Nygaard Ends Winless Streak; Gardner, Schmidt, Arneson Win at RRVS
RaceChaser Blog was at Red River Valley Speedway for a rare Wednesday night show. What an excellent racetrack as there were multi lanes for each feature. It was a good night for RRVS to end on before it goes on a break until July 18.
The Buffalo Wild Wings NOSA Sprints were on hand for the first and only time at Red River Valley Speedway in 2021 and what a finish. The story, of course, is the veteran Wade Nygaard of Grand Forks ending a winless streak that dated back to 2019. Hard to believe, considering he is a 10-time NOSA series champion and second all-time in wins, entering the night with 142.
For much of the race, it looked like Jordan Graham’s night. The Grand Forks driver started on the pole and took the early lead over Nick Omdahl of East Grand Forks.
Graham led much of the way, but a late caution was his undoing. Nygaard, who started eighth, moved into the top spot with defending series champion and current point leader Jade Hastings of Grand Forks in hot pursuit.
On the final lap, Hastings went for the slider, but Nygaard gained the advantage and picked up his first win of 2021. According to my research, it was Nygaard’s first feature win since winning at Buffalo River Speedway (then Race Park) on Sept. 1, 2019. It had to be a relief for the 9N team, which has ran well but the victories have been elusive over the last year and a half. Ironically, Nygaard’s last win came in similar fashion with a last-lap pass of Hastings.
It was Nygaard’s 279th career win, his 11th at RRVS overall. Thanks to Mike Spieker for all of the the stats.
Hastings settled for second with Brendan Mullen of Grand Forks taking third. Tim Estenson of Fargo, running at a track where he won dozens of INEX Legends features, was fourth with Graham finishing fifth ahead of Jack Croaker of East Grand Forks.
A nice 17-car field was on hand in the IMCA Sport Mods.
Brandon Tendeland of Moorhead led early and was looking good. But after a caution came out, Doug Gardner of Glyndon, interviewed above, made his move and took over the lead. Giving chase were Scott Jacobson of Fargo, the point leader at RRVS, and his son, Kelly Jacobson, who was hungry for his first win of 2021.
Ryan Restad of West Fargo, armed with three wins this season, got turned early in the IMCA Sport MOd feature and pulled in. I checked with him and there was some damage to the rear end; bummer, because he's a contender every week at RRVS.
Gardner led while the Jacobsons had a great battle for second -- Kelly up high and Scott down low. Also moving was Rich Pavlicek of Casselton, who settled into fourth.
Tendeland, Charlie Jensen of Pelican Rapids and Chris VanMil of Barnesville battled for the fifth spot.
Kelly Jacobson was Gardner's prime competition for a while; but after a late restart, Scott Jacobson made the low line work and was pressuring Gardner's #41.
IT looked like Scott Jacobson might have been a tad quicker as the laps waned, but Gardner was steady in picking p the win. Jacobson was second, Kelly Jacobson third, Pavlicek fourth and VanMil won the eventual battle for fifth. It was a good race in spite of a few cautions.
One driver who hadn’t won at Red River Valley Speedway this season was Brandon Schmidt of Hillsboro, interviewed above. He did have a win in the IMCA Stock Cars at North Central Speedway in Brainerd, but victory
Tyler McDougall of Hawley took the lead from the inside pole and was a rocket in the #1 car. He led a long time, in fact and looked to be on his way to his first win of 2021. McDougall ran the high line to build his lead.
Schmidt put his #219 machine on the low line and kept it there. He ran in second for several laps and eventually, the line became quicker.
As usual, there was three-wide racing all across the field.
Schmidt eventually edged ahead to pick up the win, his second overall but first at RRVS. McDougall’s good run ended in second. Brennan Borg of Harwood, who was a DNF in his heat, was the hard charger in the race — starting 18th and finishing third. Friday’s winner Travis Robertson of Moorhead was fourth after starting 12th, while Keaten Froemke capped off a good run to finish fifth. It was Froemke’s first top five finish of the year.
Robertson leads Schmidt by nine points in the season standings. Six different drivers have won IMCA Stock Car features at RRVS this season.
Austin Arneson of Fargo, pictured above, looks to be regaining his dominant form again, which is trouble for the rest of the IMCA Modified field. He stormed to the lead from his fourth starting spot and opened a straightaway on the field.
There were several cars battling from about second to seventh, including Matt Aukland of Fargo, Michael Johnson of Moorhead, Jesse Skalicky of Fargo, Casey Arneson of Fargo and Tyler Hall of Fertile. That group put on quite a show with three racing lanes being used.
Aukland was plenty fast himself; he started ninth and eventually took over the second spot.
Skalicky moved into third but still faced pressure from Johnson and Casey Arneson. Casey Arneson worked into third as Johnson and Skalicky battled for fourth.
Austin Arneson was in his own area code as he picked up his second straight win at RRVS. Aukland cut into the lead some, and might have had something for the #10 car if a caution had waved, but had to settle for second. Casey Arneson was third with Johnson edging Skalicky for fourth.
—One surprising entrant in the IMCA Modifieds was Watertown, S.D., driver Brent Duttenhoffer, who runs a Wissota Modified. He finished ninth.
—The hard luck club includes Luke Johnson of Moorhead, who has three DNFs and a DNS this season, and as of late, Paul Colvin of Horace in the IMCA Sport Mods. Johnson had motor trouble in his IMCA Mod heat and did not start the feature while Colvin has battled engine issues of late. Colvin was able to make the call for the feature but was a DNF.
—A couple of IMCA RaceSaver Sprints raced with the 410s — Brandon Rekow of Ellendale and Ty Hanten of West Fargo. Hansen had a solid run in the feature, taking eighth.