Skytland happy with Stampede winCody Skytland has won big races before. To go along with a victory at the John Seitz Memorial Late Model Invitational, Skytland has also defeated NASCAR champion Tony Stewart at his adopted hometown track in Fargo.
By: Michael Savaloja, The Jamestown Sun
Cody Skytland has won big races before.
To go along with a victory at the John Seitz Memorial Late Model Invitational, Skytland has also defeated NASCAR champion Tony Stewart at his adopted hometown track in Fargo.
So where does a WISSOTA Modified victory in the 40th annual Jamestown Stock Car Stampede rank for the driver?
“Hey, man, it’s the Stampede. What more do you want me to say,” Skytland smiled. “They could pay $200-to-win and guys would still want to win this. It’s definitely near the top of my list.”
Skytland started the 25-lap, 24-car race on the pole at Jamestown Speedway on Saturday night, and that’s where he stayed for the duration. Skytland’s No. 19 machined liked the high groove, and once he got there nobody was able to touch him.
That included two-time defending WISSOTA Modified national champion Blake Jegtvig, of Hawley, Minn., Minot’s Steven Pfeifer and Hank Berry, of Sydney, Mont. Berry has won four events during past Stampedes.
Pfeifer started and finished second, while Berry and Jegtvig crossed the line in third and fourth after starting 12th and fourth, respectively.
The race included three caution flags, but Skytland stretched his legs from the field — leading by over 2 seconds at times — after each one.
“I was trying to save my tires a little until somebody showed their nose,” Skytland said. “The WISSOTA 100 brings out the best-of-the-best, and this is right up there. There are no slouches out there.”
Other notables in the field included Aberdeen’s Kent Arment, Travis Saurer, of Elizabeth, Minn., and Jamestown’s John Corell. Corell has posted six previous Stampede victories, while Arment has won four WISSOTA national points titles.
A total of 56 WISSOTA Modified drivers were on hand for the 40th annual Stampede.
“We’ve had a stellar year,” Skytland said. “We’ve been in the top three almost every night no matter where we’ve been at, unless something silly happened.”
WISSOTA Late Models
Jeff Wildung has taken a liking to Jamestown Speedway.
For the second straight year, the 2009 WISSOTA Modified national champ and Nassau, Minn., native outran what the area’s best had to offer, en route to back-to-back Stampede titles.
“Brad Seng made me work my butt off for it out there,” Wildung said. “That guy has been just hot. He’s awesome and he runs clean.
“It would have been close if it wasn’t for those guys that spun in front of him.”
Wildung and Seng, of Grand Forks, were running 1-2 in lapped traffic late in the race when slower cars thwarted what was an all-out attack by Seng on the leader.
As the duo barreled down the backstretch on the final lap of the 30-lap feature, Aberdeen’s Chad Becker and Steffen Snare, of Hallock, Minn., got caught up in an altercation and were stopped near the top of turn No. 3.
Seng, with nowhere to go, decided to shoot over the top of the corner to avoid the stopped cars, which gave Wildung smooth sailing to the checkered flag. Seng was, however, awarded second place back.
Seng started seventh and ran second to Wildung for 18 laps. Wildung started fourth.
Wildung shot to the lead following an impressive restart just 4 laps into the race. The driver took the high side of track and two laps later — and after smacking the grandstand guardrail, sending sparks flying — Wildung went from seventh to the lead.
“The track was a little slimy because of the water they put on it, but once it cleaned off it got a lot better,” Wildung said. “I saw Kyle Peterlin (of Hibbing, Minn.) running up top and making it work and that’ where I like to go. I went for it on the restart and it worked.”
Peterlin crossed the line third, while Winnipeg’s Mike Balcaen and Ricky Weiss rounded out the top five, respectively. The Stampede drew 30 Late Models over the weekend.
“This is really cool,” Wildung said. “The people are just fantastic and they treat you real good here.”
WISSOTA Super Stocks
Just like Skytland in the A-mod race, Ross Dixon, of Ramona, S.D., started on the pole and led every lap to win his first Jamestown Speedway Stock Car Stampede A-main.
“It’s a pretty neat deal,” Dixon said. “We’ve been coming to this the last few years and we’ve came close. The cards fell in my favor tonight.”
Dixon held the lead for 20 laps and 8 total caution flags. Fargo’s Dave Shipley followed Dixon in second throughout, and attempted to try to find some running room at times on the bottom to get past Dixon. But Dixon was just too strong through the middle of the turns on this particular evening.
“It was very tough. I was very annoyed in the car,” Dixon said of the race’s 8 yellow flags. “I was worried about Shipley and how the track was changing. I didn’t want to be a sitting duck.”
But the driver didn’t have to worry. On the final restart with 6 laps left, Dixon held of Shipley, who started on the outside pole, and the rest is history.
“It’s a huge deal,” Dixon said. “I can’t wait to come back next year and buy a shirt with my name on the back.”
Shipley finished second, while West Fargo’s Brain Bernotas took third and Lisbon’s Todd Carter crossed the line in fourth. Carter has three Stampede victories and won last year’s WISSOTA Super Stock Stampede title.
Sun sports writer Michael Savaloja can be reached at (701) 952-8461 or by email at email@example.com