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'Johnny C' eyes seventh Stampede title

John Corell raced from sixth to win his IMCA modified heat race Friday evening at Jamestown Speedway's Stock Car Stampede. Mike Spieker / For The Sun

Despite cool, windy conditions, the Jamestown Speedway faithful came out in droves for the 46th annual Stock Car Stampede. Race fans were treated to 270 cars for the first of two nights of racing at the high-banked quarter-mile clay oval.

John Corell Sr. put on one of the most impressive drives early in the night. The Jamestown driver started sixth on the grid for IMCA modified heat race No. 2 and quickly raced into the lead.

"I just never lifted," said Correll after the race. "I ran it wide open and the car felt great."

Corell drove by Josh Eberhardt of Jamestown and Jeremy Keller of Mandan to take over the point. With the heat race coming early in the night, the track surface still had plenty of moisture in it which made for some quick lap times.

"The track was a little different than usual, but it was still really racy out there. Some dry spots were starting to develop, there were some wet spots, and it was smooth. It was a lot of fun," Corell said.

Corell has claimed Stock Car Stampede titles on sixth different occasions, spanning from 1983 to 2004. The year-end special at Jamestown Speedway is one of the marquee events on their schedule each and every year, but Corell says he treats it like any other race.

"You just have to be good from the start. [Getting the heat race win] was the key to get qualified well for tomorrow night. Hopefully we'll be starting in the front few rows for the feature."

Ryan Mikkelson of Jamestown also claimed a heat race win Friday night. Mikkelson, who is in his first full season behind the wheel of a WISSOTA late model, charged from fifth to win the third and final late model heat race. Mikkelson held off the defending WISSOTA late model national champion, Dustin Strand, en route to the victory.

Mikkelson has had several impressive runs throughout his rookie campaign, including a heat race win at the John Seitz Memorial late model special at River Cities Speedway on Sept. 2nd, which locked him into the big show. He also raced to a fourth-place effort during a preliminary feature at the WISSOTA 100 at Dakota State Fair Speedway in Huron, S.D. last weekend.

The IMCA sportmods are making their Stock Car Stampede debut this year. A stout field of 19 sportmods made the haul to Jamestown from western and eastern North Dakota and Minnesota.

Scott Jacobson of Fargo and Luke Krogh of Dickinson were heat race winners in IMCA's version of a b-mod.

Due to the unfavorable forecast for Saturday night, the track announced it will be considering a 2:00pm start time. Stay tuned to for the latest racing and weather announcements.