Schulz, Kesselberg, Restad Post Big Red River Valley Speedway Wins
There were a lot of great storylines as I made it back to Red River Valley Speedway in West Fargo on Friday.
It was hot -- 100 degrees -- and a gusty wind. Car counts were OK, little surprised at only nine IMCA Sport Mods in town. The skies darkened to the west and officials hustled to beat the rain -- but it turns out 50 mph wind can create a massive dust storm. Five of the six features were completed before the wind kicked up a dust storm that looked like the 1930s, putting an end to the night. A credit to both RRVS officials and drivers for keeping the features moving.
The best story of the night, in my estimation, was Jamie Schulz's first career IMCA Modified feature win. Not only was it the first IMCA Mod win, it was his first feature victory since 2002 when he won in a street car at RRVS.
Another great story was Ryan Restad of West Fargo winning the sport mod feature just days after his father, Jerry passed away.
And, Kalvin Kesselberg of Ada picked up his second career IMCA Stock Car feature win, and his first at RRVS, with a flawless performance on Friday.
We will start with Schulz, who is from Harwood, and his performance in the IMCA Modified feature, which barely beat the dust storm. Schulz had the outside pole on the 18-car field and took the lead from the outside. Dave Shipley of Argusville was giving chase, and soon Allen Kent of West Fargo took over second.
Schulz stuck his #21 to the bottom grove and had a few car lengths on Kent. The car on the move through the field was Tyler Hall of Fertile, who started 11th. He had worked up to third and was looking to battle Kent for the second spot.
Lapped traffic made things dicey for Schulz, as his lead evaporated when he encountered two lapped cars. Kent and Hall both closed in on the lead. It looked like Kent had a shot, but once Schulz cleared the lapped cars, he opened up a few car lengths.
Hall, meanwhile, took over second from Kent, who finished second a week ago.
Schulz was flawless and went on to the win for his first feature victory since 2002. Hall capped off a great run in second with Kent completing a good night in third. Matt Aukland of Glyndon, who has a win at RRVS already, was a solid fourth after starting eighth with Shipley taking fifth.
Another driver who had a good run through the field was John Nord of Enderlin, who started 15th and worked up to sixth at the checkered.
Kesselberg, interviewed above, won his first career feature in 2020 at Norman County Raceway and was looking for his first win of 2021. He earned it with a stellar performance.
He took the lead from the pole with Keaten Froemke of Glyndon giving chase. Meanwhile, there was a pile of cars battling for position — Travis Robertson of Moorhead, Brennan Borg of Harwood, Brandon Schmidt of Hillsboro, Andrew Jochim of Glyndon, Rick Schulz of Horace and Todd Heinrich of Fargo. There was three and four wide racing for those spots; what a show they put on.
Robertson eventually got by Froemke for second, and Jochim, who was looking for a good run, moved into third. Borg, meanwhile, was running the low line and moved into fourth and pressured Jochim.
Robertson closed in on Kesselberg and applied pressure to the #11 machine. He was close on several occasions and looked for any opening, but Kesselberg was smooth and didn’t provide one. He took the checkered and was a happy driver afterwards. Robertson, who started eighth, took a strong second with Borg outlasting Jochim of third. Schmidt rounded out the top five after starting 10th.
Restad’s #7R machine was also smooth on the bottom. Paul Colvin of Horace led early with Chris VanMil of Barnesville giving chase. VanMil eventually took the top spot, running the higher line.
Restad, interviewed above, ran the bottom line and passed VanMil for the lead. Several cars were battling behind including Scott Jacobson of Fargo, Doug Gardner of Glyndon, Kelly Jacobson of Fargo, Rich Pavlicek of Casselton and Colvin.
Scott Jacobson and Pavlicek waged a good battle for third. Pavlicek’s bad-luck weekend continued; he cut a right front tire on the final lap and managed to finish in eighth. He had blown a motor at Norman County the night before.
Scott Jacobson moved into third and put some pressure on VanMil, but Restad had a nice advantage as he took the checkered for his first win of 2021. It was a big win for him in his first race since his dad’s passing.
VanMil, Scott Jacobson, Gardner and Colvin rounded out the top five.
Veteran Brad Orvedal of Fargo led the first portion of the IMCA Hobby Stock feature. But Brodee Eckerdt of Grand Forks, the defending RRVS champion, was moving up. He was in second and soon passed Orvedal for the lead.
Orvedal and Tanner Engen of Detroit Lakes had a fierce battle for second, running side by side for several laps. Engen finally made the pass but faced a big gap to catch Eckerdt.
Eckerdt was too strong as he picked up the win with Engen taking second. Orvedal ran a solid third. Todd Gettel of Mahnomen, last week’s winner, was fourth and Marvin Priem of Moorhead was fifth.
Ty Hanten of West Fargo topped Tye Wilke of Detroit Lakes for the IMCA RaceSaver Sprint feature.
The wind picked up just as the checkered waved for the IMCA Mod feature. The POWRi Minn-Kota Lightning Sprints feature will be made up the next time they race at RRVS in July, according to tour director Jason Berg.
Gronwold Wins Night 1 of Rebel Midwest Modified Tour at I-94 Sure Step Speedway
Brock Gronwold of Fergus Falls won the opening night of the Rebel Midwest Modified Tour Friday night at I-94 Sure Step Speedway in Fergus Falls. Gronwold picked up the win from the pole. A nice 41-car field was on hand.
Lucas Rodin of Marion was second, Mike Nichols of Watertown third, Justin Froemming of Garfield fourth and Cody “The Cobra” Lee of Starbuck fifth. The second night of the tour is on Saturday as I-94 hosts the King of the Dirt.
Ben Wolden of Fergus Falls topped Ryan Mikkelson of Alexandria for the Viessman Late Model win. DJ Tesch of Brandt, S.D., took third, Larry Fitzsimmons of East Bethel fourth and Sam Zender of Fergus Falls fifth.
Shane Sabraski of Rice topped Dave Cain of Corcoran for the Wissota Modified feature. Tyler Peterson of Hickson was third, Joseph Thomas of Glyndon fourth and Jeremy Nelson of Alexandria fifth.
Sabraski, in what should be no surprise to anyone, won the Wissota Super Stock feature over Josh Zimpel of Braham. Trevor Saurer of Dalton was third, Jordan Henkemeyer of Sauk Rapids fourth and Terran Spacek of Phillips, Wis., fifth.
Parker Anderson of Phillips, Wis., won the Wissota Street Stock feature over Ryan Satter of Dent. Andrew Bangsund of Alexandria was third, Kyle Dykhoff of Starbuck and Kasey Ussatis of Nome.
Shawn Robinson of Dalton won the Short Tracker feature from the eighth starting spot. Devin Goulet of Fargo was second, Kevin Youngquist of Barney third, Curtis Huseth of Underwood fourth and Shawn Beto of Wahpeton fifth.
Friday Night Notes
--Jaden Christ of Jamestown won the Wissota Street Stock feature Friday night at Brown County Speedway in Aberdeen.
--River Cities Speedway in Grand Forks hosted the World of Outlaws on Friday, but racing was rained out after qualifying.
--Justin Vogel of Brooten won the Wissota Street Stock feature Friday night at Fiesta City Speedway in Montevideo.