Mike Balcaen Scores NLRA Win After Vicious Flip Last Week
By Mike Spieker
GRAND FORKS, ND (June 17) - One of the marquee events on the River Cities Speedway schedule took place Friday night as the World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series made their first appearance to the 3/10th mile bullring, along with the NLRA Late Models. Early Friday morning, the Grand Forks area received close to two inches of rain, which delayed the start time by nearly an hour and a half as the track crew thrashed to prepare a smooth surface
The feel-good story of the night came during the NLRA Late Model main event. Exactly one week after absolutely destroying his Scott Bailey Racing Engine/Black Diamond #10 with a series of ground pounding barrel rolls, Mike Balcaen had a brand new car rolled out and went on to park it in RydellCars.com Victory Lane at the end of the night.
Nineteen cars made up the grid for the second NLRA tour event of the season. Balcaen and Brad Seng paced the field to the green flag for the 20-lap feature. Balcaen jumped out to the lead with Seng in tow and Steffen Snare in third. Balcaen set a blistering pace in the early going, but Seng was able to keep up in his S&S Transport #12.
A midrace caution that collected Robert Bladow, Donny Schatz, and Bill Mooney bunched the field back up and the incident forced all three drivers involved to retire from the event.
On the Evergreen Insurance restart, Seng peaked to the inside of Balcaen in turn one, but the Winnipeg, Manitoba driver powered off turn two and held on to the point. Balcaen stretched his advantage with a clear track in front of him, but Seng reeled him back in once lapped traffic hit. With three to go, Seng went for the lead again in turn two, but didn’t have enough to complete the pass.
That was as close as anyone would get to Balcaen as he prevailed to picked up his 37th career win at River Cities Speedway in front of a sold out, and applauding crowd. Dustin Strand brought his beaten and battered #71 home in third with Snare in fourth. Zach Naastad, who won the NLRA opener last Saturday night at Jamestown, rounded out the top five.
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