Mikkelson Wins NLRA Show at Buffalo River
RaceChaser capped off a busy stretch — eight races in 10 days — by attending the NLRA Late Model show at Buffalo River Speedway on Sunday night. There was a great crowd on hand and a solid field of 21 late models were in attendance. And it was a big win for Ryan Mikkelson of Alexandria that capped off the night.
I was hoping for 20 lates, and I'm thinking track management at Buffalo River would be pleased with 21 when you have the likes of sprint car star Donny Schatz, Brad Seng, Dustin Strand, Cole Schill, Joey Pederson, Shane Edginton and Mike Greseth in town.
The track was dry and you needed to get to the bottom in the heats, especially for the late models and sport mods. In the features, the top line came around for the sport mods but the bottom was the place to be for the late model feature once again.
The heat races moved along nicely and the track took a little longer intermission — in part to do an interview with Schatz, which I totally get since he's a popular driver locally. Schatz, by the way, has not won a World of Outlaws feature this season and his next feature win will be his 300th on the tour.
Cole Babcock of Rothsay and Joey Pederson of East Grand Forks shared the front row for the NLRA Late Model feature. Babcock jumped out to the early lead with Pederson giving chase. Pederson took over the top spot and had a nice lead as Babcock and Mikkelson, interviewed above, battled for second.
Mikkelson cleard Babcock and set his sights on Pederson, who looked strong in the #7P. Things got interesting in lapped traffic as Mikkelson closed the gap. Pederson had to go wide to clear a lapped car and Mikkelson had the opening he needed to take over the top spot.
Moving up into the top five was Schatz, who started way back in 10th, and Winnipeg driver Shane Edginton, who was in fourth after starting sixth.
Jason Strand of Portland, a late model rookie, was running in the top five much of the night as well as his #E85 machine looked good.
Schatz moved into third and looked to close the gap on Pederson. Mikkelson had some breathing room up front at this point.
A multi-car pileup in turn four ended the race for Ryan Corbett of East Grand Forks, Greseth and Dan Dowling. I didn't see the cause, just the aftermath.
And that caution brought Schatz and Pederson to Mikkelson's tail with two laps to go. Mikkelson got a great restart and opened 5-6 car lengths by the checkered to pick up his first career NLRA late model win. Pederson held off Schatz for second. Edginton was third, and veteran Brad Seng of Grand Forks made a late pass of Strand for fifth. Schatz was the hard charger by my count, moving up seven spots.
Chris VanMil of Barnesville is driving a new T & E chassis built by Cody Erickson this season. He won the opening night at Red River Valley Speedway in West Fargo and was searching for his second win of the season in the IMCA Sport Mods.
Matt Talley led early but VanMil went to the top and flew in his #40 machine. He opened up a big lead after second. Scott Jacobson of Fargo moved into second. A caution came out, and I was curious if Jacobson had anything for VanMil.
VanMil, on this night, was too fast. He pulled away to a huge lead again after the restart. Jacobson had Paul Colvin of Fargo, who started way back in 11th, on his tail, and Justin Jones of Bemidji, who won at Norman County Raceway on Thursday, was also on the move into the top five.
VanMil won handily with Jacobson and Colvin rounding out the top three. Jones was fourth and Doug Gardner of Glydnon ran a solid race to take fifth.
Andrea Jacobson of Fargo led the IMCA Hobby Stock feature early before Caleb Gardner of Glyndon took the lead. The car on the move was first time visitor Chase Peterson of Milaca, who started way back in 12th after DNF in his heat. Peterson worked his way past Gardner for the lead and then checked out.
Scott Herron of Brainerd also made some noise, moving up into the top three after starting 10th. He was part of the battle with Gardner, Todd Gettel of Mahnomen, Jacobson and Brad Orvedal of Fargo.
Peterson was in his own area code with more than a straight away advantage on his way to the win.jkl. Herron eventually moved into second, with Gardner, Orvedal and Gettel rounding out the top five.
Alan Truscinski of Greenbush controlled the POWRi Minn-Kota Lightning Sprint feature, taking the lead fom the pole and cruising to the win. It was a good night to win, as a $320 bounty had been put on the table for anyone that could beat Dexter Dvergsten, who has domainated the class so far this season.
There were several battles in traffic, and one car that made some headway was Bryce Haugeberg of West Fargo. He started fifth but worked into second by the checkered. Kelsi Pederson of East Grand Forks had a so lid round in taking third with Dvergsten taking fourth. Travis Surerus of Fargo rounded out the top five.
John Current of Bemidji is usually fast wherever he goesin his #28 Mini Stock, and he picked up his second straight BRS win. He started way back in ninth but stormed to the front and passed early leader DAve Wahl of Fergus Falls for the win. Chase Goiliet of Fargo was third. Levi Lease had a solid run in fourth with Lee Williams taking fifth.
Buffalo River Notes
—Young late model driver Cole Babcock, 18, looked good in his heat race and finished second. He's one of those young drivers who improve every week. He finished a respectable eighth in the feature.
—I was a little surprised to see only 10 Short Trackers on hand. I figured that would be a class that draws 15 a week at the 1/4-mile. The doubleheader at I-94 Sure Step took care of a few cars from what I’m told.
—The draw proved to be crucial for the NLRA Late Model heats with passing proving difficult. Dustin Strand, who won Saturday at I-94, and Cole Schill both started in the back of their heats — and finished outside the top four, meaning they would start a long ways back in the feature.
—There have been four NLRA features completed with four different winners: Dave Mass (I-94 on May 21), Mike Greseth (May 27 at Grand Rapids), Strand (June 5 at I-94) and Mikkelson on Sunday.
Thomas Wins Mod Special at Sheyenne
Joseph Thomas of Glyndon won the Wissota Modified Special Sunday night at Sheyenne Speedway in Lisbon. He took home $1,000 for the win. Tyler Peterson of Hickson, who has five wins this season, was second with MIke Stearns of Hecla, S.D, taking third. Jordan Sours of Lisbon and Scott "Rebel" Bintz of Jamestown rounded out the top five.
Alex Langland of Enderlin won the Wissota Midwest Modified feature for his first win of 2021. Nate Reinke of Lisbon was second, Haley Lee of Starbuck, Minn., third, Scott Bintz fourth and Jeffrey Schwind Jr. of Jamestown fifth. For Lee, it was a great finish after some rotten luck to start the season.
Todd Carter of Lisbon outdueled his nephew Jonny Carter for the Wissota Street Stock win. Last week's winner Kyle Anderson of Jamestown was third, Royce Jawaski of Jamestown was fourth and Ryan Pommerer of Oriska fifth.
Tempest Trone of Litchville won the Mini Stock feature with Kevin Youngquist of Barney taking second. Gavin Walton of Englevale was third, Mason Bogart of Milnor fourth and Roger Lukes of Lisbon fifth.
Bo Gregor of Lisbon won the Hobby Stock feature after starting seventh. Jayden Michaelsohn of Aberdeen was second Dylan Steele of Jamestown third, Dalton Aabrekke of Lisbon fourth and Hayden Aberle of Larimore was fifth.
Tye Wilke of Detroit Lakes made his first appearance of the season in his #72 INEX Legends Car and went on to take the win after starting fifth. Ryan Braseth of Ulen was second, Zander Bauer of Gwinner third, Brian Frederick of Gwinner fourth and Austin Wimer of GWinner fifth.