By Mike Spieker
WEST FARGO – The Red River Valley Speedway pit area was packed with 92 race teams among six racing divisions for the speedway’s only Wednesday night program of the year. The 2019 season concludes with season championship night on Friday, August 30th.
The evening kicked off with an IMCA modified feature that was a make-up from last Friday night’s program. Rich Pavlicek of Casselton, N.D. and Jamie Schulz of Harwood, N.D. led the 20-car field to green with Pavlicek taking the early advantage.
Pavlicek held that position until 13th place starter, Austin Arneson of Fargo, came tearing through the pack to take the point on lap 12 of 20. Once out front, Arneson couldn’t be touched as he cruised to his second win at the speedway in just four starts. Finishing in second was Austin’s younger brother, Casey Arneson. Pavlicek held on to round out the podium.
In the second modified feature of the evening, Austin Arneson looked poised to duplicate his effort from earlier in the night. Arneson started 12th on the grid and found himself in second at the halfway point. A few cautions allowed Arneson to restart on the rear bumper of race leader Dave Shipley of Argusville, N.D. But Shipley, who started fourth and took the lead on lap two, proved he was the class of the field in the final stages. Arneson gave Shipley all he could handle on each and every restart, but Shipley flawlessly ran the low side of the speedway and drove to his first win of the season. Arneson came home in second, followed by Jesse Skalicky of Fargo.
Ryan Restad of West Fargo raced to his second win at Red River Valley Speedway by besting a stout field of IMCA SportMods. It looked as though Ryan Veralrud of Ottertail, Minn. was destined for victory lane less than a week after his brother Austin claimed his first career SportMod win at the speedway. Veralrud led early while a three-car battle for second ensued behind him. That battle for second quickly became the battle for the lead at the halfway point of the 20-lap event, but Veralrud fended off the challenge. Restad finally struck with eight laps to go and checked out, but a late-race caution put point leader Luke Johnson of Moorhead, Minn. right on Restad’s bumper for the restart.
Johnson pulled alongside of Restad down the back straightaway on the final lap and looked to steal the win away, but Restad held on to claim his first career win on the three-eighths-mile configuration at the speedway.
The NLSA lightning sprint series made their third and final appearance of the season to Red River Valley Speedway. Jason Berg of Fargo jumped to the lead on the opening lap and picked up a convincing win. The win was the first-ever at the West Fargo speedway and the second of his career for Berg, who had spent countless years working at the speedway in various capacities until getting behind the wheel a couple of years ago.
Rob VanMil of Barnesville, Minn. took the lead on lap five of 15 in the IMCA Stock Car and dominated en route to his division-leading fifth win of the season.
In what was one of the most competitive features of the season at Red River Valley Speedway, Andrew Jochim of Glyndon, Minn. emerged as the INEX Legend winner. Jochim charged from the 10th starting position to claim the lead on lap eight of 15. Once out front, Jochim led the rest of the way, holding off Tye Wilke of Detroit Lakes, Minn. and Alex Braseth of Ulen, Minn. in the final laps. Before Jochim took the point, the lead officially changed hands four times at the start/finish line, but the top spot was traded on several more occasions among a handful of drivers at both ends of the speedway in the first half of the race.
An excited Brad Orvedal of Fargo pulled his IMCA hobby stock into victory lane for the first time in his career. Orvedal led all 12 trips around the track, but nearly lost it on the final corner. Orvedal’s car pushed in turn four coming to the checkers, which allowed seven-time hobby stock winner Matt Olson to peak underneath. In a drag race to the line, Orvedal won it by a half car length.
Feature – 1. 72-Dave Shipley, Argusville, N.D. 2. 10-Austin Arneson, Fargo, N.D.; 3. 3S-Jesse Skalicky, Fargo, N.D.; 4. 6D-Dylan Goplen, Fargo, N.D.; 5. 17-Rich Pavlicek, Casselton, N.D.
Feature (Make-up from Aug. 16) – 1. 10-Austin Arneson; 2. 2A-Casey Arneson, Fargo, N.D.; 3. 17-Rich Pavlicek; 4. 6D-Dylan Goplen; 5. 84-Michael Johnson, Moorehead, Minn.
Feature – 1. 7R-Ryan Restad, West Fargo, N.D.; 2. 8J-Luke Johnson, Moorhead, Minn.; 3. 51-Kelly Jacobson, Fargo, N.D.; 4. 41-Doug Gardner, Glyndon, Minn.; 5. 5-Scott Jacobson, Fargo, N.D.
IMCA Stock Cars:
Feature – 1. 40-Rob VanMil, Barnesville, Minn.; 2. 10-Travis Robertson, Moorhead, Minn.; 3. 1-Tyler McDougall, Hawley, Minn.; 4. 38-Todd Heinrich, Fargo, N.D.; 5. 52-Brennan Borg, Harwood, N.D.
NLSA Lightning Sprints:
Feature – 1. 100-Jason Berg, Fargo, N.D.; 2. 13-Alan Truscinski, Greenbush, Minn.; 3. 2-Presley Truedson, Kennedy, Minn.; 4. 10A-Alex Truscinski, Greenbush, Minn.; 5. 93-Kelsi Pederson, East Grand Forks, Minn.
Feature – 1. 21-Andrew Jochim, Glyndon, Minn.; 2. 72-Tye Wilke, Detroit Lakes, Minn.; 3. 20-Alex Braseth, Ulen, Minn.; 4. 8JR-Kaitlyn Skalicky, Fargo, N.D.; 5. B1-Brody Carlsrud, Moorhead, Minn.
IMCA Hobby Stocks:
Feature – 1. 3XL-Brad Orvedal, Fargo, N.D.; 2. 56M-Mathew Olson, Morton, Minn.; 3. 14-Alyssa White, West Fargo, N.D.; 4. 31X-Tim Shiek, Fargo, N.D.; 5. 106-Eric Novacek, West Fargo, N.D.