I debated where to go on Saturday, but since I haven’t seen an actual late model feature since Aug. 4, I needed my late model fix, so I went to Viking Speedway in Alexandria for the first night of the NLRA doubleheader.
First, the good — there was a great field of 115 cars, a great crowd was on hand, the track was smooth, and the racing got done before curfew.
The not-so-good — a track that was pretty much one lane all night. Very little side by side racing or passing in the features. The high line was non-existent for most of the features.
Cole Schill of Horace, N.D., picked up one of the biggest wins of his Late Model career.
Consider this: there was four former national champions in the late model field — Ricky Weiss (four time), Don Shaw, Dustin Strand and Jeff Wildung. Not to mention three of the top five cars in the national points — Mike Balcaen (first), Shane Edginton (fourth) and Strand (fifth). A stout field.
With Shaw on the outside pole at a track he is really good at, I thought he’d be the car to beat. He took the lead from the outset with Schill in second and Jeff Wildung of Nassau third. Shaw and Wildung worked the high line (track officials put down some water on that groove before the feature) while Schill ran low.
The red flag came out for a wild rollover off of turn one by Brad Seng of Grand Forks, whose car was destroyed (see above). Seng was not injured. Wildung dropped out with mechanical issues.
The high line went away quickly and Schill had good speed on the bottom. He passed Shaw for the lead and Shaw decided to go down to the lower line. Schill opened up a decent lead over the 2017 Wissota national champ.
Schill weathered a pair of restarts to open a good lead, but that lead shrunk when he got into lapped traffic. With two laps left, Schill was behind a lapped car with Shaw right on his bumper when a yellow came out. Schill got off to a good start on the restart and went on to take the win, earning $1,200 for the checkered. Shaw was second, Balcaen a solid third, Matthew Smith of Edmonton, Alberta drove a nice race to finish fourth, and Corey Nelson of Canby, Minn, also ran well and took fifth.
“I finally drew good and capitalized on it…the track was tough to pass just for lucky to start in front,” Schill said. “I pppreciate all the fans for coming and everyone who helps with my car. Especially my Dad, wife, son Cayson and all my family who comes — My Mom, Godmother and brother.”
One guy I was happy for was Brett Hoium of Villard. He took over the Wissota mod feature lead from Dusty Bitzan and was really fast in his new SSR car. Hoium actually pulled away from Brady Gerdes — the 2018 track champion at both Viking Speedway and I-94 Speedway — and had a nice lead.
That was, until lapped traffic came into play. Hoium’s comfortable advantage had evaporated as Gerdes closed in. With two laps left Gerdes was on Hoium’s back bumper. Hoium cleared a lapped car and was able to get enough breathing room to secure the win. Aside from his few trips to I-94 and my few trips to Viking I don’t see Hoium race a whole lot, but he did a heck of a job. Gerdes, Zach Johnson and Blake Jegtvig of Hawley and Travis Saurer rounded out the top five.
Speaking of Saurer, he hopped behind the wheel of Scott Bintz’s 1S machine and picked up the Wissota Midwest Mod win. It was Saurer’s 498th career win, which is incredible considering his age. And few drivers can wheel a midwest modified like he can. Randy Laage of Brooten pressured Saurer on a late restart but was unable to make the pass. Justin Froemming of Garfield, Nick Bruder of Long Prairie and Corey Jones of Zimmerman rounded out the top five.
Jeff Crouse of Alexandria won the Wissota Street Stock feature, which was pretty much a one-lane show on the top. Justin Vogel tried to apply some pressure but had his hands full with Royce Jawaski of Horace, N.D.. Crouse had a decent advantage at the finish with Vogel second, Jawaski third, Adam Burrows of West Fargo fourth and Jim Williams of DeGraff fifth.
There was a bad rollover involving the 80 car of Brian Tomford of Long Prairie. Tomford’s machine rolled in turn four and was heavily damaged. He was uninjured.
Dustin Bluhm of Clara City totally checked out on the Limited Late Model field in picking up the win. Ben Wolden of Fergus Falls, the track champion at I-94 and Viking, was second, while rookie teenager Bryce Sward had a nice run to take third. Saurer was fourth and Chris Wilke of Porter fifth.
Jesse Waldorf dominated the Pure Stock feature with Tanner Horn taking second.
Jacobson, Nelson, Jochim Win First Night of Corn Cob Nationals
Scott Jacobson of Fargo picked up the IMCA Sport Mod win Saturday at Buffalo River Race Park. Saturday was the first night of the Corn Cob Nationals at the track.
The big news at Glyndon was the track announced it will be moving to Saturday nights next year. More on that later.
Kelly Jacobson of Fargo was second and Andy Wagner of Ada third.
Nick Nelson of Georgetown won the IMCA Hobby Stock feature over William Smith of Glyndon.
Andrew Jochim of Glyndon topped Josh Julsrud of Barnesville for the INEX Legend win. Tye Wilke of Detroit Lakes was third.
Mike Johnson picked up the IMCA Modified win over Rob VanMil of Barnesville. Bryce Borgen of Perley started 15th and finished third. Jesse Skalicky of Fargo was fourth.
Rob VanMil beat Brandon Schmidt for the IMCA Stock Car win. Tyler McDougall of Moorhead was third.
The IMCA Sport Compacts are running a two-day show with the $1,000 to win finale set for Sunday.
All other classes will run a complete show on Sunday.
Greenbush Race Park Notes
Congrats to Cody the Cobra Lee of Alexandria for picking up his second win in as many nights; he picked up the Wissota Midwest Modified feature at Greenbush Race Park on Saturday. By my count that is win No. 11 on the season. His sister, Haley, started 16th and worked her way to ninth.
Congrats to Mike Greseth of Harwood for winning the Wissota Modified feature. He beat defending Wissota national champion Ward Imrie of Winnipeg for the win.
Kyle Dykhoff of Starbuck won the Wissota Street Stock feature, taking the win after starting 11th on the field.