WEST FARGO — Mark Dobmeier of Grand Forks has one of the strongest résumés in all of sprint car racing. He’s won three World of Outlaws features, a preliminary win at the Knoxville Nationals in Knoxville, Iowa — the biggest sprint car race of the year — and is the all-time wins leader with the Northern Outlaw Sprint Cars and at River Cities Speedway in Grand Forks.
But victory lane at Red River Valley Speedway had eluded the driver of the Buffalo Wild Wings No. 13. Until Sunday.
“It feels great to finally get the monkey off my back here,” said an excited Dobmeier in victory lane. “We seem to have good cars whenever we come here, but we can never pull off that win. Tonight it was definitely a battle. It was great racing.”
Dobmeier started on the pole of the 25-lap main event and jumped out to the early lead. Dobmeier led comfortably with Harwood driver Lee Grosz in tow.
Dobmeier showed the way until the Lap 10 restart, when Thomas Kennedy of Winnipeg, Manitoba, came charging from the fourth position to take the point. Kennedy looked to be the class of the field, but he was eventually passed by Nick Omdahl of East Grand Forks, Minn., who was the only car running on the extreme low side of the speedway.
The final restart with four laps to go proved to be the deciding factor as Dobmeier, who had fallen back to fourth, blazed his way forward and stole the lead from Omdahl with two laps to go. Omdahl tried to battle back on the final circuit, but Dobmeier had too much speed as he held him off for the win.
“I knew I had a shot at the win on that last restart, but the guys in front of me were running so well on the bottom, I didn’t think the top side was going to be fast enough, but it was my only option,” said Dobmeier.
Grosz rounded out the podium, despite running a smaller 360 cubic inch engine, compared to the 410 cubic inch engines the Northern Outlaws run.
Doug Gardner of Glyndon, Minn. topped a stout field of 23 IMCA SportMods for his second Red River Valley Speedway win of the season. Gardner started on the pole and led all 20 trips around the speedway en route to the victory. The best action during the race was the fight for second as Chris VanMil of Barnesville, Minn. and Ryan Restad of West Fargo raced side by side, lap after lap.
At one point the two drivers closed in on Gardner to momentarily make it a three-way battle for the lead. However, Gardner found his groove in the middle of the speedway and pulled away from the rest of the pack as he cruised to the win.
Restad held off VanMil for second, while Brandon Schmidt of Kindred, N.D. rebounded from a mid-race spin to finish fourth. Austin Veralrud of Barnesville, Minn. drove from 19th to round out the top five.
The INEX legends feature went to Kindred’s Sean Johnson. Like Gardner in the SportMods, Johnson started on the pole and led every lap. The win for Johnson came less than 24 hours after he suffered heavy damage to his car during the races Saturday night at Jamestown Speedway. Johnson and his brother, and fellow racer, Dylan, stayed up all night to get the car repaired in time for Sunday’s races.
Northern Outlaw Sprint Cars
Feature – 13-Mark Dobmeier, Grand Forks, N.D.; 2. 0-Nick Omdahl, East Grand Forks, Minn.; 3. 4J-Lee Grosz, Harwood, N.D.; 4. 9N-Wade Nygaard, Grand Forks, N.D. 5. 13T-Ty Hanten, West Fargo, N.D.
Feature – 1. 41-Doug Gardner, Glyndon, Minn.; 2. 7R-Ryan Restad, West Fargo; 3. 40-Chris VanMil, Barnesville, Minn.; 4. 219-Brandon Schmidt, Kindred, N.D.; 5. 6-Austin Veralrud, Barnesville, Minn.
1. 58-Sean Johnson, Kindred, N.D.; 2. 21-Andrew Jochim, Glyndon, Minn.; 3. 72-Tye Wilke, Detroit Lakes, Minn.; 4. B1-Brody Carlsrud, Moorhead, Minn.; 5. 20-Alex Braseth, Ulen, Minn.