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Opp, Rodin victorious at Jamestown Speedway

Hannaford's Rory Opp (43) battles Jamestown's Shawn Becker (56) and Chris Ritter (17) for position during Wednesday's heat races at Jamestown Speedway. Michael Savaloja / The Sun1 / 3
Marion's Lucas Rodin (19) races Sanborn's Laine Schwehr through Turns 1 and 2 Wednesday at Jamestown Speedway. Michael Savaloja / The Sun2 / 3
TRIKING IT: Jamestown's Jason Grimes (99) used three wheels to get around Jamestown Speedway during Wednesday's Fourth of July Fireworks Spectacular. A73 / 3

Rory Opp wasted little time Wednesday taking advantage of one of the best racing surfaces Jamestown Speedway has produced all season.

The veteran WISSOTA street stock driver made a four-wide pass for the lead on the opening lap of the 20-lap streets feature during the annual Fourth of July Fireworks Spectacular. Opp shot to the high side from the fourth starting position at the drop of the green flag, catapulting himself past third-place starter Jonny Carter and the front row of Jay Schlotfeldt and Christopher Ritter before the foursome made it back to the flag stand.

Opp, collecting his first win of 2018, knew he had to act fast. Just behind the Hannaford, N.D. native in Row 3 started the always stout Bob Banish Jr. and "The Old Man" Jerry Lamb, who won Jamestown's season opener on May 12.

"I was worried," Opp said. "I was telling the guys in the pits it was going to be a tough one having those guys there. I didn't think I was going to get ahead of them on the first lap though."

Opp held off separate attacks from Carter, Banish and Lamb over the course of three caution flags. The final nine laps stayed green and Opp beat Carter to the finish by just over a half-second. Banish and Lamb crossed third and fourth, respectively.

"I knew I had the top side. It looked real good when the other guys (B-mods and bombers) were running, so I'm glad they left it open for me," Opp said. "I was lucky I cleared them, because it would've been a tough job to beat them after that."

Jamestown Speedway responded well to Wednesday's early-morning thunderstorms, churning out a racy, dry-slick surface with multiple lanes for drivers to maneuver by the feature races. That could all bode well for this Saturday, when Jamestown hosts the opening night of the annual six-night IMCA Dakota Classic Modified Tour.

The tour brought 100 modifies and 28 supporting IMCA Stock Cars to the track last season for opening night, with Minot's Spencer Wilson holding off 2015 tour champion Ricky Thornton Jr. to claim victory in the modifieds feature. Hunter Marriott, of Brookfield, Mo., is the two-time defending Dakota Classic Modified Tour champion.

Local modified driver "The Nightmare" Lucas Rodin, of Marion, N.D., said he plans to tackle most of this year's tour after he cruised to win Wednesday's 20-lap WISSOTA midwest modified feature. Rodin started on the outside pole and fended off Brennon Weight by 0.574 seconds at the finish.

Weight charged all the way to second from ninth on the grid. The race was cut short after 15 laps when a fifth caution flag was displayed after the race's 20-minute time limit had expired.

Rodin, who claimed second in the B-mods here on Saturday, went on to finish the 25-lap IMCA modified feature 10th after started 14th.

"We've struggled at the beginning of the year with this car (B-mod), and we've found some things with it that I messed up on it at the end of last year," said Rodin, who collected his first checkered flag of 2018. "So, it was good to get things going again. There's always room for a little more improvement, but it's getting a lot closer."

Weight collected his 13th overall top five finish of the summer. The LaMoure native, who at one point said he thought he had a shot at overtaking Rodin, has posted a victory in Wishek.

"I did at first, and then the bottom went away a little bit," Weight said in victory lane. "But it's always good following my best friend around the track, and it was one good race track tonight."

Rodin, who led from start to finish, was strong up top, especially off Turn 2 on the restarts.

"It seemed like as the race went on, if I could drive it in and let it roll through (Turns) 3 and 4 on the higher side I could keep the momentum up going into 1 and 2," Rodin said. "I didn't see anybody below me in 3 and 4, so I guess I just kept it up there."

Jamestown Speedway


WISSOTA Street Stocks

Feature: 1. Rory Opp; 2. Jonny Carter; 3. Robert Banish Jr.; 4. Jerry Lamb; 5. Kyle Anderson; 6. Royce Jawaski; 7. Kasey Ussatis; 8. Jay Schlotfeldt; 9. Dustin Erickson; 10. Jodie Michaelsohn; 11. Jon Perkins; 12. Hunter Domagala; 13. Austin Geigle; 14. Christopher Ritter; 15. Brian Hanson Jr.; 16. Brodee Eckerdt; 17. Charlie Christ; 18. Ashley Wampler, DNF; 19. Shawn Becker, DNF; 20. Jaden Christ, DNF.

Heat 1: 1. Carter; 2. Banish; 3. Anderson; 4. Jawaski; 5. Perkins; 6. Geigle; 7. J. Christ, DNF.

Heat 2: 1. Schlotfeldt; 2. Ritter; 3. Opp; 4. Becker; 5. C. Christ; 6. Wampler; 7. Eckerdt.

Heat 3: 1. Lamb; 2. Domagala; 3. Michaelsohn; 4. Erickson; 5. Ussatis; 6. Hanson.

WISSOTA Midwest Modifieds

Feature: 1. Lucas Rodin; 2. Brennon Weight; 3. Travis Traut; 4. Nate Reinke; 5. Preston Carr; 6. Jason Grimes; 7. Jim Morlock; 8. Aaron Michel; 9. Brock Gronwold; 10. Jason Strand; 11. Jay Sahr; 12. Arin Beyer; 13. Cody Lee; 14. Jeff Carpenter; 15. Joey Rowell; 16. Tanner Theis; 17. Todd Duchscherer; 18. Kelly Hagel, DNF; 19, Zach Reinke, DNF; 20. Jaren Wibstad, DNF; 21. Laine Schwehr; 22. Andrew Kapp, DNF; 23. Shannon Schlenker, DNF.

Heat 1: 1. Gronwold; 2. Hagel; 3. Carpenter; 4. N. Reinke; 5. Grimes; 6. Michel; 7. Rowell; 8. Strand.

Heat 2: 1. Lee; 2. Morlock; 3. Traut; 4. Carr; 5. Kapp; 6. Beyer; 7. Z. Reinke; 8. Todd Duchscherer.

Heat 3: 1. Rodin; 2. Weight; 3. Sahr; 4. Schlenker; 5. Wibstad; 6. Theis; 7. Schwehr.

Junior Slingshots

Feature: 1. Andrea Edinger; 2. Jacoby Traut; 3. Joseph Banish; 4. Jaidyn Edinger; 5. Gavin Edinger; 6. Joseph Lewis; 7. Noah Lewis.

Heat: 1. Traut; 2. A. Edinger; 3. Banish; 4. Lewis; 5. G. Edinger; 6. J. Edinger; 7. Lewis.

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

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