Strand seizes the cash
A field of 38 WISSOTA Midwest Modifieds was whittled down to just 20 cars for the main event at Jamestown Speedway on Saturday night. But only one driver was able to stroll away with the winning prize of $1,000 during the first half of the speedw...
A field of 38 WISSOTA Midwest Modifieds was whittled down to just 20 cars for the main event at Jamestown Speedway on Saturday night.
But only one driver was able to stroll away with the winning prize of $1,000 during the first half of the speedway's annual two-day Labor Day special.
That driver was Grand Forks' Dustin Strand, who started the 20-lap feature on the outside pole after winning the second of four heat races. Strand took command from the green flag and held off a pair of late challenges by Valley City's Greg Friestad and Jamestown's Josh Eberhardt to cash in with his second B-mod victory in Jamestown of the season.
"There were a lot of cars and a lot of good competition here, and they all raced good," Strand said. "That always makes it a lot more fun."
Strand hadn't won at the track since the season-opener way back on May 28. On that night he raced both his B-mod and his A-mod, taking a solid fourth-place finish in the WISSOTA Modified ranks.
The driver duplicated that feat again on Saturday, piloting his A-mod to another fourth-place run. Strand, the 2009 WISSOTA Midwest Modified national champion, has 10 B-mod victories this season and nine A-mod wins.
Strand held a comfortable lead over the first 14 laps during the final race of the evening, keeping Friestad, Lisbon's Nate Reinke and Eberhardt safely behind him over the course of a pair of yellow flags.
But it was the third and final caution of the night with seven laps remaining that almost bit him.
Strand didn't appear to have the best restart, which put Friestad door-to-door underneath's Strand's No. 71 down the backstretch. Strand was able to thwart the attack, but with two laps to go Eberhardt then went on the offensive.
The Jamestown native first tried sailing by Strand on the high side, and on the final lap he attempted to dive under Strand. Neither attempt proved successful, as Eberhardt, who started fifth, settled for second, Reinke finished third and Carrington's Rusty Kollman captured fourth.
Reinke drove a solid race, charging to a third-place run after starting 13th. Friestad rounded out the top five.
"I just missed the rubber there on that first corner, but the car was good," Strand said of his final restart. "The car was really good the whole race. It does help to start on the row ... but I didn't need that yellow."
The second half of the two-night Labor Day special unfolded on Sunday night, with $1,000 going to the winner of the WISSOTA Street Stock event. Results will be published in Tuesday's edition of The Sun.
The first night of the Labor Day special had the WISSOTA Street Stocks gunning for a $500-to-win prize. It wasn't the $1,000 that was up for grabs on Sunday, but that didn't mean the driver's weren't just as hungry to earn the win.
The only problem for the rest of the field, however, was that the driver who's been feasting at the track all season still has an appetite.
Hannaford's Rory Opp -- who won an unprecedented four-consecutive Street Stock A-mains here late in the season -- split between Jamestown's Troy Nelson and Billie Christ with seven laps remaining in the 20-lap feature, and held on to win his sixth race of the summer at Jamestown Speedway.
"I waited for my car to come to me," Opp said. "I was trying to find something in the track to get by those two, but they both were running pretty good. I didn't want to push them out of the way."
Nelson started on the pole, but was engaged in a heated battle with Christ for the lead throughout the middle of the race. Christ started third, and drove door handle-to-door handle with Nelson for more than five laps, as Opp -- who started on the outside pole -- watched and waited to make his more.
Opp was able to split between Nelson and Christ on the backstretch on the 14th circuit, and it was all over after that.
Christ finished second to Opp in Jamestown for the third time this season.
"He's been good this year," Opp said, "but I'm an old man at this and he's a young kid yet."
Milnor's Bob Banish Jr. finished third, while this season's track champion, Nelson, was fourth.
When Winnipeg's Ward Imrie took command of the 20-lap WISSOTA Modified feature from the third starting position on lap No. 2, the race could have easily been over.
But Minot's Allen Kent had something to say about that.
Starting on the outside pole, Kent found some speed in the middle of the corners and reeled in Imrie, winning his first feature victory of the 2011 season and his first-ever win at Jamestown Speedway.
It was also Kent's first appearance at the track all year.
"This is a new car and I'm getting more comfortable with it. I've been driving it harder and harder," Kent said. "It's kind of cool to just to show up and win."
Imrie was able to lead six laps running the very bottom of the track before Kent's higher line prevailed. Kent made the pass on lap No. 8 and led the remaining 12 laps.
"I just settled in on the middle line there, and I could see I was slowly closing in on him," Kent said. "I kept after it and ran the same line the whole race."
Valley City's Randy Klein, the polesitter, finished second, while Imrie took third. The race went from green flag to checkered without a single caution flag.
Unlike the WISSOTA Modifieds' clean feature performance, the 15-lap Central Dakota Pure Stock feature witnessed a total of six caution flags before it was all said and done.
When the dust settled, Marion's Jeff Vogel added another Jamestown trophy to his growing collection. The driver passed Carrington's Chris Gussiaas up high in turns one and two with eight laps remaining to win his sixth Bomber feature of the season.
"It's crazy. The competition here is so much better than everywhere else, it feels good," Vogel said. "I've just put a lot more time into racing this year."
As Vogel was making his pass on the leader, Gussiaas felt the pressure and drove into corner No. 2 and spun out. Gussiaas, who has won three times at the speedway in 2011, was sent to the rear of the field but rallied to finish ninth.
Gussiaas started fourth, while Vogel won from the sixth-starting spot.
"I think I could've run my car anywhere. The track was definitely one of the better tracks we've had so far this season," he said. "I just sat back to not wreck the first couple of laps."
Fullerton's Lucas Rodin started second and finished second, while Jamestown's Matt Gumke came from 11th to finish third.
Labor Day WISSOTA Midwest Modified Special
WISSOTA Midwest Modifieds
Feature: 1, Dustin Strand; 2, Josh Eberhardt; 3, Nate Reinke; 4, Rusty Kollman; 5, Greg Friestad; 6, Corey Wheeler; 7, Scott Bintz; 8, Jeremy Forester; 9, Royce Jawaski; 10, Brandon Gussiaas; 11, Darin Smith; 12, Shawn Nostdahl; 13, Eric Haugland; 14, Tony Konold; 15, Jess Brekke; 16, Preston Carr; 17, Brad Sheridan; 18, Lyn Lamb; 19, Joie Pfaff; 20, Dave Peterson.
Consi 1: 1, Carr; 2, Jawaski; 3, Darren Pfau; 4, Eric Edwards; 5, Andy Kapp; 6, Tyler Schrenk; 7, Chuck Christ; 8, Taylor Weight; 9, Ray Smith; 10, Steve Ost; 11, Bryce Kuska.
Consi 2: 1, D. Smith; 2, Konold; 3, Richard Hamel; 4, Ryan Lehr; 5, Lucas Rodin; 6, Terry Sahr; 7, Chris Michaelsohn; 8, Cole Haugland; 9, Andee Beierle; 10, Greg Langford; 11, Brent Perleberg.
Heat 1: 1, Sheridan; 2, Kollman; 3, Lamb; 4, Reinke; 5, Carr; 6, Weight; 7, D. Pfau; 8, Schrenk; 9, R. Smith; 10, Kuska.
Heat 2: 1, Strand; 2, Gussiaas; 3, Forester; 4, J. Pfaff; 5, Hamel; 6, D. Smith; 7, Konold; 8, Beierle; 9, Michaelsohn; 10, Brent Perleberg.
Heat 3: 1, Brekke; 2, Eberhardt; 3, Nostdahl; 4, Wheeler; 5, Jawaski; 6, Edwards; 7, Christ; 8, Ost; 9, Sahr.
Heat 4: 1, Friestad; 2, Bintz; 3, E. Haugland; 4, Peterson; 5, C. Haugland; 6, Lehr; 7, Rodin; 8, Langford; 9, Kapp.
WISSOTA Street Stocks
Feature: 1, Rory Opp; 2, Billie Christ; 3, Bob Banish Jr; 4, Troy Nelson; 5, Randy Klein; 6, Mike Jans; 7, Royce Jawaski; 8, Josh Ganser; 9, Trent Grager; 10, Travis Berends; 11, Jim Geringer; 12, Jordan Zillmer; 13, John Feist; 14, Ryan Pommerer; 15, Jake Emo; 16, Dustin Erickson; 17, Randy Kollman; 18, Nate Keena; 19, Matthew Lesmeister; 20, Cammy Ost; 21, Hunter Carter; 22, Justin Kollman; 23, Lonnie Jacobson.
Heat 1: 1, Christ; 2, Opp; 3, Klein; 4, Jans; 5, Berends; 6, Grager; 7, Keena; 8, Carter.
Heat 2: 1, Nelson; 2, Jawaski; 3, Geringer; 4, Ganser; 5, Emo; 6, R. Kollman; 7, J. Kollman; 8, Jacobson.
Heat 3: 1, Banish Jr; 2, Pommerer; 3, Zillmer; 4, Feist; 5, Ost; 6, Erickson; 7, Lesmeister.
Feature: 1, Allen Kent; 2, Randy Klein; 3, Ward Imrie; 4, Dustin Strand; 5, Tim Perkins; 6, Ryan Mikkelson; 7, Jerry Lamb; 8, John Corell; 9, Brian Strand; 10, Bob Sagen; 11, Eric Edwards; 12, Josh Eberhardt; 13, John Nord; 14, Jayson Corell; 15, Randy Tarno; 16, Jamie Trautner; 17, Jerad Thelen; 18, Ryan Kereluk; 19, Mark Trautner; 20, Ben Mickelson; 21, Dwight Wegner; 22, Delray Dykstra.
Heat 1: 1, Sagen; 2, Mikkelson; 3, Tarno; 4, Eberhardt; 5, John Corell; 6, Wegner; 7, Dykstra; 8, Ben Mickelson.
Heat 2: 1, Kent; 2, Klein; 3, B. Strand; 4, Thelen; 5, Edwards; 6, Nord; 7, M. Trautner.
Heat 3: 1, D. Strand; 2, Imrie; 3, Perkins; 4, Lamb; 5, J. Trautner; 6, Jayson Corell; 7, Kereluk.
Feature: 1, Jeff Vogel; 2, Lucas Rodin; 3, Matt Gumke; 4, Leann Christensen; 5, Mike Sahr; 6, Taran Langland; 7, Cory Rodin; 8, Brandon Moser; 9, Chris Gussiaas; 10, Ethan Mabus; 11, Brad Rodin; 12, Shannon Schlenker; 13, Casey Zink; 14, Devin Christ; 15, Shawn Becker; 16, Dusty Hinrichs; 17, Nick Ziegler; 18, Levi Hintz; 19, Dalton Polries; 20, Matt Miller; 21, Tyler Hintz; 22, Lindsey Hansen; 23, Matthew Kropp; 24, Keith Striefel.
Heat 1: 1, Gussiaas; 2, Christensen; 3, Polries; 4, Hintz; 5, Christ; 6, Langland; 7, Kropp; 8, B. Rodin.
Heat 2: 1, Becker; 2, Sahr; 3, Miller; 4, Gumke; 5, Hinrichs; 6, Striefel; 7, Zink; 8, Hansen.
Heat 3: 1, Vogel; 2, L. Rodin; 3, C. Rodin; 4, Moser; 5, Schlenker; 6, Hintz; 7, Mabus; 8, Ziegler.
Feature: 1, Bud Cruff; 2, Alex Kelstrom; 3, Austin Geigle; 4, Sam Gray. DNF: Anthony Clark, Andrew Michel, Adam Wieland.
Sun sports writer Michael Savaloja can be reached at (701) 952-8461 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org