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TITLE TIME: Christensen gunning for first track championship

Leann Christensn (24) and Clay Gentzkow (32) will decide the pure stock track championship this Saturday at Jamestown Speedway. Michael Savaloja / The Sun

Leann Christensen has had her best season behind the wheel. She's done the math, knows her competition and realizes what scenarios will place her at the top of the podium Saturday night at Jamestown Speedway.

Now it all boils down to executing the exact same thing that has put her in position to win her first track championship in the first place.

"Just keep calm. That's the main thing," Christensen said. "Stay calm, drive smooth and don't make any mistakes."

A native of nearby Eckelson, the 58-year-old Christensen leads LaMoure's Clay Gentzkow by five points in the Jamestown pure stock championship standings heading into the the final night of points racing. Gentzkow, 22, was 15 years from being born when Christensen began her racing career in 1981.

Gentzkow has impressed this summer, motoring to seven top-five feature finishes and a pair of wins at Jamestown Speedway. But Christensen, albeit without a feature victory, has edged the LaMoure driver in consistency to this point.

Christenson's only finishes outside the top five have been a pair of sixth-place efforts on July 21 and again last Saturday (Aug. 18), when she limped her No. 24 to the checkered flag with a broken shock.

"It's been an exciting year between the two of us. Hopefully I can finish ahead of him," said Christensen, who won her first feature races in 32 years at Jamestown Speedway in 2015. "I've had the points lead at midseason for a couple weeks before, but I've never been able to carry it to the end.

"It's definitely exciting, and nerve-wracking."

Jamestown's pure stocks, or bombers, use WISSOTA's current feature points system: 100 points to win, 95 (2nd), 91 (3rd), 87 (4th), 84 (5th), 81 (6th) and 78 (7th). Every position between seventh place and 20th is separated in increments of two points, while 0 points are awarded during heat races.

Christensen's five-point lead would be totally evaporated if Gentzkow wins Saturday. Even if she were to run second to the lad, Gentzkow's feature wins would break the tie.

Basically, Christensen will be looking to keep Gentzkow behind her for 15 laps this weekend to be labeled a champion, which will begin with an important starting draw for the heat races. Gentzkow has a pair of Jamestown feature DNFs this summer, his only two appearances outside the top five.

"There's so many variables, but I can't dwell on any of that," Christensen said. "I'll do my best and hopefully the chips fall on the right side."

Lisbon's Nate Reinke needs to start the feature Saturday and he'll be the Jamestown Speedway track champion in the WISSOTA midwest modifieds. Milnor's Bob Banish Jr. holds a 14-point lead over Lisbon's Jonny Carter in the WISSOTA streets.

Edgeley's Eric Edwards is holding onto the IMCA modified points lead by the skin of his teeth. He leads Jamestown's Josh Eberhardt by two markers and Enderlin's John Nord by six. Saturday's track championship races begin at 7 p.m.

Jamestown Speedway

Top 10 Points

Bombers

1. Leann Christensen 903; 2. Clay Gentzkow 898; 3. Billy Carow 840; 4. Tony Smith 836; 5. Greg Moore 815; 6. Lane Stoppleworth 809; 7. Erik Busche 763; 8. Travis Edinger 656; 9. Hayden Aberle 619; 10. Larry Hanson 473.

WISSOTA Midwest Modifieds

1. Nate Reinke 881; 2. Kelly Hagel 829; 3. Jim Morlock 816; 4. Arin Beyer 760; 5. Lucas Rodin 759; 6. Zach Rinke 755; 7. Andy Kapp 702; 8. Travis Traut 685; 9. Jay Sahr 681; 10. Brennon Weight 637.

WISSOTA Street Stocks

1. Bob Banish Jr. 904; 2. Jonny Carter 890; 3. Rory Opp 865; 4. Jerry Lamb 860; 5. Kyle Anderson 850; 6. Dustin Erickson 789; 7. (tie) Shawn Becker 743; Charlie Christ 743; Chris Ritter 741; 10. Austin Geigle 702.

IMCA Modifieds

1. Eric Edwards 300; 2. Josh Eberhardt 298; 3. John Nord 294; 4. Greg Friestad 279; 5. Jarrett Carter 261; 6. John Corell 256; 7. Marlyn Seidler 254; 8. Lucas Rodin 243; 9. Billie Christ 230; 10. Rusty Kollman 225.

Michael Savaloja

Hometown: Churchs Ferry, N.D.; College: North Dakota

A recipient of the NDHSCA Award of Merit, Savaloja has been reporting sports for The Sun since 2008.

Follow on Twitter: @MichaelSavaloja

(701) 952-8461
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