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Marriott wins, Corell threatens on mod tour opening night

Jamestown's John Corell Sr. (5) leads Minot's Steven Pfeifer (11) to the green flag Saturday during heat race action of the Dakota Classic Modified Tour at Jamestown Speedway. Michael Savaloja / The Sun1 / 4
Hunter Marriott (62), of Brookfield, Mo., leads Tim Ward (4TW), of Harcourt, Iowa, out of Turn 4 Saturday during the Dakota Classic Modified Tour at Jamestown Speedway. Michael Savaloja / The sun2 / 4
Travis Ulmer (3), Jesse Skalicky (3s), Bland Bohannon (87x), Randy Klein (88) and Robert Hellebust (9H) battle for position Saturday during the Dakota Classic Modified Tour and Jamestown Speedway. Michael Savaloja / The Sun3 / 4
Lance Mari (19SB), Ricky Thornton Jr. (20RT), Drew Christianson (29c) and Mike Greseth (17) race into Turn 1 Saturday during the Dakota Classic Modified Tour at Jamestown Speedway. Michael Savaloja / The Sun4 / 4

A small adjustment might have cost John Corell Sr. a couple positions Saturday at Jamestown Speedway, but that's beside the point.

The local racing veteran has put himself right in the thick of the title hunt following opening night of the six-night IMCA Dakota Classic Modified Tour. Two-time defending tour champion Hunter Marriott, of Brookfield, Mo., led every lap of the 30-lap feature here, while Corell finished fifth after starting sixth in the final 29-car field.

Corell motored to as high as second in the early going, but was passed by Tucson's (Ariz.) RC Whitwell on the race's third and final restart with 25 laps remaining, and lost positions to former tour champion Jeff Taylor, of Cave City, Ark., and Bismarck's Mark Dahl over the final four circuits.

"The track was going away," said Corell, who won the second of 10 heat races to lock himself into the feature field. "I had loosened the car up a little bit for the race, because I thought it was maybe going to rubber up. But they farmed it good enough and I don't think it ever did take rubber.

"When the bottom burned off I just got too lose getting in and off."

The race started after midnight and wrapped up at 12:36 a.m. The tour brought in 81 IMCA modifieds from 15 states and two Canadian provinces, while 44 IMCA street stocks competed in support. The night witnessed 15 heat races, nine B-mains and the two features.

Marriott has owned the Dakota Classic the past two summers, totaling four feature victories en route to his pair of tour titles. He won three times alone on tour last season, rifling off victories at stops in Minot, Williston and Dickinson.

The tour continues today in Minot, before trekking to Estevan (Sask.), Williston, Dickinson and Thursday's tour championship night in Mandan.

"A three-peat's why we're up here. It's going to be tough," Marriott said in victory lane. "The car feels good. I'm just anxious to see what (today) is going to bring."

Mandan's Travis Ulmer started on the outside of the front row, alongside Marriott, but was taken out of contention on Lap 1 when Fargo-area racer Tyler Peterson slid into Ulmer in Turn 4 while battling for the race lead. Ulmer cut down a left front tire and would finish 26th, while Peterson would fall to 10th after starting third.

The race belonged to Marriott after the early melee. Over the long, green-flag stretch to the finish, Marriott began lapping cars with 15 laps remaining and blew out to a 6.565-second lead over Whitwell, who charged from seventh to place second.

"You gotta take this deal one day at a time," Marriott said. "You gotta hope luck goes your way and you don't get in a bad wreck."

Marlyn Seidler, Jamestown Speedway's 2016 IMCA modified track champion from Underwood, N.D., won heat No. 7 and finished the feature seventh after starting 10th. Jason Wolla, the defending IMCA modified national points champion from Ray, N.D., started 22nd and finished sixth.

Marriott’s first career feature victory in Jamestown paid $2,554 to win. He joins area drivers Corell, Peterson, Josh Eberhardt and John Nord as 2018 Jamestown Speedway IMCA modified feature winners.

"I was nervous out there, but it felt good," Marriott said. "That was a good time to start on the pole.

"All and all, we're just happy to be here and putting a win up."

Corell is off to his best Dakota Classic start since 2016, when he was slated to start the opening night feature in Jamestown fourth prior to the event raining out. Corell finished tied for 41st in tour points in 2016 and finished 46th last summer.

"Day by day," Corell said. "Pulling a good number helps that, too."

Jason Rogers, of Selden, Kan., won the 25-lap IMCA stock car feature.

Dakota Classic Modified Tour

Jamestown Speedway


IMCA Modifieds

Feature: 1. Hunter Marriott; 2. RC Whitwell; 3. Jeff Taylor; 4. Mark Dahl; 5. John Corell; 6. Jason Wolla; 7. Marlyn Seidler; 8. Kelly Shryock; 9. Tim Ward; 10. Tyler Peterson; 11. Casey Arneson; 12. Ricky Thornton Jr.; 13. Dan Aune; 14. Jesse Skalikcy; 15. Ethan Dotson; 16. Jordan Huettl; 17. Billy Kendall III; 18. Jason Beaulieu; 19. Aaron Turnbull; 20. Shawn Strand; 21. Jeremy Keller; 22. Jamie Trautner; 23. Steven Pfeifer; 24. Drew Christianson; 25. Brad Hartigan; 26. Travis Ulmer; 27. Troy Girolamo, DNF; 28. Hank Berry, DNF; 29. Jesse Hoeft, DNF.

B-main 1: 1. Thornton; 2. Arneson; 3. Aune; 4. Mike Greseth; 5. Lucas Rodin; 6. Josh Rogotzke; 7. Brent Schlafmann; 8. Randy Klein; 9. Curt Lund; 10. Myles Tomlinson; 11. Jessie Hoskins; 12. Billie Christ.

B-main 2: 1. Taylor; 2. Hoeft; 3. Berry; 4. Kyle Brown; 5. Spencer Wilson; 6. Dylan Goplen; 7. Travis Traut; 8. Brian Brennan; 9. Randy Gordon; 10. Jonathan Schumann; 11. Robert Sigman, DNF; 12. Kyler Jeffrey, DNF.

B-main 3: 1. Skalicky; 2. Kendall; 3. Strand; 4. Eddie Belec; 5. John Flory; 6. Justin O'Brien; 7. Tracy Domagala; 8. Rusty Kollman; 9. Dale Neitzel; 10. Les McLenehan; 11. Tommy Lee; 12. Bland Bohannon.

B-main 4: 1. Ward; 2. Shryock; 3. Dotson; 4. Tom Berry Jr.; 5. Alex Stanford; 6. Chris Schroeder; 7. Travis Olheiser; 8. Cody Peterson; 9. Troy Heupel; 10. Josh Jones; 11. Keith Hammett; 12. Shawn Ritter.

B-main 5: 1. Trautner; 2. Hartigan; 3. Christianson; 4. Paul Stone; 5. Travis Peery; 6. Jarrett Carter; 7. Marcus Tomlinson; 8. Chris Bragg; 9. Kevin Bliese; 10. Robert Hellebust, DNF; 11. Jerry Martin, DNF; 12. Lance Mari, DNF.

B-main 6: 1. Pfeifer; 2. Wolla; 3. Beaulieu; 4. Turnbull; 5. Rob VanMil; 6. Travis Tooley; 7. Zach Dockter; 8. Travis Hagen; 9. TJ Smith; 10. Darren Schatz; 11. Dwight Wegner.

Heat 1: 1. Whitwell; 2. Thornton; 3. Mari; 4. Flory; 5. Greseth; 6. Christianson; 7. Domagala; 8. Myles Tomlinson; 9. Marcus Tomlinson.

Heat 2: 1. Corell; 2. Hoeft; 3. Pfeifer; 4. Stanford; 5. Brennan; 6. Dockter; 7. Heupel; 8. Schumann.

Heat 3: 1. Ulmer; 2. Skalicky; 3. Aune; 4. Hellebust; 5. Belec; 6. Klein; 7. Bliese; 8. Bohannon.

Heat 4: 1. Keller; 2. Dotson; 3. Hank Berry; 4. Turnbull; 5. Tom Berry; 6. Goplen; 7. Wegner, DNF; 8. Hammett, DNF.

Heat 5: 1. Dahl; 2. Trautner; 3. Kendall; 4. Rogotzke; 5. Peery; 6. O'Brien; 7. Hoskins; 8. Bragg.

Heat 6: 1. T. Peterson; 2. Wolla; 3. Shryock; 4. Brown; 5. Tooley; 6. C. Peterson; 7. Sigman; 8. Smith, DNF.

Heat 7: 1. Seidler; 2. Arneson; 3. Stone; 4. Strand; 5. Lund; 6. Carter; 7. Lee; 8. Christ.

Heat 8: 1. Huettl; 2. Taylor; 3. VanMil; 4. Schroeder; 5. Gordon; 6. Schatz; 7. Ritter; 8. Jeffrey.

Heat 9: 1. Girolamo; 2. Kollman; 3. Rodin; 4. Hartigan; 5. Neitzel; 6. Schlafmann; 7. Martin; 8. McLenehan.

Heat 10: 1. Marriott; 2. Ward; 3. Wilson; 4. Beaulieu; 5. Olheiser; 6. Traut; 7. Hagen, DNF; 8. Jones, DNF.

IMCA Stock Cars

Feature: 1. Jason Rogers; 2. Angel Munoz; 3. Joe Flory; 4. Ricky Thornton Jr.; 5. Matt Speckman; 6. Andy Altenburg; 7. Kirk Martin; 8. Colin Heim; 9. Eric Harpole; 10. Scott Gartner; 11. Alan Bertsch; 12. Austin Daae; 13. Jake Nelson; 14. Beau Deschamp; 15. Justin Medler, DNF; 16. Jeremy Swanson, DNF; 17. Rob VanMil, DNF; 18. Chris Eillis, DNF; 19. Elijah Zevenbergen, DNF; 20. Scott Yale, DNF; 21. Dalton Flory, DNF; 22. Blake Adams, DNF; 23. Rob Stenvold, DNF; 24. Curt Lund, DNF.

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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