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Turnbull Edges Diemel for Seitz Memorial Win; Peterson, Dykhoff, and Schill Pick Up Victories

The margin of victory for Aaron Turnbull (21). Photo by Mike Spieker/Speedway Shots

The John Seitz Memorial Late Model race at River Cities Speedway rarely disappoints. What an incredible finish on Saturday night.

In a race that went down to the wire, Aaron Turnbull of Estevan, Saskatchewan held off a furious last challenge from two-time winner A.J. Diemel of Elk Mound, Wis., to repeat as champion in the late models. Turnbull is the third two-time champion of the event, joining Diemel and Brad Seng of Grand Forks.

It was by no means an easy win for the Canadian driver. It was a race, in fact that had a lot of momentum swings, if you will.

After the fuel stop, Diemel looked to be in complete control of the feature. Don Shaw had led the first several laps in commanding fashion but Diemel, who started 10th, had worked his way to the front by the fuel caution.

Diemel had a straightaway on Turnbull. Jesse Glenz of Cadott, Wis., also was running strong in the top three. Had the race stayed green, Diemel probably had it won. But a couple of cautions came out, and that opened the door for Turnbull on a restart.

Turnbull pulled a slider and took the lead with Diemel all over him. Diemel, however, started to briefly fade, and Glenz moved into second and started to battle Turnbull for the top spot. The car putting on a show was Jeffrey Massingill of Keewatin, Minn.; he started 23rd on the 26-car field and used the low line to move into the top three. Soon, he was in third pressuring Glenz.

Also putting together an excellent showing was Casey Meyer of Wahpeton, who moved into the top four.

Glenz pushed hard to get by Turnbull. Meyer had used the outside to move past Massingill, who slid back to fifth.

Then it got real interesting.

Diemel put himself back in the picture and soon the battle for the lead was a three-car tussle. As the white flag flew, Turnbull, Diemel and Glenz ran three-wide in a battle that kept fans on the edge of their seats.

The race went down to the finish line as Turnbull edged Diemel for the win in one of the closest finishes you could ask for. Glenz settled for third while Casey Meyer capped off a great weekend by taking fourth. Massingill’s great run earned him fifth.

Five RaceChaser area drivers — Meyer, Brad Seng (eighth), Joey Pederson of East Grand Forks (ninth), Cole Schill (11th) and Ryan Mikkelson of Alexandria (12th) — finished in the top 12. Schill ran in the top five and near the top five much of the night until he was spun and slid back late. Seng came through the B main to earn a top 10.

Dustin Strand's Seitz misery continues. He had worked in a position to make a run at the top five but got into Schill and was tagged with the caution. What seemed like moments later, Strand got too high entering turn four and the car ended up rolling. It was not a hard rollover -- the car was pushed back to the pits which rarely happens after a rollover -- but enough to ruin his night. Strand is the 2020 NLRA and RCS track champion but his best Seitz finish is eighth.

Despite winning the Wissota Modified track title at Casino Speedway, it hasn’t been a great year for Tyler Peterson of Hickson, interviewed above. Mechanical issues have haunted the #1TPO machine during the 2020 year. On Saturday he survived a fierce battle with Michael Greseth of Harwood to win the Seitz Modified main event.

For a while, Peterson’s biggest challenge was Watertown, SD driver Jayson Good. Peterson ran the top and Good hugged the inside lane. Greseth and Good battled for several laps for second.

A series of cautions brought the field together. Good’s hopes for a win ended when he pulled in with mechanical troubles on the backstretch.

Also lurking in the top five were Zach Johnson of Lowry, Corky Thomas of Glyndon and Matt Gilbertson of Montevideo.

The race turned into a duel between Peterson and Greseth. Greseth applied heavy pressure and pulled beside Peterson several times. Peterson survived for the win in what was a terrific, clean race for the lead.

Johnson finished a solid third after starting eighth.  Veterans Gilbertson and Thomas rounded out the top five. Teenager Ryan Gierke of Villard had a good run through the field, finishing sixth after starting 15th. Superman Mike Stearns of Hecla finished seventh for his second straight top seven.

I talked to Johnson’s car owner Corey Svor. Their night was ended by a brake issue on Friday. I think the #6x team was pretty happy with Saturday’s run.

Kyle Dykhoff, interviewed above, is picking up some big time momentum in the Wissota Streets. He started on the pole and led all 25 laps for the win.  The Starbuck driver now has three wins in his last four starts; the other was a second on Thursday

Ryan Pommerer of Oriska, a two-time Seitz winner, battled Doug VanMill of Bagley for second. Behind them was a big pack of cars battling that included Aaron Blacklance of Thief River Falls, Tucker Pederson of East Grand Forks, track champion Ryan Johnson of Karlstad and Dan Aberle of Finley.

Moving up through the field was Justin Vogel of Brooten. He arrived on Saturday — Madison Rained out — started in the back of the B and 21st on the grid. Kasey Ussatis of Nome also was also moving into the top 10 after starting 23rd.

Blacklance worked into second while Pederson followed him into third. The battle for fourth and back raged on.

Kyle Dykhoff after his street stock win.

Dykhoff started running a higher lane but went to the bottom and the 11 car stuck there to pick up his second career Seitz title. Blacklance finished a solid second while Pederson held off Vogel for third. Vogel was the hard charger and took fourth in an outstanding run. Pommerer was a solid fifth. Dykhoff also won the Seitz race in 2015.

The Wissota Midwest Modified feature saw some tore up race cars and a dominant performance by Langdon’s Lance Schill.

There was a multi car mess on the frontstretch on a restart, leaving Nate Reynolds #6 car pretty beat up. Watertown drivers Terry Reilly and Les Schoon both suffered damage in that pileup as well.

After the final caution Schill, who started sixth, had some pressure from Mike Nichols of Watertown, but eventually pulled away to a near-straightaway lead. The best battle was for fifth between Jaden Varnson of Lakota and Reise Stenberg of Argusville, who ran side by side for several laps.

Schill, Nichols, Hunter Hougard of Warren and Aaron Blacklance were all safe in their top spots at the checkered. For Blacklance it was his second top five of the night. Hougard picked up his second third-place finish of the week while Nichols finished a strong second after starting 11th. Stenberg topped Varnson for fifth.

Seitz Notes

—Two 60-somethings qualified for the A main in the late models — Tom Corcoran of East Grand Forks (66) and Kevin Robertson of Enderlin (60). Corcoran won his B feature.

—Cole Searing of Huron is a rookie in the late models but sure looks to have a promising future in the class. He started 15th on the field and finished a solid seventh.

—Defending Wissota Late Model national champion Chad Becker of Aberdeen qualified for the feature by winning the last chance race. However, he didn’t finish the feature and had to have his #12 machine pushed off. It was his first appearance at the Seitz, by the way.

Saturday notes

--Brock Gronwold of Fergus Falls finished fourth in the feature at the Mississippi Thunder Mod Nationals in Fountain City, Wis., on Saturday. The feature paid $10,000 to the winner.

--Nate Reinke of Lisbon won the Wissota Midwest Modified feature Saturday night at the Tri County Speedway in Wishek, which is hosted Night 1 of the Sauerkraut 500. Jaren Wibstad of Jamestown was third and Jeffrey Schwind Jr. of Jamestown was fourth.

Billie Christ of Jamestown continues his strong season in the Wissota Street Stocks, picking up the win. Kyle Anderson of Jamestown was third.

--Ryan Braseth of Ulen won the INEX Legend feature Saturday night at Southwest Speedway in Dickinson.

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