Mikkelson bests the field, twice

Shot out of cannon, riding on rails and leaving them in the dust. Jamestown's Ryan Mikkelson was all of those things at Jamestown Speedway on Saturday night. In a rare twist of fate -- all thanks to previous Saturday night showers -- Mikkelson wa...

Jamestown's Ryan Mikkelson climbs out of his WISSOTA Midwest Modified after winning his second of two feature races at Jamestown Speedway on Saturday night. Photo courtesy Cody R. Papke

Shot out of cannon, riding on rails and leaving them in the dust.

Jamestown's Ryan Mikkelson was all of those things at Jamestown Speedway on Saturday night.

In a rare twist of fate -- all thanks to previous Saturday night showers -- Mikkelson was presented with the opportunity of going 2-for-2 in one night at the track, as two prior nights of rained out features were finally made up.

The speedway has witnessed a least some type of precipitation during five of the track's first six shows of the season. The opener on May 8 and last week's Sprint Show were washed out entirely, while the races on May 22 and June 5 were called due to rain before the feature races hit the track.

The Sprint Show has been rescheduled for July 24.


Mother Nature even threw in a few sprinkles on Saturday -- Jamestown Speedway's seventh scheduled show of the season -- just for good measure, but nothing was going to ruin what turned out to be a very special night for Mikkelson, and also the fans.

In a way of giving back to the fans for having to sit through rain out after rain out, officials at the track opened the gates on Saturday free of charge to all fans that picked up advanced tickets at Stop-N-Go locations in Jamestown, Valley City and Carrington.

Mikkelson earned his way into the first WISSOTA Midwest Modified feature of the evening by winning his heat race back on May 22.

Starting from the fourth position in the 20-lap contest, Mikkelson first got by Valley City's Tim Compson, the pole sitter, and Bottineau's Shawn Nostdahl to move up to second in the opening 6 laps.

Mikkelson then went to work on Langdon's Lance Schill, who started the race in third. Using the high line, Mikkelson shot past Schill coming out of turn No. 4 to take command with 12 laps left.

A total of four caution flags down the stretch never let Mikkelson get too far ahead of Schill, but Mikkelson was the car and driver to beat on Saturday night.

Feature win No. 1 on the night: accomplished.

Mikkelson also started the second Midwest Mod feature from the second row, this time from the third position after winning heat No. 3 of 4 back on June 5.


Mikkelson blew past Fargo's Greg Friestad and Compson, who comprised the race's front row, in the opening couple of laps, but once again Mikkelson had to fight off a hard-charging Schill to secure the victory.

Schill came all the way from the 11th starting position to challenge Mikkelson for the lead with 15 of 20 circuits remaining. But that was as far as Schill would get.

Attempting to get underneath Mikkelson with 12 laps to go, Schill spun out in turns one and two and finished the race in 13th.

Mikkelson checked out from there, as second-place runner Jerry Theis, of Jamestown, had nothing for Mikkelson on this particular evening.

"It's my seventh win of the year," Mikkelson said, when the show was over. "It took some time to get the car figured out, but I'm at home right now with this chassis and it feels right. It suits my driving style perfectly."

Mikkelson has been driving a used Skyrocket chassis this season, and he's been using it to tear up tracks across the region in his fourth and final season behind the wheel of B-Mod. Mikkelson has won twice at both Red River Valley Speedway in Fargo and Sheyenne River Speedway in Lisbon, where he's the reigning two-time track champion.

Mikkelson also won Friday night's Midwest Modified Special at Aberdeen's Brown County Speedway, giving the driver three feature wins in two nights.

"I won the inaugural race in Fargo this year, and that will go down as one of my best wins," Mikkelson said. "But this one is right there."


And without the earlier rain outs, Mikkelson's big night would have never unfolded.

The Jamestown driver suffered engine trouble while winning his heats back on May 22 and June 5.

"I blew up," Mikkelson said. "The rain came and saved me, because I wasn't going to make it out for the features."

Mikkelson said he plans on moving up to the more powerful WISSOTA Modifieds in 2011.


Also going 2-for-2 at Jamestown Speedway on Saturday night was Carrington's Chris Gussiaas.

Gussiaas bested the field in the 22-car, 15-lap Bomber Special after taking second in his heat and earning the pole position.

Gussiaas held off his brother, Brandon Gussiaas, of New Rockford, over the final laps. Brandon spun out on the final lap, handing the race to his brother as the race ended under caution.


Chris Gussiaas also started from the pole in the rescheduled 15-lap Bomber feature from June 5. Gussiaas held off a determined Cory Jacobson, of Jamestown, late in the race to win his second feature of the night and he sixth feature win at Jamestown Speedway.

"It's something else, I guess," Gussiaas said. "The car ran great. The tires hooked up and the track was just what the car wanted. It all worked together."

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

What To Read Next
Get Local