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Champions crowned at Jamestown Speedway

Jeff Carpenter (37), Jason Grimes (99), Alex Langland (6) and Arin Beyer (4) fly into Turn 2 during WISSOTA Midwest Modified heat race action Saturday at Jamestown Speedway. Michael Savaloja / The Sun

Saturday's fan favorite at Jamestown Speedway gave it everything she had.

Leann Christensen was unable to claim what would have been the first track championship of her career, after a poor starting draw for the heats put her five-point lead in the bomber track standings in jeopardy from the very beginning of track title night. Clay Gentzkow, the 22-year-old wheelman from LaMoure, drove from seventh to third in the 15-lap feature and won the points title by eight points over Christensen.

"To draw bad on a last night like this and have a slippery track where you couldn't move up in the heat was tough," Christensen said.

Christensen started seventh and finished sixth in her heat, and lined up 12th in the 16-car feature, five spots behind Gentzkow. She'd improve five positions to seventh when the checkered flag waved, but it wasn't enough to hold off the young gun Gentzkow.

The race stayed green from start to finish, and with rain in the area Jamestown Speedway head flagman Brian Smith was taking no chances to slow things down. Tony Smith looped around in Turn 4 just five laps in but was able to continue, and Erik Busche appeared to lose a motor after 10 circuits but was able make his way safely off the track. Jason Miller led every circuit from the pole to claim his first Jamestown feature victory of the season.

"I was hoping for a caution, but that's the way it goes," said the 58-year-old Christensen, who started her racing career in 1981. "It's a long season. You've got to run it tough to the end and I did.

"Yeah, I'm bummed. But, hey, I had a good year," Christensen added. "We'll try again next year."

Bob Banish Jr., who pits next door to Christensen and her husband, Larry, had better fortune in the WISSOTA streets. Banish held a 14-point lead over Jonny Carter in the track standings entering the night and ended up winning the first track championship of his career over Rory Opp by 43 markers as Carter was a no-show.

Banish's 15-year racing career includes stints driving a bomber and a WISSOTA A-mod.

"I've been trying for 15 years to win a title," Banish said. "It's nice to finally get that one behind me."

Banish nearly won the 20-lap feature, but after leading 13 of the first 17 laps he lost a side-by-side battle with Royce Jawaski at the end and placed second. Jawaski led the first four circuits before Banish barreled from eighth and under Jawaski for the lead.

"Yeah, I thought I had it sewed up there for a little bit, then Royce got me back on the high side," Banish said. "We had a really consistent year. I had a lot of help from mom and dad, Leann and Larry, all my sponsors, and Royce. This is Royce's spare transmission in (my car) right now."

Eric Edwards won both the 25-lap IMCA modified feature and the IMCA modified track championship. Edwards led Josh Eberhardt by two points and John Nord by six prior to Saturday night, but Eberhardt (14th) and Nord (17th) both went backwards in the 22-car feature field while Edwards won from the 11th starting position.

Edwards passed Greg Friestad for the top spot with five laps remaining, and the race was called two laps short of the scheduled distance as rain began to fall. Edwards claimed the track title by 15 points over Eberhardt.

Nate Reinke ran away with the WISSOTA B-mod track title by 64 points over Kelly Hagel. Kyle Langland won the midwest modified feature from the pole, losing the lead to Jason Grimes six laps in, but overtaking Grimes four laps later on a restart with 10 of 20 laps remaining.

The 47th annual Jamestown Speedway Stock Car Stampede is scheduled for Sept. 21-22.

Jamestown Speedway


IMCA Modifieds

1. Eric Edwards; 2. Greg Friestad; 3. John Corell; 4. Dylan Goplen; 5. Rusty Kollman; 6. Trent Grager; 7. Joey Rowell; 8. Myles Tomlinson; 9. Andrew Michel; 10. Billie Christ; 11. Jesse Skalicky; 12. Lucas Rodin; 13. Jeremy Forester; 14. Josh Eberhardt; 15. Jarrett Carter; 16. Randy Gordon; 17. John Nord; 18. Mike Tomlinson; 19. Crist Pittenger; 20. Dwight Wenger; 21. Tony Mack; 22. Casey Arneson, DNF.

Heat 1: 1. Corell; 2. Gordon; 3. Rowell; 4. Goplen; 5. Myles Tomlinson; 6. Forester; 7. Skalicky; 8. Mike Tomlinson.

Heat 2: 1. Grager; 2. Nord; 3. Christ; 4. Edwards; 5. Rodin; 6. Pittenger; 7. Mack.

Heat 3: 1. Michel; 2. Eberhardt; 3. Friestad; 4. Arneson; 5. Kollman; 6. Carter; 7. Wegner.

WISSOTA Street Stocks

Feature: 1. Royce Jawaski; 2. Robert Banish Jr.; 3. Rory Opp; 4. Jerry Lamb; 5. John Feist; 6. Kyle Anderson; 7. Charlie Christ; 8. Jaden Christ; 9. Jay Schlotfeldt; 10. Kelly Hoerner; 11. Chris Ritter; 12. Dustin Erickson; 13. Kasey Ussatis; 14. Shawn Becker; 15. Brian Hanson Jr.; 16. Brodee Eckerdt; 17. Austin Geigle, DNF.

Heat 1: 1. Opp; 2. Lamb; 3. Feist; 4. Christ; 5. Ussatis; 6. Hoerner; 7. Hanson; 8. Ritter, DNF; 9. Eckerdt, DNF.

Heat 2: 1. Jawaski; 2. Schlotfeldt; 3. Geigle; 4. Banish; 5. Erickson; 6. Anderson; 7. Christ; 8. Becker.

WISSOTA Midwest Modifieds

Feature: 1. Kyle Langland; 2. Jason Grimes; 3. Jeff Schwind Jr.; 4. Aaron Michel; 5. Preston Carr; 6. Jeff Carpenter; 7. Alex Langland; 8. Nate Reinke; 9. Jim Morlock; 10. Zach Reinke; 11. Joe Thomas; 12. Arin Beyer; 13. Jay Sahr; 14. Kelly Hagel; 15. Lindsey Hansen; 16. Laine Schwehr; 17. Tanner Theis; 18. Caleb Johnson; 19. Mike Sobolik; 20. Andy Kapp, DNF; 21. Shannon Schlenker, DNF; 22. Jaren Wibstad, DNF; 23, Lucas Rodin, DNF.

Heat 1: 1. Rodin; 2. Carpenter; 3. Grimes; 4. Beyer; 5. A. Langland; 6. Sahr; 7. Schwehr; 8. Wibstad.

Heat 2: 1. Carr; 2. Thomas; 3. Michel; 4. Schlenker; 5. Kapp; 6. Hansen; 7. Reinke; 8. Sobolik.

Heat 3: 1. K. Langland; 2. Hagel; 3. Schwind; 4. Morlock; 5. Reinke; 6. Johnson; 7. Theis.


1. Jason Miller; 2. Billy Carow; 3. Clay Gentzkow; 4. Travis Edinger; 5. Greg Moore; 6. Dylan Steele; 7. Leann Christensen; 8. Dillon Thorpe; 9. Dylan Bitz; 10. Lane Stoppleworth; 11. Taylor Saari; 12. Ryan Ost; 13. Larry Hanson; 14. Tony Smith; 15. Erik Busche, DNF; 16. Matthew Duchscherer, DNF. DNS: Hayden Aberle.

Heat 1: 1. Hanson; 2. Edinger; 3. Smith; 4. Steele; 5. Moore; 6. Ost; 7. Busche; 8. Duchscherer; 9. Stoppleworth, DNF.

Heat 2: 1. Carow; 2. Gentzkow; 3. Miller; 4. Thorpe; 5. Bitz; 6. Christensen; 7. Saari; 8. Aberle, 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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