Rodin impresses at Jamestown Speedway opener

Lucas Rodin, Casey Arneson, Jonny Carter, Alex Kukowski and Dylan Sandberg roll to victories during Jamestown Speedway's season opener.

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Lucas Rodin sails out of Turn 4 during an IMCA modified heat at Jamestown Speedway on Saturday, May 15, 2021. Rodin won the 20-lap Midwest modified feature during Jamestown's season opener and finished second in the 25-lap IMCA feature. Michael Savaloja / The Sun

Lucas Rodin had all kinds of luck in 2020, but the problem was it was mostly all bad.

The Marion, North Dakota driver successfully turned the page during Saturday's season opener at Jamestown Speedway.

Rodin held off multiple WISSOTA national champion Dustin Strand to win the first Midwest modified feature here of 2021 before lapped traffic cost him victory No. 2 of the night in the 25-lap IMCA modified main event.

Following a tumultuous season, which included burning through a right-rear tire to finish third at last June's B-mod Jeff Carpenter Memorial in Jamestown after leading 31 of 37 laps, Rodin was all smiles in victory lane.

"Man, it was terrible," Rodin said of 2020. "Led some races and had them lost to accidents or mechanical failures.


"Even this winter, we had some terrible luck in Arizona racing and on the way home. So to start it out this way is pretty awesome."

Rodin started fourth in the 24-car Midwest modified feature field and slid underneath polesitter Travis Traut to lead lap No. 3 and he'd never look back. Strand, driving a Scott Bintz 1s machine, worked his way up to second from seventh after seven circuits but didn't have near the forward bite off the corners as Rodin's No. 19, especially on the restarts.

Rodin shot away from the field after each of the race's four caution flags, which had brought eventual third-place runner Preston Carr into the fray by Lap 12. Rodin, however, easily won a four-lap shootout to the checkered flag, besting Strand by 1.58 seconds after turning opening night's best lap in 15.574.

"Just trying to keep the car straight so I could launch out of the corners," Rodin said. "It had really good drive coming out and I just knew if I could keep the car under me it would work out good."

That didn't mean Rodin was unaware of who was lined up behind him. Strand is a former WISSOTA late model and Midwest modified national champion, while Carr won two races and was crowned the 2021 Wild West Shootout X-Mod points champion in San Tan Valley, Arizona, in January.

Saturday's total car count stood at 114, with 35 B-mods pared down to 24 for the feature.

"Dustin and Preston were behind me and you just didn't know," Rodin said. "You're out front there, you don't know where the run could be coming or where they could find something. I knew if I could keep my momentum up on the high side there that I could keep ahead of them."


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Casey Arneson (2) leads Jarrett Carter (91) out of Turn 4 during an IMCA modified heat race at Jamestown Speedway on Saturday, May 15, 2021. Michael Savaloja / The Sun

That wouldn't be the case in a solid second-place finish to Fargo's Casey Arneson in the IMCA modified feature.

Rodin led the first 10 laps from the outside pole before lapped traffic became an obstacle in a race that stayed green from wire to wire.

Arneson, now with four feature wins already under his belt in 2021, pinned Rodin behind the slower car of Jamestown's Dwight Wegner and passed underneath to overtake the spot to complete Lap 11.

"It's a little easier to be running second there to kinda play off lapped cars because you can see where (the leader is) going to go," Arneson said. "I was able to just be in a little better situation than (Rodin) was when he didn't know where I was at.

"After that, I just started driving harder and not end up like the last time I was here."

Arneson flew out of Jamestown's 49th annual Stock Car Stampede last September, making contact with winner Shawn Strand while coming to the checkered flag and violently rolling off Turn 1 after finishing second. But Arneson stayed glued to the racing surface Saturday.

At the finish, Arneson had put the lapped cars of Wegner, Todd Duchscherer, Shawn Becker and Andy Kapp between himself and Rodin in second, winning the race by a wide margin of 8.172 seconds. Arneson was the only A-mod to turn a lap under 16 seconds (15.991).


"The car was really good tonight and the track was beautiful. The track's been beautiful for the last couple years, really," Arneson said. "Looking forward to next week."

Rodin was disappointed with the loss but not with his night in general.

"Just need to get better at that, figuring out ways to get around the track where the line isn't preferred and get around them guys," Rodin said. "But all and all it was a good night. We've been really struggling with this car the last couple years, so we're finding little things here and, hopefully, we keep making it better."

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Jonny Carter (46) sails through Turn 4 during a WISSOTA street stock heat race at Jamestown Speedway on Saturday, May 15, 2021. Michael Savaloja / The Sun

-- The 2019 WISSOTA national champion street stock driver is still on top of his game.

Jonny Carter fended off Todd Carter and Bob Banish Jr. to win on opening night in the streets. Jonny Carter led 19 of 20 laps, winning a door-to-door battle with uncle Todd at the midway point, while Banish arguably ran out of laps.

Banish charged from eighth on the grid to place second after recording the quickest lap of the race in 16.935. Dustin Erickson and Jason Berg rounded out the top five behind Todd Carter in third.


-- Alex Kukowski has got his new INEX legends car figured out.

The 18-year-old from nearby Edgeley diced all the way from 12th in Saturday's 21-car feature field to win the 20-lap legends main event. Kukowski's second win of the season backed up claiming the checkered flag on May 1 at Southwest Speedway in Dickinson.

Kuskowki, whose lap of 17.33 was the race's quickest, took over the lead from Donavin Wiest to complete Lap 13 as the leaders worked through lapped traffic. Ryan Braseth finished third ahead of Weist.

"It was crazy battling out there, the track was pretty slick," Kukowski said. "I just had the right setup I guess tonight and just had to keep pushing for that spot."

-- Bismarck's Dylan Sandberg steered a car he built over the winter to victory in the bombers.

Sandberg led the final 11 of 15 laps from the third starting position, building a 2.496-second lead over Erik Busche in second. Dylan Steele came from ninth to place third, while Billy Carow rebounded to finish ninth after hitting the wall coming out of Turn 4 on Lap 7 during a battle for second with Paul Morman.

Morman finished behind Carow in 10th after being sent to the rear of the field for initiating the contact with Carow. Joe Jacobson led the first four laps from the outside pole before finishing in fifth behind Brent Vetter.


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Alex Kukowski (34) leads Nate Keena (1K) into Turn 3 during an INEX legends heat race at Jamestown Speedway on Saturday, May 15, 2021. Michael Savaloja / The Sun

Jamestown Speedway

May 15, 2021

(Starting positions in brackets)

Pure Stocks

Feature (15 Laps): 1. Dylan Sandberg[3]; 2. Erik Busche[8]; 3. Dylan Steele[9]; 4. Brent Vetter[7]; 5. Joe Jacobson[2]; 6. Leann Christensen[6]; 7. Asher Williams[15]; 8. Brodee Eckerdt[13]; 9. Billy Carow[1]; 10. Paul Morman[5]; 11. Hayden Aberle[4]; 12. Jaidyn Edinger[16]; 13. Trever Sahr[10]; 14. (DNF) Travis Edinger[11]; 15. (DNF) Karlie Hoerner[12]; 16. (DNF) Skyler Rohrich[14].

Heat 1 (8 Laps): 1. Christensen[3]; 2. Vetter[4]; 3. Aberle[1]; 4. Sahr[5]; 5. Eckerdt[2]; 6. J. Edinger[6].

Heat 2 (8 Laps): 1. Carow[1]; 2. Jacobson[5]; 3. Sandberg[2]; 4. T. Edinger[4]; 5. Rohrich[3].


Heat 3 (8 Laps): 1. Morman[2]; 2. Steele[4]; 3. Busche[3]; 4. Hoerner[1]; 5. Williams[5].

INEX Legends

Feature (20 Laps): 1. Alex Kukowski[12]; 2. Ryan Braseth[5]; 3. Donavin Wiest[6]; 4. Nate Keena[11]; 5. Glenn Mitchell[2]; 6. Tony Brockhouse[7]; 7. Joshua Wiest[1]; 8. Brian Hanson[21]; 9. Brian Frederick[3]; 10. Zander Bauer[9]; 11. Jacoby Traut[10]; 12. Chuck Christ[15]; 13. Ryan Erdahl[8]; 14. Taylor Sargent[13]; 15. Rick Diede[22]; 16. Collin Compson[18]; 17. Duston Hagen[4]; 18. Don Hayes[14]; 19. William Siebert[17]; 20. Joseph Lewis[16]; 21. Zander Compson[19]; 22. (DNS) Gunnar Pfaff.

Heat 1 (8 Laps): 1. Braseth[4]; 2. Bauer[2]; 3. Hagen[3]; 4. Erdahl[7]; 5. Sargent[6]; 6. Lewis[1]; 7. Z. Compson[8]; 8. Pfaff[5].

Heat 2 (8 Laps): 1. D. Wiest[7]; 2. J. Wiest[5]; 3. Mitchell[6]; 4. Brockhouse[4]; 5. Hayes[2]; 6. Siebert[3]; 7. (DNF) Hanson[1].

Heat 3 (8 Laps): 1. Kukowski[4]; 2. Keena[3]; 3. Traut[5]; 4. Frederick[7]; 5. Christ[2]; 6. C. Compson[1]; 7. (DNS) Diede.

WISSOTA Midwest Modifieds

Feature (20 Laps): 1. Lucas Rodin[4]; 2. Dustin Strand[5]; 3. Preston Carr[8]; 4. Scott Bintz[7]; 5. Alex Langland[2]; 6. Brennon Weight[14]; 7. Travis Traut[1]; 8. Troy Nelson[6]; 9. Jeffrey Schwind Jr[11]; 10. Jim Morlock[12]; 11. Nate Reinke[22]; 12. Tanner Theis[3]; 13. Kelly Hagel[15]; 14. Dan Wheeler[20]; 15. Zach Reinke[24]; 16. Jaren Wibstad[16]; 17. Tyler Schrenk[23]; 18. Tony Smith[21]; 19. Bob Sagen[9]; 20. Arin Beyer[10]; 21. (DNF) Reise Stenberg[18]; 22. (DNF) Chris Mack[17]; 23. (DNF) Lindsey Hansen[19]; 24. (DNF) Laine Schwehr[13].

B Feature 1 (10 Laps): 1. Mack[2]; 2. Hansen[8]; 3. Smith[1]; 4. Schrenk[4]; 5. Jay Sahr[10]; 6. Alex Senger[6]; 7. Josh Ganser[5]; 8. Jarod Klein[3]; 9. Shannon Schlenker[7]; 10. Justin Hailinline[9].

B Feature 2 (10 Laps): 1. Stenberg[2]; 2. Wheeler[1]; 3. N. Reinke[3]; 4. Z. Reinke[5]; 5. Brennan Urbach[4]; 6. Terry Sahr[7]; 7. Matthew Duchscherer[6]; 8. (DNS) Kyle Langland; 9. (DNS) Brady Jawaski.

Heat 1 (8 Laps): 1. Strand[5]; 2. Bintz[4]; 3. Sagen[2]; 4. Schwehr[6]; 5. Smith[8]; 6. Klein[9]; 7. Ganser[1]; 8. Schlenker[3]; 9. (DNF) Hailinline[7].

Heat 2 (8 Laps): 1. Rodin[2]; 2. A. Langland[1]; 3. Beyer[3]; 4. Weight[8]; 5. Wheeler[9]; 6. N. Reinke[7]; 7. Z. Reinke[5]; 8. (DNF) Hansen[6]; 9. (DNF) Brady Jawaski[4].

Heat 3 (8 Laps): 1. Traut[2]; 2. Carr[3]; 3. Schwind Jr[5]; 4. Hagel[4]; 5. Mack[6]; 6. Schrenk[8]; 7. Senger[7]; 8. (DNF) K. Langland[9]; 9. (DNF) J. Sahr[1]

Heat 4 (8 Laps): 1. Nelson[2]; 2. Theis[1]; 3. Morlock[6]; 4. Wibstad[7]; 5. Stenberg[8]; 6. Urbach[3]; 7. Duchscherer[4]; 8. T. Sahr[5]

WISSOTA Street Stocks

Feature (20 Laps): 1. Jonny Carter[5]; 2. Robert Banish Jr[8]; 3. Todd Carter[7]; 4. Dustin Erickson[6]; 5. Jason Berg[3]; 6. Kyle Anderson[11]; 7. Kasey Ussatis[12]; 8. Jay Schlotfeldt[4]; 9. Kelly Hoerner[10]; 10. Jaden Christ[9]; 11. Tyler Schrenk[1]; 12. Christopher Ritter[14]; 13. Dylan Herner[13]; 14. Brian Hanson Jr[2]; 15. Ashley Wampler[16]; 16. Jordan Johnson[17]; 17. Larry Hanson[15]; 18. (DNS) Lane Stoppleworth.

Heat 1 (8 Laps): 1. Banish Jr[3]; 2. Schrenk[1]; 3. Hanson Jr[2]; 4. Hoerner[4]; 5. Herner[5]; 6. Wampler[6].

Heat 2 (8 Laps): 1. J. Carter[2]; 2. Christ[1]; 3. Schlotfeldt[3]; 4. Anderson[4]; 5. Christopher Ritter[6]; 6. Jordan Johnson[5].

Heat 3 (8 Laps): 1. Berg[1]; 2. T. Carter[5]; 3. Erickson[6]; 4. Ussatis[3]; 5. Hanson[4]; 6. (DNF) Stoppleworth[2].

IMCA Modifieds

Feature (25 Laps): 1. Casey Arneson[6]; 2. Lucas Rodin[2]; 3. Rusty Kollman[1]; 4. Jarrett Carter[5]; 5. Scott Gartner[4]; 6. John Nord[3]; 7. Quentin Kinzley[8]; 8. Jordan Sours[7]; 9. John Corell[11]; 10. Crist Pittenger[9]; 11. Jeremy Forester[14]; 12. Chris Mack[13]; 13. Andrew Kapp[10]; 14. Shawn Becker[17]; 15. Dwight Wegner[15]; 16. Todd Duchscherer[12]; 17. (DNS) Kollin Hibdon.

Heat 1 (8 Laps): 1. Gartner[1]; 2. Arneson[7]; 3. Sours[2]; 4. Carter[8]; 5. Pittenger[5]; 6. Corell[6]; 7. Mack[9]; 8. Wegner[4]; 9. Becker[3].

Heat 2 (8 Laps): 1. Nord[2]; 2. Kinzley[6]; 3. Kollman[5]; 4. Rodin[4]; 5. Kapp[8]; 6. Duchscherer[1]; 7. Forester[7]; 8. (DNF) Hibdon[3].

Junior Slingshots

Feature: 1. Noah Lewis; 2. Tripp Nelson; 3. Joseph Banish; 4. Gavin Edinger; 5. Tom Lewis; 6. Reed Ketterling.

Heat: 1. N. Lewis; 2. Edinger; 3. Nelson; 4. Banish; 5. Ketterling; 6. T. Lewis.

Savaloja is the sports lead writer for The Jamestown Sun.
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