Pavlicek Wins Night 1 of Ada Nationals; Richardson, Borg, Church and Hibdon Victorious
I made it back to Norman County Raceway in Ada for Night 1 of the Ada Nationals. The IMCA Sport Mods took center stage on this night, racing 40 laps for $1,000 to win as part of the first night of the Sanders Sportmod Challenge.
A good field of 16 IMCA Sport Mods were on hand; drivers got $100 to start the feature. Only a couple out-of-area drivers were on hand – Jake Hagemann of Fort Ripley and John Rebstock of Morton, Minn. – but most of the top local sport mods were on hand.
Rich Pavlicek of Casselton didn’t fare well in the redraw, which featured the top five finishers of the two heat races. He drew the worst spot – 10th – and it meant an uphill climb to the front. But he did have 40 laps to do so.
Justin Jones of Bemidji – who won the Wissota Midwest Modified feature last week at NCR – had his IMCA Sport Mod on hand, and took the early lead over Paul Colvin of Horace.
Bad luck hit one of the contenders earlier as Scott Jacobson of Fargo suffered a flat tire on the opening lap. He was able to get the tire changed but had to restart at the back.
Jones led over Colvin, but Pavlicek was closing fast on his way to the top three. When a caution came out, he restarted in the third spot.
Pavlicek cleared Colvin and he and Jones pulled away. Ryan Restad of West Fargo moved into the third spot. Kelly Jacobson of Fargo and Hagemann were also running in the top five.
Pavlicek applied all kinds of pressure to Jones but was patient, knowing he had plenty of laps to make a move. Pavilcek stuck to the lower line and kept working until he finally was able to make the pass for the lead. Once he did, he opened up some breathing room.
The yellow flag came out with 10 to go, erasing Pavlicek’s lead. But that was a minor bump in the road for Pavlicek, who stormed out to a big advantage over Restad, who had passed Jones for second.
Andy Wagner of Ada got by Hagemann into the top five.
Pavlicek just dominated the final 10 laps on his way to a 5.59 second win. Restad finished a solid second with Jones taking third, Kelly Jacobson finished fourth and Wagner rounded out the top five. Ten of the 16 starters finished.
Sometimes lost amidst the young talent in the INEX Legends class is that there are some seasoned veterans who are contenders too. One of those is Scott Richardson of Pelican Rapids. He led all of Wednesday’s feature — after starting third — but by no means was this an easy win. Ryan Braseth of Ulen, who started ninth, quickly moved to the front and was all over the back of Richardson’s 79 machine. And moving into contention was last week’s winner Ashton Spieker of Sabin as he moved into third after starting back in 10th. A yellow came out with five to go and things got really tense. Braseth was working hard to get by Richardson, but also had to contend with very heavy pressure from Spieker on the low side. Richardson could I’ll afford a bobble, and he didn’t make any to pick up his first win of the season by just .292 seconds. Braseth would hold on for second. Australian Glenn Mitchell ran in the top five all night and snuck around Spieker for third. Alex Braseth of Ulen rounded out the top five. Brodee Eckerdt of Grand Forks has been the car to beat in the IMCA Hobby Stock class of late. He was looking to add another win on Wednesday. But the early battle was between two veterans, Todd Gettel of Mahnomen and Tim Church of Moorhead. Eckerdt and Brad Orvedal of Fargo were dueling for third. For a while, it looked like it was going to be four cars fighting for the win; however Church cleared Gettel and opened up some breathing room. Gettel, eckerdt and Orvedal put on a great show for the second spot as Church pulled away. Church picked up tbe win, and Gettel survived for second. Orvedal edged Eckerdt for third. Tyler Hehn of Horace rounded out the top five.
The IMCA Stock Cars had eight on hand to compete, but once again, the class shows you don’t need a huge car count to have a good, competitive race.
Todd Heinrich of Fargo, coming off of a big win at the King Pin Klash on Friday at Red River Valley Speedway, had the inside pole with Brennan Borg of Harwood on the outside. Borg went to the top spot from the green.
Rob VanMil of Barnesville was soon the primary challenger for Borg, and it turned into a heck of a battle between those two. Often, Borg, has stuck his #52 machine to the bottom at Red River Valley with success, but on Wednesday, he was running a higher lane.
VanMil worked and worked on the lower lane looking to make the pass for the lead, but couldn’t do it.
Kalvin Kesselberg of Ada slid back from third to outside the top five, but worked around Brody Carlsrud of Fargo and then passed Heinrich to get back into the top three. Soon, he was closing on the top two.
Borg was surviving for the lead with Kesselberg closing in on VanMil. Kesselberg made a pass of VanMIl for second as the checkered flag waved with Borg earning a hard-fought win. VanMIl was third, Heinrich was fourth and Tim Johnson of Brainerd rounded out the top five. Had Kesselberg had two more laps, he could have won the race, he was the fastest car on the track at the checkered.
Johnson, by the way, is the same Tim Johnson who is a former Wissota Street Stock national champion. He is one of the two best street stock drivers I’ve ever watched – Scott Paulson of Kimball would be the other – and really could be a force once he figures out a stock car. A very talented driver.
Kollin Hibdon of Pahrump, Nev., took control of the IMCA Modified feature from the green and went on to a pretty convincing win.
Matt Aukland of Glyndon stayed with Hibdon for a while, but the 48K was the class of the field on this night.
Chris Mack of Jamestown started on the pole and ran in third, but was pressured by Luke Johnson of Moorhead and Dave Shipley of Argusville. Jeff Nelson of Perham also was in that group.
Hibdon opened up some breathing room on Aukland, and Shipley would eventually move into third. Johnson worked his way around Mack for fourth.
Hibdon won by 1.379 seconds with Aukland taking a solid second. Shipley finished third after staring fifth, while Johnson capped off a good run in fourth. Nelson rounded out the top five.
One interesting note in the mods was Billy Vogel of Fargo made his season debut in the 4V machine.
Night 2 of the Ada Nationals is set for Thursday with the NLRA Late Models, the Rebel Midwest Modified Tour and the IMCA Racesaver Sprints on hand.