CHASING THREE: Carter, Strand going for Stampede history

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Dustin Strand and Jonny Carter know how to get around Jamestown Speedway.

The drivers—two of the area's best—have also recently dominated the Stock Car Stampede. Strand and Carter are two-time defending champions of the historic season-ending special.

The gentlemen's drive to the three-peat starts tonight at 7 p.m.

"You race all year, but in the back of your mind you are always thinking, 'The Stampede is coming up,'" Carter said. "To be fortunate to be on the list once, let alone twice, is pretty phenomenal for me."

Carter's two-in-a-row in the WISSOTA Street Stocks is a first at the Stampede since Valley City's Luke Nelson won three consecutively from 2007-09. The only other streets driver to go back-to-back at the Stampede was Redge Nohrenberg from 1994-95.

Street stocks have been a staple at the Stampede since year 1 back in 1972. Carter, from Lisbon, has won a career-high 16 feature races this season, including the 50th of his career, which came in Jamestown on the Fourth of July.

"That goes to say a lot about the street class (in Jamestown). The amount of depth and competition that's in it," Carter said. "You want to be on the list on the back of the (Stampede) T-shirt. Your heros have won that, and you want to be like your heroes."

Strand capped a dream season with his Stampede repeat in 2016. It brought a 20-win season to a close for the Grand Forks wheelman, who was also crowned the year's WISSOTA Late Model national champion.

"All the years I grew up racing, the Jamestown Speedway Stock Car Stampede was kinda the biggest event that we competed at, or went to, with my dad," said Strand, whose father, Brian, won back-to-back WISSOTA Modified national championships from 1997-98. "It was always just that big event at the end of the year you looked forward to."

Strand is one of seven drivers to have won back-to-back late model features at the Stampede. The only driver to have extended the streak to three, however, was Mitch Johnson, who won four straight from 1997-2000.

"Last year we were just having one of those years where the luck was on our side all year long and everything was clicking," said Strand, who has seven late model wins this season. "Hopefully we'll have the same amount of luck coming into this deal and we'll try like heck to get 'er done."