By Mike Spieker
GRAND FORKS, N.D. (July 3, 2020) – Third-year NOSA driver Nick Ranten scored his first career victory on Friday night at River Cities Speedway. Ranten became the 60th different winner with the NOSA Sprints on what was the series’ 650th event since its inception in 1994.
Ranten led all 25 laps en route to the win.
“This is so incredible, I don’t even know what to say right now,” said Ranten in victory lane. “This feels like it was a long time coming. I felt like I should have had last week’s win. Just to get the first win out of the way is awesome. It gives you a sense of believing in yourself and that you are here and deserve to be here.”
Jordan Adams and Ranten led the field of 18 to the green flag. Ranten jumped out to the lead on lap one, followed by Shane Roemeling. Ranten checked out early on, but periodic cautions would keep him at bay to the rest of the field.
Things got interesting in the final laps as Brendan Mullen and Jack Croaker, who were also in search of their first career wins, closed in on Ranten in heavy lapped traffic.
Mullen applied the most pressure, finding speed using the middle groove of the track, while every other driver inside the top five ran in the moisture around the bottom.
Coming to the white flag, Mullen took a look under Ranten as Ranten was held up by traffic. Coming off the corner, both cars made contact with the outside wall with Mullen making the most severe impact. Both drivers kept going, but Ranten now had a three car length lead in turns one and two.
Mullen drove his No. 11M deep into turns three and four again, but biked up exiting the corner allowing Croaker to sneak by. Ranten went on to claim the win as Croaker finished second. Mullen, Wade Nygaard, and Austin Pierce rounded out the top five.
“I saw the 11M show his nose at one point, but that track had a lot of moisture,” said Ranten. “I knew if I hit my marks, it would be really tough for those guys to get by me.”
Over the offseason, River Cities Speedway track officials made improvements to the track surface, in the name of safety, taking 18 inches of banking off the top groove in all four corners. The result has been an equally racy surface, but the preferred grooves are now around the bottom and middle grooves of the track. However, Dustin Strand proved to everybody during Friday night’s Performance Auto WISSOTA Late Model feature that the high side can still be fast around the legendary bullring.
Brandon Fuller, in search of his first career Late Model win at River Cities, started on the pole and led 18 of the 20 circuits around the three-tenths mile oval. In a great battle to the finish, Fuller led Strand on the final restart of the race on lap 16. Strand immediately went to the high side of the speedway and was able to pull even with Fuller. Fuller, who ran in the extreme low groove, went toe-to-toe with the three-time NLRA series champion.
Coming to the white flag, Strand finally cleared Fuller to take the lead, but Fuller came right back at Strand with a slide job in turns one and two. Strand was able to negotiate his way back around Fuller down the backstretch and hang on to pick up the win. Off turn four coming to the checkers, Fuller’s engine expired as he crossed the line in second.
After the race, Fuller received a push back to the pit area and did not go to the scale, automatically disqualifying him. That moved Joey Pederson into second as Steffen Snare, Tom Corcoran and Brad Seng rounded out the top five.
For the second time in his career, James Meagher parked his No. 7 WISSOTA Street Stock in RydellCars.com Victory Lane. Meagher started on the pole for the 15-lap, 16-car feature and jumped out to the early lead over fellow front row starter Alan Lane.
Meagher quickly raced out to a five-car length lead while six cars battled for the runner-up position behind him. Nick Minske held the second position until a restart at the halfway point. Daniel Aberle worked his way around Minke as the race resumed with Ryan Johnson following him into third.
Aberle and Johnson were within striking distance of Meagher in the closing laps, but Meagher was too strong. The Grand Forks driver went on to claim the win by two car lengths in what was an emotional victory for Meagher, who has so much passion and is a huge supporter of the Street Stock division.
Aberle, Johnson, John Halvorson and Nick Minske rounded out the top five.
It looked as though Jason Strand was well on his way to picking up the Happy Harry’s Bottle Shops WISSOTA Midwest Modified feature win. Strand was making just his second start since taking the 2019 season off to focus on his family and farming operation. In his new Millenium Chassis, Strand took the point from the pole position, but not before a three-wide race for the lead with Lance Schill and Cole Neset.
Both Strand and Schill distanced themselves from the rest of the field until the final caution flew with seven of 18 laps remaining. On the ensuing Evergreen Insurance restart, Strand pushed in turns one and two which opened up the door for Schill. Schill pounced on the opportunity and took the lead down the back straightaway. Once in command, Schill pulled away from Strand and Jory Berg to claim his second Midwest Modified feature win of the season at River Cities.
WISSOTA Late Models:
A Feature (20 Laps): 1. 71-Dustin Strand; 2. 7P-Joey Pederson; 3. 71S-Steffen Snare; 4. T1-Tom Corcoran; 5. 12S-Brad Seng; 6. 11-Troy Schill; 7. 02-Dan Dowling; 8. 9-Steve Anderson; 9. 9A-Blake Anderson; 10. 21-Brady Pengilly; 11. (DNF) 17-Lance Schill; 12. (DNF) 1M-Nicholas Minske; 13. (DNF) 105-Ryan Dahl; 14. (DNF) 84X-Joshua Johnson; 15. (DNF) C4-Ryan Corbett; 16. (DNF) 14-Brody Troftgruben; 17. (DNS) 2D-Don Platow; 18. (DQ) F9-Brandon Fuller
Heat 1 (8 Laps): 1. 71-Dustin Strand; 2. 9-Steve Anderson; 3. 02-Dan Dowling; 4. 9A-Blake Anderson; 5. 21-Brady Pengilly; 6. (DNF) 14-Brody Troftgruben
Heat 2 (8 Laps): 1. F9-Brandon Fuller; 2. 12S-Brad Seng; 3. 71S-Steffen Snare; 4. C4-Ryan Corbett; 5. 1M-Nicholas Minske; 6. 84X-Joshua Johnson
Heat 3 (8 Laps): 1. 7P-Joey Pederson; 2. 17-Lance Schill; 3. T1-Tom Corcoran; 4. 11-Troy Schill; 5. 105-Ryan Dahl; 6. 2D-Don Platow
WISSOTA Midwest Mods:
A Feature (18 Laps): 1. 17-Lance Schill; 2. E85-Jason Strand; 3. B0-Jory Berg; 4. 2S-Matt Schow; 5. 57-Nathan Raasakka; 6. 35-John Halvorson; 7. 54-Terry Nelson; 8. (DNF) 188-Hunter Hougard; 9. (DNF) 30-Cole Neset; 10. (DNF) 68-Joe Henninger; 11. (DNF) 39-Jamie Dietzler; 12. (DNF) 87S-Reise Stenberg
Heat 1 (8 Laps): 1. 2S-Matt Schow; 2. 35-John Halvorson; 3. 39-Jamie Dietzler; 4. E85-Jason Strand; 5. B0-Jory Berg; 6. 57-Nathan Raasakka
Heat 2 (8 Laps): 1. 17-Lance Schill; 2. 30-Cole Neset; 3. 188-Hunter Hougard; 4. 87S-Reise Stenberg; 5. 54-Terry Nelson; 6. 68-Joe Henninger
WISSOTA Street Stocks:
A Feature (15 Laps): 1. 7-James Meagher; 2. 33-Daniel Aberle; 3. 25-Ryan Johnson; 4. 35-John Halvorson; 5. 1M-Nicholas Minske; 6. 4-Trey Hess; 7. 27-Tucker Pederson; 8. 87-Alan Lane; 9. 48-Chase Boen; 10. 30-Seth Klostreich; 11. 8T-Doug VanMill; 12. 10-Joe Potter; 13. (DNF) 03-Bryce Reimer; 14. (DNF) 91-Shane Swenson; 15. (DNF) 28-Greg Jose; 16. (DNS) 34-Bill Gustafson
Heat 1 (8 Laps): 1. 7-James Meagher; 2. 87-Alan Lane; 3. 1M-Nicholas Minske; 4. 25-Ryan Johnson; 5. 10-Joe Potter; 6. 48-Chase Boen; 7. 34-Bill Gustafson; 8. (DNF) 28-Greg Jose
Heat 2 (8 Laps): 1. 33-Daniel Aberle; 2. 35-John Halvorson; 3. 30-Seth Klostreich; 4. 27-Tucker Pederson; 5. 91-Shane Swenson; 6. 4-Trey Hess; 7. 03-Bryce Reimer; 8. 8T-Doug VanMill
A Feature (25 Laps): 1. 55-Nick Ranten; 2. 8B-Jack Croaker; 3. 11M-Brendan Mullen; 4. 9N-Wade Nygaard; 5. 2A-Austin Pierce; 6. 31-Shane Roemeling; 7. 8H-Jade Hastings; 8. 27-Chris Ranten; 9. 0-Nick Omdahl; 10. 20A-Jordan Adams; 11. 99-Jordan Graham; 12. 26-Blake Egeland; 13. 17-Zach Omdahl; 14. 41T-Travis Strandell; 15. 4-Colton Young; 16. (DNF) 10TRB-Bob Martin; 17. (DNF) 14T-Tim Estenson; 18. (DNF) 14-Tom Egeland
Heat 1 (8 Laps): 1. 55-Nick Ranten; 2. 8H-Jade Hastings; 3. 20A-Jordan Adams; 4. 8B-Jack Croaker; 5. 9N-Wade Nygaard; 6. 14-Tom Egeland; 7. 2A-Austin Pierce; 8. 17-Zach Omdahl; 9. 99-Jordan Graham
Heat 2 (8 Laps): 1. 14T-Tim Estenson; 2. 10TRB-Bob Martin; 3. 31-Shane Roemeling; 4. 27-Chris Ranten; 5. 4-Colton Young; 6. 41T-Travis Strandell; 7. (DNF) 26-Blake Egeland; 8. (DNF) 11M-Brendan Mullen; 9. (DNF) 0-Nick Omdahl
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