VanMil, Restad, Wilke, Engen, Hibdon Find Red River Valley Speedway Victory Lane
I was back at Red River Valley Speedway in West Fargo on Wednesday for Fan Appreciation Night. It was the second-to-last points night of the season at West Fargo and some of the points races are going down to the wire.
Keep in mind, IMCA point procedures are 40 points for the winner, with each subsequent position worth one point less. So if you have a 10 point lead going into the final night, hypothetically, you’d have to finish 11 spots below the car behind you in the standing to lose the lead.
Car counts were good in the IMCA Modifieds (21), IMCA Stock Cars (21), INEX Legends (24) and IMCA Sport Mods (17). I was disappointed only five IMCA Hobby Stocks were on hand. RRVS has defied the trend of dropping A mod numbers, usually in that 18-22 range.
The IMCA Stock Car feature was a dandy, as usual, at Red River Valley Speedway. Kalvin Kesselberg of Ada, who started fourth, worked into the early lead. But Randy Klein of Enderlin, who has looked awful good in his first month in the stock cars, was working the outside and took over the lead.
Rob VanMil of Barnesville, interviewed above, and Brennan Borg of Harwood were both working a lower line very effectively. After a restart, the race turned into a battle between Klein and VanMil.
Both were running opposite lines — Klein up top and VanMil sticking his #40 to the bottom — and it was a dead heat for several laps. VanMil finally inched ahead and the was literally all he had at the finish — a matter of inches — for his fifth win of 2021. VanMil’s margin of victory was 0.017 seconds. Klein and Borg rounded out the top three.
Tyler McDougall of Hawley made a big-time run through the field, starting 16th and finishing fourth. Travis Robertson of Moorhead also made up some ground, starting 11th and finishing fifth. Robertson leads Borg by 15 points in the season standings.
I was a little worried that the IMCA Sport Mod feature would turn into a wreck ‘em rodeo after a caution on the first lap. But after that early caution, things went smooth the rest of the way.
The bottom was the place to be, or at least where the quicker cars were. The quickest on this night was Ryan Restad of West Fargo, who started third but took over the lead early and led the rest of the way for his fifth win of the year.
Restad, interviewed above, got into lapped traffic and that allowed Scott Jacobson of Fargo to cut into the lead. But Restad cleared those cars and opened up some valuable breathing room.
The best battle on the track ended up being for second between father and son, Scott Jacobson and Kelly Jacobson of Fargo for second. Kelly Jacobson ran his #51 on a higher line and found some momentum and eventually edged ahead. Two cars who started outside the top 10 — Brandon Ferris of Moorhead and veteran Rich Pavlicek of Casselton — had worked into the top five as well.
Restad won by 2.278 seconds over Kelly Jacobson. Scott Jacobson, the season point leader at RRVS, was third. Ferris and Pavlicek capped off good runs by finishing fourth and fifth, respectively. Scott Jacobson holds a six-point lead over Pavlicek heading into the Aug. 27 finale.
The INEX Legends had a few hiccups but was a pretty good race overall. I was a little skeptical with 24 cars taking the green how it would go and there were a few incidents, but the race up front was pretty good.
For a while, it looked like 13-year-old Collin Compson of Valley City might break through for his first career win. He was working the outside of Dylan Johnson of Durbin for the top spot.
Three cars were on the move to the front — Tye Wilke of Detroit Lakes, who started 12th; Sean Johnson of Kindred, who started 11th; and Ryan Braseth of Ulen, who started 10th. All worked into the top five.
After a caution, Wilke re-started fourth — and on the ensuing restart, made his move for the top spot, surging into the lead. Sean Johnson stayed close for a while but Wilke opened up some breathing room. Johnson then battled Compson for second in a duel that went down to the wire.
Wilke picked up the win, with Compson finishing a career-best second. Sean Johnson was third, Ryan Braseth was fourth and Ashton Spieker of Sabin, who picked up his second career win Sunday at Sheyenne Speedway, was fifth. Wilke leads Sean Johnson by eight in the season points.
Another interesting note about the legends field — nine of the 24 starters were age 17 or younger.
The Aussie was back in the legends, too as Glenn Mitchell of Picton, New South Wales was on hand. Unfortunately he was a DNF.
Tanner Engen of Detroit Lakes, interviewed above, solidified his point lead in the IMCA Hobby Stocks. Engen, interviewed above, started fifth on the five-car field and got to the front, and controlled the race for his fifth win in nine starts at RRVS. He extended his point lead to 20 over Brodee Eckerdt of Grand Forks, who was a DNF and credited with fifth.
The steady veteran Brad Orvedal of Fargo was second; he is third in the points at RRVS. I was happy to see Andrea Jacobson have a good run in third; she had a rollover Sunday at Buffalo River Speedway, but ran well on Wednesday. Skyla Miller of Harwood was fourth.
The points race is a two-driver battle in the IMCA Modifieds between Tyler Hall of Fertile and Jesse Skalicky of Fargo. Both drivers would finish in the top five, but Hall would gain two valuable points by finishing in third.
What a performance by Kollin Hibdon of Pahrump, Nev., in the IMCA Mods. He started eighth on the 22-car grid and flew to the front, and checked out on the field. He is working with the Arnesons and looked awful fast on Wednesday.
Casey Arneson of Fargo was second. Hall finished third after starting fifth while veteran Dave Shipley of Argusville was fourth after starting 11th. Skalicky, who started 10th, capped off a good run in fifth.
Wilke was looking for his second feature win of the night in the IMCA RaceSaver Sprints but Ty Hanten of West Fargo spoiled those hopes. Hansen started fourth on the field. Wilke and Marcus Rothenbacher of Ulen rounded out the finishers.