Satter, Froemming, Harstad Find Victory Lane at I-94; Aukland, Johnson Win at Red River Valley
I was back at I-94 Speedway in Fergus Falls for Friday's show. A good 94-car field, highlighted by 20 modifieds, was on hand to compete at meet and greet night.
It looked like I-94 might get a downpour about an hour before the race program -- but cell dissipated and not a drop fell at the track. Turned out to be a pretty nice evening. I-94 did a good job getting the show done; even with a longer intermission with the meet and greet the show was done around 10:20.
This was an extremely fast race track on Friday. I stood near the entrance of turn third for the late model feature, and those late models were absolutely flying into the turns. Impressive sight.
About the racing...
It’s not often the Wissota Street Stock feature is a runaway at I-94 but Ryan Satter of Dent turned Friday’s race into that with a convincing win. Satter jumped into the lead and ended up winning by nearly a straightaway over Shawn Koranda of Bluffton. Aberdeen driver Scott Witkowski took third, Jonny Carter of Lisbon — probably the hottest Wissota Street Stock driver around right now — was fourth. Eric Riley of Morris was a solid fifth. The street main event went caution free and lasted about five minutes. Nice work everyone.
Haley Lee of Starbuck is so close to that first career feature win in the Wissota Midwest Modifieds. For the second straight week she battled for the lead, first with her brother Cody, and then she chased eventual winner Justin Froemming til the end before settling for second. I predict she will get her first feature win this year. The 50H is fast right now.
Froemming was really, really good. His 33x machine found a fast line down low and he took over the lead from Cody Lee. Haley Lee was second, Brock Gronwold of Fergus Falls third, Landon Atkinson of Little Falls fourth and Nick Bruder of Long Prairie fifth. I will commend the midwest modifieds for a pretty clean race on a fast racetrack. Froemming, above, was interviewed after his win.
Ryan Mikkelson of Alexandria picked up a hard-fought Limited Late Model win. Satter capped off a great night with a runner-up finish while two-time defending track champion Ben Wolden of Fergus Falls took third. Last week’s winner Brad Staples of Herman had some mechanical issues that ended his night.
It was the battle of the 42 cars in the late models — Don Shaw and his teammate Dave Mass. The two put on a show for the lead — kinda seemed rigged to me (just telling it like I see it) but who knows — with Shaw prevailing for the third time this season. Wolden looked good in his 50 car and took third.
It would have been quite a race for the lead if it was for third, as Kevin Robertson, Wolden, Casey Meyer, Shawn Meyer and Cole Schill were in a pretty tight pack. Schill's night ended with power steering belt issues. Robertson was all over Wolden but dropped to sixth at the checkered.
Dave Cain of Corcoran figured to be tough from the inside pole in the Wissota Mod feature and that was the case. The win was far from a walkaway for the former Wissota Mod national champ. Brady Gerdes of Villard — who is probably the fastest modified in that region right now — persistently stalked Cain but ran out of laps and settled for second. Five more laps, and Gerdes might have had it. Tyler Peterson of Hickson, N.D., had a really nice run, taking third after starting seventh. Zach Johnson of Lowry was fourth after a good battle with Dan Pederson of Underwood.
Daniel Harstad of Fergus Falls, who was interviewed above, won a hard-fought Short Tracker feature, making it two in a row for him. He started seventh but worked his way past leader Zach Kort with about four to go on his way to the win. Cory Kramer of Herman looked strong in the #00 car; he finished second after starting 11th. Austin Lammers also was battling towards the front in the #33L car and settled for third with Kort fourth. Short tracker numbers were up to 14 this week, which was encouraging to see.
I-94 Speedway Notes
—It is interesting that two quality Fargo-area drivers — Peterson and Mike Greseth of Harwood, who ran as high as second on Friday — are racing at I-94 Speedway and racing Wissota. Peterson ran IMCA earlier in this season while Greseth switched to Wissota last season. To be fair, there are a few drivers who live not far from Fergus Falls who run IMCA. Read into those observations what you want. Peterson is really good running on the bottom and showed that on Friday, finishing third in a stacked field.
—There were four drivers doing double duty at I-94 on Friday.. Ben Wolden of Fergus Falls in the Wissota Late Models and Limited Late Models; Ryan Satter of Dent in the Wissota Streets and Limited Late Models; Landon Atkinson of Little Falls in the Wissota Mods and Midwest Mods; Mike Hart of Perham in the Wissota Streets and Midwest Mods.
--Kyle Dykhoff of Starbuck had three straight top three finishes in the Wissota Midwest Modifieds (second at I-94 last week, second at Casino on Sunday and third at KRA on Thursday). However a broken rocker arm knocked him out of his heat -- which left him starting dead last on the 24-car midwest modified field. He worked his way up to eighth at the checkered, a nice recovery after his heat-race struggles.
—Speaking of broken rocker arms, most of Cody Lee's luck this year has been lousy. He led the midwest modified for several laps but a broken rocker arm ended his night.
--Cody Skytland of Horace had tough luck, blowing a motor in his Wissota Mod heat race under the yellow. He was on the road home before intermission.
—I-94 had 20 modifieds and were missing four drivers who run their regularly - Jason Thoennes, Blake Jegtvig, Travis Saurer and Chris Mensen. So it was a quality field.
—Witkowski made the 180-mile one-way trip to I-94 from Aberdeen, even though Brown County Speedway was racing streets on Friday. Just a hunch — the guy isn’t happy with his hometown track if you are driving three hours to race. He had a good run in his #88 at I-94, taking third.
--"Superman" Mike Stearns of Aberdeen was in attendance in the Wissota Modifieds and had a pretty good run, finishing sixth after a late pass of Greseth. He is former Wissota national champ.
—I did an interview with Wissota executive director Carson Gramm in the pits on Friday. Gramm officially began his duties in January. Look for a RaceChaser blog this week about the interview. I used to listen to Gramm’s father Mark serve as the Brown County Speedway announcer for several years and he was very good. Gramm has kind of a thankless job — in racing there is always someone who is unhappy and trying to keep more than 2,000 drivers happy isn't easy. We did some visiting off the record as well and it was good to meet him and see some goals for the future.
Luke Johnson, Estenson and Schulz Win at Red River Valley Speedway
Luke Johnson of Moorhead is really fast in the IMCA Sport Mods. He started 13th and picked up the feature win Friday at the Red River Valley Speedway in West Fargo. Ryan Restad of West Fargo was second, Brandon Schmidt of Kindred third, Chris VanMil of Barnesville fourth and Andy Wagner of Ada fifth.
Sean Johnson of Kindred topped Tye Wilke of Detroit Lakes for the INEX Legend win. Kaitlyn Skalicky of Fargo was third.
Rick Schulz of Horace was victorious in the IMCA Stock Car feature with Rob VanMil taking second. Mike Anderson was third, Brennan Borg of Harwood fourth and Tim Compson of Valley City fifth.
Tim Estenson of Fargo won the Lightning Sprint Car main event over Alex Truscinski of Greenbush. Josh Abrahamson of Moorhead was third. Estenson has been racing 410 sprints on the west coast but has also driven one of Brody Carlsrud's legend cars and is piloting a lightning sprint when the schedule works out.
Matt Aukland of Glyndon started 10th on the IMCA Modified field but worked his way to the front for the feature win. Jason Grimes of Jamestown — driving Bob Sagen’s 99 car — was second with Mike Johnson of Moorhead third.
Mathew Olson of Morton topped Minot driver Adam Goff for the IMCA Hobby Stock win, with Alyssa White of West Fargo taking a solid third.
Hastings, Schow, Strand and Johnson win at River Cities
Jade Hastings of Grand Forks topped Austin Pierce of Grand Forks for the NOSA Sprint Car feature win Friday at River Cities Speedway in Grand Forks.
Ryan Schow of McIntosh topped Lance Schill of Langdon to win the Wissota Midwest Modified feature. Matt Schow of McIntosh was third and Austin Hunter of Winnipeg was fourth.
Dustin Strand of East Grand Forks won the Wissota Late Model feature with Mike Balcaen of Winnipeg second and Brad Sent of Grand Forks third.
Ryan Johnson of Karlstad won the Wissota Street Stock feature with Dan Aberle of Finley taking second. Adam Burrows of West Fargo was fifth.
A 72-car field competed at River Cities Speedway.
Friday night notes --Kasey Ussatis of Nome finished third in the Wissota Street Stock feature Friday night at Brown County Speedway in Aberdeen. His brother Kodee was third in the Pure Stock feature.
--Andrew Jochim of Glyndon was second in the INEX Legends Friday at Dacotah Speedway in Mandan. That race is part of the Dakota Legends Tour.
--Congrats to Marcus Tomlinson of Turtle Lake for picking up the IMCA Modified win Friday at Dacotah Speedway.
--Congrats to Justin Vogel of Brooten for winning the Wissota Street Stock feature on Friday at Fiesta City Speedway in Montevideo. FCS had nice car counts in the late models (19) and modifieds (14) and a good field overall with 93 cars in seven classes. Several South Dakota cars were in attendance.