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Pierce, Johnson, Berg and Schill Win at River Cities; Recaps from Red River Valley & I-94 Sure Step

RaceChaser was back at River Cities Speedway in Grand Forks Friday with a good field of cars on hand on a very nice August evening. In fact, it was almost downright cool once the sun went down.

We’ll start with the best race of the night, in my opinion, and that was the Buffalo Wild Wings NOSA Sprint feature.

The Buffalo Wild Wings NOSA Sprint feature was quite a race.

Chris Ranten of Climax, looking for his first feature win since 2017, had the pole for the feature and looked strong. He had a pretty decent lead a few times but each time, the caution came out for a spin. Austin Pierce of Grand Forks, the season point leader at RCS, was in contention, as was Jade Hastings.

Ranten had the lead but cautions probably were his undoing. Plus, Things got really interesting in lapped traffic and that’s where Pierce made his move. He was battling Hastings for second but caught Ranten and made the pass for the lead. Also quietly making some noise was veteran Wade Nygaard of Grand Forks who worked into the top four, and turned the race at the front into an intense four-car battle that saw some three wide racing.

Pierce, ionce he took the lead, didn’t relinquish it to pick up the win, his sixth of 2020. He started seventh. Nygaard, who started ninth, took second while Hastings was third. Ranten was fourth and Nick Omdahl of East Grand Forks, the defending NOSA points champion, was fifth.

Pierce, interviewed above, leads the RCS points by 17 over Hastings while Hastings leads the the NOSA sprints overall.

Nick Minske of Grand Forks led the first several laps of the Wissota Street Stock feature but Joe Potter of Euclid found some speed on the higher side and took over the lead. With eight to go a caution came out for a multi-car spin in turn two.

Point leader Ryan Johnson of Karlstad, interviewed above, was running in the top three on the restart, and he worked the lower line to pass Potter for the top spot. However, Potter spun in turn two shortly after and had to go to the back, ending his hopes for a second win of 2020 (he has won at Devils Lake previously).

After that restart, Johnson was in good shape and picked up his third RCS win of the year and fifth overall. Greg Jose of Grand Forks had a nice run to finish second.

More importantly from Johnson’s perspective, his point lead grew from 26 to 48 over second-place Trey Hess of Lakota with one points night remaining. Hess finished seventh on Friday; he does lead the points at Devils Lake Speedway, however.

Minske was third, Zach Lee of Horace was fourth and James Meagher of Grand Forks was fifth, holding off John Halvorson of Warren.

Jory Berg of Grand Forks, interviewed above, shot out to the lead in the Wissota Midwest Modified feature and opened up a several car length advantage on the field. The best battle of the race proved to be for second as point leader Matt Schow of McIntosh and multi-time winner Lance Schill of Langdon battled for that spot.

Berg (no relation to this blogger) was in control when the caution came out with two to go. Ryan Schow of McIntosh, who was having a good run in the top five, had something in his steering break in turn four and spun, ending his night. Berg got a good restart when he really needed it and won by a few car lengths. Matt Schow held on for second, Schill was third. Nathan Raasakka of Grand Forks was fourth and Reise Stenberg of Argusville picked up his second top five of the week, taking fifth.

Berg was a happy camper after his win, which was his second of 2020. He also has a win at Devils Lake. As far as the points go, Matt Schow has clinched the season championship by a comfortable margin.

Both the midwest modified and street stock features were pretty clean races on a hammer-down track.

The question in the late models is, who can derail Dustin Strand. It turns out Lance Schill was up to the task. Schill started fourth on the field and passed early leader Casey Meyer to take the lead. Zach Naastad of Northwood and Tom Corcoran of East Grand Forks battled for second.

Strand was on the move on the high side, passing both Naastad and Corcoran to take over second. He set his sights on Schill who had built a decent advantage at that point. Strand flew around the high side of the bullring and cut into the lead. Schill adjusted his line and ran higher while Strand ran lower; Schill held on for the win over Strand. Corcoran and Naastad seemed to battle all night long in a great race, with Corcoran staking third. Brad Seng of Grand Forks, locked in a very tight point battle with Strand, edged Cole Schill of Horace for fifth.

RCS Notes

—Car counts were good in every class, with 22 late models, 21 sprints and 16 each of the street stocks and midwest modified. Again, as I have mentioned previously about River Cities, they are probably missing 10 cars (at least) from Canada because of the non-essential travel ban with Covid-19. River Cities, Greenbush and Devils Lake are all being hit by this.

—I had a good visit with Nick Ranten, the sprint car driver from East Grand Forks. Nick won his first career feature race but a few weeks later destroyed his car with a violent flip in turns one and two. At this point it’s unlikely he will be back in 2020 because there are so few shows left and likely will turn his attention to putting together a car for 2021.

Rich Pavlicek (17) won the IMCA Sport Mod track championship at RRVS.

Eckerdt, Pavlicek, Wilke, Arneson and Heinrich Win Track Championships at Red River Valley

14-year-old Brodee Eckerdt of Grand Forks wrapped up the season points title in the IMCA Hobby Stock Friday night at Red River Valley Speedway in West Fargo. Eckerdt won the hobby stock feature and with Tanner Engen not finishing, clinched the title. Friday was season championship night at Red River Valley Speedway.

Marvin Priem of Moorhead was second, Caleb Gardner of Glyndon third, Tim Shiek of Fargo fourth and Alyssa White of West Fargo fifth.

Ryan Restad of West Fargo started eighth but prevailed in the IMCA Sport Mod feature. Rich Pavlicek of Casselton was second, Luke Johnson of Moorhead — the 2020 Norman County Raceway track champion — was third ahead of Andy Wagner of Ada and Austin Veralrud of Barnesville. In an extremely close points race, Pavlicek edged Restad by two for the track title.

Tyler McDougall of Hawley won the IMCA Stock Car main event over Rick Schulz of Horace. Mike Anderson of Walcott was third, Andrew Jochim of Glyndon was fourth and Todd Heinrich of Fargo was fifth. Heinrich needed every point as he held off Travis Robertson of Moorhead by three for the season points crown.

Tye Wilke of Detroit Lakes wrapped up the season championship in the INEX Legends with his 19th win of 2020. He started fourth on the 10-car field. Sean Johnson of Kindred was second, Brody Carlsrud of Fargo, the winner Thursday at NCR, was third ahead of Ryan Braseth of Ulen and Iowa teenager Kody King.

Austin Arneson of Fargo wrapped up the IMCA Modified track title with a feature win. His brother Casey was second. Jesse Skalicky of Fargo was third, Dave Shipley of Argusville fourth and Allen Kent of West Fargo fifth.

Dan Ebert won at I-94 on Friday.

I-94 Sure Step Speedway Wins to Storck, Ebert, Wolden, Satter Reinke and Zimpel

Corey Storck of Morris won the Wissota Midwest Modified feature over Brock Gronwold of Fergus Falls Friday at I-94 Sure Step Speedway in Fergus Falls. Ron Saurer of Dalton was third, Matt Baker of St. Joseph was fourth and Jeff Nelson of Perham fifth.

Dan Ebert of Lake Shore topped Dusty Bitzan of Brandon for the Wissota Modified feature victory. Mike Greseth of Harwood was third, Brady Gerdes of Villard fourth and Chris Mensen of Alexandria was fifth.

Ben Wolden of Fergus Falls won the Limited Late Model feature on Friday. Larry Samuelson of Erhard tied his best finish by taking second while Greg Umlauf of Rothsay was third. Brad Staples of Herman was fourth and Ryan Mikkelson of Alexandria fifth.

Ryan Satter of Dent topped Eric Riley of Morris for the Wissota Street Stock feature win. Ryan Pommerer of Oriska, N.D., was third, Craig Gardner of Eagle Bend fourth and Kasey Ussatis of Nome, N.D., fifth.

Jason Reinke of Moorhead topped Randy Thompson of Lake Park for the Short Tracker win. Daniel Harstad of Fergus Falls was third, Casey STremick of Harwood fourth and Kevin Youngquist of Barney was fifth.

Josh Zimpel of Braham won the Wissota Super Stock feature over Jeff Crouse of Alexandria. William Lund of Brandon was third, Jeff Flaten of Hancock fourth and Dave Mass of East Bethel fifth.

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