Johnson Makes Big Comeback for Win at RRVS; Restad, Shipley, Serbus, Braseth and Eckerdt Add Wins
Fan appreciation night saw a big crowd on hand Friday at Red River Valley Speedway on a very nice July evening. Fans could pick up free tickets in advance at NAPA Stores in Fargo/Moorhead.
There were 101 cars on hand (one of the hobby stocks signed in but was not in attendance).
I will start with the biggest comeback of the night – in the INEX Legends. They didn’t make it a lap as Sean Johnson of Kindred slid off of turn three on the initial start and had to go to the tail. Johnson was far from done, however.
Ryan Braseth of Ulen, who won Thursday at Norman County Raceway, was flying high on the outside of the feature, getting quickly to the lead after starting eighth, with Evan Hendrickson of Mapleton and Zander Compson of Valley City, who picked up his first career win on Wednesday, giving chase.
Braseth and Hendrickson had a good fight for the top spot. Joshua Wiest was closing on Zander Compson for third with Collin Compson of Valley City moving into fifth.
Braseth and Hendrickson had a few car lengths on the field as Collin Compson moved into third. Kody Machart of Moorhead had also moved into the top five after starting way back in 20th.
Braseth had 4-5 car lengths on Hendrickson with Wiest running third ahead of Johnson, who had made a big charge through the field after going to the rear.
Hendrickson hit the wall and fell out of the top five as the caution would wave with five to go. And that would bring out the yellow/black as time was becoming an issue.
On the restart Johnson made a big run on the bottom lane and passed Braseth for the lead with Machart moving into third. Braseth kept up on the high side but would dart down low on the bottom of turns three and four. Machart began to pressure him for second.
Johnson completed an incredible comeback, going from the back to the lead, by picking up the win by .366 seconds over Machart, who edged Braseth for third. Wiest was fourth and Collin Compson was fifth. Johnson had just picked up a big win at Lucas Oil Speedway earlier this week but this one will be one he’ll remember for a long time.
Trevor Serbus of Olivia, who is third in the national points, was the early leader of the IMCA RaceSaver Sprint feature with Brandon Rekow of Ellendale settling into second.
I always keep an eye on Andy Pake of Felton and Tye Wilke of Detroit Lakes in the sprint races at RRVS. Pake started 10th while Wilke started 11th. Wilke was working the higher line and moving up.
Rekow was running well but slid off of turn four impacted the wall, ending his night with three to go. That wiped out a 4.603 second lead for Serbus, and brought Ty Hanten of West Fargo, Wilke and Pake close on the final restart.
Serbus restablished control on the restart, however, opening a 2.055 second lead over the final three laps to earn his xxth win of the year. Hanten capped off a good run in second with Pake edging Wilke for third. Tyler Rabenberg was fifth.
Rich Pavlicek of Casselton – entering the night as the point leader -- blew a motor in his heat race. Fellow competitor Kelly Jacobson of Fargo did a really classy thing – he borrowed his #51 car to Pavlicek for the feature, as Pavlicek was the season point leader. Jacobson isn’t in the points hunt but the points are very valuable to Pavlicek at this point.
Another pre-race development was Andy Wagner of Ada, a usual contender who was set to start on the pole, did not make the start of the race. The culprit was a hole in the radiator, which was a bad break. So a lot was happening before the green even waved.
Austin Veralrud set the early pace in the IMCA Sport Mod. Ryan Restad of West Fargo and Scott Jacobson of Fargo were on the move. A spin with 14 to go brought out the caution.
Veralrud and Restad resumed the battle up front with Restad taking the lead with 12 to go. Scott Jacobson of Fargo, who started 10th, was lurking in third with Luke Johnson of Moorhead running well in fourth.
Once in front, Restad – who is chasing Rich Pavlicek for the point lead, entering the night trailing by five – began to pull away. Jacobson, Veralrud and Johnson were running close together.
The caution would wave halfway through the main event for a spin. The yellow/black came out after another spin as the race struggled to go smoothly.
Scott Jacobson moved into second but Restad was cranking the #7R up front to a 2.182 lead. The caution waved – again -- with four to go.
Pavlicek started conservatively after starting in the back, but was making some progress through the field, moving into the top 10 with four to go.
On the restart Jacobson worked down low on Restad. Pavlicek, meanwhile moved up to sixth and was moving. Brennan Urbach of Lisbon was running well in the top five but had Pavlicek closing.
Restad, meanwhile, had no worries up front, picking up his fourth win of 2023 by 1.395 seconds over Jacobson. Veralrud was solid all night and finished third with Johnson in fourth. Pavlicek who started 22nd, edged Urbach to fifth. The points race tightened but by my math Pavlicek still holds a one-point lead heading into next week.
Blake Anderson of Fargo and Andrea Jacobson of Fargo, coming off of a win Wednesday at Buffalo River, led the IMCA Hobby Stock field to the green. Jacobson led the first lap but Tyler Hehn of Horace would take over the top spot.
The veteran Tim Church of Moorhead moved into second. You always have to keep an eye on the B2 Brodee Eckerdt of Grand Forks, the point leader at RRVS. He entered the night with seven wins in nine starts on the season and soon was in the top three. Eckerdt has yet to finish worse than second this season and has established himself as the dominant car at RRVS and Norman County.
Eckerdt would power into the lead with Hehn in second. Jacobson and Otterness would get together on the frontstretch to bring out the caution with five to go. Otterness got the worst of that with a flat and would pull pitside.
Church was fighting hard on the bottom against Eckerdt as Brad Orvedal of Fargo was third. Hehn was still in fourth.
Church made a final push down the frontstretch and nearly pulled off the win, but Eckerdt would pick up his eighth win of the season by a mere .003 seconds. Eckerdt would hit the wall after crossing the line as something apparently broke and would have to get pulled in on the hook. Orvedal settled for third with Hehn fourth. Minot driver Tim Anderson, who started back in 10th, had a good run through traffic to take fifth.
John Miller of Enderlin and Jeff Nelson of Perham led the IMCA Mods to the green.
Kollin Hibdon of Pahrump, Nev., did not waste time in getting to the lead in the feature after starting fourth. Dave Shipley of Argusville moved into second with Darren Pfau of West Fargo moving into third.
Shipley – always a top threat to win at RRVS – was starting to eat into the lead slowly. Jordan Sours of Lisbon, who entered the night as the point leader, started to pressure Pfau for third as Jesse Skalicky of Fargo was in fifth.
Hibdon and Shipley pulled away from the field. Sours got past Pfau for third but was well back of the top two. Shipley was pressuring Hibdon, but the 48K slowed on the exit of turn two to bring out the caution with seven laps left.
Shipley took over the lead with seven to go with Sours in second. Pfau was running third with Skalicky close behind. Allen Kent of West Fargo had worked into the top five.
Shipley pulled away to a 1.196 lead over Sours. Cody Peterson of Glyndon, who had went to the rear for a caution early in the race, had fought his way back to the top five.
Shipley picked up his fourth win of the year; he’s batting pretty good this season with four wins in eight starts. Sours capped off a good run in second with Pfau in third and Skalicky in fourth. Peterson made a good comeback to get in the top five.
It’s hard to pick against Rob VanMil in the IMCA Stock Cars right now. He won the Dakota Classic Tour earlier this month and won two features Thursday at NCR. The 40 car is particularly tough when the low line is fast, but he can run about anywhere he needs.
The pole sitter, Karmith Christensen pulled off before the green, moving VanMil to the outside pole next to the veteran Len Kniep.
VanMil took the lead with Rick Schulz of Horace running second. Wild Billy Michaelsohn of Fargo moved into third ahead of Brennan Borg of Harwood.
VanMil and Schulz had quite a gap on third-place Borg, who had Andrew Jochim of Glyndon hot on his trail. Jochim had started in 11th. Tyler McDougall was running fifth ahead of Todd Heinrich of Fargo.
The lead grew to about a second for VanMil. Schulz had a commanding lead on Jochim, who moved into third. VanMil continued to stretch things out as the laps waned and would go on to a 2.129 second win over Schulz, who had started fourth. Jochim had an impressive trip through the field to get third with Borg finishing fourth and McDougall fifth. Brody Carlsrud of Fargo started 16th but worked up to sixth by the checkered in a non-stop main event.
Strand Takes 2 at River Cities
It was a big night for Dustin Strand of East Grand Forks as he won two of the three features contested at River Cities Speedway in Grand Forks. Strand would capture the Moonshine Mod Tour main event after starting eighth in the caution-free race. Zach Johnson of Lowry, who won Thursday at Norman County, was second, Tyler Peterson of Hickson was third, Aaron Blacklance of Thief River Falls fourth and Aaron Holtan of Newfolden was fifth. Strand is the sixth different winner on the tour in seven races.
Dustin Strand topped Tyler Peterson for the Wissota Late Model win. Brad Seng of Grand Forks was third, Joey Pederson of East Grand Forks fourth and Bryce Sward of Nelson, who started 22nd, finished fifth.
Mark Dobmeier survived a caution-filled Buffalo Wild Wings NOSA Sprint feature to pick up another win, catching a break when leader Austin Pierce of Grand Forks slid off the backstretch with five to go. Nick Omdahl of East Grand Forks was third, Brendan Mullen of Grand Forks was fourth and Laela Eisenschenk of West Fargo was fifth.
Vogel Goes Back to Back on DRC Street Stock Tour
Justin Vogel of Brooten picked up his second straight Dirt Race Central Street Stock Tour win presented by Shocker Hitch Friday night at Fiesta City Speedway in Montevideo.
Vogel now has four feature wins on the tour, most of any driver. Kolton Brauer of Eyota was second, Andrew Hanson of Iron River, Wis., was third, Kyle Genett of Auburndale was fourth and Nick Traynor of Barron, Wis., was fifth. Traynor went from 21st to fifth to earn Hard Charger honors.+-