Strand and Rodin Earn Tour Wins, Amelia Eisenschenk Picks Up 1st Victory at NCR
It was the second night of the Ada Nationals at Norman County Raceway in Ada. The NLRA Late Models — with 21 cars — were in town, along with the Rebel Midwest Modified Tour and the IMCA RaceSaver Sprints.
There was a nice crowd on hand for the Norman County Fair event on a very hot June evening.
Dustin Strand of East Grand Forks knows the Norman County Raceway well — he’s won a bunch of features at the 3/8-mile oval in the midwest modified, modifieds and late models. When he was starting from the outside pole in the 25-lap NLRA Late Model feature, I figured he would be tough to beat. NLRA points leader Cole Schill of Hawley was on the inside pole.
I figured, with the quality of cars at the top, that the redraw would be crucial. It was.
Strand beat Schill to the first corner and took the lead with Schill in second. Veteran Mitch Johnson of Fargo was in a battle with Mike Greseth of Harwood for third. Brad Seng of Grand Forks settled into fifth.
Shane Edginton of East St. Paul, Man., was also sneaking through traffic towards the top five.
Don Shaw of Ham Lake, a former NLRA winner at NCR, pulled in six laps into the race, ending his night.
Strand had opened a nice lead, but Schill was closing as the caution came out. Greseth had worked past Johnson for third.
On the first restart, Schill had a good run on the outside, but the caution came out again. On the next restart, Greseth moved into second, and chased Strand for the top spot.
Meanwhile, Edginton, who started 16th, had moved into the top five, and passed Seng for the fourth spot. Also running well was Brody Troftgruben of Grand Forks, who won the first NLRA race of the year at River Cities Speedway. He was closing on Seng for fifth.
The top three had broken away from fourth-place Edginton. Greseth was persistent in his pursuit, and a few times, closed right in on Strand, but was unable to make the pass. Schill, meanwhile worked on Greseth as the top three encountered lapped traffic.
Greseth made one last charge at Strand on the final lap and looked to have a run entering turn three, but Strand would have the momentum on a little higher line and prevailed for his first NLRA win of the season. Strand is a four-time NLRA series champion, by the way and now has 26 victories on the tour.
Greseth, the defending NLRA champion, settled for a solid second with Schill solidifying his point lead with a third-place finish. Edginton capped off a good run from 16th to fourth with Troftgruben edging Seng for fifth.
A shoutout to Jeff Hapala of West Fargo. He started 14th and worked his way to seventh at the checkered. Hapala isn’t one of the big-buck operations in local late models so it was good to see him make some good progress through the field.
Troftgruben, Schill, Greseth, Jeff Massingill join Strand as NLRA winners this season — that’s five winners in five races.
The Rebel Midwest Modified Tour brought in 20 cars — less than I expected — but the quality was very good. Defending Wissota national champion and Rebel tour champion Lucas Rodin had the outside pole with Reise Stenberg of Argusville on the inside.
Rodin jumped out front and took the lead with Stenberg settling into second and Nate Reinke of Lisbon third. Aaron Blacklance of Thief River Falls, the defending track champion in the class at NCR, moved into fourth.
Reinke worked into second past Stenberg, who soon faced a challenge from Blacklance. Rodin, meanwhile had some breathing room up front.
Jarod Klein of Jamestown was also running solid in the fourth stop with Justin Jones of Bemidji, last week’s winner, settling into fifth ahead of Corey Storck of Morris, who won the Rebel tour stop at Sheyenne Speedway.
Blacklance was able to move past Stenberg for third, and then got by Reinke for second. Rodin was in control up front; it wasn’t a runaway but he was never seriously challenged for the win, his second on the tour this season. Blacklance finished a solid second with Reinke taking third. Klein finished fourth and Jones held off Storck for fifth. Justin Olson of Thief River Falls had a good race, going from 15th to seventh.
The name Amelia Eisenschenk is probably new to most local race fans. The 14-year-old from West Fargo, a graduate of the go-karts, was making just her second start in the IMCA RaceSaver Sprint Cars on Thursday at NCR, and had the outside pole. Eisenschenk — the niece of World of Outlaws sprint car star Donny Schatz of Fargo — had finished third in the heat race.
Well, it just her second night in the car, Eisenschenk not only ran well — she ended up in victory lane, with a very impressive victory.
Eisenschenk won the 12-lap main event by 3.619 seconds over Trevor Serbus of Olivia, who has six feature wins this season. It was a heck of a way to get your first win.
Andy Pake of Felton — another last name familiar to local sprint fans — was third after starting fifth. Ty Hanten of West Fargo was fourth and rookie Morgan Nyquist of Moorhead was fifth.
I taked to Ty Hanten earlier this year at Red River Valley Speedway for a RaceChaser blog story. He said the class, which usually was around 4-6 cars a year ago, is growing locally. He expects to be around the 7-9 range this year, which would be good progress in the growth of the class.
—Justin Vogel of Brooten picked up the Wissota Street Stock feature Thursday night at KRA Speedway in Willmar.
—Ward Imrie of Winnipeg won the Wissota Modified feature Thursday night at Victory Lane Speedway in Winnipeg.