Night 1 of Seitz Memorial: Holtan Wins, Late Model Top 16 Field is Set
Night 1 of the Seitz Memorial took place — after nearly a three-hour rain delay — at River Cities Speedway in Grand Forks on Friday night. An excellent field of 160 cars, including 49 late models, were on hand for Night 1.
It never really rained hard in Grand Forks but it was enough to be a giant pain in the rear. The first green flag of the night flew around 9:45 p.m. Had the race been an hour to the south, well there would not have been a lap turned on Friday. I commend the RCS officials and numerous drivers for the time they put in to repack the track.
I actually had never been to the opening night of the Seitz as my day job has taken precedent with an evening cross country meet. Unfortunately Covid has wiped out the fall sports season for many colleges…so I decided I wouldn’t get many chances to hit the Friday show, so I took advantage.
The NOSA Sprints and Wissota Modifieds ran complete shows on Friday while the Wissota Late Models, Street Stocks and Midwest Modifieds ran qualifying heats for Saturday.
There was some doubt if Aaron Turnbull of Estevan, Saskatchewan would be back at River Cities to defend his title with the US/Canada non-essential travel ban. Well he’s back at RCS and won the Go Hard or Go Home Pole Dash and looks to be in prime shape to defend his crown. He earned $920 for the win and will start Saturday’s feature on the pole with Don Shaw of Ham Lake on the outside. Jesse Glenz of Cadott, Wis., finished third ahead of Dave Mass of East Bethel. Also starting in the top eight tomorrow will be Casey Meyer of Wahpeton, Brody Troftgruben of Grand Forks, Joey Pederson of East Grand Forks and Ryan Mikkelson of Alexandria. Shaw is the only previous winner of the Seitz to be in the top eight. More on the late models further down in the article.
I don’t get to see Aaron Holtan of Newfolden race all that often, but my guess is Friday’s modified win would be one of his bigger victories. He started on the outside pole with Bemidji veteran Rick Jacobson to his outside.
Holtan led with Tyler Peterson of Hickson — who won both Seitz features last year — challenging. Holtan never wavered to pick up the win. Jacobson finished second, Peterson, who always runs well in Grand Forks, took third. Matt Gilbertson of Montevideo started 14th and finished fourth while Jayson Good of Watertown started 11th and finished fifth. Former Wissota national champion Mike Stearns of Aberdeen started 19th but finished sixth for a good run.
A nice field of Buffalo Wild Wings NOSA Sprints were on hand. Tim Estenson of Fargo won the first NOSA heat while Bob Martin won the second.
But once again, Austin Pierce of Grand Forks found victory lane. He picked up win #7 in 2020 as the #2A machine continues his terrific season at River Cities. Defending NOSA champion Nick Omdahl was second, followed by Lee Grosz of Watertown, S.D., Jade Hastings of Grand Forks and Shane Froemeling of Grand Forks. Hastings leads the overall NOSA points.
The late model heats had some interesting results.
Glenz started fourth in the first heat and took the win over Mikkelson
By my calculations Dave Mass of East Bethel had the most passing points from the late model heats. He started eighth and won the second heat over Dan Dowling of Davenport. Shawn Meyer of Wahpeton made a good run through the field, taking fourth after starting 10th.
Casey Meyer of Wahpeton really had a good heat race; he started sixth in the third heat and worked his way to the front for a win. Ryan Corbett of East Grand Forks — who was sporting the #00 number in honor of former champion Mitch Johnson — was second. Late model rookie Cole Searing of Huron, the defending Wissota Midwest Modified national champion, also made some progress in the heat, starting 10th and finishing fifth.
The fourth heat was about survival. Only five of the 10 starters finished. Joey Pederson of East Grand Forks survived for the win over defending Seitz champion Aaron Turnbull of Estevan, Saskatchewan. Dustin Strand of East Grand Forks was third and Cole Schill of Horace fourth. Defending Wissota Late Model national champion Chad Becker of Aberdeen finished fifth after starting ninth; he was the final car to finish.
Shaw won the fifth heat over Troftgruben. Two-time Seitz winner A.J. Diemel of Elk Mound, Wis., was third.
Shawn Meyer, Diemel, Dowling, Ryan Corbett of East Grand Forks, Strand, Cole Schill, Searing and Aberdeen driver Josh Skorczewski will round out spots 9-16 on Saturday’s late model grid.
Some pretty good cars will have some work to do in Saturday’s B mains. That includes two-time Seitz champion Brad Seng of Grand Forks, who finished eighth in his heat, two-time late model winner Lance Schill of Langdon, former Seitz winner Chad Mahder of Eau Claire, Wis., and Jordan Tollakson of Montevideo.
The midwest modifieds and street stocks ran their qualifying heats on Friday. Hunter Hougard of Warren, Jory Berg of Grand Forks, Jaden Varnson of Lakota and Jason Schuh of Lakota claimed heat win. Schuh, in fact, started sixth in the fourth heat and got to the front. Schuh and Varnson will lead the field on Saturday with Hougard and Berg in Row 2.
Brian Johanson of Edmore, Ryan Pommerer of Oriska, Tucker Pederson of East Grand Forks and Aaron Blacklance of Thief River Falls won Wissota Street Stock heats.
Kyle Dykhoff of Perham, Thursday’s runner-up, will have the inside pole for the street feature with Johanson on the outside. Pommerer and Pederson will make up the second row.
A few RaceChaser-area cars competed at Southwest Speedway in Dickinson on Friday.
Rich Pavlicek of Casselton finished fourth in the IMCA Sport Mod feature while Torey Fischer of West Fargo was fifth.
Alex Kukowski of Edgeley was second in the INEX Legend feature while Tony Brockhouse of Glyndon was fourth. Marlyn Seidler of Underwood won the IMCA Modified.
Mike Anderson of Walcott was third in the IMCA Stock Car feature.