Staples, Satter, Gerdes and Harstad Among I-94 Winners; Hall and Restad Win at RRVS
Headed back to my usual Friday stop at I-94 Speedway in Fergus Falls on Friday. A solid 87-car field was on hand on a hot June evening.
There were some terrific feature races on Friday night. We will start with the Limited Late Models, where Brad Staples of Herman and Ben Wolden of Fergus Falls waged an intense battle for the lead.
Staples had built a nice advantage early but Wolden was methodically erasing that deficit. He closed in and got besides Staples on numerous occasions, but Staples didn’t flinch to pick up his first win of 2019 (he was interviewed above after his win). Ryan Mikkelson of Alexandria was third, Dustin Johanneck of Litchfield fourth and Larry Samuelson of Erhard fifth.
Another great feature was the Wissota Modifieds, which saw Harwood, ND driver Mike Greseth take the early lead. He was soon pressured by both Travis Saurer of Elizabeth and Brady Gerdes of Villard. Gerdes and Greseth put on a heck of a show up front as they battled side-by-side for several laps; Gerdes earned the advantage and took the win. Greseth ran a solid second, and Zach Johnson of Kensington made a late pass of Saurer for third.
Ryan Satter of Dent, who was interviewed above after his win, had the pole for the Wissota Street Stock main event and took the lead from the outset. He was receiving heavy pressure on the outside from Eric Riley of Morris for several laps. Satter switched his line to the higher groove and fended off Riley’s challenges for the win. Riley ran a solid second, and Jerry “Old Man” Lamb finished third after starting fifth. Shawn Koranda of Bluffton was fourth and Bryan Crandall of Herman fifth.
The Wissota Midwest Modified feature saw some good racing but also saw some equipment tore up. Eight of the 23 starters did not finish. The strongest car was Landon Atkinson of Little Falls. He worked his way past early leader Cody Lee of Alexandria and was impressive in taking the win. The car that made a big jump was Kyle Dykhoff of Starbuck; he started 11th but finished a strong second, tying his best finish in a midwest modified. Cody Lee edged sister Haley for third and Matt Baker of St. Joseph, last week’s winner, was fifth.
It comes of little surprise that Don Shaw of Ham Lake won the Wissota Late Models; the 42S was bad fast once again on the 3/8-mile oval. Shawn Meyer of Wahpeton edged Dave Mass for second with Trevor Walsh of Watertown and Kevin Robertson of Enderlin rounding out the top five.
Daniel Harstad of Fergus Falls started eighth in the Short Tracker feature but was strong all night and picked up the win in his 77H machine. Austin Lammers of Pelican Rapids was second and Casey Stremick of Harwood was third.
—Jerry Lee had to be a proud father on Friday. His son Cody and daughter Haley started on the front row together in the midwest modified feature -- had to be conflicted on how to pull for!! :) . Both cars ran well — Cody edged sister Haley by inches at the line for third. Haley’s boyfriend Kyle Dykhoff finished second. Haley Lee has looked really good in that 50H machine this season and Cody seems to be coming around after some tough luck early.
—There were three father-son driver combos in the late model feature — Greg and Casey Meyer, Kevin and Erik Robertson and Doug and Trevor Walsh. That is pretty good.
—Jeff Wildung of Nassau made his season debut in the 50 Wissota Late Model. Wildung seems to have scaled back his racing — his big familiar yellow hauler wasn’t there, replaced by a pickup and enclosed hauler. He won his heat race in convincing fashion but broke in the feature and did not finish.
—Bryce Sward of Nelson, Minn., is only 15 years old, but looks like a very promising talent. Sward is running a Wissota Late Model at I-94 this season and also a Limited Late Model at Viking Speedway in Alexandria. Sward won his heat on Friday and was running in the top five in the feature when something appeared to break, causing a spin and ending his night. Look for a RaceChaser blog on Sward in the weeks ahead.
—The mods were down slightly with 13 cars; a few regulars were running the Advantage RV Tour up at Superior, and a couple just weren’t in attendance. I’m not worried about the numbers in that class, they will bounce back. Besides, I would take the top seven finishers — Gerdes, Greseth, Zach Johnson, Saurer, Atkinson, Jason Thoennes and Dusty Bitzan — to any track in Wissota.
—There were good car counts in the Wissota Midwest Modifieds (23), Wissota Late Models (15) and Wissota Street Stocks (16). One class the puzzles me is the Short Trackers; it used to draw 20 cars and now is in the low teens, with 10 on hand on Friday. Makes no sense to me at all because it is an affordable class.
—Visited with Wissota Street Stock driver Shawn Koranda of Bluffton during Friday’s race program. The veteran finished a solid fourth on Friday; in a few weeks, he plans to turn the 22 car over to his 14-year-old son, Jack. There will be a RaceChaser blog on the Korandas in the weeks ahead.
—As mentioned earlier there was some tore up race cars in the midwest modifieds. Alex Langland rolled his No. 6 machine in a chain reaction crash that wiped out several cars, leaving his car heavily damaged. His brother Kyle also had some damage in the crash. Reise Stenberg’s 87S machine also had a lot of damage after contact with the wall. And by the end of the race, Jamie Norman's 12X machine looked like it had been in a demo derby.
Sometimes the midwest modifieds at I-94 have nights like this. Even after the big crash there seemed to be some pretty aggressive driving which led to some spins.
—Hats off to the I-94 track prep crew. The racing surface was really good for the features, and they did a tremendous job keeping the dust down.
--Trevor Walsh of Watertown really looked solid in the late model feature, finishing fourth.
Hall Gets First Win of Season at RRVS
Tyler Hall of Fertile started on the outside pole and went on to take the IMCA Modified win Friday night at River Cities Speedway in Fargo, N.D. Austin Arneson of Fargo made a big-time run through the field, taking second after starting 22nd. Dave Shipley of Argusvile, Dylan Goplen of Fargo and Matt Aukland of Glyndon rounded out the top five.
Matthew Olson of Morton, Minn, picked up another IMCA Hobby Stock win with Adam Goff of Minot second and Alyssa White of West Fargo third. It was White’s second top three finish of the week — plus her racing team did a cookout for everyone after the races.
Ryan Restad of West Fargo won the IMCA Sport Mod feature over Chris VanMil of Barnesville. Luke Johnson of Moorhead was third.
Tim Estenson of Fargo — driving one of Brody Carlsrud’s B1 machines — is 2-for-2 in the INEX Legends on the week. After winning at the Tri County Speedway in Wishek on Thursday, Estenson picked up the win on Friday at RRVS. His runner-up? Carlsrud. Tye Wilke of Detroit Lakes, Kaitlyn Skalicky of Fargo and Tony Brockhouse rounded out the top five.
Rob VanMil’s unbeaten streak ended in the IMCA Stock Cars at RRVS as Tyler McDougall of Hawley won the feature. VanMil settled for second, with Rick Schulz of Horace taking third.
Caley Emerson of Grand Rapids won the non-winged sprint feature. A total of 78 cars competed at RRVS, highlighted by a strong 23-car modified field.
Schuchart Wins WOO Sprints at Grand Forks
There was some big news from the World of Outlaws Sprint show at River Cities Speedway in Grand Forks — Donny Schatz of Fargo didn’t win.
Logan Schuchart of Hanover, Pa., was the winner of the $10,000 feature at RCS, with James McFadden taking second and Brad Sweet third. Schatz finished fourth. Schuachart led every lap.
Schatz did win the NLRA Late Model feature as well over Joey Peterson of Grand Forks and Shane Edginton of Winnipeg. Pat Doar of New Richmond, Wis., placed fourth. 22 late models competed at RCS. All other classes had the night off.
—Congrats to Jay Schlotfeldt of Jamestown for picking up the feature win in the Wissota Street Stocks on Friday at Brown County Speedway in Aberdeen.
—Jonny Carter of Lisbon saw his six-feature Wissota Street Stock winning streak end on Friday at the Dacotah Speedway in Mandan. Carter finished fourth. Zach Frederick won the feature.
--I am still surprised to see the drop in INEX Legends cars locally this season. I don't know what is behind it...