RaceChaser Notes: Rebel Midwest Mod Tour, NLRA and Steffes Tour Off to Good Starts
Three of the primary tour/series that involve local tracks are off to good starts.
The Rebel Midwest Modified Tour kicked off with two shows at I-94 Sure Step Speedway last weekend. There was an average of 42 cars for the two nights, highlighted by 45 on Friday.
Cody the Cobra Lee of Starbuck won both shows. I was not at Friday’s show but Saturday, he had a great battle with veteran Jason Grimes for laps in good, clean racing. Lapped traffic allowed Lee to make his move for the lead and once he did, he opened a sizeable lead.
2021 was a down year for the Cobra, but the switched to SSR Chassis is paying immediate dividends. Remember, two of the top three cars at the Wissota 100 last year – Lucas Rodin of Marion and Aaron Blacklance – were SSR cars.
Speaking of Rodin, the defending national champion scored two top five finishes to open the tour, including a third on Saturday. Brendan Blascyk of Hoffman also had two top five finishes, taking second on Saturday after getting fourth on Friday.
In its second year, the Rebel Tour is off to a fine start. The Rebel Tour is at Jamestown on Saturday and Sheyenne Speedway in Lisbon on Sunday.
The NLRA Late Models have three different winners after three nights – Brody Troftgruben, Jeff Massingill and Mike Greseth. There car counts averaged almost 33 per night, which I would say is excellent in today’s economy. The high was 38 at I-94 Sure Step Speedway for the King of the Dirt, which paid $2,089 to win.
I didn’t see the River Cities race but was at I-94, and Massingill did a masterful job sticking his #6M to the bottom in that 35-lapper and was nearly flawless. Canadian Shane Edginton tried persistently to find a way around Cole Schill but to no avail.
Sunday had some controversy at Sheyenne Speedway – I watched the replay of the race on Dirt Race Central, which has added replay, plus a track-side camera to its production of some events. Chad Becker of Aberdeen tried to go for the slider for the lead on Edginton entering turn four, but didn’t clear Edginton, turning him sideways down the frontstretch by the wall, where Ryan Corbett of Grand Forks slid sideways into him. Edginton was pissed at Becker after the incident because he left on the hook with front end damange– costing him the win. I think looking at the replay, he had a right to be – if you are going to throw a slider, which is a part of racing these days, you need to clear that other car and not drift up into him/her and make contact.
Becker was charged with the caution and the black flag was waved so he pulled in. For the record I have nothing against Becker as I’ve seen him win and race clean the times I’ve seen him. Just a bad deal.
Mike Greseth is damn tough at Sheyenne, whether it is in a late model or mod. Brad Seng went from 11th to second.
A shoutout to Cole Schill of Hawley who is the tour points leader. He finished in the top five all three shows – two seconds and a fifth.
The next NLRA race is Saturday at Greenbush Race Park.
The Steffes Street Stock Tour has three nights in the books, and also three different winners – Wisconsin teenager Ty Agen, Hunter Carter of West Fargo and Justin Vogel of Brooten. The tour averaged 25 cars for its first three nights, which is pretty solid.
I’m expecting a lot of parity on this tour in 2022. At Viking alone I counted at least 15 drivers that were capable of winning.
Vogel has a win, a second and a fifth in three starts. Hunter Carter has finished in the top seven all three nights, highlighted by his win at Viking.
The top 12 shows are counted for points with 20 on the schedule, meaning it is way early to talk about the point standings. The tour is at Brown County Speedway in Aberdeen on Friday, Jamestown on Saturday and Sheyenne on Sunday.
--Here is something that is a positive, and that is the number of young drivers who are competing in the INEX Legends and Lightning Sprint Cars locally.
I will use Buffalo River Speedway on Sunday as an example. Seven of the 18 entries in the INEX Legends Field are age 18 or younger, including three drivers who are 13 (according to myracepass). Eight of the 17 Lightning Sprint entries were 18 or younger, with two drivers being 11 years old.
That is an encouraging sign. Both are logical move-ups for youngsters who race go-karts.
--Tye Wilke of Detroit Lakes has raced his #72 Legends Car four times up here since the season started – and won three of them. He also has an IMCA RaceSaver Sprint win.
--I visited with Ryan Mikkelson of Alexandria, driver of the 15* late model. He told me he plans on running the challenge series and focusing on shows that pay at least $1,000 to win this summer.
--Kasey Ussatis of Nome had top five finishes at Dacotah Speedway in Mandan, Jamestown and Sheyenne in his #2U Wissota Street Stock.
--Kelsi Pederson of East Grand Forks really looked strong at Buffalo River in her #93 POWRi Minn-Kota Lightning Sprint. Despite being chased by two good drivers -- first Alan Truscinski and then Alex Truscinski -- Pederson won by 1.135 seconds. A big key was her ability to get through lapped traffic smoothly.
--Kelly Jacobson of Fargo drove like a determined driver on Sunday at Buffalo River. A caution flag wiped out a decent lead he had in the IMCA Sport Mod feature Friday at Red River Valley, which he looked like he was on his way to winning, and the veteran Rich Pavlicek made a savvy move on the bottom on a restart to jump into the lead. On Sunday, he was not denied, passing Justin Jones as a lapped car slowed him and winning by more than two seconds.
--I spoke with Ty Hanten of West Fargo for a feature story, and he's encouraged by the uptick in numbers in the IMCA RaceSaver Sprint class. Last year it was usually 4-5 per night, but there were seven on hand on Friday at West Fargo. He told me there are a couple of more who expect to be out there soon. Hanten has raced a bunch of classes in a career that has spanned four decades.
--I am happy that Sheyenne and Buffalo River got their season openers in on Sunday night. It has been a frustrating spring for both 1/4-mile tracks because of the weather.
--Kevin Youngquist's #00 Wissota Street Stock is for sale. He's looking to move into the Limited Late Model class but won't until his street stock is sold.