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Pederson Picks Up Big Win as Sweet Captures WOO Victory at River Cities

Work kept me a little late, so watched the World of Outlaws and NLRA Late Model show at River Cities Speedway online Wednesday. Honestly, sometimes, it’s easier to write a race report watching on your computer!

It was a great field of 25 NLRA Late Models on hand. I was kinda disappointed only 25 sprint cars were on hand, but the quality, at least at the top of the field, was stack.

I’ll focus this recap more on the late models, since they are local -- plus, the WOO coverage is extensive on Facebook, Twitter and the series website. I will say, Brad Sweet of Grass Valley, Calif., made a big-time charge over the final 8 laps to steal a win from Sheldon Haudenschild. Great, thrilling finish in what I thought was a pretty non-eventful race.

It isn’t often you get the top three drivers in Wissota Late Model national points at one track, but that’s what happened — (in order) Cole Searing of Huron, Chad Becker of Aberdeen and Shane Edginton of Winnipeg were all in attendance. Searing led Becker by 24 points in the latest posted standings. If you include Bryce Sward of Nelson, and four of the top 10 were in attendance.

Late model rookie Eric Haugland of Lawton and Brody Troftgruben of Grand Forks led the pack to the green in the 25-lap, 25-car NLRA Late Model feature.

Haugland took the lead while a pair of East Grand Forks veterans, Dustin Strand and Joey Pederson, battled for second and put on a good show.

A spin in turn two brought out the caution Haugland retained his lead, and Pederson and Strand resumed their tussle for second. But also moving into contention was Bryce Sward of Nelson, Minn.,; he was in the top five and soon joined the battle for third.

After another caution, Pederson made his move on the restart and powered past Haugland for the lead. Sward soon followed into second. Another driver who worked into the top five was Cole Searing

Strand slid off the high side of turn two with 12 to go and brought out the third caution. He pulled in after that.

On the ensuing restart, Lance Schill of Langdon spun entering turn one, and collected Brandon Fuller and Brody Troftgruben of Grand Forks. Troftgruben had significant right front end damage and went pitside. He came back out while Schill pulled in and was done.

Sward — who is one of my sleepers to win the Seitz Memorial in a couple of weeks — looked to challenge Pederson on the restart. But instead, he had a new challenge — Edginton, who was in fifth and soon was after the second spot.

Pederson had built a comfortable lead over Edginton, who had got by Sward for second.

With seven to go, Edginton pulled a slider to get past Pederson. He couldn’t pull away, however, as he struggled with a push in turn two and that’s where Pederson made up serious ground. Pederson would regain the lead and as Edginton dropped to second.

Pederson picked up the win — his second of the year — with Edginton making a great run from 13th to second. Searing, the national point leader, ran third after starting ninth. Sprint car star Donny Schatz was the hard charger, going from 20th to fourth as he was patient and avoided the mishaps around him.

Brad Seng of Grand Forks was fifth after starting 16th while Becker was sixth.

Onto the sprints…

Carson Macedo of Lemoore, Calif., was the leader with Haudenschild giving chase. Schatz moved into third ahead of McFadden.

The sprints quickly got into lapped traffic and Haudenschild closed the gap.

Kraig Kinser’s #11K car tumbled for a red flag; he went to the work area. As he was working, the race resumed, and Brendan Mullin’s #11 machine was hit by another car and flipped wildly down the backstretch. Mullen walked away.

Macedo led but Haudenschild made his move. He took over the top spot. Macedo, meanwhile had plenty to contend with — first with Schatz, and then with series point leader Brad Sweet.

Sweet was flying in the #49; he cleared Schatz and disposed of Macedo, and was closing fast on Haudenschild, who was slowed by lapped traffic. Sweet was clearly the fastest car on the track, and made his move on the final lap and took the lead. Haudenschild fought back on the bottom and made a charge down the front stretch but it wasn’t enough as Sweet picked up his 15th win of 2021 — by an incredible 0.113 second. Sweet only led one lap but led the one that mattered.

Haudenschild was second, Macedo, who led the first 28 laps was third. Schatz, the Fargo standout, was fourth.

The top River Cities regular finisher was Grand Forks veteran Mark Dobmeier, who was ninth.

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