Mullen, Potter, Berg Lead River Cities Victory Parade
I made it to opening night at River Cities Speedway in Grand Forks. On a cool night a good field of 77 cars were on hand. I thought it was a solid opener — show was done in three hours, which is a good way to start the year.
Brendan Mullen of Grand Forks picked up the NOSA Sprint win while Joe Potter, Jory Berg (no relation to this blogger) and Lance Schill also found victory lane.
It was a big night for Mullen, interviewed above. He had won two NOSA Sprint wins to his credit — one at Dacotah Speedway in Mandan and one at Jamestown, both in 2020 — but had yet to win at his home track. Mullen weathered serious challenges from Nick Omdahl of East Grand Forks and Austin Pierce of Grand Forks to take his first checkered flag at River Cities.
Mullen led early but Omdahl and Pierce were able to get by him. Pierce, however, slid off of turns three and four to bring out a caution, and that would change the race.
Mullen, who had been running the lower line, found something on the restart and was able to overtake Omdahl for the top spot. The two waged a good battle for the lead before Mullen opened a few car lengths.
Meanwhile, Pierce, who was sent to the tail for the caution was charging back through the field. He moved into the top five and soon was into third, not far behind Omdahl. But Mullen was flawless as the laps waned and picked up his first RCS win of his career. Omdahl, Pierce, Wade Nygaard of Grand Forks and Tom Egeland of Climax rounded out the top five.
Joe Potter of Euclid, interviewed above, set the pace for the first several laps of the Wissota Street Stock feature and was on a rail. He was well into lapped traffic when the first caution came out.
Josh Barker of Thompson was running second, but slid off the backstretch to bring out the first caution, ending his hopes for a top five finish.
After the caution, Potter reassumed control and was never threatened to pick up the opening win. Potter ran well last Saturday at I-94 with aa fourth-place finish and really wa never challenged on Friday. It was Potter’s first River Cities win in 10 years and he has to be encouraged by the way the #10 car is working early.
Nicholas Minske ran a solid second whle Chase Boen of Karlstad also looked good, taking third. Grand Forks driver James Meagher was fourth with defending track champion Ryan Johnson of Karlstad fifth.
The 22-car street stock field did a nice job on the night -- by my count, there was one caution all night that included three heats and a 15-lap feature.
The Wissota Midwest Modified feature turned into a late-race duel between Scott “Rebel” Bintz of Jamestown and Jory Berg of Grand Forks, interviewed above.
Bintz held the lead, but after a late restart, Berg applied heavy pressure on the lower line. Berg made the pass with less than two laps left on his way to a solid win. Bintz finished second ahead of Jamie Dietzler of Larimore, who ran in the top five all race long. Preston Carr of Carrington was fourth and Nate Reynolds of Hoople fifth.
Lance Schill of Langdon had the outside pole in the late model feature, and led from start to finish. He first faced challenges from Shane Edginton of Winnipeg and later Dustin Strand of East Grand Forks, but never surrendered the top spot to pick up the win. Strand, Edginton, Brad Seng of Grand Forks and Joey Pederson of East Grand Forks rounded out the top five. Seng, by the way, has gone back to a red and white scheme this year and it’s sharp.
River Cities Notes
Bryce Reimer of Cavalier was leading his street heat race when he suffered a terrible break. Something appeared to break in the #03 and he turned to the right suddenly and left turn two airborne, Dukes of Hazzard style. He was able to get the brakes locked but the impact of the ground wa hard -- he wrecked a radiator (among other front end damage) and had a flat, but at least didn’t roll.
Ryan Corbett of Grand Forks hit the wall hard during his late model heat and that ended his night.
Trey Hess of Lakota had transmission trouble in his heat, and that left him way back on the starting grid in his street stock feature. He managed a 10th-place finish in the feature but the tranmission issues continue.
It was not a good night, at least in the Wissota Midwest Modified class, for former RCS champion Lance Schill. The #17S car seemed off all night, and he pulled in during both the heat and feature. He had better fortune in the late models.
By my count there were three rookies in the late model class -- Greg Friestad of Valley City, Greg Moore of Jamestown and Brandon Corbett of Grand Forks . Friestad is a former IMCA Mod runner who is driving a Bloomquist Chassis. I visited with him briefly and He admits there will be a learning curve after years in a modified. Seat time will be his biggest help this season.
Moore is a former Bomber driver while John Halvorson of Warren, who has raced a late model in the past, continues to run in the street stocks.
Reise Stenberg of Argusville has a new Wissota Midwest Modified in 2021, one that was built by himself and Ryan and Matt Schow. It was a solid night for him, taking sixth. It was only the second night in the car. Matt Schow, by the way, the defending RCS Midwest Modified champion, is busy with farming but should be out soon.
Year 52 of racing started out solid for Tom Corcoran of East Grand Forks as he finished sixth in the Wissota Late Model feature.
Zender, Goulet, Mikkelson, Peterson win at I-94
It was a big win for Sam Zender of Fergus Falls in the Limited late Model class Friday night at I-94 Sure Step Speedway in Fergus Falls. He started ninth and worked his way to the front for the win over Ben Wolden of Fergus Falls. Brad Staples of Herman was third, Dustin Johanneck of Fergus Falls fourth and Zach Tysdal of Fergus Falls fifth.
Devin Goulet of Fargo topped Shawn Robinson of Dalton for the Short Tracker win. Curtis Huseth of Underwood was third, Zach Kort of Fergus Falls fourth and Matt Pederson of Lake Park fifth.
Ryan Mikkelson of Alexandria topped Cole Schill of Horace for the Wissota Late Model win. Dave Mass of East Bethel was third, Chuck Swenson of Watertown, S.D. fourth and Wolden fifth.
Travis Saurer of Dalton won the Wissota Midwest Modified feature over Brendan Blascyk of Kensington. Brock Gronwold of Fergus Falls was third, Brennan Gave of Princeton fourth and Austin Chyba of Browerville fifth.
Tyler Peterson of Hickson topped Landon Atkinson of Little Falls for the Wissota Modified win. Jeremy Nelson of Alexandria was third, Brady Gerdes of Villard fourth and Joe Thomas of Glyndon fifth.
Kyle Dykhoff of Perham won the Wissota Street Stock feature over his brother Cory. It was his second straight win. Ryan Satter of Dent was third, Billie Christ of Jamestown fourth and Jaden Christ of Jamestown fifth.
Johnson, Arneson, Jacobson, Robertson Led Red River Valley Speedway Winners
Sean Johnson of Kindred picked up the INEX Legend feature Friday at Red River Valley Speedway in West Fargo. Tye Wilke of Detroit Lakes was second, Ryan Braseth of Ulen third, Tony Brockhouse of Glyndon fourth and Alex Braseth of Ulen was fifth.
Cory Probst of Brewster, Minn., won the IMCA Hobby Stock feature over Tanner Engen of Detroit Lakes. Brodie Eckerdt of Grand Forks was third, Tim Otterness of Brainerd fourth and Marvin Priem of Moorhead was fifth.
Casey Arneson of Fargo won the IMCA Modified feature over Matt Aukland of Glyndon. Tyler Hall of Fertile was third, Allen Kent of West Fargo fourth and Dave Shipley of Argusville fifth.
Scott Jacobson of Fargo topped Ryan Restad of West Fargo for the IMCA Sport Mod win. Jake Hagemann of Fort Ripley was third, Chris VanMil of Barnesville fourth and Justin Jones of Bemidji fifth.
Travis Robertson of Moorhead topped Rick Schulz of Horace for the IMCA Stock Car win. Brandon Schmidt of Hillsboro was third, Rob VanMil of Barnesville fourth and Andrew Jochim of Glyndon fifth.
The IMCA Racesaver Sprints made their debut at Red River Valley with Ty Hanten of West Fargo topping Tye Wilke for the win.