Stenberg Prevails in Jeff Carpenter Memorial at Busy Night in Jamestown
I ventured west to Jamestown Speedway on Saturday. I saw a foreign object in the sky — the sun — for the first time in what seemed like a month. Jamestown was holding the 37-lap, $1,037 to win Jeff Carpenter Memorial in the Wissota Midwest Modifieds while also hosting the first night of the Tri-City Modified Tour, which paid $1,000 to the winner.
Holy smokes for cars. There were 148 cars on hand plus six junior slingshots, including 40 IMCA Modifieds and 37 Wissota Midwest Modifieds. Congrats to Fargo driver Casey Arneson for winning the IMCA Modified feature and to Argusville, N.D., driver Reise Stenberg for winning a thrilling Wissota Midwest Modified main event.
I would say that the win by Stenberg was the biggest of his career. He bested a field of pretty stout competition and made a late move — with the help of lapped traffic — to take the win.
The grounds were pretty wet — parts of the pit area where muddy, as was the infield. The track was soft and rough in the heats, understandably so considering the weather this week, and it was some tough sledding. However, after blading and packing the track at intermission the track was better for the feature and pretty racy. I give track officials a TON of credit for all their work on the facility just to get a show in. I talked to promoter Tim Baldwin briefly and he had said it was a long day trying to get things ready to race. Thanks to Tim and the Jamestown crew for the hospitality.
With last year’s announcer Corey Litton announcing Saturdays at Buffalo River Race Park this year, Jamestown has a new announcing tandem in Becca Rattei and Jon Breckel. The two did a very nice job and seem to work well together. Rattei and Breckel are the weekly announcers at Dacotah Speedway in Mandan.
Here’s my take on Jamestown Speedway…
--Excellent car counts. No doubt, Jamestown benefitted from rainouts in West Fargo, Aberdeen and Mandan as many drivers were looking to just get a race in.. Totals were 23 bombers, 18 INEX Legends, 37 Wissota Midwest Modifieds, 30 Wissota Street Stocks, 40 IMCA Mods and six junior slingshots. 154 total. Almost like a mini Stampede.
--The Bomber class reaching 23 cars. Jamestown, like Aberdeen and Lisbon, runs unsanctioned bombers, and the rules are pretty uniform between the tracks.
--The work of track officials to get that place ready. The infield was a mudhole and parts of the pits were unusable because of wet conditions. It took a lot of work from a lot of people to get that place raceable.
--The crowd. Nice crowd for a Memorial Day race. You never know what you are going to get with the holiday weekend.
--The tributes to Jeff Carpenter. From the prerace honors on the anthem, to Randy Klein driving Carpenter's car to IMCA Mod driver Greg Friestad switching to No. 37, to the T-shirts sold -- a wonderful way to honor the late midwest modified driver.
--The sun came out. Nothing more needs to be said.
—Wet Conditions. The pits were wet, the infield was wet, and the track, despite some incredibly hard work by officials to get it ready, was soft and had rough spots, although it was better come feature time. There was not a dang thing the track personnel could do about the conditions, either; it took a mountain of work to get things ready. A week of sunshine would sure help.
--Bad luck. Travis Ulmer of Mandan made the trip with his IMCA Modified; unfortunately his hauler broke down in the parking area, and he never got to race.
—Late night. With more than 150 cars, and a track that needed work at intermission, the night got a little long. Keep in mind, there were 18 heat races and four B mains to get in. The track got bladed at intermission, which was needed but took a good amount of time. Then there was a red flag for a rollover in the street stock feature.
The INEX Legends, Bombers and Wissota Midwest Modified features were all battles to the finish.
Kelly Hagel led the midwest modified feature for a while, but it was Kyle Langland in the 66 who was fast for a large part of the race. He led for a long time and had a couple of nice advantages erased by cautions. La Moure driver Brennon Weight was fast, too; he reeled in Langland and took the lead, and looked on his way to the win. But lapped traffic came into play, and this allowed Stenberg to close in to battle for the lead. Weight had some bad luck — catching the lapped car with less than two laps left and having to let off briefly — and Stenberg capitalized, going around both cars on the outside. He went on to take the win. Weight and Langland both had excellent runs to round out the top three.
The INEX Legend feature was an incredible battle, and Glyndon driver Andrew Jochim is serving notice that he is serious about making a run for the INEX Legends Pro National title. Jochim made a late pass for the lead and held off Jamestown driver Billie Christ for the thrilling win. Bismarck driver Drew Papke and Donavin Wiest of Wishek each led, too and were third and fourth at the finish.
Fargo driver Kaitlyn Skalicky can’t catch a break in her 8JR INEX Legend so far. She was closing in on the top five when trouble hit — she had a bunch of rocks stuck in the throttle shaft and it was stuck wide open, ending her night. A couple of weeks ago she had a hard crash at Jamestown on the front stretch.
Billy Carow won the Bomber main event, holding off fellow Jamestown driver Lane Stoppleworth for a thrilling win. There was a lot of action at the front of that race, too.
The track decided to start all 30 street stocks in the feature. That is a lot of cars on a 1/4-mile track. Lisbon driver Jonny Carter was solid in picking up the win, which was his second of the year at Jamestown. Once again the 46 car looks to be force to be reckoned with. Rory Opp was second while Jay Scholetfeldt looked good in his 20J car in taking third. Bob Banish Jr. finished fourth after starting 12th, and Kasey Ussatis finished 10th after starting 29th.
Casey Arneson is 2-for-2 in the IMCA Modified this year at Jamestown, and picked up $1,000 for the win on Saturday. Dylan Goplen continues to knock on the door for his first IMCA Mod win; he finished second, with Dale Mathison of Clearwater, Minn., taking third.
I don't think Billie Christ and Rusty Kollman will be getting together for beers anytime soon after tangling in an IMCA Modified heat race. I have no idea whose fault it was -- I caught the tail end of it -- but neither driver was happy after having damaged race cars.
It was a busy night in Jamestown but considering the weather circumstances and the large car count, it was a good show, in my opinion.
Viking Speedway winners on Saturday included Brady Gerdes of Villard in the Wissota Modifieds, Brock Gronwold of Fergus Falls in the Wissota Midwest Modified, Ben Wolden of Fergus Falls in the Limited Late Model, Ryan Satter of Dent in the Wissota Street Stocks and Dave Mass of Isanti in the Wissota Super Stocks. An excellent field of 110 cars competed at Viking, with Night 2 of the doubleheader set for tonight.
Buffalo River Race Park in Glyndon has cancelled their races for Sunday. It's simply too wet, and there wasn't much drying, if any, taking place on Saturday.