By Mike Spieker
GRAND FORKS, ND (June 25) - The WISSOTA/NLRA Late Models capped off a four-race, four-night tour through the Red River Valley Saturday night at River Cities Speedway. During that stretch, car counts were consistently in the mid-twenties, but attrition throughout the week played a factor on the final night as 19 Late Models were entered into the Greater Grand Forks Fair special event.
Don Shaw started on the pole for the 25-lap main event and grabbed the early lead over Mike Balcaen. Shaw ran the cushion while Balcaen raced down low on the freshly farmed racing surface. On lap two, two-time NLRA series champion, Brad Seng, found a way around Balcaen for the second position and tried to track down the #42 of Shaw.
Seng was sent back one position a couple laps later, however, as Dustin Strand got his #71 Longhorn wound up on the high side and took the second spot. Strand seemed to be the only driver who could not only keep up with Shaw’s torrid pace, but have enough to get by him. With Shaw running in the same groove as Strand, the defending series champion was forced to search for different grooves around the 3/10th mile bullring, which allowed Shaw to pull away.
With two laps to go, Shaw’s left rear tire began to go flat and the veteran Late Model pilot was forced to limp his machine to the checkers. On the final lap, Shaw’s lead drastically diminished and the car visibly became a handful to drive, but he was able to hold on for his first feature win at River Cities since 1999.
After beginning the weekend third in the series points standings, Seng now has a 28 point lead over Shane Edginton, while Strand now sits third 62 markers out of the lead. The next NLRA event will be Sunday July 17th at Red River Valley Speedway as the co-headline the Red River Valley Fair special with the NOSA Sprint Cars, presented by Buffalo Wild Wings.
WISSOTA NLRA Late Models:
Feature - Don Shaw, Dustin Strand, Brad Seng, Mike Balcaen, Cole Schill, Shane Edginton, Jeff Hapala, Matt Smith, Steve Anderson, David Smith, Adam Fischer, Brandon Fuller, Zach Naastad, Tom Corcoran, Steve Moen, Steffen Snare, Mike Martin, Bryce Reimer, Jacob Wilde
Heat 1 - Shaw, Strand, Snare, Fischer, Naastad, Fuller, Corcoran
Heat 2 - Seng, Hapala, Schill, M. Smith, Martin, Wilde
Heat 3 - Balcaen, Edginton, Moen, D. Smith, Anderson, Reimer
Derek Pollock started on the pole of the Pure Stock feature and dominated the 15-lap event for his third win at the bullring. Joe Armstrong, Dan Evert, Jaden Varnson, and Ken Crane rounded out the top five. Pollock's previous wins came back in 2000 and 2003.
Troy Hoff drove all the way from eighth to take the INEX Legends feature win. Hoff held off Friday night's winner Donavin Wiest to visit RydellCars.com Victory Lane for the first time in his career.
For the second night in a row Dexter Dvergsten picked up the win in the Lightning Sprints. Dvergsten of Greenbush, MN held off Presley Truedson for his third win at River Cities Speedway.
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