Grager takes big Streets checkOn Saturday it was the WISSOTA Midwest Modifieds running for the top prize at Jamestown Speedway, but on Sunday it was the WISSOTA Street Stocks’ turn. Sykeston’s Trent Grager was one of 34 Street Stock drivers with his sites set on the $1, 000 winner’s purse in night No. 2 of Jamestown Speedway’s Labor Day Special. Grager won his heat race from the second starting position, and went on to lead the 20-lap feature from flag-to-flag after earning the pole.
By: Michael Savaloja, The Jamestown Sun
On Saturday it was the WISSOTA Midwest Modifieds running for the top prize at Jamestown Speedway, but on Sunday it was the WISSOTA Street Stocks’ turn.
Sykeston’s Trent Grager was one of 34 Street Stock drivers with his sites set on the $1, 000 winner’s purse in night No. 2 of Jamestown Speedway’s Labor Day Special. Grager won his heat race from the second starting position, and went on to lead the 20-lap feature from flag-to-flag after earning the pole.
It was Grager’s third feature win, and his biggest paycheck, at the track this season.
“There’s a lot of tough competition here. It feels good just with knowing all these guys and how good they are,” Grager said. “It means something here.”
Grager immediately shot to the high side of the track after the green flag, and blew like a rocket down the backstretch off of turn No. 2. But Hannaford’s Rory Opp was storming to the front from the third position, after slamming past Wishek’s Dave Roweder out of turn four to claim second place on the second lap.
“During the hot laps it looked like the high side was faster,” Grager said. “I wanted to get up there as soon as I could.”
Valley City’s Luke Nelson and Carrington’s Rusty Kollman were both sent to the tail end of the 20-car field on the third lap, after both drivers spun out simultaneously in turns one and two.
Following a brief battle with Carrington’s Casey Stangeland for second, who was one of few drivers able to make up ground on the bottom, Opp stuck to the high side to try and rope in Grager. But it appeared that the only way Opp was going to get around the leader was if Grager messed up.
“It was fun, but there wasn’t much of a track to race,” Opp said. “You’d lose momentum when you’d go low and couldn’t make it up. It was just one line.”
That one line became a tad too narrow for Opp with five laps to go, when the second-place runner smacked his machine off the grandstand wall.
“There’s nothing like a little fireworks for the crowd,” Opp said.
Opp retained second and was later able to catch back up with Grager when Stangeland and Nelson — who had battled back to fifth place — made contact in turn two to bring out the yellow with two laps remaining. Neither Stangeland nor Nelson was penalized, and both drivers were able to resume from fourth and fifth place, respectively.
On the restart, Grager had Opp on his bumper and Carrington’s Kelly Hagel, who started ninth, not far behind in third.
“On the restart I looked at the leaderboard and saw Hagel and Opp behind me. I knew it wasn’t going to be easy competition,” Grager said. “I needed to concentrate and hit my lines on those last two laps.”
Grager didn’t need to worry that much. Opp fell back to fourth after sailing too high through turn four after the green, and Grager cruised on to take the checkered flag.
Hagel finished the race in second, while Stangeland captured third. Opp crossed the line in fourth place, but the driver later forfeited his finish.
According to Jamestown Speedway general manager Joanne Dieterle, Opp was disqualified from Sunday’s event, after being protested and failing to allow track officials to inspect his motor. Opp was penalized all national and local points earned during the evening. Opp must also pay a fine, and the driver won’t be able to race for 30 days.
WISSOTA MW Modifieds
A flat tire sealed the national point leader’s fate in Sunday’s Midwest Modified A-main.
Grand Forks’ Dustin Strand popped a left front shoe while battling for the lead early in the 20-lap feature. After protesting to stay on the track in first place with just three-quarters of the required rubber, Jamestown Speedway part-owner Don Gumke persuaded Strand otherwise and he was sent to the tire-changing area.
The unfortunate turn of events — even though it arguably drew the largest cheer from the grandstands this season — made the race a two-way battle between Fergus Falls’ Brock Gronwold and Jamestown’s Ryan Mikkelson with 15 laps to go.
Mikkelson got under Gronwold down the backstretch on a second restart a lap later — a caution that yet again involved Strand at the back of the pack — and Mikkelson went on to earn his ninth feature this season and his first win at Jamestown Speedway in 2009.
“The track was really tricky tonight. Turns three and four were really dry because of the wind blowing, and one and two kept its moisture in the middle,” Mikkelson said. “I thought Brock (Gronwold) would be tough to beat, being a national champion and all. He made a bobble and I took advantage of that.”
Jamestown’s Josh Eberhardt had another solid night, finishing second after starting way back in 12th, while Jamestown’s Landon Becker finished third and Gronwold crossed the line in fourth. Strand drove off the track shortly after spinning around in turn one and was scored in 19th.
“Josh (Eberhardt) and I have been rivals on the track for a long time. We go back all the way to go-carts and we’re good friends,” Mikkelson said. “I wanted one of us to win it, and I’m glad we’re able to share that moment.”
Mikkelson said he’s hoping his recent turn of luck at the speedway will up his chances at this month’s 38th annual Stock Car Stampede. The Stampede is scheduled for Sept. 25-26 in Jamestown.
“It’s been my goal to win it,” Mikkelson said. “It’s my fifth year and I’ve fallen short many times. I want it.”
The WISSOTA Modifieds’ national points leader’s night didn’t fare much better than Strand’s. After finishing in second place on Saturday, Blake Jegtvig, of Hawley, Minn., exploded his motor on the opening lap of Sunday’s 20-lap feature after starting from the pole.
Jegtvig was scored last (20th place), and Andy Gordon, of Murdock, Minn., went on to sweep the weekend in Jamestown. Gordon won the feature event on Saturday, and held of Jamestown’s “High Side” Jason Grimes on Sunday for his second feature win in as many nights.
Grimes, who inherited the pole from Jegtvig on the restart, started the race side-by-side Gordon in the front row. Grimes worked hard to try to find room past Gordon on the low side throughout the race, but the Jamestown native was unsuccessful in pulling off the pass.
Jamestown’s Corey Seckerson and John Corell finished in third and fourth, while Fargo’s Corky Thomas took fifth.
Jamestown’s Josh Ganser earned the pole for Sunday’s main event by winning his heat race, and the driver never looked back in the 15-lap Bomber feature.
Ganser led every circuit and glided to his third feature win this season in Jamestown.
“It looked dry up on top and I saw some tack on the bottom. I figured I stick it down there,” Ganser said. “She was running good tonight and handled great.”
Jamestown’s Jake Emo and Shawn Becker broke away from the pack with the leader following the fourth and final caution of the race with 11 laps to go. Emo attempted to find what little room was left under Ganser to try and challenge for the lead. But Becker began racing Emo hard for second with three laps left, which gave Ganser all the cushion he needed for the win.
Emo and Becker finished second and third, respectively.
“When you’re leading the whole race it tends to get a little boring, but it was nice to race up there and come out with the win,” Ganser said. “I didn’t hear anybody and I didn’t look back at all. I thought if they get to me, they get to me.”
September 6 results
Feature: 1, Andy Gordon, 2, Jason Grimes, 3, Corey Seckerson, 4, John Corell, 5, Corky Thomas, 6, Randy Klein, 7, Mike Stearns, 8, Nate Heinrich, 9, Dano Ostrander, 10, John Nord, 11, Randy Tarno, 12, Leo Burkhardsmeir, 13, Kent Arment, 14, Ross Romdalvik, 15, Ryan Engels, 16, DJ Tesch, 17, David McDonald, 18,Shane Bruns, 19, Bryce Bjerke, 20, Blake Jegtvig.
Heat 1: 1, Jegtvig, 2, Thomas, 3, Arment, 4, McDonald, 5, Tesch, 6, Tarno, 7, Jamie Trautner, 8, Eric Edwards.
Heat 2: 1, Gordon, 2, Corell, 3, Klein, 4, Burkhardsmeir, 5, Nord, 6, Tim Thomas, 7, Travis Cantwell.
Heat 3: 1, Grimes, 2, Stearns, 3, Engels, 4, Heinrich, 5, Randal Hanson, 6, Shane Laske, 7, Duzne Zabel, 8, Dwight Wegner.
Heat 4: 1, Seckerson, 2, Romdalvik, 3, Ostrander, 4, Bruns, 5, Joe Waba, 6, Bobby Eckerdt, 7, Mark Trautner, 8, Paul Schulz.
B-Main 1: 1, Tarno, 2, Tesch, 3, J. Trautner, 4, Laske, 5, Wegner, 6, M. Trautner, 7, Hanson, 8, Cantwell.
B-Main 2: 1, Nord, 2, Bryce Bjerke, 3, Joe Waba, 4, Zabel, 5, Schulz, 6, Edwards, 7, T. Thomas.
WISSOTA Street Stocks
Feature: 1, Trent Grager, 2, Kelly Hagel, 3, Casey Stangeland, 4, Luke Nelson, 5, Tony Konold, 6, Rusty Kollman, 7, Barrett Berg, 8, Zach Frederick, 9, Randy Meyer, 10, Steffen Snare, 11, Royce Jawaski, 12, Travis Ulmer, 13, John Feist, 14, Bob Banish Jr., 15, Cory Rosen, 16, Lance Haskel, 17, Jim Geringer, 18, Geoff Hellman, 19, Dave Rohweder, 20, Mike Mund.
Heat 1: 1, Nelson, 2, Konold, 3, Hagel, 4, Ulmer, 5, James Wall, 6, Nic Klein, 7, Bryce Kuska.
Heat 2: 1, Rohweder, 2, Rosen, 3, Haskell, 4, Rick Pommerer, 5, Jason Grabow, 6, Cory Asmussen, 7, Berg.
Heat 3: 1, Stangeland, 2, Kollman, 3, Frederick, 4, Jawaski, 5, Hellman, 6, Nate Keena, 7, Joseph Potter.
Heat 4: 1, Mund, 2, Snare, 3, Paul Kirkeide, 4, Shawn Volk, 5, Clare Miller, 6, Dylan Barnhardt.
Heat 5: 1, Grager, 2, Meyer, 3, Banish, 4, Feist, 5, Geringer, 6, Dustin Erickson.
B-Main 1: 1, Feist, 2, Jawaski, 3, Ulmer, 4, Volk, 5, Klein, 6, Grabow, 7, Potter, 8, Erickson, 9, Keena.
B-Main 2: 1, Hellman, 2, Geringer, 3, Berg, 4, Wall, 5, Miller, 6, Kirkeide, 7, Pommerer, 8, Kuska, 9, Asmussen.
WISSOTA Midwest Modifieds
Feature: 1, Ryan Mikkelson, 2, Josh Eberhardt, 3, Landon Becker, 4, Brock Gronwold, 5, Josh Skorczewski, 6, Taylor Weight, 7, Jim Morlock, 8, Ryan Lehr, 9, Jerry Theis, 10, DJ Tesch, 11, Scott Bintz, 12, Eric Edwards, 13, Shawn Nostdahl, 14, Zach Naastad, 15, Levi Arneson, 16, Steve Ost, 17, Brent Weight, 18, Brent Perleberg, 19, Dustin Strand, 20, Cale Arneson.
Heat 1: 1, Gronwold, 2, Becker, 3, Lehr, 4, T. Weight, 5, Austin Arneson, 6, Morlock, 7, Wayne Smith, 8, Corey Wegner, 9, Curt Norheim.
Heat 2: 1, C. Arneson, 2, Skorczewski, 3, Ost, 4, Bintz, 5, B. Weight, 6, Billie Christ, 7, Greg Friestad, 8, Dale Johnson.
Heat 3: 1, Nostdahl, 2, Mikkelson, 3, Edwards, 4, L. Arneson, 5, Tesch, 6, Alex Guthmiller, 7, Tyler Schrenk, 8, Tim Berg.
Heat 4: 1, Strand, 2, Perleberg, 3, Eberhardt, 4, Naastad, 5, Jeremy Forester, 6, Bob Smith, 7, Theis, 8, Shayne Laske.
B-Main 1: 1, Morlock, 2, Tesch, 3, A. Arneson, 4, Guthmiller, 5, Berg, 6, Wegner, 7, Schrenk, 8, W. Smith, 9, Norheim.
B-Main 2: 1, Theis, 2, B. Weight, 3, Christ, 4, Forester, 5, Johnson, 6, Griestad, 7, B. Smith, 8, Laske.
Feature: 1, Josh Ganser, 2, Jake Emo, 3, Shawn Becker, 4, Brandon Gussiaas, 5, Tyler Michel, 6, Justin Kollman, 7, Merle Zachrison, 8, Chris Gussiaas, 9, Jason Thoms, 10, Paul Wanzek, 11, Clay Houchin, 12, Bryan Wolf, 13, Ryan Widmer, 14, Donnie Martin, 15, Kyle Presser, 16, Devin Christ, 17, Jon VanBruggen, 18, Roy Erickson, 19, Jeff Vogel, 20, Kyle Sand.
Heat 1: 1, Becker, 2, Emo, 3, Sand, 4, C. Gussiaas, 5, Houchin, 6, Presser, 7, Thoms, 8, Lucas Rodin, 9, Wanzek.
Heat 2: 1, Ganser, 2, Michel, 3, Erickson, 4, Martin, 5, Widmer, 6, Levi Nenow, 7, Dusty Heinrichs, 8, Jade Limesand.
Heat 3: 1, Zachrison, 2, B. Gussiaas, 3, Christ, 4, Vogel, 5, VanBruggen, 6, Wolf, 7, Tony Smith, 8, Kollman.
B-Main: 1, Thoms, 2, Kollman, 3, Wolf, 4, Wanzek, 5, Presser, 6, Heinrichs, 7, Limesand, 8, Smith, 9, L Rodin.
Road Hogs: 1, Travis Edinger and Travis Ganser, 2, Glenn Christianson and Randy Gordon, 3, Preston Carr and Kyle Braaten, 4, Matt Gumke and Katie Nenow.
Sun sports writer Michael Savaloja can be reached at (701) 952-8461 or by e-mail at email@example.com