Haben cashes inAfter tearing up tracks all across his hometown state this summer, 20-year-old Brian Haben, of Holloway, Minn., decided he might as well try his hand against his neighbors to the west.
By: By Michael Savaloja, The Jamestown Sun, The Jamestown Sun
After tearing up tracks all across his hometown state this summer, 20-year-old Brian Haben, of Holloway, Minn., decided he might as well try his hand against his neighbors to the west.
It was a great decision.
Haben bested a field of 45 WISSOTA Midwest Modifieds at Jamestown Speedway on Saturday night, and in the process pocketed a cool $1,000 by winning the speedway’s annual Labor Day Weekend Midwest Modified Special.
“It’s awesome,” Haben said. “To come to North Dakota and beat these boys. It means a lot.”
The night’s featured class of cars ran five heat races and three consolation races, sending 21 drivers to their trailers as just 24 cars lined up for the 20-lap A-Main.
That was pretty much the theme all night. In what appeared to be a tune-up for Jamestown Speedway’s 41st annual Stock Car Stampede, which will be held Sept. 21-22, drivers flocked to the Buffalo City on Saturday.
All told, 155 cars and drivers comprised the five classes of cars competing. The night included 17 heat races, eight consolation races and five feature events for a grand total of 30 races ran.
The track held up, albeit a bit burned off and rubbered down by the conclusion, which translated into not a lot of passing but a lot of fast race cars.
Starting up front was the key. But ironically for Haben, he didn’t start near the front for either his heat or the feature.
Haben just snuck into the feature by taking the third and final transfer spot in the second B-Mod heat race of the evening, dicing his way from the eighth starting position out of the nine-car, eight-lap race.
The driver did dodge the B-Mains, but he started the feature 10th after sixth-place starter Scott Vasichek, of Brocket, N.D., suffered mechanical issues coming to the green flag and was relegated to the pits.
Haben worked his way into the top five in the opening three laps after three early caution flags, and with 10 to go he had worked his way right to the back bumper of the race leader, Jamestown’s Landon Becker.
Becker started the race on the outside pole and had led every lap. Both Becker and Haben were fighting for room on the bottom of the track, as that was the preferred line around.
Haben was throwing everything he had at Becker, trying to pass the leader on the bottom, but Becker was successfully able to protect his line until four laps to go.
“Coming out of (turn) two it was really slick out there. I was really easy on the throttle out of two, and it looked like (Becker) was really mashing it,” Haben said. “I was trying to pressure him enough where he’d screw up out of two.”
Haben got his nose under Becker in turn No. 2 and the duo was door-to-door heading down the backstretch. Haben, however, was able to clear Becker for the lead out of corner No. 4.
“I knew I was a little faster. I was just waiting and waiting for the opportunity to get by him,” Haben said. “The door opened and I took advantage of it. The rest was history.”
The track set up perfectly for Haben, as the single-line fight for the bottom is a place he likes to be.
“I’m usually on the bottom,” Haben said. “They call me ‘The Catfish’ because I’m usually around the wall.
“The track is unbelievable.”
Jamestown’s Josh Eberhardt was able to get past Becker in the closing laps to cap a solid second-place run after starting fifth. Becker took third, as Jamestown’s Jason Grimes impressed behind the wheel of Jamestown’s Troy Nelson’s No. 0.
Grimes finished fourth in his heat, but won his 10-lap consolation and came all the way from the 16th starting spot to finish fourth. Grimes was one of the few drivers who found some tack, and some success, at the very top of the track.
The polesitter, Pingree’s Jason Thoms, rounded out the top five.
At the age of 20 —and in just his fifth year racing — the name Brian Haben is a name the WISSOTA racing world is probably going to get used to.
The feature victory was Haben’s 26th of the season, and as of Aug. 30 he was just two points behind the 2011 WISSOTA Midwest Modified national champion, Travis Saurer, of Elizabeth, Minn., for second in the national point standings with 1,686 points.
Cory Crapser, of Chippewa Falls, Wisc., was leading the Midwest Modified point standings with 1,699 points.
Haben runs regularly at Madison Speedway in Madison, Minn., and at Fiesta City Speedway in Montevideo, Minn. Saturday marked Haben’s first ever trip to Jamestown Speedway.
“Me and Travis are about dead even for second in nationals right now,” Haben said. “I need to keep winning.”
Sunday’s $1,000-to-win WISSOTA Street Stock Special at Jamestown Speedway was still ongoing prior to press time. Check Tuesday’s edition of The Sun for results.
Jamestown’s Justin Schempp, Moorhead’s Dev Malmlov and Lisbon’s Jonny Carter were all victories at Jamestown Speedway on Saturday night. It was Schmepp’s and Malmlov’s first victories at the track this season.
Schempp won the first of four Bomber heat races to dodge the two B-Mains, and bested a total field of 36 Bombers after starting the 15-lap feature on the pole position.
Schempp fell back to third early in the race, but he won a three-wide battle in the closing laps that included Enderlin’s Tyler Pfaff and Jamestown’s Travis Traut.
Schempp got the win, with Pfaff taking second, Enderlin’s Taran Langland finishing third and Traut coming home fourth.
Malmlov also started on the pole for the 20-lap WISSOTA Modified feature event, but unlike Schempp in the Bombers, Malmlov led from start to finish.
Malmlov was under heavy pressure by Hawley’s Blake Jegtvig, who finished second, down the stretch. Jegtvig started the race back in eighth.
Bismarck’s Mark Dahl finished third, with Mandan’s Shawn Strand and Jamestown’s Randy Tarno rounding out the top five, respectively.
Carter came from the fifth-starting spot to win the WISSOTA Street Stock 20-lap feature. The Street Stocks also brought in 36 cars, which translated into four heat races and two B-mains to set the feature starting field at 24 cars.
Hannaford’s Rory Opp started on the outside pole and led the first seven laps, but the high line then quickly went away for Opp. Carter shot by on the low side and led the final 13 circuits.
The race stayed green from start to finish, which might have been the saving grace for Carter. The driver’s transmission let go coming to the checkered flag, and he edged out Lisbon’s Duffy Froemke at the line by a nose.
Oriska’s Ryan Pommerer came from ninth to finish third, while Opp wound up fourth.
Carrington’s Dylan Wiesz won his sixth 15-lap Hornets feature, but this one was a gift.
Wiesz was running a distant second to Jamestown’s Brandon Michel, but with six laps left Michel’s night came to a premature ending. Jamestown’s Matt Seckerson drove off the top of turn No. 4, and as he came back onto the track — by driving back over the Turn 4 embankment — he plowed right into Michel’s No. 17.
Michel’s vehicle rolled in the incident but the driver was OK. Michel was scored with a fifth-place finish, as just four of the eight cars that started the race made it back to the finish line.
The full results from Saturday night’s racing at Jamestown Speedway can be found on Page B2.
Sun sports writer Michael Savaloja can be reached at (701) 952-8461 or by email at email@example.com