Wetterlin, Skalicky Pick up 1st NCR Wins of Year; Arneson Interviewed After Harris Clash Win
RaceChaser blog made a trek to Norman County Raceway in Ada for Hall of Fame night on Thursday. 64 cars were on hand for the program; hard to believe NCR only has two nights left in 2019.
Paul and Shelly Engelstad were inducted into the NCR Hall of Fame; they brought weekly racing to the track in 2004. Congrats to them.
The IMCA Sport Mods got off to a rough start in their feature. A big multi-car pileup caused damage to several cars in turns three and four. Look, the old notion that you can’t win the race on the first lap but you sure can lose it still applies. Very unforunate deal. Torey Fischer and Noah Metzger got the worst of it ending their night; Andy Wagner of Ada and Luke Johnson of Moorhead both had damage but changed tires and continued, and ended with top five finishes.
Aaron Wetterlin of Moorhead (interviewed above) didn’t have any part of the early pileup, and drove a smooth race in his 3W car to pick up his first win of 2019. Wetterlin had several second-place finishes so he was happy to get into victory lane. And his car is lined with comic book characters, with a tribute to Stan Lee, the creator of Spiderman and other comics, on the front. He said he does it for the kids who like to see the comic characters on the car.
Brandon Schmidt of Kindred was second in the sport mods, Johnson recovered to finish third, Brandon Tendeland of West Fargo fourth and Wagner finished fifth.
Alyssa White of West Fargo picked up feature win No. 3 at Norman County Raceway in the IMCA Hobby Stock. It's hard to believe six weeks ago she didn't have any wins, and now she has three. White topped Brad Orvedal of Fargo for the win on Thursday.
Season point leader Reise Stenberg of Argusville, interviewed above, was back in victory lane in the Wissota Midwest Modifieds. He survived a challenge from Lucas Rodin of Marion, N.D., to pick up his fourth win at NCR this season and his seventh overall. Jeff Nelson of Perham got by Rodin for second, Aaron Blacklance of Thief River Falls took fourth and Zach Bruer of Fisher, Minn., fifth.
Stenberg had a tough week last week. He damaged his car last week in a crash at NCR; he got it fixed, and on the way to River Cities Speedway in Grand Forks on Friday, the water pump on his pickup went out. Stenberg not only leads the points at NCR but also leads at Jamestown; he was leading in points at River Cities before missing last week and is now fourth.
Teen standout Tye Wilke of Detroit Lakes picked up his 12th INEX Legend feature win of the year. He started fifth on the field and took another impressive win. Sean Johnson of Kindred was second, Brody Carlsrud of Moorhead third, Alex Braseth of Ulen fourth and Ryan Braseth of Ulen fifth.
East Grand Forks driver Kelsi Pederson continues to run well in the NLSA Lightning Sprint class. She won for the fifth time this season, winning by several car lengths over Murray Temple of Hartney, Manitoba. Alex Truscinski of Greenbush was third, Lawrence Veralrud of Oslo fourth and Jason Berg of West Fargo fifth.
Kalvin Kesselberg of Ada led the first portion of the IMCA Stock Car feature, but Barnesville driver Rob VanMil was too much for the field. VanMil faced a brief challenge from Rick Schulz of Horace for the lead after a restart but won by several car lengths. Schulz took second, Kesselberg third, Todd Heinrich of Fargo fourth and Aaron Olson of Mekinock, N.D., fifth.
Speaking of Olson, I visited with him briefly in the pit area. He is originally from Porter, Minn., down by my next of the woods in Yellow Medicine County. He and his family moved to Grand Forks about five years ago. It was only Olson’s fourth night out of 2019 as family and work have kept him busy. He runs a diesel mechanic shop near Grand Forks.
The night was capped off by a thrilling finish in the IMCA Modified feature. Tyler Hall of Fertile led a majority of the way and looked on his way to a feature win. But it was Jesse Skalicky of Fargo who found the finish line first, edging Hall by a mere few feet for the exciting win. Brady Petermann of Hawley was third, Rich Pavlicek of Casselton fourth and Dylan Goplen of Fargo fifth.
It was Skalicky's first-ever NCR feature win in the IMCA Modifieds and his second of 2019. He won at Buffalo River Race Park earlier this season.
Huge Win for Arneson at Harris Clash
Fargo driver Austin Arneson has won several big races in his modified racing career. Tuesday’s win at the Harris Clash at Deer Creek Speedway will go down as one of his biggest.
Besting a field of 92 IMCA Modifieds, Arneson picked up the win at one of the Midwest’s premier Modified tracks. He earned $3,000 for the win.
“There were 92 modifieds down there; it’s probably the biggest, prestigious win I’ve ever gotten in a crowd like that,” Arneson said Thursday from the pit area at Norman County Raceway.
This victory is a big deal, honestly and shows there are plenty of quality drivers in this part of the country. I would say it’s one of the Crown Jewels of IMCA Modified racing in the Midwest. Not quite as big as the Super Nationals, but with 92 cars, and drivers like Ricky Thornton Jr., Kelly Shryock, Richie Gustin and Jake O’Neil in the field, it’s a close second.
Arneson has piled up the big wins in his career — the Minnesota Mod Nationals at Viking Speedway a few years ago that paid $10,000, plus some USMTS wins. This year, he won the Legendary 50 at Dacotah Speedway in Mandan earlier this year (earning $10,004) and also has wins at Norman County, Sheyenne, Dacotah, Red River Valley and now Deer Creek. Arneson also won the second night of the Governor’s Cup at Dacotah Speedway.
“It seems like every money show, we’re competing,” he said. “It’s been a pretty fun ride lately.”
As far as Tuesday goes, Arneson started sixth. After watching the B features the #10 team decided to set the car up to run on the high side. After dropping back a few spots at the start, Arneson worked his way back into contention as the top side came around.. He found himself in the top five when a late caution came out. That’s when things got crazy.
Cayden Carter was leading the main event but cars were closing in. Tom Berry Jr., the winner of the Dakota Classic Mod Tour this past summer, made a move but got into the wall. Arneson made his move in between the cars with two laps left. Berry tried a slider on the final lap but Arneson survived for the win.
“It was pretty wild,” he said. “That was one for the books.”
Congrats to Ryan Satter on picking up the Wissota Street Stock win at KRA Speedway in Willmar on Thursday.
Ward Imrie of Winnipeg won the Wissota Modified feature at Red River Co-op Speedway in Winnipeg.