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Unbeatable? Sprints driver Pierce dominant Saturday night

Above: Edgeley’s Eric Edwards (far left) and Lisbon’s Jarrett Carter (second from left) lead Jamestown’s Scott Bintz (1s), Jamestown’s Jay Sahr (22s), Marion’s Lucas Rodin (19), Adrian’s Steve Ost (24x) and Carrington’s Preston Carr (5C) out of corner No. 4 during the first of four WISSOTA Midwest Modified heat races at Jamestown Speedway on Saturday. 1 / 2
Below: Grand Forks’ Austin Pierce (2A) and Winnipeg’s Amber Balcaen fly through corner No. 1 at Jamestown Speedway on Saturday.2 / 2

Austin Pierce has been unbeatable as of late, but even he was a bit surprised by his dominance at Jamestown Speedway on Saturday.

The 25-year-old Grand Forks product smoked the field during the Northern Outlaws Sprint Association’s (NOSA) annual visit to the track. Pierce started the 25-lap feature on the outside of the front row where he’d not only lead every lap, but he nearly lapped the entire field.

The only Sprint Car that wasn’t a lap down by the end of the race was Wade Nygaard’s No. 9N in second.

“I didn’t think I was going to lap up to second place, that’s for sure,” Pierce said. “Hats off to the guys that prepped the track before the feature, it would have been a lot slower if it wasn’t for that.”

Pierce is currently on fire, having won three consecutive features at NOSA’s home track of River Cities Speedway in Grand Forks. After winning on Friday in Grand Forks, Saturday’s win in Jamestown gave the fifth-year Sprint Car driver his fifth win of the season.

He’s also won at Winnipeg’s Red River Co-Op Speedway, and, not surprisingly, he’s holding a sizable lead in the NOSA season standings.

“It’s our fifth win of the season and our fourth out of the last five race nights,” Pierce said. “The first four years I’ve been racing, one year we wrecked five cars and now this year we’ve won five features already. I guess the tables just turned and are working in our favor. My crew has been doing an awesome job.”

East Grand Forks’ Casey Mack started alongside Pierce on the pole, but Mack’s night took a turn south after just seven laps.

The lapped car of East Grand Forks’ Tanner Wisk spun near the exit of corner No. 4, leaving Mack, who was running in second, nowhere to go. Mack clipped Wisk’s No. 22 and went airborne, sending his No. 8 tumbling over.

Mack walked away unharmed and his consolation prize was the fastest recorded lap time of the night. Mack turned a lap of 12.023 seconds for an average speed of 74.85 mph.

Pierce’s fastest time was 12.053 seconds. The times were a bit off of last year’s quick lap in Jamestown, set by the winner Nygaard with a pace of 11.997 seconds.

Just 13 NOSA Sprint Cars made the trek to Jamestown, with only nine finishing the feature.

“It helped us out to be on the front row and out in the clean air, but even when we got into lapped traffic we were still pretty fast,” Pierce said. “I loved it here.”

The stoppage for Mack’s rollover was the only break in the action. The final 18 laps went green to the finish, which aided Pierce in nearly lapping the field.

Pierce appeared to have been shot from a cannon. He had a half-lap lead on Nygaard in second with 10 laps remaining.

“The open (track) with no cars for five laps really helped us knock off quite a bit of time,” Pierce said, “and then when you get to lapped traffic you’ve just got to pick your line.”

West Fargo’s Ty Hanten finished third, while Jordan Adams, of Reynolds, N.D., captured fourth.

Pierce now has plans of capturing the 2014 points title. Nygaard is the defending series champion.

“I think now it must be a 40-point lead or better,” Pierce said. “As long as we can just finish races we should be OK.”

Lisbon’s Jonny Carter won his fourth straight Jamestown Speedway feature victory in the WISSOTA Street Stocks on Saturday. Bismarck’s Chad Hausauer also visited the winner’s stage for the second straight week in the Bombers.

Edgeley’s Eric Edwards outlasted a field of 34 WISSOTA Midwest Modifieds to notch his first victory of 2014. Saturday’s car count stood at 87 cars and drivers.

Jamestown Speedway hosts its AMSOIL Qualifier this Saturday. Feature winners in the three WISSOTA classes will be eligible to compete in the AMSOIL Races of Champions during the annual WISSOTA 100 on Sept. 12 at Dakota State Fair Speedway in Huron, S.D.

WISSOTA Midwest Modifieds

An off night for the WISSOTA Modifieds at Jamestown Speedway paid off for Edgeley’s Eric Edwards.

The pilot of both an A-Mod and a B-Mod, Edwards was afforded a unique opportunity to toss all his time and energy at just his No. 14 B-Mod on Saturday. The A-Mods were absent at the track over the weekend to make room for the NOSA Sprint Cars.

The added attention turned into Edwards’ first Jamestown feature victory in over a year. The 10-year Midwest Modified veteran won a door-to-door battle with Jamestown’s Greg Friestad, who was gunning for his third Jamestown Speedway victory of 2014.

“When we got here we made some changes on the B-Mod, which we probably haven’t done for about a year,” Edwards said. “We finally got to focus a little bit more on just one car.”

Friestad started on the outside of the front row and took over the lead at the start of the 20-lap feature. But Edwards, who started third, choose the high line while running second following a restart with 14 laps left to attack Friestad’s No. 12F.

The decision worked. Friestad was glued to the bottom in the corners, and Edwards was able to find just enough grip in the middle to sneak his way to the front. The pair ran door-to-door down the stretch, with Edwards edging out Friestad at the line over each of the last five laps.

“(On the restart) I had the choice. I decided to either do it or don’t,” Edwards said of choosing the high line. “So I decided to, basically, take the line that was not preferred and I made it work.”

Both drivers ran a clean race to the checkered flag. Neither appeared to make a mistake, but it was Edwards’ line that picked up the most steam.

“It was one of those tracks where smoothness paid off,” Edwards said. “Greg and I are both smooth drivers, and I think we went 20 laps side-by-side and I don’t think we touched.”

Friestad was forced to settle for second, while Lisbon’s Jarrett Carter, Milnor’s Mike Mund and Lisbon’s Nate Reinke rounded out the top five, respectively. Reinke started on the pole.

Edwards last won in Jamestown back in 2012. He won both an A-Mod and B-Mod feature at the track that season.

The 26-year-old has been racing A-Mods for eight seasons.

“The competition is usually so tough, we’re lucky to make a feature,” Edwards said. “Usually when the 12 (Friestad) takes off he goes and there’s no catching him. But tonight we ran with him, so it feels good.”

Jamestown Speedway

Saturday’s results

NOSA Sprint Cars

Feature: 1, Austin Pierce; 2, Wade Nygaard; 3, Ty Hanten; 4, Jordan Adams; 5, Tom Egeland; 6, Kyle Fedyk; 7, Blake Egeland; 8, Amber Balcaen; 9, Trent Stengl; 10, Chris Shirek (DNF); 11, Jordan Graham (DNF); 12, Casey Mack (DNF); 13, Tanner Wisk (DNF).

Heat 1: 1, Shirek; 2, Pierce; 3, B. Egeland; 4, Fedyk; 5, Adams; 6, Balcaen; 7, Stengl (DNS).

Heat 2: 1, Mack; 2, Hanten; 3, Nygaard; 4, T. Egeland; 5, Graham; 6, Wisk.

WISSOTA Midwest Modifieds

Feature: 1, Eric Edwards; 2, Greg Friestad; 3, Jarrett Carter; 4, Mike Mund; 5, Nate Reinke; 6, Darren Pfau; 7, Christopher Christian; 8, Rusty Kollman; 9, Kelly Hagel; 10, Spencer Johnson; 11, Brice Kuska; 12, Jim Morlock; 13, Ryan Fike; 14, Travis Traut; 15, Kyle Langland; 16, Shannon Schlenker; 17, Joey Rowell; 18, Scott Bintz; 19, Trent Grager; 20, Steve Ost; 21, Lucas Rodin; 22, Preston Carr (DNF); 23, Ryan Lehr (DNF); 24, Terry Sahr (DNF).

Consi: 1, Traut; 2, Fike; 3, T. Sahr; 4, Ost; 5, Andy Kapp; 6, Jeff Carpenter; 7, John Clemens; 8, Dave Peterson; 9, Troy Hartman.

Consi 2: 1, Lehr; 2, Grager; 3, Langland; 4, Bintz; 5, Tyler Schrenk; 6, Jason thoms; 7, Jay Sahr; 8, Allison Christian (DNF); 9, Dalton Polries (DNS).

Heat 1: 1, Carter; 2, Edwards; 3, Rodin; 4, Carr; 5, Ost; 6, Fike; 7, Kapp; 8, J. Sahr; 9, Bintz (DNF).

Heat 2: 1, Friestad; 2, Kollman; 3, C. Christian; 4, Kuska; 5, Lehr; 6, Thoms; 7, Hartman (DNF); 8, Carpenter (DNS); 9, Polries (DNS).

Heat 3: 1, Hagel; 2, Rowell; 3, Mund; 4, Morlock; 5, Traut; 6, T. Sahr; 7, Schrenk; 8, Clemens.

Heat 4: 1, Reinke; 2, Pfau; 3, Johnson; 4, Schlenker; 5, Langland; 6, Grager; 7, Peterson; 8, A. Christian.

Sun sports writer Michael Savaloja can be reached at 701-952-8461 or by email at