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Veteran Jawaski Wins Steffes Street Stock Thriller at Devils Lake Speedway

Royce Jawaski (5) won his first feature in nearly two years.

RaceChaser blog was at Devils Lake Speedway for the first time on Saturday as the Steffes Street Stock Tour was back in town for the first annual Cliff Reeves Memorial. A great field of 33 Wissota Street Stocks were on hand at the 1/4-mile oval.

Cliff Reeves was a street stock driver who tragically lost his life last October as a result of an accident.

The Wissota Midwest Modifieds, POWRi Minn-Kota Lightning Sprints and Pure Stocks also were in attendance. There was a smaller-than-normal midwest modified count with the Rebel Midwest Modified Tour taking place in Jamestown (47 cars in attendance).

The story of the night was the veteran Royce Jawaski of Horace, interviewed above -- a driver who’s won a lot of features in the street stocks over the years in eastern North Dakota — holding on for a big win in the Wissota Street Stock win. He weathered challenges from several drivers and held off a late push from Parker Anderson, who is the tour point leader, for a hard-fought, well-deserved win. It was Jawaski’s first feature win since July 11, 2019 at Tri-County Speedway in Wishek.

I’ll say this, from my perspective. The street stock feature had some great racing at the front; back in the field, however was messy at times and frustrated me. Cautions, some crumpled up fenders and some drivers who just flat-out struggled on the dry track led to a long race. It proves a race can be excellent and maddening at the same time! There was even a little controversy late in the feature as a result of some hard racing for the lead.

Jawaski led early, and was pressured by Justin Vogel of Brooten, and on the move was the #79 of Billie Christ of Jamestown, who was fast but as smooth as glass on the bottom.

Parker Anderson, who has five tour wins, and Jonny Carter of Lisbon were also settling in the top five, with Kyle Genett of Auburndale, Wis., also in the hunt.

Christ was making the low line work and he eventually got past Jawaski for the lead. Vogel, Carter and Anderson remained in the hunt. Christ and Jawaski raced side by side for many, many laps.

The intensity ramped up late thanks to some late restarts. With five to go, on a restart, Anderson made a very aggressive move for the lead. He got underneath Christ and bumped him out of the way and it led to a lot of shuffling for positions. The top five changed as a result — Jawaski was back in front with Carter in second and Anderson third. Christ slid back to fourth and Vogel, for some reason, was listed outside the top five. Now keep in mind I didn’t see who crossed the line in what order — one full lap was completed and there were a bunch of cars in that front group.

My opinion here: I’m pretty guessing Christ wasn’t happy with Anderson’s move for the lead. Some would call it hard-racing, some would call it laying it all out trying to get the win and some would call it uncalled for. It all depends on your perspective. I do know this, fans like that kind of racing as long as equipment isn’t torn up. Keep in mind, Genett did the same thing to Anderson on the final lap at River Cities Speedway the night before. Anderson told me he's out there to win and he's not afraid to make those aggressive moves, and sometimes, those moves ruffle feathers.

That set up a four-lap shootout at the end. Carter went down low and was beside Jawaski, who stayed true to the higher line the entire race. Anderson worked the middle line and the race went down to the wire. Carter couldn’t quite clear Jawaski, who didn’t make any mistakes in the final laps to secure his first feature win in more than two years. Anderson edged Carter for second. Christ, who started 14th, finished fourth with Vogel capping off a good run to finish fifth after starting 12th.

Kyle Dykhoff of Starbuck avoided the cautions and mishaps in the field and finished a solid sixth after starting in 16th. That was his second top 10 finish in two nights. Andy Rossow of Florence also hung in there for an eighth place finish. And a tip of the cap to Seth Klostreich of Grand Forks; he’s told me in the past he hasn’t been at his best on dry tracks; well he earned hard charger honors, finishing 11th after starting 23rd. He kept out of trouble and avoided the spinouts that plagued some drivers in the middle and back of the pack.

I like that different drivers are following the tour.

Vogel, Jonny Carter, Parker Anderson, Kyle Anderson, Kyle Dykhoff, Eric Riley, Todd Carter, Jawaski and Dan Aberle are back this year after regularly running the tour last year. But Genett and Jeff Nowak have hit some shows from Wisconsin; Billie and Jaden Christ of Jamestown have been regular followers this year; and Rossow and Ashley Wampler of Hecla, SD also have been consistently at shows this year. Joe Potter I believe has been at every show this year, too. It’s a great mix of drivers.

Kyle Anderson of Jamestown, who I thought had a top 10 caliber car, broke early in the feature and pulled in. Joe Potter of Euclid also pulled in with right-front damage while Kyle Howland of Zimmerman also left on the hook.

The track turned out nice for the feature with two lanes -- up high and a low groove. Jawaski stayed loyal to the top line and it paid off for him.

Most of the time I go to Devils Lake, Joe Armstrong of Crary has won the Pure Stock feature. He didn't this time as Steven Richards of Finley was the class of the field. Richards started way back in seventh but got to the front quicky and ran the high line, and was never challenged.

Armstrong had a rare spin coming out of turn two, and pulled in shortly after.

Richards won for the third time this season. Tony Bundy of Balta was second. MiKara Johanson of Edmore recovered nicely from an earlier spin that sent her to the tail of the field to take third. Carter Tuenge of Rugby and Colin Ada of Rugby rounded out the top five.

Kelsi Pederson of East Grand Forks was well on her way to a POWRi Minn-Kota Lightning Sprint feature win. She battled Jason Berg of West Fargo early for the lead before overtaking him on the outside. Pederson opened a commanding lead as Berg and Dexter Dvergsten of Greenbush battled for second.

Pederson has battled some bad luck this year and Saturday was no exception as she pulled in with overheating issues. Likely, she wins the race if that doesn't happen.

Dvergsten got by Berg for second and was in that spot when Pederson pulled in. Dvergsten is having a great year in the #11 car and picked up his fifth win of the year. Travis Surerus of Fargo made a late charge on the high side to take second with Bryce Haugeberg of West Fargo, who won Thursday at Norman County Raceway, was third. Berg was fourth, and 14-year-old Kate Taves recorded her second top five of the year in taking fifth.

There was an early caution in the Wissota Midwest Modified feature, but after that, the race went non-stop for 19 laps. Logan Salazar of Neche whipped the field. He went up to the high line right away and flew around the quarter-mile into a sizable lead.

Nate Reynolds of Hoople moved into second and Jeremy Lizakowski settled into third. Jason Schuh of Lakota and Jory Berg of Grand Forks, coming off of a runner-up finish at River Cities Speedway on Friday, battled for the fifth spot in the best battle on the track. Eric Haugland of Brocket was running well in the top four but pulled in shortly after.

Salazar picked up his third win of the year with a dominant performance. Reynolds, Lizakowski, Berg and Schuh rounded out the top five.

Saurers Win at Viking Speedway

Long-time veteran Ron Saurer, 68, picked up the Wissota Midwest Modified win Saturday night at Viking Speedway in Alexandria. It was his first victory of the season. Brendan Blascyk of Kensington was second, last week’s winner Shawn Olson of Alexandria was third, Josh Muzik of Brandon was fourth and Brennan Gave of Princeton fifth. Only six of the 13 starters finished.

It was a good night for the Saurer family as Trevor Saurer of Dalton topped Matt Miller of Glenwood for the Wissota Super Stock feature win. Trent Brutger of Watkins was third, super stock rookie Jack Koranda of Bluffton was fourth and Karter Reents of Villard.

Dusty Bitzan of Brandon topped Brady Gerdes of Villard for the Wissota Modified feature win. Last week’s winner Danny Bayer of Elrosa was third, Brett Hoium of Vilard was fourth and Joe Thomas of Glyndon fifth.

Ryan Satter of Dent is rolling at the local tracks in the Wissota Street Stocks, picking up another win. Andrew Bangsund of Alexandria was second, Russell Kostreba of Alexandria third, Roger Berkness of Eagle Bend fourth and Cole Kannegiesser of Hancock fifth.

Saturday Notes

—Lucas Rodin of Marion bested a stellar field of 47 Wissota Midwest Modifieds to win the Rebel Midwest Modified Tour stop Saturday at Jamestown Speedway. Rodin now has seven wins on the year. Jason Halvorson of Devils Lake was second, Reise Stenberg of Argusville third, Zach Reinke of Lisbon fourth and Brock Gronwold of Fergus Falls, who has two tour wins so far, was fifth.

So far, Gronwold (two wins), Matt Schow of McIntosh (one), Shawn Olson of Alexandria (one) and Rodin have tour wins.

—Ryan Braseth of Ulen is running extremely well in his #29 INEX Legend machine. He picked up his fifth feature win of the summer Saturday at Jamestown Speedway. Alex Kukowski of Edgeley was third.

--Shane Edginton of Winnipeg won the Late Model Shootout at McLean County Speedway in Underwood on Saturday. Cole Schill of Horace finished second for the second consecutive night.

--Eric Riley of Morris won his second Wissota Street Stock feature of the week at Madison Speedway. He also won Friday at Fiesta City Speedway in Montevideo.

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