Kesselberg and Spieker Post Big NCR Wins; Wagner, Gronwold and Gettel Victorious
RaceChaser was back at Norman County Raceway for the King Pin Clash, which was a special for the IMCA Stock Cars.
Kalvin Kesselberg of Ada picked up a win at his hometown while 14-year-old Ashton Spieker of Sabin broke through for his first career win in the INEX Legends.
Brock Gronwold of Fergus Falls, Andy Wagner of Ada and Todd Gettel of Mahnomen also found victory lane.
We will start with the IMCA Stock Cars. A decent 11-car field was on hand. It was a good front row — Kesselberg and Trent Grager of Sykeston, N.D., who has five wins this season.
Kesselberg, interviewed above, got the jump on the bottom and took the early lead, and it turned out that was the line to race on. Grager ran up high early and kept pace, but eventually went to the bottom as well. Moving up through the field was Travis Robertson of Moorhead, who started eighth; he worked into the top three.
Two other drivers having solid runs included veteran Billy Michaelsohn of Fargo and Thomas Ahrndt of Hawley, who won at North Central Speedway in Brainerd on June 5.
Kesselberg could ill afford a mistake with Grager and Robertson right there — and he didn’t make any to earn his third win of the summer. His breakthrough season in the #11 machine continues.
Grager settled for second. Robertson, who won the King Pin Clash at Red River Valley Speedway, was third after starting eighth. Michaelsohn capped off a good race in fourth and Ahrndt was fifth. Nice to see some new drivers in the top five.
Spieker, interviewed above, has been getting better and better each night in the #2 INEX Legend machine, and you sensed it was only a matter of time before he’d find victory lane. Well, on Thursday, he had to earn it, as two of the fastest Legend cars around — Tye Wilke of Detroit Lakes and Ryan Braseth of Ulen — were on his heels.
Spieker took the lead in the 10-lap feature from the outside pole. He went to the high line and stayed there — it was a good call considering some water had been put on the top prior to the feature.
Wilke, with eight Legends wins already, was in hot pursuit and right there, looking for an opening. Braseth made an uncharacteristic mistake and slid off turn two and was sent to the tail for the caution.
Spieker had to weather the restart with four to go, and Wilke poked his nose underneath a few times. But the 14-year-old from Sabin was not going to be denied as he picked up his first career win. Wilke settled for a strong second. Braseth recovered from going to the rear to finish third. Blaise Deckert of Fargo and Tony Brockhouse of Glyndon rounded out the top five.
Kelly Jacobson of Fargo took the lead from the inside pole in the IMCA Sport Mod feature. He was soon challenged by his father Scott Jacobson for the top spot. But it was Andy Wagner of Ada on the move. He quickly moved into the top three and took over the top spot after a restart.
Wagner opened a nice lead while Scott Jacobson settled into second. Rich Pavlicek of Casselton, who is fighting for the point lead with Wagner, moved into fourth and was battling Kelly Jacobson for the third spot. Torey Fischer of West Fargo and first-time visitor Chris Neisen of Arlington had a good battle for fifth.
Wagner picked up the win, his second of 2021, while Scott Jacobson — who is Mr. Consistent at area tracks with 13 top fives in 16 starts — settled for second. He has two wins and has finished second eight times. Pavlicek was closing in on second but settled for third. Kelly Jacobson and Fischer rounded out the top five. For Fischer it was her fourth top five of the year.
Brock Gronwold wasted little time getting to the front in the Wissota Midwest Modified feature. Reise Stenberg of Argusville took the early lead, but Gronwold stormed to the front on the bottom line and took over the top spot. He led the rest of the way
Stenberg had a good battle with Aaron Blacklance of Thief River Falls for second. Matt Schow of McIntosh was battling Jeff Nelson of Perham for a spot in the top five as well.
Gronwold had checked out on the field, even after a yellow. Blacklance moved into second after the caution while Stenberg settled into third. Nelson, who likely had a top five finish, broke later in the race and pulled in. That gave Schow fourth and moved Tanner Theis of New Rockford, N.D., into fifth.
It was a strong win for Gronwold. Blacklance, Stenberg, Schow and Theis rounded out the top five.
The IMCA Hobby Stock feature, well, there’s not a ton to say. Only three of the six cars were credited as finishing in a race that had three cautions. Todd Gettel prevailed for the win over Will Miller of Sacred Heart; Brad Orvedal of Fargo was third.
—Good to see Elzetta Bitker back behind the wheel of the INEX Legends car. She went for a wild ride a few weeks ago at Red River Valley Speedway in West Fargo, flipping her car several times. She had an uneventful night, which made her parents Jake and Sharnel happy!
—Vince Jegtvig of Dilworth saw his night end early in the IMCA Sport Mods. His heat race ended with a puff of a smoke, and it looked like he popped an engine.
—Congrats to Trevor Saurer of Dalton who won the Wissota Super Stock special Thursday at KRA Speedway in Willmar.
—Andy Rossow of Florence, S.D., a regular on the Steffes Street Stock Tour this season, won the Wissota Street Stock feature Thursday at Dakota State Fair Speedway in Huron.