I headed to River Cities Speedway in Grand Forks for the finale of the 13th annual Seitz Memorial on Saturday.
The track was in excellent shape, and not as sticky as years past. I thought with the cool weather and clouds the moisture might be more prevelant, but it slicked off, and there was a lot of multi-lane racing. Nice work by the RCS track prep crew.
To clarify, while most of the time I get media access to the pit area, last night I decided to pay because I wanted to be more of a fan.
Tyler Peterson loves the "bullring" tracks, and that includes River Cities Speedway. He has three feature wins over the past seven days; he won the modified feature at Casino Speedway and wrapped up the track title at the Watertown track last Sunday. The Hickson driver made it back-to-back at the Seitz Memorial this week with his second victory on Saturday. More on that later.
The story of the night was the performance by Aaron Turnbull of Estevan, Sask. Turnbull is known more for his modified success but what a show the #21 late model put on all night to pick up his first ever Seitz Memorial title.
Turnbull held the early lead with Shane Edginton of Winnipeg in pursuit. Edginton eventually made the pass for the lead about 30 laps in and held that until the fuel stop at lap 42.
After the fuel stop, Edginton and Turnbull waged a heck of a battle for the lead. Turnbull made the pass for the lead using the inside line and then took off from the field. He lapped up to eighth place and might have gotten a few more but the caution came out with six to go when Seng spun in turns one and two.
Two-time Seitz winner AJ Diemel of Elk Mound, Wis., ran in the top five most of the night and began pressuring Edginton for second. He made the pass, but had more than a straightaway to make up. Also on the move was 2017 winner Don Shaw of Ham Lake, who moved into the top five.
The caution with six to go saw Shaw slip back a few spots and also saw 2015 winner Chad Mahder of Eau Claire, Wis., move into the top five. There was another caution for a second Seng spin with three to go.
Diemel made a valiant effort to get by Turnbull but the Canadian was simply the best car on this night in taking the win. Diemel held off Shaw for second with Edginton taking a solid fourth and Jake Redetzke of Eau Claire finishing fifth.
It wasn't a good night for a few RCS regulars, including the two front row starters. Outside pole sitter Dustin Strand of East Grand Forks was lightning fast early, but had brake trouble and pulled in. He has had miserable luck at that event. Seng had the inside pole but dropped outside the top five during the first 25 laps and wasn't a factor for the win; he later spun twice. Joey Pederson and Tom Corcoran also did not finish.
Peterson (interviewed above) started third on the 24-car Wissota Mod field and after a series of cautions took the lead and went on to take the win and the $1,292 winning check. Peterson took home $792 for his win on Friday. Two-time defending national champion Ward Imrie of Winnipeg ran well both nights in the 10W; he finished second on Saturday after finishing third on Friday.
Matt Gilbertson of Montevideo finished third after starting 12th, Trevor Anderson of Watertown, S.D. was fourth after starting 19th and Clayton Wagamon was second after starting on the outside pole.
Bagley driver Doug VanMill pressured early leader Dan Aberle of Finley for several laps. Banish was trying diligently to make the high side work, and eventually he started narrowing the gap on the leaders. He caught the front two and then a caution came out.
Banish went back up top and got beside Aberle, who stayed on the bottom. The two ran side-by-side for several laps before Banish inched ahead late. He went on to take the win -- what he called the biggest of his career -- with Aberle taking second and VanMill third. John Halvorson of Warren and Trey Hess of Lakota also ran well, placing fourth and fifth, respectively.
Banish has scaled back his racing this season. The wet spring led to a busy farming time plus he is helping his son with the Slingshot car he races at Jamestown. It was Banish's second feature win of the year.
Only 13 of the 24 starters took the checkered in the streets, and there were a few torn up cars.
Unfortunately the trend of torn-up machines continued in the Wissota Midwest Modified feature. What a mess that turned into. Only seven cars out of the 24 starters finished and there were a lot of tore up race cars.
The big crash happened about 2/3 of the way on the front straightaway that took out, by. The 57 of Blake Higginbotham of Bagley was forced into the front stretch wall and mayhem ensued. Reise Stenberg of Argusville rolled his 87S machine and several other cars sustained heavy damage. Walking through the pit area, it appeared Hunter Hougard of Warren, Stenberg, Austin Hunter of Winnipeg and Higginbotham suffered the worst of it. Hougard's 188 car was a mess. Canadian drivers Victoria Stutsky also had mechanical issues, and Brandon Rehill also sustained damage. Other cars involved included Jory Berg of Grand Forks, Preston Carr of Carrington and Tanner Theis of New Rockford.
I do wonder how this will impact plans to race the Wissota 100 this week for a few of these drivers. The good news was no injuries were reported.
When that carnage was cleared, Hoople, N.D., driver Nate Reynolds survived a challenge from track champion Lance Schill to pick up the feature win. Jamie Dietzler of Larimore was third, Matt Schow of McIntosh fourth aand Troy Randall of Watertown, S.D. was fifth.
Reynolds now has three feature wins this season.
Seitz Memorial Notes
--There were five former late model champs who quaified for the A main: AJ Diemel (twice), Brad Seng (twice), Don Shaw, Cody Skytland and Chad Mahder. Defending champion Ricky Weiss was racing at the World 100 at Eldora.
--Austin Pierce of Grand Forks won the NOSA Sprint feature on Friday at RCS.
--Including the sprints on Friday, 170 cars showed up for the Seitz. Another excellent field. One of the appeals to me is seeing different drivers from different parts of the region race -- there were a few South Dakota drivers in attendance, some from Canada, a few Greenbush-area cars and some from down south like, Gilbertson, Clarence Washburn, Jordan Tollakson of Montevideo and Zach Johnson..
--Cody Skytland of Horace drove Donny Schatz's #15 late model once again and ran well, finishing just outside the top five in sixth. He started 17th.
--I felt for Josh Johnson of Harwood. A car spun in front of him in the late model last chance race and left him nowhere to go, tearing up his #84x machine pretty good. Talked to him for a while and he's excited to be back on the track, starting racing about a month ago.
Night 2 of the Sauerkraut 500 at Tri-County Speedway in Wishek was rained out. Lucas Rodin of Marion won the Wissota Midwest Modifieds on Friday over Jeffrey Schwind Jr. of Jamestown. Zach Reinke of Lisbon was third.
John Weber of Linton won the Wissota Street Stock feature over Jonny Carter of Lisbon. Kyle Anderson of Jamestown was third.
Jarrett Carter of Lisbon was second in the IMCA Modified feature.