By Mike Spieker
GRAND FORKS, ND (September 8) - The River Cities Speedway faithful were out in full force Thursday night as the 10th annual John Seitz Memorial, presented by Simplot, commenced with the sixth running of the “Prelude to the Johnny.” Fans endured two lengthy rain delays that halted the action, but once things dried up they were treated to 129 competitors taking on the high-banks of River Cities. Up for grabs was the NLRA Late Model season championship, as well as a qualifying spot in Friday night’s $8,200-to-win Buffalo Wild Wings Blazin’ Back Row Challenge for the NOSA Sprints. Dustin Strand, Preston Carr, and Ryan Johnson were victorious in WISSOTA PolyDome Dirt Track Series action, while Thomas Kennedy found victory lane with the NOSA Sprints.
A season-high 36 NLRA Late Models were signed for the final NLRA points paying event of the 2016 season. Two-time champion, Brad Seng, held a slim 16 point lead over two-time and defending series champion, Dustin Strand. The night began with Seng starting on the pole and winning his heat race with none other than Strand hot on his heels in the runner-up position.
Seng started outside of the front row for the 25-lap, $1,192-to-win main event and jumped out to the early lead over pole sitter, David McDonald. The driver of the S&S Transport MB Customs went on to lead until Nick Anvelink took the point away on lap six. On the following circuit, however, Anvelink entered turn one and his machine bicycled hard over onto the right side, which brought his left side tires about three feet in the air. When Anvelink landed he suffered heavy damage to his ride as he coasted to the top of turn two and retired from the event.
That handed the lead back over to Seng, who then led a few more laps until his NLRA championship foe, Strand, stole the top spot on the lap 11 restart. Once out front, Strand drove away with the victory as Seng began to fade back in the running order. When the checkers flew, Strand collected his 20th win of the year over 12th starter, Bill Mooney, McDonald, 18th starter and defending Seitz Memorial champion, Chad Mahder, and Don Shaw. Other notable runs were had by Bryan LePier, who drove from 20th to ninth, Brandon Fuller’s charge from 21st to 11th, and George Ledin, who raced to 15th from 25th.
Seng hung on to finish sixth and claim NLRA championship number three.
Twenty-four Wells Concrete Street Stocks made up the starting grid for their 20-lap A-main. Rick Schulz and Jonny Carter led them to the green with Schulz taking the early lead over Ryan Johnson, Carter, and Travis Robertson. A caution on lap four slowed the pace and gave Johnson a clear shot at Schulz on the restart. Johnson took advantage of the opportunity as he raced the Horace, ND driver side by side as the Evergreen Insurance green flag waved. Johnson cleared for the lead on lap seven, but on the next lap, he got loose in turn two and made heavy contact with Schulz. As a result, Schulz suffered a flat right rear tire and ended up finishing 21st.
Johnson held on the lead and went on to score his second RCS win of the season over Carter, Robertson, Ryan Flaten and Adam Burrows. Royce Jawaski was the hard charger of the race, advancing from 20th to seventh.
It took two B-mains to find the fastest 24 Happy Harry’s Midwest Modifieds, but once we did Hunter Hougard and Preston Carr sat on the front row and took the green flag. The caution was displayed early as Jason Strand’s #E85 machine biked hard in turn one, which nearly sent him in a series of barrel rolls. Fortunately the Portland, ND driver was able to keep his ND Corn Growers car on all fours, but only after significant damage was done to his car.
On the restart, drivers raced three and four wide throughout the pack as Preston Carr took the lead over Rick Hamel and Reise Stenberg. Things got interesting in the closing laps as Carr found himself in heavy lapped traffic with Hamel right in his tracks. The two drivers made contact in turn one on the final lap while battling for the win, which allowed Carr to pull away by three car lengths. Coming out of turn four towards the checkers, Carr made contact with a lapped car which slowed him up slightly, but not enough to let Hamel by. Carr took the win over Hamel, Stenberg, Matt Schow and Darren Pfau, who started in 21st.
Thomas Kennedy held on to win a wild NOSA Sprint Car feature over Casey Mack. Kennedy regained the lead on the final restart with 19 laps to go. Kennedy used the rough, but fast outside groove to drive by the Paradis Trucking #8 and score his second consecutive win after going nearly two years without a victory at the high-banked three-tenths mile.
WISSOTA NLRA Late Models:
Feature - Dustin Strand, Bill Mooney, David McDonald, Chad Mahder, Don Shaw, Brad Seng, Steve Laursen, Zach Naastad, Bryan LePier, Aaron Turnbull, Brandon Fuller, Mike Martin, Steve Anderson, Jon Samuelson, George Ledin, AJ Diemel, Nick Anvelink, Curt Gelling, Pat Doar, Cole Schill, Tom Corcoran, Mike Balcaen, Joey Pederson, Shane Edginton, Lance Matthees, Ryan Corbett
Heat 1 - Anvelink, Naastad, Diemel, Edginton, Mattees, Doar, Fuller, Kanata, LePier, Corcoran
Heat 2 - McDonald, Anderson, Turnbull, Samuelson, Storbakken, Pederson, Snare, Hapala
Heat 3 - Seng, Strand, Martin, Balcaen, Schill, Mahder, Wildung, Smith, Redetzke
Heat 4 - Laursen, Shaw, Mooney, Wilde, Gelling, Odegard, Gerlach-Smith, Ward
B Feature - Matthees, Mahder, Gelling, LePier, Fuller, Cole Schill, Tom Corcoran, Jacob Wilde, Jeff Wildung, Cody Storbakken, Joey Pederson, George Ledin, Pat Doar,
WISSOTA Midwest Modifieds:
Feature - Preston Carr, Rick Hamel, Reise Stenberg, Matt Schow, Darren Pfau, Ryan Schow, Aaron Blacklance, Troy Randall, Nate Reynolds, Les Schoon, Blake Higginbotham, Bret Schmidt, Jason Marko, Scott Vasichek, Jeremy Castro, Jess Brekke, Zach Bruer, Justin Olson, Zach LaQua, Mike Nichols, Dale Kraling, Brock Gronwold, Hunter Hougard, Jason Strand,
Heat 1 - Gronwold, M. Schow, Brekke, Higginbotham, Vasichek, Blasey, Berg, Erickson
Heat 2 - Stenberg, Reynolds, R. Schow, LaQua, Smith, Armstrong, Schmidt, Nelson
Heat 3 - H. Hougard, Blacklance, Kraling, Marko, Pfau, Schoon, Schill, Davis
Heat 4 - Carr, Strand, Olson, Castro, S. Hougard, Oppegaard, Lizakowski, Eggebraaten
Heat 5 - Hamel, Randall, Nichols, Bruer, Schuh, Metzger, Johnson
B Feature 1 - Pfau, Vasicheck, Tanner Armstrong, Tim Berg, Jamie Davis, Jason Schuh, Doyle Erickson, Dean Eggebraaten, Ryan Oppegaard, Lance Schill
B Feature 2 - Schoon, Schmidt, Skyler Smith, Gary Nelson, Todd Johnson, Dave Blasey, Noah Metzger, Steve Hougard, Jeremy Lizakowski
WISSOTA Street Stocks:
Feature - Ryan Johnson, Jonny Carter, Travis Robertson, Ryan Flaten, Adam Burrows, Jordan Tollakson, Royce Jawaski, Dan Aberle, Chase Boen, Joe Engels, Jeremy Gust, Hunter Carter, Matt Beehler, Terry Blacklance, Riley Gregoire, James Meagher, Greg Jose, Tommy Neihart, Jason Rethemeier, Mike Anderson, Rick Schulz, Dan McNamee, Kyle Dykhoff
Heat 1 - Schulz, Flaten, Gust, Blacklance, Beehler, Meagher, Barker, Minske
Heat 2 - Johnson, Carter, Burrows, Anderson, Rethemeier, McNamee, Porter, Swanson
Heat 3 - Dykhoff, Neihart, Aberle, Jose, Noreikis, Boen, Gregoire
Heat 4 - Tollakson, Robertson, Carter, Engels, Jawaski, Richards, Dykhoff
B Feature - Meagher, McNamee, Boen, Gregoire, Nick Minske, Cory Dykhoff, Steven Richards, Josh Barker, Jaimie Swanson, Jersy Porter
NOSA Sprint Cars:
Feature - Thomas Kennedy, Casey Mack, Mark Dobmeier, Wade Nygaard, Austin Pierce, Bob Martin, Dusty Zomer, Zach Wilde, Gregn Nikitenko, Jade Hastings, Jordan Adams, Mitch Mack, Blake Egeland, Jordan Graham, Brenden Wilde, Brayden Pengilly, Jon Sorenson, Tom Egeland, Nick Omdahl, Lawrence Veralrud, Trent Stengl, Ty Hanten, Jackson Moffett, Jack Croaker, Shane Roemeling
Heat 1 - Dobmeier, Z. Wilde, M. Mack, T. Egeland, Roemeling, B. Egeland, Stengl, Veralrud, Moffett
Heat 2 - Martin, Nygaard, Kennedy, Adams, Omdahl, Hastings, Graham, Sorenson
Heat 3 - C. Mack, Nikenko, Pierce, Zomer, Hanten, B. Wilde, Pengilly, Croaker
River Cities Speedway
2300 Gateway Dr
Grand Forks ND 58203
1928 8th St. SE
East Grand Forks, MN 56721