Saurers, Bitzan, Satter Win Viking Speedway Openers
I made it to Viking Speedway in Alexandria for the 56th season opener. It was a great night for the Saurer family as both Trevor and Travis found victory lane.
I’m not going to evaluate car counts or crowds til we get past Memorial Day. Farming is busy right now, high school sports is busy and there is a lot going on. Let’s wait before making observations.
The Wissota Super Stock feature saw Trevor Saurer of Dalton, interviewed above, lead from start to finish, and the defending track champion wasn’t seriously threatened on his way to the win. Unfortunately, for the class as a whole, it was a rough night in terms of cautions.
The best battle of the race came for second between veterans Matt Miller of Glenwood and Trent Brutger of Watkins. The two ran side-by-side for what it seemed like the whole race — both raced clean — as they waged a great battle for second. Behind them was a three-car melee invoking Karter Reents of Glenwood, Jeff Crouse of Alexandria and Carson Miller of Carlos.
Saurer was never seriously threatened. Miller finally cleared Brutger for second. The battle for fourth ended up with Carson Miller making contact with Jeff Crouse in turn three (that one, I saw up close). Both were done after the spin, which was unfortunate since both were top five cars.
Trevor Saurer prevailed with Matt Miller taking second. Brutger was third, with Reents and Travis Scott of Glenwood — who started 12th — finishing a solid fifth.
Justin Vogel of Brooten had the outside pole for the Wissota Street Stock feature, and led almost the entire race — until the last two corners. The 10 car was fast and had a pretty comfortable lead. However lapped traffic, plus slowing for a car that spun and was re-firing, gave Ryan Satter of Dent enough of an opening to cut into that lead.
Then, it turned into a great battle between Vogel and Satter, two veterans. Satter worked a lower line and made it work, and for a few laps, the two raced side by side. Satter made his move on the bottom of turn three and Vogel slid up slightly; Satter was able to take over the lead there and went on for the win, his second of 2021. Vogel — who had a chance at the $200 clean sweep bonus after he won the heat and dash for cash — finished second. Andrew Bangsund of Alexandria always is solid at the half mile and finished third.
Roger Berkness of Eagle Bend ran a nice race to finish fourth while Craig Gardner of Alexandria was a solid fifth.
Brian Haben of Holloway led the first portion of the Wissota Modified feature with Josh Thoennes of Nelson giving chase. On a restart early, Dusty Bitzan of Brandon, interviewed above, went low and cleared both drivers to take over the top spot.
Bitzan then checked out on the field.
Brady Gerdes made a late move on a restart to take over second and fended off Travis Saurer for a few laps.
Bitzan won by a comfortable margin with Gerdes, Saurer, Thoennes and Ryan Gierke of Villard — who started 12th — finishing fifth.
Travis Saurer has hopped behind the wheel of one his dad’s #42 midwest modifieds and has been fast. He took the lead from the pole on Saturday and led every lap for the win. Defending Viking champion Brock Gronwold of Fergus Falls gave persistent chase, and closed within a couple of car lengths with four laps to go, but could get no closer. Travis Saurer also won Friday at I-94 Sure Step.
Brendan Blascyk of Kensington ran a solid third, and Shawn Olson of Alexandria was a solid fourth after starting seventh. Sam Zender of Fergus Falls, who won the Limited Late Model feature Friday at I-94, was fifth.
—I talked with Aaron Blacklance of Thief River Falls. He had one of his Wissota Midwest Modifieds in town (the other is a Crate-powered machine). His fiancé, Shayna Horn, is the daughter of long time Viking racer Scott Horn. Shayna’s sister is married to modified driver Brady Gerdes; and Shayna’s brother, Tanner, runs a street stock. So Blacklance has some connections to the Viking Speedway area.
Blacklance plans to run his street stock some this year and maybe hit some Rebel Mod tour stops with his midwest modifieds. His night ended with a radiator/water pump issue, unfortunately.
A new face in the modifieds this year is Josh Backman, who has spent several years in the midwest modified class. Blake Boelens, who I believe did not race in 2020, was back in a modified as well.
—Vogel has a new car about to come out, a RaceStar chassis.
Schow, Carter Win at Devils Lake
Ryan Schow of McIntosh, Minn., won the Wissota Midwest Modified feature Saturday night at Devils Lake Speedway near Crary, N.D. It was the first win of the season for Schow, pictured above.
Reise Stenberg of Argusville was second, Nate Reynolds of Hoople third, Jory Berg of Grand Forks fourth and Logan Salazar of Neche fifth. Berg had his second top five finish of the weekend as he won Friday at River Cities Speedway in Grand Forks.
Jonny Carter of Lisbon won the Wissota Street Stock feature. Carter finished second at Dacotah Speedway on Friday, so the #46 car is off to a good start once again in 2021.
Daniel Aberle of Finley was second, Kyle Anderson of Jamestown was third, Trey Hess of Lakota was fourth and Stoney Kruk of Langdon fifth.
Joel Larson of Fertile won the Western Renegade Non-Winged Sprint feature over Adam Sobolik of Grand Forks. Dusty Lawson of Minot was third.
Joe Armstrong of Crary won the Pure Stock feature over Steven Richards of Finley. MiKara Johansen was third.