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Thoughts on USA Nationals and a Few Weekend Tidbits


Chris Madden after his win (photo by Jacy Norgaard)

A few thoughts on the USA Nationals at Cedar Lake this past weekend. Man, what a crowd 8,000 people on Saturday partying the weekend away and watching some of the best dirt late model drivers in the nation.


46 WOO Late Models and 35 NASCAR Late Models competed. The NASCAR (or Wissota) lates had the who's who there of the region -- John Kaanta, Pat Doar, Jimmy Mars, AJ Diemel, Jake Redetzke, Chad Mahder and Don Shaw to name a few. Kaanta won the first night, taking $2,500 with a late pass of Redetzke; Mars held off Jesse Glenz of Abbotsford, WI for the win on Saturday.


Several RaceChaser-area cars were on hand in the NASCAR Late Models -- Bryce Sward of Nelson, Dustin Bluhm of Herman, Jeff Flaten of Hancock and Ryan Corbett of Grand Forks.


Corbett had a nice weekend, in my view. He was in the top 15 both nights, taking 13th on Friday and ninth on Saturday and by my count walked out with narly $700 on the weekend, which isn't bad. Bluhm won the B feature on Saturday while Sward also made the feature on the second night. Bluhm made the feature both nights.


Chris Madden made a late pass of Brandon Sheppard to win what was an incredible late model feature. I won't go into a lot of details on the race itself.


Cedar Lake has one rule I detest as a fan -- if you stop on the track for any reason, you are charged with the yellow. IN the case of the NASCAR Late Model feature on Saturday, Rick Hanestad -- who was having an excellent run into the top five after starting 10th -- was spun by another car (who is nameless, but has been criticized in this blog before) in turn three. Hanestad was sideways so was charged with the yellow, while the other driver got off scott-free.


Basically, this means you can take someone out and get it away with it, in my book. It's not a good rule.


Cedar Lake stretched a 2 1/2 hour show in 4 1/2 hours on Saturday. It must have worked -- the backstretch concessions were almost sold out of food by feature time.


If there was a whiner of the weekend award, it goes to Boom Briggs of Bear Lake, Pa. I will grant that it isn't the best time to interview a driver after he's rolled his machine -- but Briggs used the chance to complain about the passing points system used for the weekend. He said that's why only 46 cars were in attendance. Well, 45 is pretty darn good when you considered the depth of the field. I'm not sure what format he would have used in its place, either; if it was better a lot of us would have been happy to hear it. Briggs, by the way, used a WOO provisional and finished 14th and was a nonfactor in the feature.


Briggs, by the way, is famous on the internet for his car falling off the hauler, pictured here.


A few drivers went home after the first day, including Jonathan Davenport, who had damaged his #49 machine in a crash on Friday. Multi-time USA Nationals Champ Billy Moyer, Tyler Bruening, Steven Roberts and Blake Spencer also did not compete on Saturday.


Weekend notes

--Congrats to Jesse Skalicky of Fargo who picked up his first IMCA Modified feature of the summer at Buffalo River Race Park on Saturday. Other winners included Chris VanMil of Barnesville (IMCA Sport Mods), ADam Goff of Minot (IMCA Hobby Stocks), Jason Berg of West Fargo (Lightning Sprints), Tye Wilke of Detroit Lakes (INEX Legends) and Chase Golliet of Fargo (Sport Compact).


--Dustin Bitzan of Brandon won the Wissota Modified feature Saturday at Viking Speedway in Alexandria. Other Viking winners included Shane Sabraski of Rice (super stocks), Travis Engebretson of Cyrus (midwest modified), Ryan Mikkelson of Alexandria (limited late models) and Justin Vogel of Brooten (street stocks).


--Congrats to Ryan Johnson of Karlstad for winning the Rick Johnson Memorial (Wissota Street Stock feature) at Greenbush Race Park on Saturday.


--Jonny Carter of Lisbon won the Wissota Street Stock feature Saturday at Devils Lake Speedway with Kyle Anderson of Jamestown.


--Congrats to Cory Dykhoff of Perham won his first Wissota Street Stock feature of the season Friday at I-94 Speedway in Fergus Falls. Other I-94 winners on Friday included Dan Ebert of Lake Shore (Wissota Modified and Late Model), Cody Lee of Alexandria (Wissota Midwest Modified),


--River Cities Speedway winners on Friday included Mark Dobmeier (NOSA Sprints), Brad Seng (Wissota Late Models) and Jory Berg (Wissota Midwest Modified), all of Grand Forks. Doug VanMil of Bagley won the Wissota Street Stocks. Hats off to 50-year veteran Tom Corcoran of East Grand Forks who finished second in the late model feature.


--Rob VanMil of Barnesville won Night 2 of the Sanders Modified Tour on Friday at Red River Valley Speedway in West Fargo. VanMil also won the IMCA Stock Car feature. Matt Olson of Morton won the IMCA Hobby Stock with Matt Talley of Moorhead (IMCA Sport Mod), Tye Wilke of Detroit Lakes (INEX Legends).


--Feature winners at Norman County Raceway in ADa included Aaron Blacklance of Thief River Falls (midwest modified), Casey Arneson of Fargo (IMCA Mod), Brad Orvedal of Fargo (IMCA Hobby Stock), Scott Jacobson of Fargo (IMCA Sport Mod) and Rick Schulz of Horace (IMCA Stock Car). Arneson's win was Night 1 of the Sanders Modified Challenge.


-Jamestown Speedway was idle on Saturday.