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Hastings, Pederson and Hess Win at River Cities; Vogel Wins Special at Fiesta City

Chris Ranten inspects his sprint car after a flip on Friday.

Jade Hastings of Grand Forks proved the start was just as important as the finish. The driver of the #8H NOSA Sprint survived several restarts and held off a charging Mark Dobmeier to pick up the feature win Friday night at River Cities Speedway in Grand Forks.

It was my first trip to RCS of the year. NOSA Sprints, Wissota Street Stocks and NLSA Lightning Sprints were in attendance as part of the Greater Grand Forks Fair. The filed including 19 NOSA Sprints, 14 Lightning Sprints and 19 Street Stocks, so solid car counts.

The track was very fast with the humid weather and no sun. Unlike Fargo to the south, Grand Forks didn't get much rain over the past few days. I thought the track was pretty racy and smooth.

If you bought a ticket to the fair ($7 for adults), that covered your attendance for the races. That isn't a bad deal IMO. The crowd looked average, but keep in mind, it looked like rain everywhere, and two popular local classes, the late models and midwest modifieds, had the night off. They will race on Sunday to close out the fair.

River Cities was the only track within 150 miles of Fargo-Moorhead to race. Dacotah Speedway, I-94 Speedway, Red River Valley Speedway and Brown County Speedway all cancelled. In fact, Brown County, which was scheuled to host the NOSA Sprints on Saturday, has already called that show off -- too much rain. If you wanted to find another track to run, you'd have to go south and east to Princeton or south to Fiesta City -- both well past 170 miles from my house.

I got to interview the father-daughter street stock tandem of Dan and Megan McNamee of Arvilla, N.D. The two, at least by my research, are the other father-daughter combination to race against each other in the same class in this region. Very nice family and look for a RaceChaser blog on them in the weeks ahead.

Hastings picked up his second win in a row at River Cities in an action packed sprint car feature. Nick Ranten and Tom Egeland had the front row and Ranten led early. Hastings passed him for the lead and soon built a nice lead; he had a ton of speed on the high side and was really, really good on restarts.

As usual, the car on the move was Grand Forks driver Mark Dobmeier. However, the numerous restarts worked to Hastings's advantage, as he flew to a several car length lead each time. Dobmeier, meanwhile, did not start as well and a couple of times lost second place.

Dobmeier and Wade Nygaard of Grand Forks had quite a battle of slide jobs for second for a while. Imagine the amount of laps those two have raced against each other at the bullring and I am guessing it isn't always the most polite. Austin Pierce of Grand Forks also worked into the battle for second after a restart.

Hastings, interviewed below, had to weather one final restart and opened a nice lead, but this time, Dobmeier was closing the gap. He got within a few car lengths at the checkered but Hastings survived. Dobmeier, Nygaard, Pierce and Nick Omdahl of East Grand Forks rounded out the top five.

One note about Hastings -- his engine blew right after the checkered flag.

An interesting note about the sprint cars -- Presley Truedson of Kennedy, Minn., who has raced in the Lightning Sprints, ran in the NOSA Sprints. She has been doing some midget racing down in Missouri and Illinois.

It was a rough night for the Ranten brothers. Chris, driving the #27, violently flipped his machine off of turn two in the feature. Not much later, Nick Ranten, who was running in the top three early, flipped off of turn two. The crash wasn't quite as bad as Chris Ranten's wreck but both were done for the night. Both drivers were OK.

East Grand Forks driver Kelsi Pederson, interviewed above, led the NLSA Lightning Sprint Car from flag to flag for her first win of 2019. She was steadily pursued by Greenbush driver Ale Truscinski for the whole race but never flinched in picking up the win. Truscinski, Josh Abrahamson of Moorhead, Mike Schmiedeberg of Lake Bronson, Minn., and Dexter Dvergsten of Greenbush rounded out the top five.

Pederson is a familiar racing name in the Grand Forks area. Kelsi drives the #93 lightning sprint; her father Joey has driven the 7P late model for many years; and her brother Tucker runs a street stock.

The Wissota Street Stock feature was a dandy -- and caution free. Tucker Pederson le early and had a heck of a battle with Trey Hess of Lakota for the lead. For a while, it was about a five-car melee up front; soon it turned into a two-car duel between Hess and John Halvorson of Warren, Minn.

Halvorson put all kinds of pressure on Hess and was right there at the finish but fell a few feet short. By my count, it was the first feature win of the year for Hess, who is a regular at RCS and Devils Lake.

Chase Boen of Karlstad looked good in his #48 machine and took third, with Ryan Johnson of Karlstad and Pederson rounding out the top five.

Speaking of the street stocks, if there is a race somewhere, Kasey Ussatis of Nome is usually there. The guy loves racing and made the trek to Grand Forks on Friday after several other options rained out. He finished 12th but got to load the car in one piece as he preps for further weekend racing.

The track barely beat the rain drops -- by about 15 minutes. The lightning sprints and street stocks both went caution free.

Vogel Wins Special at Fiesta City

Justin Vogel of Brooten won the Wissota Street Stock special at the Fiesta City Speedway in Montevideo on Friday. Eric Riley of Morris took second and Ryan Satter of Dent took third.

Vogel, who also won the event in 2018, picked up $650 for the win while Riley got $450 for second and Satter $350 for furth. A great purse for the streeters and it was a bit disappointing there were only 15 who showed up.

One note about Fiesta City Speedway's Wissota late models. Rich Thomas of Aberdeen and Clarence Washburn of Hector were competing. Both are at least 75 years old; meanwhile Bryce Sward of Nelson was also racing in the class. He is 15. Think about that for a moment.

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