By Mike Spieker
WEST FARGO – Former late model racer, Matt Aukland, proved once again that he can wheel any type of car on dirt. Aukland drove to the IMCA modified feature win on Friday night at Red River Valley Speedway. The Fargo driver started 10th on the grid for the 21-car, 20-lap IMCA Modified feature and methodically moved his way forward, eventually taking the lead with three laps remaining.
The race began with Jamestown’s Jason Grimes grabbing the early race lead. Grimes led without challenge until Michael Johnson of Harwood and Aukland reeled him in. The lead trio raced three wide with three laps remaining. Aukland was the big mover in that battle, advancing from third to first using the high side of the speedway.
From there, Aukland had to contend with lapped traffic, but he was able to hold on and take the win – his second of the season.
The IMCA SportMods had a wild and controversial finish. Any of the three cars had a shot at the win in the closing stages as Matt Talley of Sabin, Minn., Luke Johnson of Moorhead, Minn., and Ryan Restad of West Fargo raced hard for the top spot. Talley started third on the field but worked his way into the lead on lap six. Talley and Johnson, who started 13th on the grid, traded the lead back and forth with six to go. Johnson held the lead as they crossed under the flag stand with two laps to go.
Things got dicey on the final trip around the high-banked three-eighths-mile oval.
Talley slid up the track out of turn four and Johnson got into the back of Talley, spinning Johnson into the front stretch wall. Talley scrambled to the finish line and crossed under the checkers just ahead of Restad. However, the yellow flag was simultaneously waved with the checkers. The call for the yellow flag was charged to Talley. By IMCA rules, when there is a yellow flag, the field is reset to the running order of the previous completed lap. That was led by Johnson, which gave him his second SportMod win of the season at the West Fargo speedway. Talley was credited with a DNF (did not finish) and was scored in the 19th position.
Tim Estenson of Fargo, who scored an INEX legend feature win at Red River Valley Speedway last week, was competing with the NLSA lightning sprints on Friday. Estenson and fellow front row starter, Alex Truscinski of Greenbush, Minn., engaged in a hard-fought battle for the win. Truscinski, who scored the win Thursday night at Norman County Raceway in Ada, Minn., looked to take the lead away from Estenson on the final lap. Truscinski had the slim advantage going into the final set of corners on the last lap, but Estenson dove underneath him into the final set of turns to steal the win at the finish line.
Rick Schulz of Horace raced to the IMCA stock car feature win from the seventh starting position. Schulz took the point on lap two after a three-wide pass for the lead over Tim Church of Dilworth, Minn. and Ernest Geist of West Fargo. After a mid-race challenge from stock car point leader, Rob VanMil of Barnesville, Minn., Schulz broke away from the pack to collect his first win of the season.
Ryan Braseth jumped out to a big lead to start the INEX legend main event. However, the youngster from Ulen, Minn. was surpassed by brothers Sean and Dylan Johnson. Dylan, of Durbin, N.D., and Sean, of Kindred, broke away from the rest of the field. Sean took the lead with five laps to go and brought Tye Wilke of Detroit Lakes, Minn. with him. Sean Johnson and Wilke battled for the lead in the final stages. In a drag race to the finish line, Johnson narrowly held off Wilke at the checkers.
Mathew Olson of Fargo cruised to his fourth IMCA hobby stock feature win of the season.
IMCA Stock Cars:
Feature – 1. 4-Rick Schulz, West Fargo, N.D.; 2. 40-Rob VanMil, Barnesville, Minn.; 3. 18-Mike Anderson, Walcott, N.D.; 4. 52-Brennan Borg, Harwood, N.D.; 5. 49-Tim Compson, Valley City, N.D.
Feature – 1. Luke Johnson, Moorhead, MN; 2. 7R-Ryan Restad, West Fargo, ND; 3. 219-Brandon Schmidt, Kindred, ND; 4. 40-Chris VanMil, Barnesville, MN; 5. 3X-Andy Wagner, Ada, MN
NLSA Lightning Sprints:
Feature – 1. 14T-Tim Estenson, Fargo, ND; 2. 10-Alex Truscinski, Greenbush, MN; 3. 16-Josh Abrahamson, Moorhead, MN; 4. 11-Dexter Dvergsten, Greenbush, MN; 5. 100-Jason Berg, Fargo, ND.
Feature 1: 1. 58-Sean Johnson, Kindred, ND; 2. 72-Tye Wilke, Detroit Lakes, MN; 3. 8JR-Kaitlyn Skalicky, Fargo, ND; 4. 5D8-Dylan Johnson, Durbin, ND; 5. 20-Alex Braseth, Ulen, MN.
IMCA Hobby Stocks:
Feature – 1. 56M-Mathew Olson, 04:45.831; 2. 30A-Adam Goff, 04:48.581; 3. 14-Alyssa White, 04:51.833; 4. 31X-Tim Shiek, 04:52.271; 5. 3XL-Brad Orvedal,
Feature – 1. 12-Matt Aukland, Glyndon, MN; 2. 99-Jason Grimes, Jamestown, ND; 3. 84-Michael Johnson, Moorhead, MN; 4. 40-Rob VanMil, Barnesville, MN; 5. 6D-Dylan Goplen, Fargo, ND.