I made it back to River Cities Speedway in Grand Forks on Friday with 70 cars on hand in the four divisions. It was also the school bus races and while I’m not a fan of those myself they are popular with some folks.
I’ll be honest, I drove to Grand Forks and was a little bit worried about rain. I drove up I-29 and numerous scattered showers – which looked like downpours – were on each side of the interstate. But fortunately RCS, aside from a couple of brief showers, avoided any major rainfall on the night.
The Wissota Street Stock feature race lasted a little over five minutes, and that was thanks in large part to a dominating performance by East Grand Forks driver Tucker Pederson.
Pederson started third on the 12-car field as Josh Barker of Thompson and Dan Aberle of Finley led the field to the green.
Aberle led early but Pederson quickly put the 27P on a rail and took over the top spot.
John Halvorson of Warren is a steady runner at River Cities and moved into the top three and soon passed Aberle for second. Two cars who started on the fourth row, Trey Hess of Grand Forks and Aaron Blacklance of Thief River Falls, were making their way through traffic as well. Seth Klostreich of Grand Forks, who won last Saturday at Devils Lake, was also having a solid run.
Pederson set a feverish pace up front and was never challenged. Halvorson had his hands with Hess, who won last week at Greenbush.
Pederson won by 4.236 seconds. In my opinion he drives a lot like his dad – smooth and intellgiently. He now has eight wins on the season.
Halvorson held off Hess for second. Blacklance finished fourth after starting eighth with Klostreich rounding out the top five.
The Red Headed Rebel, Scott Bintz of Jamestown, took control early of the 18-car Wissota Midwest Modified feature. But this race was a classic example of a caution totally changing the complexion of a race.
Bintz put his #1s machine out front and was strong from the get-go.
Matt Schow of McIntosh, the winner Thursday at Norman County Raceway, settled into second with Tanner Theis of New Rockford moving into third. Things stayed that way until a caution came out with four to go for a spin in turn four.
The last person who wanted to see that caution was Bintz, who saw a 1.464 second lead erased. And the restart changed everything.
On the restart, Bintz looked to protect the higher line from Schow, but Theis made a move on the bottom and surged to the lead. Bintz and Schow raced hard for second during the final laps with Jory Berg of Grand Forks giving chase.
Theis would pick up his second win of the season by .762 seconds over Schow, who made a pass of Bintz for the runner-up spot. Berg, who is second in the points at River Cities, was fourth with Jamie Dietzler of Larimore rounding out the top five.
Some good drivers ended up with DNFs, including Blacklance, Austin Hunter of Winnipeg and Logan Bauer of Erskine being among them.
Point leader Lance Schill of Langdon broke in his heat race, and that left him starting dead last in the 18-car field. He worked through the field to finish in sixth by the checkered and was the unofficial hard charger.
The Red flag came out with 21 to go as Blake Egeland went for a ride off of turn one. He was OK but the car left on the hook.
After the yellow, Tim Estenson of Fargo and Brendan Mullen of Grand Forks put on quite a show up front. Mullen was the leader from the green but Estenson had stayed hot on his trail.
Jade Hastings of Grand Forks, who started seventh, had moved into the top three and soon joined the battle.
Estenson had taken over the lead and moments later the yellow came out. Mullen and Austin Pierce of Grand Forks were involved in an incident in turn two that ended the night for both cars. Mullen’s engine let go and sprayed some oil, causing the 11 to go sideways and Pierce, who had been running fourth, had nowhere to go. Gage Pulkrabek was also collected and all three were done.
That put Hastings into second on the restart and also moved Wade Nygaard of Grand Forks and Jack Croaker of Grand Forks into the top four.
On the restart Estenson – who has been racing 410 sprints down in Knoxville this season – stayed out front. But with seven to go, Hastings made a power move around the outside in turns three and four and made the pass for the lead. From there, he would open a 1.351 lead by the finish on his way to the win.
Estenson’s great run ended in second with Nygaard third. Mark Dobmeier of Grand Forks wasn’t a huge factor much of the race but came home fourth, with Croaker having a solid night in fifth.
The ageless Tom Corcoran of East Grand Forks led the first lap of the Wissota Late Model feature with Dustin Strand of East Grand Forks in pursuit.
A hard wreck on the front stretch just one lap into the race ended the night for Ryan Dahl and Dylan Barnhardt, both of whom left on the hook.
On the restart Strand passed Corcoran on the outside for the lead. Another driver was making his presence felt – Aaron Turnbull of Estevan, Sask., a two-time Seitz Memorial Champion who is usually a strong contender at River Cities.
Turnbull was able to get by Strand for the lead but Strand was right there. Shane Edginton of East St. Paul, Man., moved into third.
Brody Troftgruben of Grand Forks and Joey Pederson of East Grand Forks were each running strong in the top five.
Turnbull, Edginton and Strand were all running close up front when the caution came
On the restart, Turnbull stayed out front as Strand and Edginton dueled for second. Strand would win that battle and kept the heat on Turnbull but the Canadian would pick up the win by .445 seconds. Strand was second, Edginton third. Troftgruben was fourth and Brad Seng of Grand Forks, the point leader at RCS, edged Pederson for fifth.
--Long-time street stock driver Dan McNamee of Arvilla debuted a Wissota Late Model Friday at River Cities.
--Justin Vogel of Brooten topped Kyle Dykhoff of Starbuck for the Wissota Street Stock feature win Friday night at Fiesta City Speedway in Montevideo. Dykhoff leads Vogel by 49 points in the latest Wissota national points.
--I-94 Sure Step Speedway in Fergus Falls and Red River Valley Speedway in West Fargo both rained out on Friday.