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By Mike Spieker
WEST FARGO – Austin Arneson picked up his fifth win of the season Friday night at Red River Valley Speedway. Arneson has now won five of the first six IMCA Modified features at the West Fargo dirt track. The only race he hasn’t won came on May 25th, where he crossed the finish line first, but was disqualified following the race for his car weighing in too light.
Jason Strand took the early lead of the modified feature from the third starting position. Strand paced the field in his No. E85 machine until defending track champion, Rob VanMil, took the top spot on lap six.
Strand battled back with 15 circuits remaining and briefly took the lead down the back straightaway. VanMil was too strong, however, and pulled away from Strand using the high lane.
With Arneson starting 11th, it took him several laps to make his way up to the front, but once he did he made his presence known.
Arneson took second at the halfway point before challenging VanMil for the lead with under five laps remaining. The two veteran drivers were side by side for the lead when they made contact on the front straightaway, which sent VanMil spinning uncontrollably into the infield. Race officials charged VanMil with the caution, which sent him to the back of the pack.
Arneson held off Dave Shipley and Strand in the final laps to take the win.
The IMCA Sport Mod feature began with Taylor Grove taking the early lead after starting in the fourth position. The Shelly, Minn. driver held a comfortable lead over Luke Johnson before the yellow flag waved with 10 laps to go.
On the restart, Johnson took the point after a four-wide battle for the lead with Grove, Chris VanMil, and Jesse Skalicky. In what looked to be a replay of last week’s feature, Johnson had his hands full with Skalicky as they raced for the lead in the closing stages.
After battling side by side for four trips around the three-eighths mile dirt oval, Skalicky grabbed the lead with seven laps to go and went on to claim his fifth win of the season.
Duffy Froemke picked up the IMCA stock car feature win in dramatic fashion. The Lisbon driver stalked Rick Schulz for the duration of the 15-lap feature before stealing the win on the last corner of the final lap. Froemke dove to the inside of Schulz entering turn three and slid up right in front of Schulz exiting turn four to win the race back to the checkered flag. The win was Froemke’s fourth of the year.
Hillsboro’s Brandon Schmidt executed a dominating performance in the IMCA hobby stock feature. Tim Estenson grabbed the INEX Legends feature win from the fourth starting position. The win marks Estenson’s fifth win of the young 2017 season.
Feature – 1. Austin Arneson, Fargo, N.D.; 2. Dave Shipley, Fargo, N.D.; 3. Jason Strand, Portland, N.D.; 4. Jarrett Carter, Lisbon, N.D.; 5. Dale Kraling, Mayville, N.D.
Feature – 1. Jesse Skalicky, Fargo, N.D.; 2. Luke Johnson, Moorhead, Minn.; 3. Kelly Jacobson, Fargo, N.D.; 4. Chris VanMil, Barnesville, Minn.; 5. Taylor Grove, Shelly, Minn.
Feature – 1. Duffy Froemke, Lisbon, N.D.; 2. Rick Schulz, Horace, N.D.; 3. Tim Compson, Valley City, N.D.; 4. Kelly Jacobson, Fargo, N.D.; 5. John Sandvig, West Fargo, N.D.
Feature – 1. Tim Estenson, Fargo, N.D.; 2. Donavin Wiest, Wishek, N.D.; 3. Andrew Jochim, Glyndon, Minn.; 4. Baiden Heskett, Shakopee, Minn.; 5. Kaitlyn Skalicky, Fargo, N.D.
Feature – 1. Brandon Schmidt, Hillsboro, N.D.; 2. Tim Shiek, Fargo, N.D.; 3. Tim Church, Moorhead, Minn.; 4. Torey Fischer, West Fargo, N.D.; 5. Eric Novacek, West Fargo, N.D.