WEST FARGO – Red River Valley Speedway roared back to life on Friday night as fans packed the stands to watch 94 race teams battling on the speedway’s 52nd season opener.
Sprint cars made their return to the weekly schedule on Friday night for the first time since 2005. The speedway is bringing in the IMCA-sanctioned sprint cars and starting the class from scratch. A small, yet talented field of drivers made up the grid for the main event with West Fargo’s Ty Hanten claiming the win.
Hanten, is a 15-year racing veteran and has competed with the Northern Outlaw Sprint Car series in Grand Forks the last eight seasons.
Hanten jumped out to the early lead and scored the win over sprint car rookie Tye Wilke.
Nineteen cars made up the grid for the IMCA modified feature as Matt Aukland and Allen Kent led them to the green flag.
A pair of Fargo racing veterans, Aukland and Casey Arneson, engaged in a thrilling duel for the lead early in the going. The duo traded the lead back and forth, lap after lap until Arneson claimed an advantage in lapped traffic.
Arneson checked out in the closing stages as he raced to his ninth career Red River Valley Speedway win.
The first feature of the night provided an exciting photo finish. Ryan Restad of West Fargo jumped out to the early lead of the IMCA Sportmod feature with the father-son duo of Scott and Kelly Jacobson of Fargo battling for second. Scott Jacobson took the lead from Restad with 12 laps to go and led the remainder of the race, but it didn’t come easy.
On the final lap, Restad mounted a challenge on Jacobson and pulled alongside him coming to the checkered flag. Jacobson held off by Restad by a half car length to pick up the win.
Travis Robertson of Moorhead claimed his fourth career IMCA stock car win over a stout 21 car field. The race got off to a rocky start as Tyler McDougall of Hawley, Minn., who was debuting his brand new car, got upside down in turn two bringing out the red flag.
McDougall was okay, but he was done for the night.
Robertson had a mid-race challenge from Horace, N.D. driver Rick Schulz. Schulz pulled even with Robertson using the middle groove of the speedway, while Robertson remained true to the low side.
The bottom groove paid off for Robertson as he pulled away from Schulz and cruised to the win.
Sixth place starter Sean Johnson of Kindred, N.D. charged to the INEX legend feature win. After a three-wide battle for the lead with Tye Wilke of Detroit Lakes, Minn. and Ryan Braseth of Ulen, Minn., Johnson moved into the second spot before pouncing on Wilke to take the lead.
The win for Johnson was the seventh of his career at the speedway.
The defending IMCA Hobby Stock national champion, Cory Probst of Brewster, Minn., came to Red River Valley Speedway to begin his title defense and he left West Fargo with the victory. Brewster started ninth on the grid, but worked his way into the top three by lap two. At the halfway point, Brewster worked around leader Tanner Engen of Detroit Lakes to take the point. Once out front, he never looked back.
IMCA Sprint Cars:
A Feature: 1. 13-Ty Hanten, West Fargo, N.D.; 2. 72-Tye Wilke, Detroit Lakes, Minn.; 3. 3M-Marcus Rothenbacher, Moorhead, Minn.; 4. 69-Brandon Rekow, Ellendale, N.D.
A Feature: 1. 2A-Casey Arneson, Fargo, N.D.; 2. 12-Matt Aukland, Fargo, N.D.; 3. 60-Tyler Hall, Fertile, Minn.; 4. 33-Allen Kent, West Fargo, N.D.; 5. 72-Dave Shipley, Fargo, N.D.
IMCA Stock Cars
A Feature: 1. 10R-Travis Robertson, Moorhead, Minn.; 2. 4-Rick Schulz, Horace, N.D.; 3. 219-Brandon Schmidt, Hillsboro, N.D.; 4. 40-Rob VanMil, Barnesville, Minn.; 5. 21J-Andrew Jochim, Glyndon, Minn.
A Feature: 1. 5-Scott Jacobson, Fargo, N.D.; 2. 7R-Ryan Restad, West Fargo, N.D.; 3. 33-Jake Hagemann, Brainerd, Minn.; 4. 40-Chris VanMil, Barnesville, Minn.; 5. 69-Justin Jones, Bemidji, Minn.
IMCA Hobby Stock
A Feature: 1. 75C-Cory Probst, Brewster, Minn.; 2. 44T-Tanner Engen, Detroit Lakes, Minn.; 3. B2-Brodee Eckerdt, Grand Forks, N.D.; 4. 17T-Tim Otterness, Brainerd, Minn.; 5. 4-Marvin Priem, Moorhead, Minn.
A Feature : 1. 58-Sean Johnson, Kindred, N.D.; 2. 72-Tye Wilke, Detroit Lakes, Minn.; 3. 29-Ryan Braseth, Ulen, Minn.; 4. D1RT-Tony Brockhouse, Glyndon, Minn.; 5. 20-Alex Braseth, Ulen, Minn.