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  • tombergie01

News and Notes from Area Racing Scene...

Updated: Jun 4, 2019

Andrew Jochim, left, already has five feature wins this season.

Some RaceChaser blog random thoughts jumping around in my head about the start of racing season….

Red-Hot Starts

The four hottest drivers in the RaceChaser coverage area are Jonny Carter of Lisbon in the Wissota Street Stocks, Reise Stenberg of Argusville in the Wissota Midwest Modifieds, Rob VanMil of Barnesville in the IMCA Stock Cars and Andrew Jochim of Glyndon in the INEX Legends.

In seven starts, Carter has six feature wins already. He has two wins at Sheyenne, three at Jamestown and won the 40-lap special at Dacotah Speedway on Friday.

If you talk to Carter, he is not a points racer. He doesn’t follow it much at all. But if this trend keeps up he will be contending for the Wissota Street Stock national title come August.

Stenberg has four wins in seven starts and has not finished outside the top five all year. He has wins at three different tracks — Jamestown (two), River Cities Speedway in Grand Forks and Norman County Raceway at Ada. His win at the Jeff Carpenter Memorial in Jamestown was worth $1,037.

VanMil has raced his IMCA Stock Car four nights — and won four features. He is the driver to beat in that class locally right now and I will be curious how long the unbeaten streak lasts. He also picked up the IMCA Mod win on Saturday at BRRP.

Jochim is chasing the INEX Legends Pro Division national title. In nine starts he has five wins (victories at Sheyenne, Jamestown, Dacotah Speedway (two) and Southwest Speedway. He was contending for the win at Buffalo River Race Park on Saturday too but was involved in a crash and later did not finish.

INEX Legends Competitive

The INEX Legends Class seems very competitive this year locally. Jochim, Tye Wilke of Detroit Lakes, Brody Carlsrud of Moorhead and Sean Johnson of Kindred (two) are among the local drivers with wins. Tim Estenson of Fargo, who has dominated the class the past few years, has been running some 410 Sprint races in California and certainly is holding his own in what is a big jump in divisions.

Carlsrud is only 15 years old but drove like a seasoned pro at Buffalo River Race Park on Sunday. Wilke is only 15 as well but has wins at two tracks (Red River Valley and Norman County) and ran a strong third at Sheyenne after starting 15th. Fargo driver Kaitlyn Skalicky had some rough luck early but in the last four races has averaged a finish of 3.5, including runner up finishes at BRRP and Sheyenne.

I like the young talent in this class, and I hope it serves as a springboard to move up to another divisions in the future.

Advantage RV Tour

The Advantage RV Modified Tour is off to a good start. The tour averaged just over 28 cars per stop on its three-night opening swing at I-94 Speedway, Viking Speedway and Granite City Speedway near Sauk Rapids, Minn. I-94 led the way with 36 cars, and the field featured four former Wissota Mod national champs — Blake Jegtvig, Mike Stearns, Ward Imrie (who is the two-time defending champion) and Dave Cain. It also included drivers who were Wissota national champs in other divisions — Shane Sabraski (mid mod and supers), Travis Saurer (mid mod) and Don Eischens (super stocks). That’s not to mention Dan Ebert, the defending RV tour champ, Jason Thoennes and Brady Gerdes, both former I-94 champions, rising star Tyler Peterson, and well, you get the picture. What a great field on hand.

Right now, Ebert (322), Sabraski (320), Eischens (296), Johnny Broking of Grand Rapids (278) and Jeremy Nelson (276) are the top five. Broking has a chance to make up some serious ground this weekend as the tour goes to Grand Rapids Speedway, Gondik Law Speedway in Superior, ABC Raceway in Ashland and Proctor Speedway. This should be a fun points battle, and what I am encouraged about is the quality of cars that run this series.

Sabraski has two wins already, and simply crushed the field on Friday at I-94.

Tour director Rueben Meyer charges only a $40 entry fee per night for RV events, and other series could take note. Charging a bundle to enter a race isn’t always the best policy.

I really wish that tour came up this way more. However when tracks in Ada and Jamestown switched to IMCA modified that eliminated that tour (those were two popular stops).

$5 Admission at RRVS This Week

Red River Valley Speedway in West Fargo is offering $5 admission to its racing program this Friday The Northern Renegade Non-Winged Sprints are also coming to town. This is a great chance to invite friends/family who don’t always go to races or have never been — at a very affordable price. Who knows, they may have fun and want to come back! All classes are running in addition to the sprints.

Advantage RV Tour

One nagging question -- what does the blue and yellow flag mean? Does it mean hold your line, the leaders are coming? Or does it mean get out of the main groove? Seems to mean different things at different tracks, and sometimes I wonder if some (SOME) drivers pay attention to it.

RaceChaser Hot Laps

—I have yet to see a Wissota Late Model feature this season, and that is disturbing as a fan of the class for 30-35 years. Maybe this Friday!

—Lake Shore driver Dan Ebert is really fast in that #60 modified. He is a treat to watch.

—I encourage anyone that goes to Sheyenne Speedway in Lisbon to tell the volunteers who work at that track “thank you.” Co-promoters Benji Froemke and Hunter Carter put in a ton of time with that track, and each Sunday, every person working at the facility is a volunteer. Local fans in that area should appreciate the time and work that goes into the 1/4-mile oval.

—Jamestown Speedway has a one-caution and you’re in rule for its heat races. This is not a new practice — Deer Creek Speedway in Spring Valley, Minn., uses it among other tracks— but I think there needs to be a clarification when a track implements that rule (this is not criticizing Jamestown, this is just about the rule in general).

Now, this is only if the track uses this rule: If you spin out solo by yourself and are capable of getting going again and don’t, you should go to the pits. If someone spins you out, however, you should not have to go into the pits. That distinction needs to be made.

I like the one-spin-and-in rule as a fan (to me is saves time), but I know drivers aren’t real fond of it. That one is a tough issue, because you don’t want cars spinning out all the time and waiting for cautions, either.

—Let’s not overreact to lower car counts early in the year. There are many farmers in the field and for many the racing season got off to a slow start because of a terrible month of May. Let’s re-examine in late June.

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