Preview and Predictions for 14th Annual John Seitz Memorial
Updated: Sep 11, 2020
The 14th annual John Seitz Memorial is set for Friday and Saturday at River Cities Speedway in Grand Forks.
The late model feature on Saturday pays $9,200 to win and $920 to start. On Friday the midwest modifieds and street stocks will run qualifying races while the Wissota Mods and NOSA Sprints will run complete shows.
Saturday will be the finales for the late models, midwest modifieds and street stocks. Wissota Mods will run another compete show.
The Prelude to the Johnny, which is the NLRA Late Model season finale, is set for Thursday. Wissota Street Stocks and Midwest Modifieds will run a full show that night. It’ll be a busy three days at the Seitz which has emerged as one of the premier multi-day events in Wissota.
I thought One thing was a pretty safe bet for the 14th annual Seitz — there would not be a repeat winner from 2019. Canadian driver Aaron Turnbull won the event in impressive fashion in 2019. However the non-essential travel ban between the United States and Canada has prevented Canadian racers from coming down to race in the U.S. so barring a miracle Turnbull won’t be back to defend his crown. Well I guess Turnbull found a way!
Only two drivers have won the event twice — Brad Seng of Grand Forks and A.J. Diemel of Elk Mound, Wis. Interestingly, the only RCS regular to win the event is Seng in 2011 and 2013.
These are all my own opinion and this is just for fun, but here it goes:
Dustin Strand (#71, East Grand Forks): This has been one event Strand hasn’t won. His best finish is eighth, and the past two years are DNFs.
This year might be the year he breaks that curse. Strand is the 2020 RCS track champion in the lates and should clinch his fourth NLRA title on Thursday. Strand has five wins in 12 RCS starts and has finished in the top five 11 times. Maybe this is the year that jinx in the Seitz ends.
Brad Seng (#12S, Grand Forks): Seng is a two-time winner of the Seitz, one of only two drivers to do so. He is the RCS runner-p this season. He has five wins and 16 top fives on the season and is always a threat to win this race.
A.J. Diemel (#58, Elk Mound, Wis.): Like Seng, Diemel is a two-time winner of the Seitz. He’s had an incredible run of contending in this event, finishing in the top three eight consecutive years. He is fast at River Cities and I’d expect him to contend this year.
Don Shaw (#42S, Ham Lake, Minn.): Like Diemel, Shaw is a consistent top five car at the Seitz. He’s finished in the top three five straight years, including his win in 2017. Shaw hasn’t raced as much this year as he’s devoted more attention to owning I-94 Sure Step Speedway but expect him to be a major factor at the Bullring.
Aaron Turnbull (#21, Canada): Turns out he is there and you can never count out the defending champ.
Jeff Massingill (#6M, Keewatin, Minn.): He has finished in the top 10 the past four years at the Seitz and runs well typically at River Cities. In 2016 he was third behind Diemel and Shaw.
Joey Pederson (#7P, East Grand Forks): Pederson has finished in the top five four times at the Seitz. In 2014 he made a late charge to finish a close second to Diemel. He had six
Scott Ward (#37, Watertown, S.D.): Ward finished fourth at the Seitz in 2017 and 2018 and is usually fast anywhere. He has six wins on the season.
Jesse Glenz of Cadott, Wis., and Chad Becker are expected to be in attendance as well, and by my research neither has raced the Seitz in the past.
Glenz is one of the fastest late models in western Wisconsin. He has four wins and 12 top five finishes in 19 starts. If he can adapt quickly to the track quickly watch out.
Becker is the defending Wissota Late Model national champion, and won the $10,000 to win Dacotah Rumble in Aberdeen in July. He has nine wins in 41 starts and 30 top fives. Becker also won the Wissota 100 a year ago. In recent years he’s risen to the occasion at the bigger-money races.
Missing Neighbors from the North
There will be a void in almost all classes without the Canadian drivers in town. But the most impactful will be in the late models. Shane Edginton, Mike Balcaen, Aaron Turnbull are among the drivers who’d be contenders from Canada. RCS and Greenbush Race Park, in my opinion, have been the most negatively impacted by this overreaching travel ban.
My Prediction: Dustin Strand. He’s been the fastest late model in the valley this season, including a fifth-place finish in the World of Outlaw show in July at RCS. Strand is coming off of a big $3,000 win at Viking Speedway in Alexandria in his modified — the Race for Fallen Lineman event. Viking has not been very kind to Strand so winning there might be a sign he’s due for a breakthrough in the Seitz.
Past John Seitz winners