Heinrich Wins Thriller at Norman County; Jacobson, Gronwold, Youngquist and Eckerdt Win
RaceChaser was back at Norman County Raceway in Ada as the 3/8-mile oval resumed its season after a two-week break.
One of the interesting things on the night was two new faces in the IMCA Stock Car class. One was Randy Klein of Lisbon, a long-time IMCA/Wissota Midwest Modified driver; the other was street stock standout Ryan Satter of Dent. Klein has sold his IMCA Modified to Dan Pederson and bought a stock car this year. He still has his USMTS modified.
Satter, who is seventh in the Wissota Street Stock national points, was debuting a TRC Chassis; he had practiced with the car at I-94 last Saturday morning but Thursday was the first race action for the car. TRC is located in Hibbing, Minn., and Satter’s car is the first stock car TRC has built. Satter said he’s dabbling in the stock cars for the rest of the season and will see how it goes.
Once again, the IMCA Stock Cars stole the show at Norman County. It looked like Trent Grager of Sykeston, N.D., was on his way to another win as he took the lead from the inside pole.
The caution came out about midway through as Travis Robertson of Moorhead made a rare slip up and slid off of turns one and two. Satter later slid off turns one and two for the second caution.
Grager soon found pressure from Klein and veteran Todd Heinrich of Fargo, interviewed above. Klein ran the lower line while Heinrich went to a higher lane and it soon turned into a great three-car race. Klein — in his first night in his #88 car — would have pulled off a heck of a win had he prevailed.
Instead, it was Heinrich who was making a charge. He got a run off of turn four on the final lap and edged Grager at the line — by .099 seconds — for his second win of the year. Grager was second, Klein was third in his debut. Robertson recovered to finish fourth with veteran Rick Schulz of Horace taking fifth.
Paul Colvin of Horace took the lead on the first lap in the IMCA Sport Mods but spun in turn four and had to go to the tail.
Scott Jacobson of Fargo, interviewed above, is having what might be the best year of his racing career. He started fifth on the IMCA Sport Mod field on Thursday but after the early quickly moved into second place behind leader Torey Fischer of West Fargo.
Jacobson ran the low line and took over the top spot and opened up a comfortable lead on the field. Andy Wagner of Ada, debuting a new GRT Chassis, moved into second.
Rich Pavlicek of Casselton, who started ninth on the nine-car field after not finishing the heat, also was working through the field. He passed Brandon Ferris of Moorhead for third and closed in on Wagner.
Jacobson was never threatened, winning by more than three seconds. Wagner, who leads the points at NCR, was second, while Pavlicek was third. Ferris capped off a solid run in fourth while Colvin recovered from the early spin to take fifth.
Jacobson, who leads the points at Red River Valley Speedway, has three wins on the year, but has finished second an amazing eight times. He has 14 top fives in 17 starts, a remarkable show of consistency.
It didn’t take Brock Gronwold of Fergus Falls long to take control in the Wissota Midwest Modifieds — about 3 laps — and he led the rest of the way to pick up his eighth win of 2021. He started seventh but it was clear he wasn’t going to waste time taking the lead.
Gronwold is seventh in the national points but I expect him to climb. In the most current standings on the Wissota website he has 23 shows credited. So every win is valuable to the #2G. Plus, he has two shows at his home track this weekend at I-94 Sure Step Speedway where he could add to the win total.
For a while it was a good three-car battle for second between Taylor Jacobson of Roseau, Reise Stenberg of Argusville and Aaron Blacklance of Thief River Falls. Soon it turned into a two-car battle between Blacklance and Stenberg; Blacklance eventually took over the spot after a restart and looked to track down Gronwold.
The fastest Short Tracker/Hornet/Mini Stock around right now might be Kevin Youngquist of Barney, N.D. He’s won four features in a row at I-94 Sure Step Speedway and has a commanding points lead there. Youngquist, interviewed above, added to his win total on Thursday.
David Munson — racing for the first time ever in Matt Pederson’s #4P car — led early and had a nice lead. But Youngquist, who started fifth, quickly closed the gap and working the middle groove, took over the lead.
Munson nearly wiped out off of turns three and four but made a great save and was able to stave off Shawn Beto of Wahpeton for second. Younquist won for the sixth time in 2021. Munson edged Beto for second, with Curtis Huseth of Underwood taking fourth.
He did just that and closed quickly but couldn’t find a way around as Gronwold took the win. Blacklance, who started eighth, was second with Stenberg a solid third. Bryan Kakela of Langdon, making his first trip to NCR this season, was fourth ahead of Jacobson.
Speaking of national points, Blacklance is aiming for a top 10 finish in the midwest modifieds. He should climb those standings by getting more shows in.
Only four of the five IMCA Hobby Stocks in attendance finished the feature, as heat race winner Skyla Miller’s #9 left on the hook after stopping on the back stretch.
Miller led early but spun, and Brodee Eckerdt of Grand Forks took control after that to pick up the win. Will Miller of Sacred Heart, who didn’t finish in the head, was second ahead of veteran Brad Orvedal of Fargo. Todd Gettel of Mahnomen was fourth.
Thursday night notes
—I talked to Jonny Carter of Lisbon, who was helping Klein in the pits. He will be sidelined for a while as he blew a motor at Ogilvie last weekend, which means he will not defend his Steffes Street Stock Tour title. He hopes to be back on the track by the end of the month.
—Brady Gerdes of Villard was second in the Wissota Modified feature at KRA Speedway. Justin Vogel of Brooten was third in the Wissota Street Stock feature.