Strand, Carr & Pederson Win at Devils Lake; Eric Riley Earns Steffes Street Stock Win at Jamestown
RaceChaser blog was at Devils Lake Speedway near Crary for the NLRA Late Model show on Saturday night. A nice field of 71 cars was on hand, including 18 late models.
My original plan was to head to Jamestown for the Don Gumke Racers Memorial but for a few reasons — some I won’t get into at this point — decided to call an audible and head to Devils Lake, in part because I wanted to see some late model racing.
I'm kinda evaluating things as far as Saturday nights go. Buffalo River Race Park in Glyndon has cancelled its season and one of the RaceChaser sponsors, Viking Speedway in Alexandria, has yet to open -- and I'm hoping the 1/2-mile does soon. I'm going to experiment some coverage of Devils Lake when possible, which will include some driver features, to see how much website traffic in brings. The one thing to note about Devils Lake is there is a good amount of overlap with River Cities Speedway in Grand Forks.
The track was dry slick and smooth and racy, which was quite a feat in a 25 mph southeast wind. I felt for the flagmen they got to eat a lot of dirt on this night! Based on the drought conditions many areas in the Midwest are facing right now I’m expecting to see a lot of dry slick tracks this summer. There was nothing the track officials could do about the win and yes, there was some dust, but it is also dirt-track racing.
Let’s start out with the finale, which was the best feature of the night — the Wissota Midwest Modifieds. The race turned into an incredible battle between Preston Carr of Carrington, Jason Schuh of Lakota and Nate Reynolds of Hoople. The three ran three-wide at times up front, with Schuh up high and Reynolds in the middle. What a show.
Late in the race Carr was able to inch ahead of Schuh for the lead and he would prevail at the checkered. Schuh was second, Reynolds was third and Kyle Lovick of Rugby fourth.
Another good feature was in the Wissota Street Stocks. Trey Hess of Manvel ran the low line and took the lead. There were several cars battling for spots in the top five — Tucker Pederson of East Grand forks, Ryne Uhrich of Langdon, Seth Klostreich of Grand Forks, Brian Johanson of Edmore and Dan McNamee of Arvilla.
Hess consistently ran the low line, and as the race progressed. Uhrich and Pederson slowly erased the lead running the higher line. The decisive moment came when Pederson found his way around Uhrich for second, and that gave him clear sailing at Hess. Pederson used the high line to gain the lead and picked up his first feature win of 2020.
I felt for Hess. He ran a good, consistent race and probably deserved the win, he just got beat on this night as Pederson was a little better. Uhrich, who is a rookie, was third, Seth Klostreich of Grand Forks was fourth and Johanson was fifth.
I don’t think many would be surprised Dustin Strand of East Grand Forks won the NLRA Late Models. He started third and four laps into the 25-lap A main he passed early leader Brandon Fuller of flew around the 1/4-mile on the high side to pick up the convincing win.
The story of the late model feature, to me, was the run put together by veteran Kevin Robertson of Enderlin. He had a flat tire in his heat and didn’t finish, forcing him to start dead last in the 18-car field. He flew around the high side and for a while was picking off a car per lap. After a couple of restarts he had passed Fuller for second, and that is where he finished. He was the hard charger of the night in any class in improving 16 spots from his starting spot.
The Meyer cousins from Wahpeton — Shawn and Casey — both ran well, too. Shawn started ninth but was effective on the low line and moved into the top five. He got by Fuller and wound up finishing a strong third. Casey Meyer also was solid, taking fourth after starting fifth. Long-time veteran Troy Schill of Grand Forks also ran solid taking fifth.
There were 20 NLRA late models pregistered and 18 in attendance.
Alex Truscinski of Greenbush was leading at West Fargo on Friday in the POWRi Minn-Kota Lightning Sprints when he had engine trouble that ended his night. He didn’t have the bad luck on Saturday, picking up the win after starting sixth. Kelsi Pederson of East Grand Forks continues to run well; a night after winning at RRVS she finished a solid second after a good battle with Dexter Dvergsten of Greenbush. Teenager Bryce Haugeberg of West Fargo was fourth.
Joe Armstrong of Crary dominated the Pure Stock feature winning by a commanding margin. Juliann Salazar of Neche, N.D. — which is about as close to the Canadian border as you can get — was second. Bemidji driver Devyn Weleski was third, and MiKara Johanson of Edmore had a nice run, finishing fourth after starting 11th.
—I visited with Tim Compson of Valley City briefly. Compson, a long-time super stock driver who recently ran in the IMCA Stock Cars at West Fargo, is driving a late model in 2020. With one of his sons, Collin racing a legend car and another in a slingshot, he plans to bounce around when it comes to racing his late model. His late model is one of Mitch Johnson’s old cars and yes, Compson is running a Mopar Engine. Compson looked pretty good for his first night out although he was bumped out of the way during the feature and lost some spots.
—The long haul award goes to Craig Rodgers of Gillette, Wyo., who drives the #89 late model. He didn’t have a very good feature as he was charged with two yellows and sent to the pits.
—Kelsi Pederson has finished in the top three in all six of her feature races this season.
Riley Picks Up Don Gumke Memorial Win at Jamestown
Eric Riley of Morris picked up the biggest win of his career by winning the Wissota Street Stock feature at Jamestown Speedway on Saturday. He took home $1,222 for the win. The feature was Night 2 of the Steffes Street Stock Tour. Another excellent field of 34 cars signed in. The race was the Don Gumke Racers Memorial, in honor of the late Don Gumke, a long-time racer and promoter in Jamestown who passed away this offseason.
Jake Froemke of International Falls, Minn., was second, veteran Royce Jawaski of Horace was third and Billie Christ of Jamestown fourth. Jonny Carter of Lisbon rounded out the top five.
Austin Arneson of Fargo picked up the $2,222 check for winning the IMCA Modifieds over Jason Grimes of Jamestown, who carried Gumke’s 2* number on his car. Billy Kendall of Baxter, Minn., was third, Spencer Wilson of Minot fourth and the ageless John Corell of Jamestown fifth.
Matthew Duchscherer of New Rockford won the Bomber Feature over Billy Carow of Jamestown. Lane Stoppleworth of Buchanan was third.