-time visitor Kris Wilke of Porter taking fifth.
The final King to be crowned came in the Wissota Modifieds. An interesting twist — two Jeremy Nelsons were on the front row. Jeremy Nelson (4) from Alexandria and Jeremy Nelson (06) from Zimmerman. It was Nelson (4) who was clearly the fastest car on this night. He led every lap and had a comfortable lead at the checkered over runner-up finisher Landon Atkinson of Little Falls. Dan Ebert of Lake Shore tried in vain to make the high side work and got up to third and held off a fierce battle from Don Eischens of Richmond for that spot. Shane Sabraski of Rice started 13th and finished fifth.
What a modified field signed in, with 33 cars.
The Wissota Street Stocks and Midwest Modifieds will run their King of the Dirt events later in the year, so Friday was a regular points night for those two classes.
The midwest modifieds had a rough time getting things started. Once things got rolling, what an incredible race this turned into. Kyle Dykhoff of Starbuck took the early lead but was soon passed by Corey Storck of Morris. Running a feverish pace, Storck opened up a few car lengths on Dykhoff, who was soon passed by Reise Stenberg of Argusville, N.D., for second. Stenberg stalked Storck; but soon the party was joined by Shane Howell of Buffalo as the three put on a heck of a show.
A caution waved with six to go, and this brought another driver into the battle -- former I-94 champion Cody Lee of Alexandria, interviewed above. The Cobra sensed a new-found chance to go after the win and found the middle groove to his liking and moved into second and began to pressure Storck. With the white flag waving Lee inched ahead but Storck didn't get up without a fight. He pulled beside Lee down the backstretch. Lee had the surge he needed off of turn four and won by a few feet. Storck settled for second, Howell third, Dykhoff fourth and Stenberg fifth. If you were a race fan and didn't enjoy that race you don't have a pulse.
It was Cody Lee's third win of the year, and he has finished in the top five six times in a row. Quite a turnaround after a bad start to 2019.
A first lap melee in the Wissota Street Stock feature ended the night for Brandon Palm, Jack Koranda and Bob Banish Jr. It turned out to be a trend. Then, Bryan Crandall of Herman dropped out shortly after restart. Eric Riley's night ended with a flat right front; Mike Hart's 24 car, which smoked most of the race, finally resulting in flames and a red flag. He wasn't hurt and actually drove the car off the track.
The unhappiest guy to see a late-race yellow was Dan Aberle of Finley, N.D. He had close to a straightaway lead on second-place Cory Dykhoff of Perham when two cars, running in the back got together for a caution. That brought several contenders -- Dave Mass of East Bethel, Dykhoff and Ryan Satter -- who were battling three wide for second.
Things got really crazy on the restart as they went 4-wide in turn two (a practice I don't recommend with the turn two wall at I-94). Mass used a slider to pass Aberle in turn two, but it wasn't over. Dykhoff and Satter where right there behind him giving chase. Mass didn't flinch to pick up the win with Dykhoff and Satter rounding out the top three. Jake Froemke -- who made the long trek from International Falls -- was fourth while Jonny Carter of Lisbon took fifth. I felt for Aberle, who was in pretty firm control until that caution; he wound up sixth.
And yes, that is the same Dave Mass who has dominated the Wissota Super Stock division for many, many years. He is driving a 12x street stock, by the way. I've seen him race for many years and was a little disappointed in the slide job he pulled on Aberle, because it didn't seem necessary at that point.
--I have probably seen Jake Froemke race before but don’t recall where, but he wins the award for longest tow, coming from International Falls. He races his No. 63 machine weekly at Emo Speedway in Ontario. He looked really good.
--It was good to see Haley Lee of Starbuck back on the track. She got wrecked a few weeks ago and had a nasty rollover entering turn three at I-94. I visited with her dad, Jerry, and he said the car had to be stripped down to the core -- the frame had been bent -- and completely rebuilt. He said there have been many long hours over the past 10 days getting the car ready.
—Mike Greseth of Harwood continues to run well in the Wissota Modifieds at I-94. He ran near the top five all night and finished a solid sixth.
—Mike Johnson of Moorhead, a regular in the IMCA Mods at Red River Valley Speedway and area tracks, made his first I-94 appearance. Running a Crate engine, Johnson qualified for the feature among the field of 33 cars.
--2018 Wissota 100 winner Dave Cain of Corcoran has a feature win at I-94 Speedway, but also has had some rotten luck. At the Advantage RV Tour race he broke in the B main and didn't qualify for the feature; last night he also broke during the feature and had a DNF.
Arneson Wins Big Money at Dacotah; Todd Carter Wins
Austin Arneson of Fargo picked up the $10,004 for winning the Corral Sales Legendary 50 Friday night at Dacotah Speedway in Mandan, N.D. It is the second big five-figure payday of Arneson’s career — he won the Minnesota Mod Nationals at Viking Speedway in 2014. His brother, Casey Arneson, was second while the red-hot Ricky Thornton was third.
Todd Carter of Lisbon started ninth on the Wissota Street Stock field and moved to the front to pick up the win over John Weber of Linton.
Dustin Strand Wins Mods at River Cities
Dustin Strand of East Grand Forks won the Wissota Modified feature Friday night at River Cities Speedway in Grand Forks. Lance Schill of Langdon was second and Ward Imrie of Winnipeg, the two-time defending Wissota Mod national champ, was third. Only six cars finished on the lead lap.
Austin Pierce made it two in a row in the NOSA Sprints with a win over Mark Dobmeier of Grand Forks. Chris Ranten, Nick Omdahl and Wade Nygaard rounded out the top five.
The World of Outlaw Late Models were on hand with Brandon Sheppard picking up the win.
—Justin Vogel of Brooten won the Wissota Street Stock feature Friday at Fiesta City Speedway in Montevideo.
—Jay Scholtfeldt of Jamestown won the Wissota Street Stock feature Friday at Tri-County Speedway in Wishek. A night earlier, Royce Jawaski of Horace won the street stocks.
--Kelsi Pederson of East Grand Forks won the NLSA Lightning Sprint feature Friday at Tri-County. Josh Abrahamson of Moorhead won the feature on Thursday.
—Lucas Rodin of Marion won both Wissota Midwest Modified features on Thursday and Friday at Wishek. Aaron Blacklance of Thief River Falls had a pair of top five finishes at Tri-County (second on Thursday, fourth on Friday.)
--Andrew Jochim of Glyndon was second in the INEX Legends at Wishek on Friday. Brody Carlsrud of Moorhead was third on Thursday at Wishek, which is off until September for the Sauerkraut 500.