Strand drives Late Model to winDustin Strand is no stranger to winning races at Jamestown’s quarter-mile circle track.
By: Michael Savaloja, The Jamestown Sun, The Jamestown Sun
Dustin Strand is no stranger to winning races at Jamestown’s quarter-mile circle track.
But for the first time in his racing career, the Grand Forks native and the 2009 WISSOTA Midwest Modified national champion piloted a WISSOTA Late Model to victory at Jamestown Speedway on Saturday night.
Strand started the 25-lap Northern Late Model Racing Association’s (NLRA) main event from inside the second row, and he was able to drive past two-time defending WISSOTA Late Model national champion Ricky Weiss, of Headingley, Manitoba, and the always stout Brad Seng of Grand Forks to lead the final 19 laps en route to victory.
It was Strand’s sixth victory of the season.
“That was really sweet,” Strand said. “We finally got this car rocking the last couple of weekends. This is actually our fourth night in a row and we’ve won all four of them.”
The NLRA was making its second appearance in Jamestown this season. The tour was first here back on June 9, with the 23-year-old Weiss grabbing the checkered flag.
Seng and Weiss comprised the front row on Saturday, with Seng sitting on the pole. Weiss shot to the front from the high side on the opening lap, with Seng under heavy pressure from Strand for second.
Strand passed Seng on the second lap and overtook Weiss for the lead four laps later, after Weiss drifted too high in corner No. 4. Strand led the rest of the way, but things got a little dicey for the leaders with just four laps remaining.
Strand got hung up in traffic trying to lap Hallock’s Steffen Snare, which brought Seng and third-place runner David McDonald, of Huron, S.D., right to the back bumper of Seng’s No. 71. Snare would eventually spin out right in front of the leaders at the exit of turn No. 2, causing Strand and Seng, who were running right through the middle of the turns, to take evasive action.
“The track was kind of rubbered down and locked down into that one lane, so I’m following these guys and I didn’t know where to go,” Strand said. “I knew Brad was catching me. It was lucky me and Brad both didn’t get taken out. We kind of collided trying to miss the wreck.”
The leaders were all able to avoid the mishap, and Strand was able to keep Seng and McDonald behind him. Seng and McDonald finished second and third, respectively, as Weiss took third and Winnipeg’s Mike Balcaen rounded out the top five.
Seng, the 1999 WISSOTA Super Stocks national champion, also took second here back in June to Weiss. Strand finished third in that race.
“It made it that much sweeter having Brad and Weiss start on the front row,” Strand said. “They’re two of the best in WISSOTA, and that was pretty awesome.
“Somehow we squeaked to out.”
Saturday’s car count at Jamestown Speedway again topped the century mark with 109 cars and drivers. The night’s entire scheduled show was completed, even with cloudy and overcast skies hampering the area most of the day.
Carrington’s 24-year-old Preston Carr rolled to his first career WISSOTA Midwest Modified feature victory after leading 18 of 20 laps. Jamestown’s Ryan Mikkelson picked up his third WISSOTA Modified feature win in Jamestown to take over the points lead at the track with track championships scheduled to take place this Saturday.
Mikkelson currently holds and eight-point lead over Jamestown’s Jason Grimes, who were both benefited by an absent John Corell. Corell was the previous points leader and now sits in fourth, 48 points off the pace.
Sykeston’s Trent Grager won a 30-minute, eight-caution marathon to win his seventh WISSOTA Street Stock feature of the year and his third in Jamestown.
Carrington’s Chris Gussiaas and Marion’s Cory Rodin finished 1-2, respectively, in the Bombers. It was Gussiaas’ fourth victory of the season, and he and Rodin are now tied for the points lead (579) with just one points race left on the schedule.
In the Hornets, Brandon Michel picked up his first feature win of the season in a car owned by his cousin.
This year’s Season Championship Night at Jamestown Speedway gets underway at 7 on Saturday.
WISSOTA Midwest Modifieds
In what has turned out to be an exciting and memorable season in the WISSOTA Midwest Modifieds division at the speedway, another first-time winner visited the winner’s stage.
Carrington’s Preston Carr passed the outside polesitter, Jamestown’s Landon Becker, on the low side out of turn No. 2 for the lead on the third lap and led the final 18 circuits to win his first career B-Mod victory.
“It’s really competitive. It feels great,” Carr said. “I’ve been running up front with all those good guys the last five weekends now, and it feels good to get up front and get a win.”
Carr joined Adrian’s Steve Ost and Lisbon’s Nate Reinke, who both won at Jamestown Speedway for the first time in a B-Mod earlier in the season. It was also Ost’s first career feature win.
As soon as Carr got the lead on Saturday, he pretty much checked out from the field on the high side. His car was wicked fast throughout the race, and held off Becker after the race’s only restart with 10 laps left.
Becker briefly took Carr’s high line away as the pair resumed green-flag racing, but Carr’s No. 5 was just too strong. Carr went to the bottom in turns one and two and out dragged Becker to the backstretch to retain the lead.
Carr then went back to the top and left the rest of the field in the dust, building up a half-straightaway lead.
“(The car) was set up perfect. It went right around the top and kept going,” Carr said. “I just kept up top and stayed in front of everybody.”
Carr is in his fourth year of racing and his second behind the wheel of a Midwest Modified. The driver previously drove a Road Hog at the speedway for two seasons.
Becker finished second, while Valley City’s Greg Friestad finished third, Pettibone’s Jim Morlock came all the way from 13th to finish fourth, and Ost rounded out the top five. Ost started back in the 10th starting spot.
Jamestown’s Scott Bintz, the only multiple winner in the class at Jamestown Speedway this season with three wins, currently holds a 19-point edge over Carrington’s Rusty Kollman in the track standings with 577 points.
Carrington’s Chris Gussiaas won at Jamestown Speedway for the fourth time this summer on Saturday and after a solid season of racing one would think he’d have the track title locked up with one night of points racing left to go.
Marion’s Cory Rodin will have something to say about that this weekend, as the duo are tied atop the Central Dakota Pure Stock points standings with 579 markers. Rodin has three wins here this season and finished second to Gussiaas on Saturday, setting up what should be a wild shootout for the title.
Spiritwood’s Leann Christensen currently sits a distance third in the standings, 59 points off the pace.
Gussiaas started the 15-lap feature from the outside of the third row, but was immediately in a four-wide battle for second with Syekston’s Dalton Polries, Jamestown’s Kyle Anderson and Rodin on the race’s opening lap.
Gussiaas overtook the second spot on the second lap, and eventually passed the polesitter, Jamestown’s Travis Traut, with 12 to go. Traut spun out a lap later and finished the race with a DNF in the 21st position.
Gussiaas kept his car on the low side and led the rest of the way with Rodin finishing behind him. Jamestown’s Keith Striefel, Polries and Enderlin’s Taran Langland rounded out the top five, respectively.
NLRA Late Model Tour
Feature: 1, Dustin Strand; 2, Brad Seng; 3, David McDonald; 4, Ricky Weiss; 5, Mike Balcaen; 6, Shane Edginton; 7, Cody Skytland; 8, Paul Mueller; 9, Troy Schill; 10, Chad Becker; 11, Steve Anderson; 12, Norm Olson; 13, Dusty Peterson; 14, Mike Johnson; 15, Cole Schill; 16, Steffen Snare; 17, Rich Thomas; 18, Adam Fischer; 19, Bill Mooney; 20, Josh Johnson.
Heat 1: 1, Strand; 2, Balcaen; 3, Mooney; 4, Edginton; 5, Anderson; 6, M. Johnson; 7, Snare.
Heat 2: 1, Weiss; 2, Skytland; 3, McDonald; 4, Olson; 5, Thomas; 6, Peterson (DNF); 7, Fischer (DNF).
Heat 3: 1, Seng; 2, Becker; 3, C. Schill; 4, Mueller; 5, T. Schill; 6, J. Johnson.
WISSOTA Midwest Modifieds
Feature: 1, Preston Carr; 2, Landon Becker; 3, Greg Friestad; 4, Jim Morlock; 5, Steve Ost; 6, Lyn Lamb; 7, Scott Bintz; 8, Rusty Kollman; 9, Eric Edwards; 10, Troy Nelson; 11, Lucas Rodin; 12, Andy Kapp; 13, Jason Thoms; 14, Brice Kuska; 15, Brandon Gussiaas; 16, Tyler Schrenk; 17, Erik Pratschner; 18, Dave Peterson; 19, Terry Sahr; 20, Jay Sahr; 21, Brennon Weight; 2, Shannon Schlenker; 23, Ryan Lehr; 24, Jeremy Forester (DNS); 25, Travis Aljets (DNS).
Heat 1: 1, Bintz; 2, Friestad; 3, Edwards; 4, Ost; 5, Morlock; 6, Kapp; 7, Peterson; 8, T. Sahr; 9, Schlenker (DNF).
Heat 2: 1, Becker; 2, Schrenk; 3, Lamb; 4, Thoms; 5, J. Sahr; 6, Gussiaas; 7, Aljets (DNF); 8, Forester (DNF).
Heat 3: 1, Nelson; 2, Lehr; 3, Carr; 4, Rodin; 5, Kuska; 6, Pratschner; 7, Weight; 8, Kollman (DNF).
Feature: 1, Chris Gussiaas; 2, Cory Rodin; 3, Keith Striefel; 4, Dalton Polries; 5, Taran Langland; 6, Cody Ketterling; 7, Mike Sahr; 8, Devin Christ; 9, Dusty Hinrichs; 10, Leann Christensen; 11, Jordan Kienow; 12, Bryan Wolf; 13, Lindsey Hansen; 14, Tyler Schlenker; 15, Brandon Compson; 16, Neil Walton; 17, Anthony Clark; 18, Kyle Anderson; 19, Matthew Kropp; 20, Jeremy Willman (DNF); 21, Travis Traut (DNF).
Heat 1: 1, Traut; 2, Rodin; 3, Kropp; 4, Hinrichs; 5, Compson; 6, Schlenker; 7, Langland (DNS).
Heat 2: 1, Polries; 2, Sahr; 3, Ketterling; 4, Christ; 5, Willman; 6, Walton; 7, Hansen.
Heat 3: 1, Anderson; 2, Gussiaas; 3, Striefel; 4, Christensen; 5, Wolf; 6, Clark; 7, Kienow.
Feature: 1, Brandon Michel; 2, Dylan Wiesz; 3, Sam Gray; 4, Chase Golliet; 5, Nancy Christenson; 6, Matt Seckerson; 7, Bill Bachmeier.
Sun sports writer Michael Savaloja can be reached at (701) 952-8461 or by email at email@example.com