By Mike Spieker
GRAND FORKS, ND (July 22) - The Up North Financial Late Model feature was an elbows up, hold your breath kind of race. Bill Mooney of Selkirk, MB paced the 19-car field to the green flag and grabbed the early lead over outside pole sitter, Ryan Corbett.
Mike Balcaen and Steffen Snare battled for the second spot as Mooney looked to set sail and check out. Unfortunately for Mooney, Snare and Balcaen would be hot on his heels all race long. The top three cars broke away from the rest of the field at the halfway point of the race. Balcaen, who was one of the few drivers running the low side, put a bid in for the lead with seven laps to go. Balcaen came around to lead lap 13, but Mooney stayed strong up on the cushion and battled back regain the lead.
A couple circuits later Balcaen put the pressure on Mooney once again, but the driver of the OMG Chocolatey Clusters #2M was able to hold off Balcaen. In the closing laps Dustin Strand, who started ninth, was within striking distance of the leader, but ran out of laps as Mooney went on to take the checkers. Balcaen, Brad Seng, and Snare rounded out the top five.