I-94 EMR Speedway in Fergus Falls hosted 98 cars as part of Military Appreciation Night. I thought in terms of efficiency and quality of racing, it was one of the best shows I’ve covered at I-94 this season. The final checkered waved at 10:04 p.m.; three features went caution free, and one other had only one yellow. A credit to the I-94 staff and all the drivers for a great night of racing.
Watertown driver Mike Nichols starting on the front row usually spells trouble for the rest of the Wissota Midwest Modified field at i-94. He didn’t run away with the win this time; and it was his ability to work through lapped traffic that was the difference late in the feature. Nichols jumped to a big lead early.
Tanner Bitzan of Brandon settled into second with Nate Reinke of Lisbon, who started ninth, in third. Corey Storck of Morris was battling Kyle Langland of Enderlin for fourth. Jamie Norman of Battle Lake was also close to that battle.
Reinke was fast, moving past Bitzan and then starting to eat into the sizeable advantage built by Nichols, especially when the #67 machine hit lapped traffic.
The fierce battle for third continued between Bitzan, Langland and Storck. Unfortunately for Langland a mechanical problem hit with five to go, ending what was likely a top five finish, which moved Norman into the top five.
Nichols faced one last challenge as he encountered a group of lapped cars running three-wide, and Reinke was closing. But he smoothly moved through that group to pick up the win, and padding his point lead at I-94 in the process
The caution free main event lasted a little over six minutes, nice job by all of those drivers.
The Wissota Street Stock feature, in contrast to the Midwest modified feature, was a mess, especially early.
Kyle Dykhoff of Starbuck wasn’t wasting much time getting to the front and was making a pass on his brother, Cory Dykhoff of Perham coming out of turn four. The two brothers got together coming out of turn four as it looked like Cory got a bit high and ran out of room, and it triggered a chain reaction that saw a few cars spin. Cory was charged with the yellow; a lap was scored and Kyle was the leader. Levi Randt, the pole sitter, lost a couple of fenders and a front piece in the deal but was able to continue.
Moments later, there was contact between Eric Riley of Morris, who started seventh, and national point leader Braden Brauer of Eyota that sent the 34jr. spinning. Brauer was charged with the yellow.
With 13 to go, after a fourth caution, Cole Greseth was putting some pressure on Kyle Dykhoff up front with Riley was in third, and Randt was in fourth. Riley moved up to the high side and was challenging Greseth for second as Kyle Dykhoff opened a nice lead.
Cory Dykhoff and Brauer both charged through traffic after going to the rear and with eight to go had moved back to the top six.
With six laps to go, the fifth caution of the feature. The caution was huge for Brauer, who had went from the rear up to sixth.
Riley was running up a bit higher and used the momentum to take over the lead with four laps to go. Brauer was up to third while Greseth and Cory Dykhoff fought for fourth.
Riley opened a few car lengths on Kyle Dykhoff who now had Brauer on his tail. Riley would pick up the feature win, his first of the 2023 season. Dykhoff held off Brauer for third, while Cory Dykhoff edged Greseth for fourth. Randt rounded out the top six.
Jarrett Huus of Fergus Falls took the lead from the green in the Gen X late models. Derek Quinn of Brandon was battling Andrew Tysdal, last week’s winner, for second. The caution would wave when Ryan Shepherd spun in turn four.
Quinn moved into second on the restart as Tysdal had Scott Zimmerman of Rothsay and Dave Mass of East Bethel challenging him. Zimmerman would move into third.
Huus would slide up high, opening the door for Quinn to make a big run out of turn two for the lead. But that was negated as Tysdal spun in turn two to bring out the second caution of the race.
Quinn had a big push in turn two, and that opened the door for Ben Woldne of Fergus Falls and Zimmerman to move up. Mass moved up to third.
Huus had a ton of pressure from Wolden, who had Mass all over him. There was contact between the 50 and 66 cars, sending both sideways for a moment; both saved it but lost a good deal of ground.
Huus was fighting a tight car in the bottom, and Zimmerman was all over him. Mass went up to a higher lane and found the speed he needed, moving up into the lead with three laps left. Zimmerman continued to work on Huus for third. Maas would go on to take the win with Huus finishing second. Zimmerman was third, Wolden was fourth and Quinn rounded out the top five.
Travis Saurer of Elizabeth set the early pace in the Wissota Modified feature but former Wissota 100 winner Landon Atkinson of Little Falls was chasing him. Two-time defending national champion Tyler Peterson of Hickson moved into third, and soon it was a three-car breakaway up front. Brady Gerdes of Villard, the newly crowned Moonshine Mod Tour champion, was running in fourth and closing on the top three after starting eighth
Saurer had Atkinson pressuring him on the lower line and Peterson running up on the cushion. Peterson would take the lead but the caution would wave for a spin in turn two, and he would go back to third with the race going back to the last completed lap, which was a bad break.
Atkinson would take over the lead on the restart as Peterson and Gerdes were giving chase. They went three-wide coming out turn fourth. Saurer slid back to sixth. Former national champion Blake Jegtvig of Hawley moved into fourth but was facing heat from Ryan Gierke of Villard.
Gerdes would get a huge surge out of two turn to pass Atkinson for the top spot. With six to go Peterson moved into second but faced a pretty big gap for the lead. Gerdes would open up a 2.230 second lead by the checkered for his sixth win of the year; he won the feature and makeup feature last week at I-94 as well. Peterson was second, Atkinson third. Gierke edged Jegtvig for fourth in what was a very good race.
The never-dull-to-watch Mike Hart and the veteran Shawn Kirwin of Morris led the late models to the green with Kirwin leading early. Mass, who started fourth, would soon challenge for the top spot. Sam Mars, with a new-look 28 machine moved into third, with national point leader Tyler Peterson moving into fourth.
Kirwin and Mass had a tremendous fight for the lead, but Mass would take over the top spot. Peterson was moving on a higher lane and would take over the lead with 11 to go. Mass got slowed briefly but a lapped car and that allowed Peterson to find clear him up front. Don Shaw of Ham Lake had moved up to fifth and was battling Josh Zimpel of Braham for fourth.
Shaw and Mars exchanged slide jobs for third as they put on a show as the top two had separated from the field. Peterson built a 2.876 lead on Mass and rolled to his 17th late model win of the season. Mass was second, while Shaw nipped Mars for third. Zimpel rounded out the top five.
Peter Martin of Willmar was the leader early in the Short Tracker feature, but it was Jeff Rohner of Willmar who was the quick car, and he would take over the lead with nine to go.
Rookie Devyn Habraken of Fergus Falls was impressive and moved into second. Defending champion Shawn Beto of Wahpeton was moving up into the top three.
Rohner ran a good, steady race up front and didn’t make any mistakes, and didn’t open the doors for Habraken or Beto. Matt Dittman of Lake Lillian, who won Thursday at KRA Speedway, was solidly in third.
Rohner pocketed a well-earned victory with Habraken taking second and Beto running third. Dittman was fourth ahead of Martin. No cautions in the Short Trackers.
Edginton Wins at River Cities
Shane Edginton of East St. Paul, Man., won the Wissota Late Model feature Friday night at River Cities Speedway in Grand Forks for his fourth feature win of 2023. Dustin Strand of East Grand Forks was second, Brody Troftgruben of Grand Forks was third, Mitch Johnson of Hickson was fourth and Brandon Fuller of Grand Forks was fifth. It was a rough race for the late models as only 11 of the 24 cars finished.
Logan Schuchart of Hanover, Pa., made a late pass to win the World of Outlaw Sprint Car main event over Sheldon Haudenschild of Wooster, Ohio. Donny Schatz of Fargo was third. Jade Hastings of Grand Forks was the top local finisher, taking 15th. A total of 16 of the 24 starters finished in a race where some cars received significant damage, including Jack Croaker of East Grand Forks.
Grand Forks driver Mark Dobmeier flipped violently on the final lap of the WOO sprint last chance qualifier in the sprint feature. He was Ok but the 13 car was badly damaged.
Friday Night Notes
Kole Kampsen of Belgrade won the Wissota Hornet feature Friday night at Fiesta City Speedway in Montevideo. Karter Reents of Glenwood won the Wissota Super Stock feature.
Kyle Anderson of Jamestown topped Maria Broksieck of Goodwin for the Wissota Street Stock feature at Brown County Speedway in Aberdeen on Friday. Tucker Pederson of East Grand Forks was third.