By the third lap of Sunday's IMCA Stock Car feature race, Nathan Burke had already clinched a share of the track's points championship.
Burke had also clinched a track record-tying seventh championship and could resort to aiming for the race win.
"The first five laps I was (racing to not wreck)," Burke said. "I was racing for everybody else 'cause I didn't wanna destroy the car. I missed a few spinouts because I wasn't being aggressive. Toward the end I started getting more aggressive as soon as I heard more people falling out."
Tim Chapman/MDN • Minot’s Nathan Burke (left) celebrates with his pit crew Sunday after winning a record-tying seventh track championship at Nodak Speedway. Also pictured is Burke’s pit crew (left to right): Derrick Burke, Kelly Brandt and Darin Bergrude.
Tim Chapman/MDN • “I’m super ecstatic to get a championship in Williston and Minot in the same year.” — Hobby winner Brandon Beeter
Tim Chapman/MDN • “My dad won one in ’84 and I’ve finally done it after trying for four years.” — Sport Mod winner Justin Medler
Tim Chapman/MDN • “It’s awesome. It’s a boyhood dream come true at 48 years of age.” — Legends winner John Huettl
Tim Chapman/MDN • “I kinda wanted to prove to myself I could do it again.” — Modifieds winner Allen Kent
It's the third track championship Burke has won since 2009, and his first since 2010. But Burke said he prefers not thinking about points.
"Points racing is fun and stuff, but it's a whole different racing mentality," Burke said. "You gotta protect yourself and kinda race for the other guy. I'd rather not point race, but I'm glad we got it this year and let's see what happens next year."
Burke said the toughest part about points racing at Nodak Speedway is that they invert the top 12 drivers for the feature races. Burke started each race when he was leading the points standings in 12th, automatically starting with a ton of ground to make up.
Burke entered the race with a 13-point lead over Kelly Henderson in the standings. Henderson won the race but said he knew the whole time there was little chance of catching Burke.
"The only way I was going to catch him was if he had problems," Henderson said. "I was listening to the lineup on the restarts in our headsets and I heard that he was right behind me. I knew unless he got a flat or something it was his championship."
Allen Kent was one of the people responsible for building Burke's stock car.
On the same night Burke made history, Kent won his first IMCA Modifieds title in 12 years. The 38-year-old Minot driver, who works at Dakota Trackside - a company that builds race cars - had the points race won just by starting the A-main.
"The cars were just a little more simpler then," Kent said. "The technology is better now."
He entered the race 20 points ahead of Marlyn Seidler, the man whose record Burke tied. Seidler didn't enter the race.
Kent said the championship, his third overall, was "up there" with the rest of his racing accomplishments.
"I kinda wanted to prove to myself I could do it again," Kent said.
Robert Hellebust won the race.
Brandon Beeter entered the 15-lap IMCA Hobby Stocks feature needing to finish well and get a little bit of help to overcome Dana Brandt's four-point lead in track standings.
He got both. Brandt crashed with four laps to go, sending him from second-place to the back of the pack. A couple of laps later, he ran Gary Goudy Jr. off of the track, picking up his second yellow flag and ending his night. Beeter finished in second place in the race and won the championship.
"It's an awesome feeling to win," Beeter said. "I didn't want to win it with Dana falling out of the race, but it is what it is. I feel bad for him, but I'm ecstatic."
It was Beeter's second track championship. He entered the latter part of the season with the heavy burden of his mother's passing. Bonnie Beeter died on July 29, but Brandon Beeter said her presence was felt throughout the race.
"She was riding with me tonight," he said.
Bottineau's Beau Deschamp earned the win.
Like Burke and Kent, Justin Medler entered Sunday's IMCA Sport Modifieds race with a significant edge over his competition. Medler had an 11-point lead over both Kelly Henderson and Jordan Huettl entering the night.
His sixth-place finish was easily enough to take the track's first championship in the class.
"It's been a pretty long season," Medler said. "Lots of ups and downs. It feels good."
IMCA Hobby Stocks
Heat 1: 1. Ben Zietz, Velva; 2. Kevin Eklund, Sawyer; 3. Brad King, Fairbanks, Alaska.
Heat 2: 1. Brock Beeter, Minot; 2. Brandon Beeter, Minot; 3. Beau Deschamp, Bottineau.
Heat 3: 1. Dana Brandt, Minot; 2. Doug Thompson, Minot; 3. Gary Goudy, Jr., Stoughton, Sask.
Feature: 1. Deschamp; 2. Brandon Beeter; 3. Zietz; 4. King; 5. Jason Olsen, Minot.
IMCA Sport Modifieds
Heat 1: 1. Robby Rosselli, Minot; 2. Justin Medler, Minot; 3. Ryan Sebo, Minot.
Heat 2: 1. Jordan Huettl, Minot; 2. Robbie Conway, Westhope; 3. Jeff Hooker, Minot.
Heat 3: 1. Wyatt Olson, Des Lacs; 2. Kelly Henderson, Minot; 3. Remington Kostenko, Minot.
Feature: 1. Hooker; 2. Henderson; 3. Medler; 4. Rosselli; 5. Olson.
Heat 1: 1. John Huettl, Minot; 2. Tom Wagner, Mercer; 3. Drew Papke, Bismarck.
Heat 2: 1. Donavin Wiest, Wishek; 2. Steven Kuntz, Bismarck; 3. Paul Huettl, Bismarck.
Feature: 1. Wiest; 2. Kuntz; 3. Wagner; 4. Papke; 5. Zac Lutz, Burlington.
IMCA Stock Cars
Heat 1: 1. Randy Conway, Minot; 2. Brett Woznicki, Minot; 3. Billy Preston, Burlington.
Heat 2: 1. Henderson; 2. Justin Striefel, Minot; 3. Rosselli.
Heat 3: 1. Gregory Gutt, Minot; 2. Austin Daae, Estevan, Sask.; 3. Nathan Burke, Minot.
Feature: 1. Henderson; 2. Burke; 3. Gutt; 4. Daae; 5. Josh Walla.
Heat 1: 1. John Flory, Williston; 2. Troy Kittler, Turtle Lake; 3. Robert Hellebust, Kenmare.
Heat 2: 1. Wayne Johnson, Minot; 2. Ed Turnbull, Estevan, Sask.; 3. Steven Pfeifer, Minot.
Feature: 1. Hellebust; 2. Pfeifer; 3. Turnbull; 4. Drew Christianson, Minot; 5. Allen Kent, Minot.