Vogel, Weight Break Through at I-94 Speedway; Highlights from RRVS and RCS
I-94 Speedway in Fergus Falls had a huge field of cars on hand on Friday with 129 in the pit area. That included season highs in the Wissota Street Stocks (23) Limited Late Models (19) and Short Trackers (18). It meant a lot of laps of racing and a longer night.
Reasons for the boost in car counts? Viking Speedway in Alexandria is not racing this week because of the Douglas County Fair. Apparently the fair people there don't realize fair races draw good crowds. Another blog for another day. So several Viking regulars were on hand. Also, River Cities Speedway in Grand Forks was running the World of Outlaw Sprint Cars and the late models with the midwest modifieds and streets getting the night off, and several streeters and a few midwest modifieds pulled south to run at I-94.
The story of the night, to me, was Billy Vogel's first career win in the Wissota Late Models — and the end of Don Shaw’s unbeaten streak in the division. Shaw has raced at I-94 five times this year and won each time. But Vogel, a late model rookie from West Fargo, stole the show on Friday, leading all 20 laps for the win.
And it wasn’t like he had to hold on for dear life to win the race — he had some breathing room over Casey Meyer of Wahpeton at the checkered. Shaw has been the car to beat all year at I-94 but had to settle for third; in fact he didn’t make up much ground on second-place Meyer. Shawn Kirwin of Morris and Deven VanHouse of Silver Bay rounded out the top five. The track rubbered up some for the late models but the race ran caution free.
It's hard to believe about a month ago Kyle Dykhoff's #11 car wasn't even put together. Now, he's a rocket in that car. Starting in the third row, Dykhoff worked past early leader Daniel Aberle of Finley, N.D., and opened up a nice lead. The big battle was for third, where Kasey Ussatis of Nome, Eric Riley of Morris and Ryan Satter of Dent were in a tight battle.
A caution with three laps to go bunched the field together, but Dykhoff was in command. Aberle's nice run ended in second; it was good to see him finish strong after being the victim of a not-so-nice slide job a few weeks ago. Satter edged Ussatis for third with Riley taking fifth.
I am happy for Travis Scott of Glenwood. He started 14th and finished seventh. That may not seem like a big deal, but considering the luck Scott has had at I-94, I think he’ll take it. He rolled his 71X machine a while back.
You can watch the street stock race here: <iframe src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Ftom.berg.739%2Fvideos%2F2355880217794332%2F&show_text=0&width=560" width="560" height="315" style="border:none;overflow:hidden" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" allowTransparency="true" allowFullScreen="true"></iframe>
Brennon Weight of LaMoure, N.D., (interviewed above) has raced at I-94 for six years off and on, but Friday was the first time he saw victory lane at the track. Weight started on front and rode the cushion for the win. Brock Gronwold of Fergus Falls poked his nose underneath a few times on a pair of restarts but Weight had the momentum and won by a few car lengths. Gronwold was second. Corey Storck of Morris had a nice run taking third after starting 13th. Justin Froemming of Alexandria and Cody Lee of Alexandria rounded out the top five.
What a nightmare the Limited Late Model feature turned into. 18 cars took the green (Marrin Priem did not start) and five managed to finish. And there was plenty of battered equipment as a result.
I felt for Larry Samuelson of Erhard. He was leading early in the race when his engine suddenly quit going down the backstretch. It turned into a big pileup with ended the night for Samuelson, Buddy Thorstad, Dustin Johanneck and Blake Saathoff.
By the time the carnage was over it turned into a battle between Ryan Mikkelson of Alexandria (interviewed above) and Ben Wolden of Fergus Falls. Mikkelson, despite a bent spoiler and some sheet metal damage, survived Wolden’s challenges for the win. Ryan Satter of Dent was second, Dan Dowling of Davenport fourth and Layne Saathoff of Bruce, S.D., was fifth.
One thought on the Limited Lates — the deal with Samuelson was unfortunate; he was pretty helpless once the engine shut down on his 11 machine. Stuff like that happens. But there were some other yellows and driving that really wasn’t necessary and it turned the race into a marathon. Some people driving over their head, frankly. The race itself was a disappointment even though Mikkelson and Wolden put on a good battle at the end. Too many yellows!
A great 24-car field signed in to compete for the Wissota Modified. Former national champion Blake Jegtvig of Hawley was clearly the class of the field from his outside pole spot, winning his first I-94 feature of the year. Tyler Peterson of Hickson was second, and Scot Danzeisen of Herman edged Dusty Bitzan of Brandon for fourth. Bitzan, by the way, started 15th and made a heck of a run. Dan Pederson of Underwood was fifth and was solid all night long in the 5x.
Austin Lammers of Pelican Rapids was back in victory lane in the Short Trackers. He started sixth on the 18-car field and worked his way into the lead on his way to his second win of 2019. Casey Stremick of Harwood was second, Brent Engler of Barrett third, Randy Thompson of Lake Park fourth and Zach Kort of Fergus Falls fifth.
--Matt Schow of McIntosh, who rolled his Wissota Midwest Modified at River Cities Speedway a few weeks ago, was in a Wissota Mod on Friday in an older car. His B mod is closing to being ready to go as Dustin Strand was putting a new front clip on.
--Mike Anderson of Walcott, ND, was in a Limited Late Model, driving a late model previously driven by Corey Nelson of Canby, Minn. Anderson was in an IMCA Stock Car, which is now being driven by Travis Robertson of Moorhead. Also new to the Limited Late Models was Marrin Priem of Moorhead in the B main. There were 19 limited late models on hand which by my calculation was the highest of the year at I-94. The father-son limited late model team of Layne and Blake Saathoff, Kyle and Bradley Vigen were among the first-time visitors int he limited lates, at least for this season.
—Some interesting names pulled in for the late models. That included Aberdeen, SD driver Curt Gelling and Iron Range drivers Kevin Carlson and Deven VanHouse. Gelling is a former Wissota Late Model national champion but was a nonfactor in the feature; VanHouse, who made the four-hour plus trek from Silver Bay, Minn., is the likely Wissota Late Model Rookie of the Year this year. Gondlik Law Speedway in Superior was not racing late models this week.
--A modified I haven't seen race, possibly ever, is Davey Mills of Bemidji. He pulled into town with his #22 car for the first time in 2019. His night ended with a flat. Alexandria driver Shaun Peterson -- the son-in-law of Wissota Late Model driver Tom Corcoran of Grand Forks -- also made his first I-94 appearance in the mods this year. Peterson is a long-time modified racer and also ran the late model.
Veralrud, Wilke Win at RRVS
Austin Veralrud of Barnesville won the IMCA Sport Mod feature from his 10th starting spot Friday night at the Red River Valley Speedway. Ryan Rested of West Fargo was second, Billy Michaelsohn of Fargo third, Kevin Veralrud of Horace fourth and Paul Colvin of Horace fifth.
Mathew Olson of Fargo topped Adam Goff of Minot for the IMCA Hobby Stock win. Alyssa White of West Fargo was third, Tim Shiek of Fargo fourth and Brad Orvedal of Fargo fifth.
Ty Wilke of Detroit Lakes prevailed in the INEX Legends over Dylan Johnson of Durbin. Tony Brockhouse was third.
Todd Heinrich of Fargo picked up his first career IMCA Stock Car win on Friday over Jordan Zillmer of Cleveland, N.D. Brennan Borg of Harwood, Rick Schulz of Horace and Derrick Kronbach of Barnesville rounded out the top five.
The IMCA Modified feature was cancelled because of track conditions from the rainfall earlier in the week. I wasn’t there and while my source is very reliable I don’t want to comment further on any of that.
Schatz Sweeps at River Cities
The NLRA Late Models joined the World of Outlaw Sprint Cars at River Cities Speedway on Friday. This gives Fargo driver Donny Schatz a chance to race his late model as well as his #15 sprint.
Schatz started fifth in the late model feature and went on to win with Dustin Strand of East Grand Forks second. Brad Seng of Grand Forks, Mike Balcaen of Winnipeg and Shane Edginton of Winnipeg rounded out the top five. 23 late models were on hand at River Cities.
Schatz made it a sweep with the WOO Sprint win over David Gravel, who led the first 16 laps.
Thirty-one sprint cars signed in at River Cities.
—Andrew Jochim of Glyndon won the INEX Legend Car feature Friday night at Dacotah Speedway in Mandan.
—Jonny Carter of Lisbon picked up his 19th feature win of 2019 with the Wissota Street Stock victory at Dacotah. Todd Carter of Lisbon was second and Kyle Anderson of Jamestown third.
--The Race for Fallen Linemen for the Wissota Modifieds at Viking Speedway has been rescheduled for Aug. 31. The NLRA Late Models are running a doubleheader that weekend so should be excellent fields of cars.