Night 1 of the Dakota Classic Modified Tour kicked off Friday night at Red River Valley Speedway. What a field on hand with 74 IMCA Modifieds and 43 IMCA Stock Cars competing.
Ricky Thornton Jr. of Adel, Iowa, prevailed in the modifieds while five-time tour champion Elijah Zevenbergen of Sibley, Iowa, won the IMCA Stock Cars. I will highlight the RaceChaser area drivers and how they fared.
One thing that is interesting to me any time a tour comes to a track is how the local drivers will fare. How much does track familiarity help? Well, I think the local drivers held their own just fine on this night.
One of the craziest things I’ve ever seen happen came in the second IMCA Stock Car heat. The white flag came out, and apparently almost the entire field thought it was the checkered flag and pulled off of turn two. Two drivers — Mike Anderson of Walcott and 15-year-old Keaten Froemke of Glyndon — recognized that the checkered had not waved, drove back on the track and finished the race. The result was both drivers qualifying for the A main. Froemke finished 12th in the main event, which was a great run for a rookie.
Of the 29 starters in the IMCA Modified feature, 12 were local/RRVS regulars (I’m including John Nord, Jarrett Carter and Billy Kendall in that group, they aren’t track regulars but have raced at RRVS before and are from the region).
What a night for Tyler Hall of Fertile, perhaps the most memorable of his racing career. He won his heat after starting third — and drew the pole for the feature. Hall led the first 23 laps of the IMCA Modified feature as he eyed the biggest win of his racing career.
With seven laps to go on a restart, Thornton — who recently won his first World of Outlaws Late Model race —went to the outside and passed Hall for the lead, and went on to lead the rest of the way and pick up the $2,400 win. Thornton, by the way, is one of the best modified drivers in the country right now.
Hall finished second, picking up $1,250. I talked to him before the race and he figured the bottom groove was the place to be — it was. He was pretty anxious but excited for the opportunity to starting from the pole. And he ran the race of his life and did a great job.
Hall wasn’t the only local driver to shine on Friday. Austin Arneson of Fargo started eighth but finished third after a pretty intense battle with Alex Stanford of Chowchilla, Calif. Casey Arneson of Fargo, who won the Dakota Cat Mod Shootout on Thursday at Norman County Raceway in Ada, was eighth. Kendall was 10th.
In addition to the above mentioned drivers, other locals making the feature included Allen Kent of West Fargo, Dylan Goplen of Fargo, John Nord of Enderlin, Jesse Skalicky of Fargo, Dave Shipley of Argusville, Carter, Michael Johnson of Moorhead and Matt Aukland of Glyndon. Skalicky, Aukland and Shipley each won their B mains. Johnson advanced to the feature via passing points.
Zevenbergen is really fast on this tour. He took the lead from the pole and built a lead by a straightaway before a caution came out. He was pressured by Eric Mahlik of Green Bay, Wis., late but held on for the win.
Again, the local drivers held their own. Two RRVS regulars — Rob VanMil of Barnesville and Travis Robertson of Moorhead — finished in the top four. VanMil had dropped out of the top five but battled his way back for third-place finish. Robertson started 12th but effectively used the lower line to pass some cars and finished fourth. Rick Schulz of Horace — who was put to the back for an early caution, battled his way back to a seventh-place finish. Todd Heinrich of Fargo started 23rd and finished ninth.
Ten of the 24 starters were RRVS regulars. Also qualifying for the feature were Brennan Borg of Harwood, Froemke, Andrew Jochim of Glyndon (who started on the pole), John Sandvig of West Fargo, Tyler McDougall of Hawley and Anderson.
McDougall’s night ended badly as he rolled his #1 machine in turn two with five laps to go. He was Ok but the car endured some significant damage.
There was a nice crowd at RRVS in addition to the great field of cars. I think the tour stop was a success; there were a few hiccups having 117 cars — which totally packed the backstretch pit area — stuff like that happens. I hope the tour can return to West Fargo in 2020.
Satter Wins Street Stock Tour Stop at I-94
Ryan Satter of Dent picked up the Wissota Street Stock feature win Friday at I-94 Sure Step Speedway. That feature, which was the latest stop on the Steffes Street Stock Tour, paid $1,200 to the winner. Jonny Carter of Lisbon was second, Kyle Anderson of Jamestown third, Parker Anderson of Phillips, Wis., fourth and Eric Riley — who started 21st — finished fifth.
Satter joins Jonny Carter, Justin Vogel and Riley as winners on the tour. A great field of 33 street stocks were on hand.
Brock Gronwold of Fergus Falls picked up his second feature win of the week in the midwest modified, topping Travis Schulte of Clear Lake. Mike Nichols of Watertown was third, Travis Engebretson of Cyrus fourth and Corey Storck of Morris fifth.
Ryan Flaten of Madison, Minn., won the Wissota Super Stock feature over Trevor Nelson of Warner, S.D. Jeff Crouse of Alexandria was third, Matt Miller of Alexandria fourth and Jacob Knapper of Montevideo fifth.
Tony Robertson won the Limited Late Model feature over William Lund of Brandon. Mike Hart of Erhard was third.
Landon Atkinson of Little Falls won the Wissota Modified feature over Mike Greseth of Harwood. Brady Gerdes of Villard was third, Dusty Bitzan of Brandon fourth and Jon Tollakson of Montevideo fifth.
Pederson, School, Pierce and Strand Win at River Cities
Tucker Pederson of East Grand Forks won the Wissota Street Stock feature Friday night at River Cities Speedway in Grand Forks. Doug VanMill of Bagley was second, John Halvorson of Warren third, Ryan Johnson of Karlstad fourth and Trey Hess of Lakota fifth.
Lance Schill of Langdon won his third Wissota Midwest Modified feature of the year at RCS and his second in a row. Matt Schow of McIntosh was second, Jamie Dietzler of Larimore third, Preston Carr of Carrington fourth and Ryan Schow of McIntosh fifth.
Austin Pierce of Grand Forks won his fourth NOSA Sprint feature of the 2020 season. Jade Hastings of Grand Forks was second, Wade Nygaard of Grand Forks third, Bob Martin of East Grand Forks fourth and Jack Croaker fifth. Martin, by the way, started 16th. Tim Estenson of Fargo finished a season-best sixth.
Dustin Strand of East Grand Forks topped Brad Seng of Grand Forks. Lance Schill was third, Troy Schill fourth and Kevin Robertson fifth.