Gregg Mann and his pit crew almost made some last-minute adjustments to his No. 95M machine prior to Saturday's race.
But the Estevan, Sask., native decided that his car was fine the way it was and he turned out to be right. Mann outlasted Minot's Kelly Henderson to win the International Motor Contest Association Stock Car feature race at Nodak Speedway as part of Motor Magic.
Mann and Henderson ran 1-2 for the final nine laps. never being separated by more than a car length. Henderson would sneak by Mann in corners one and two, only to have Mann speed by him on the back straightaway and maintain his lead coming out of turns three and four.
Gregg Mann (95) of Estevan, Sask., races during a IMCA?Stock Car heat race Saturday at Nodak Speedway. Mann won the feature event later that night.
"He kept getting the same run and I just had to hit that same mark each time and get that run back on him," Mann said. "You just can't let it get to you. You have to keep hitting your marks and hope for the best he isn't going to find something better."
Mann started the race on the outside of row No. 1 and moved into the lead past Williston's Dalton Flory less than a lap into the feature. While the lineup behind Mann changed, he remained in the top spot at the end of each lap. Mann said he always tries to get down to Nodak Speedway for Motor Magic, but had only been to the Minot race track one other time this season. It didn't seem to bother him.
"The car was set up good for this track," Mann said. "We nailed it for tonight."
Henderson settled for second, 0.178 seconds behind Mann.
"I needed a few more laps," Henderson said. "We kept getting cautions and I think if we had more of a green flag I might have got him on the backstretch there. But he ran a good race and didn't mess up."
The race featured seven cautions - five in a six-lap stretch.
Minot's Michael Vennes finished third, followed by Estevan's Austin Daee and Flory in fourth and fifth, respectively.
Mann wasn't the only Estevan native to win Saturday night. Ed Turnbull snuck through lap traffic and bested a hard-charging Allen Kent to win the IMCA Modifieds feature.
Turnbull had to deal with heavy lap traffic through the final five laps, but avoided trouble for the feature victory. Allen Kent, who finished second in the points championship, finished 0.832 seconds behind Turnbull.
By the slimmest of margins, Minot's Shane Williams took the INEX Legends checkered flag, edging Nodak Speedway points champion Steven Kuntz by 0.213 seconds.
Williams - starting on the outside of row No. 1 - overtook pole-sitter Tom Wagner, but was challenged multiple times by Kuntz. The Bismarck native briefly grabbed the lead away from Williams with nine laps remaining, but the No. 94 reclaimed the top spot on the following lap.
Bismarck's Paul Huettl made his way from the eighth position and cracked the top five with seven laps remaining and passed Wagner on the second-to-last lap to finish third. Wagner finished fourth and Wishek's Donavin Wiest placed fifth.
The IMCA Sport Modifieds feature was dominated by the Wolla's, with Minot's Josh Wolla getting the victory over Tioga's Ryan Wolla.
Nine laps had to be cut from the 20-lap race after prolonged cautions pushed the feature past its 25-minute curfew. That didn't stop Josh Wolla, who led from start to finish. The pole-sitter stayed in front of the wreckage and maintained his lead despite being brought back to the pack seven times for cautions.
Ryan Wolla trailed Erik Laudenschlager for second place the majority of the race, but maneuvered his way past the Minot native with 11 laps remaining. A caution on the ensuing lap forced the race to a green-white-checkered finish and helped the Wolla's finish 1-2.
Minot's Jeff Hooker was running fourth before getting into the wall on the front straightaway and blowing a tire. He finished eighth. Eleven of the 24 drivers did not finish.
With the top three points finishers absent, Williston's Dave Swallers took advantage and held off Ray's Keith Mattox to win the IMCA Hobby Stocks feature.
Pole-sitter Jason Olsen of Minot led the first four laps, but got sideways on turn four of lap five and surrendered the lead to Mattox. Mattox, who finished fourth in the points standings, headed the field for a race-high eight laps, but Swallers caught him on lap 13.
A caution on the ensuing lap brought the drivers side by side in a green-white-checkered finish. Mattox took the lead off the restart, but Swallers reclaimed the top spot on the back straightaway.
Adam Goff finished third and Daryle Runge and Ian Young rounded out the top five.
Racing returns to Nodak Speedway for the final time this season at 5 p.m. today with the conclusion of Motor Magic. All five classes will be in action.
IMCA Hobby Stocks
Heat 1: 1. Jason Olsen, Minot; 2. Daryle Runge; 3. Ryder Scholpp, Lampman, Sask.
Heat 2: 1. Mike Wilson, Estevan, Sask.; 2. Keith Mattox, Ray; 3. Brad King, Fairbanks, Alaska.
Heat 3: 1. Ian Young, Minot AFB; 2. Dave Swallers, Williston; 3. Ben Zietz, Velva.
B-Main: 1. Adam Goff; 2. Cody Dignan; 3. Reid Kinden; 4. Cole Bourassa; 5. Jeff Mock.
A-Main: 1. Swallers; 2. Mattox; 3. Goff; 4. Runge; 5. Young.
IMCA Sport Modifieds
Heat 1: 1. Josh Wolla, Minot; 2. Matt Lizotte; 3. Kelly Henderson, Minot.
Heat 2: 1. Ryan Sebo, Minot; 2. Ryan Wolla, Tioga; 3. Jeff Hooker, Minot.
Heat 3: 1. Erik Laudenschlager, Minot; 2. Jimmy Ness, Minot; 3. Eric Folstad, Glenburn.
B-Main: 1. Dick Wendt, Williston; 2. Kit Baumann; 3. Gary Goudy, Jr.; 4. Andrew Bertsch; 5. Jason Kniffen.
A-Main: 1. Josh Wolla; 2. Ryan Wolla; 3. Laudenschlager; 4. Folstad; 5. Isaac Sondrol.
Heat 1: 1. Tom Wagner, Mercer; 2. Donavin Wiest, Wishek; 3. Ivan Sailer, Bismarck.
Heat 2: 1. Shane Williams, Minot; 2. Paul Morman, Wishek; 3. Shad Powers.
A-Main: 1. Williams; 2. Steven Kuntz; 3. Paul Huettl; 4. Wagner; 5. Wiest.
IMCA Stock Cars
Heat 1: 1. Dalton Flory, Williston; 2. Kelly Henderson, Minot; 3. Michael Vennes, Minot.
Heat 2: 1. Gregg Mann, Estevan, Sask; 2. Austin Daae, Estevan, Sask; 3. Geoff Mann.
Heat 3: 1. Bob Fuegmann, Minot; 2. Joe Flory, Williston; 3. Justin Striefel, Minot.
A-Main: 1. Greg Mann, Estevan, Sask; 2. Henderson; 3. Vennes; 4. Daee; 5. Flory.
Heat 1: 1. Robert Hellebust, Kenmare; 2. Tyson Turnbull, Estevan, Sask.; 3. Troy Heupel.
Heat 2: 1. Allen Kent, Minot; 2. Bob Heffer, Swift Current, Sask; 3. Wayne Johnson, Minot.
Heat 3: 1. Ed Turnbull, Estevan, Sask; 2. Jason Wolla; 3. Eric Sinness, Williston.
Heat 4: 1. Shawn Anderson, Minot; 2. Tracy Domagala; 3. Richie Mann, Estevan, Sask.
B-Main: 1. Troy Kittler, Turtle Lake; 2. Darin Wendt; 3. Steven Pfeifer; 4. Ed Conlin; 5. Donald Robinson.
A-Main: 1. Turnbull; 2. Kent; 3. Hellebust; 4. Johnson; 5. Drew Christianson.
Mike Kraft covers racing, hockey and high school sports. Follow him on Twitter @MKraft23_MDN.