Back-to-back runner-up finishes never seemed more rewarding for Ryan Wolla.
The Tioga native placed second Sunday night, but it was more than enough to earn Wolla the International Motor Contest Association Sport Modifieds Motor Magic championship at Nodak Speedway.
Wolla - competing in his first Motor Magic - earned 78 points from two nights of racing, five points clear of Minot's Jeff Hooker and Glenburn's Eric Folstad, who finished tied for second.
Ryan Wolla (7W) races ahead of Matt Lizotte (10) in a heat race Sunday at Nodak Speedway. Wolla went on to take second in the Sport Modifieds feature race for the second consecutive night to earn the class title at Motor Magic.
"Racing against these guys who have been racing for 15 years," Wolla said, "it feels kinda good to beat them."
Wolla, 27, trailed Minot's Josh Wolla entering Sunday after finishing second behind his older brother Saturday. But Josh Wolla was never in contention Sunday and finished 11th.
With Ryan Wolla knowing his older brother was in his rear-view mirror, the driver of the No. 7W eased off the gas and made sure not to make a mistake that would cost him the Motor Magic title.
Hooker dominated the race, winning by nearly four seconds over Ryan Wolla. Hooker took the lead from Chase Conway on the first lap and ran in front for the remainder. The Minot native had nearly a half-track lead before a caution on lap No. 9 brought him back to the pack. It didn't faze him as he quickly rebuilt a large lead and closed out his final race of the season at his home track with a victory.
"It just makes you understand all the work everybody does to help us," Hooker said. "I have a good crew, a lot of fans that support us. It's been a struggle this year. We've had some things going on. We're regrouping and everything's coming around and it was an awesome way to finish the year."
Hooker finished seventh Saturday.
The Sport Modifieds have struggled to complete a full 20-lap feature in recent weeks. The class completed just 11 laps in its 25-minute time limit Saturday and appeared to be on the path for another lap-shortened race. An eight-car pile up on the race's first turn brought out a red flag, but only Jeremiah LaDue was unable to continue racing.
Two cautions on lap No. 9 was it for stoppages, allowing Hooker to showcase his car to the crowd as he lengthened his lead with each lap.
A tough night for Estevan, Sask., native Ed Turnbull opened the door for Kenmare's Robert Hellebust to claim the IMCA Modifieds Motor Magic title. Hellebust finished second Sunday, following a third-place finish Saturday for a total of 77 points.
Turnbull finished seventh after winning the feature Saturday and dropped down to third in the standings with 74 points. Minot's Wayne Johnson finished second with 75 points after two top-five finishes.
Williston's Troy Heupel won the race.
Minot's Shane Williams took home the INEX Legends Motor Magic title by the slimmest of margins, edging Bismarck's Paul Huettl by a point. Williams followed
Saturday's feature win with a third-place finish Sunday to give him 78 points. Huettl placed second Sunday, finishing 0.142 seconds behind feature-winner Donavin Wiest of Wishek. A feature win for Huettl would have resulted in a tie with Williams for the points title.
Williston's Dave Swallers had a memorable weekend at Nodak Speedway, capped off by winning his second IMCA Hobby Stocks feature in as many nights. His performance earned him the Motor Magic Hobby Stocks championship.
Swallers passed Daryle Runge on the final turn, maneuvering by lapped driver Karen Parachoniak on the low side to ensure the Motor Magic title. Swallers took his first lead of the night on lap No. 2, but surrendered it on the eighth lap to Runge.
Keith Mattox of Ray had his hopes of a Motor Magic championship dashed after being called for the race's second caution, forcing him to the back of the pack. Mattox - who finished second last night - placed 11th Sunday.
Mike Kraft covers racing, high school athletics, the Minotauros and Minot State men's club hockey. Follow him on Twitter @MKraft23-MDN.
IMCA Hobby Stocks
Heat 1: 1. Daryle Runge; 2. Cole Bourassa, Estevan, Sask; 3. Jason Olsen, Minot.
Heat 2: 1. Keith Mattox, Ray; 2. Beau Deschamp, Bottineau; 3. Jakob Kasprowicz, Turtle Lake.
Heat 3: 1. Dave Swallers, Williston; 2. Brad King, Fairbanks, Alaska; 3. Ian Young, Minot.
B-Main: 1. Gary Goudy, Stoughton, Sask; 2. Ryder Scholpp; 3. Dennis Breivik; 4. Darren Schatz; 5. Karen Parachoniak.
A-Main: 1. Swallers; 2. Runge; 3. King; 4. Deschamp; 5. Scholpp.
IMCA Sport Modifieds
Heat 1: 1. Chase Conway, Westhope; 2. Matt Lang, Turtle Lake; 3. Myles Tomlinson, Turtle Lake.
Heat 2: 1. Jeff Hooker, Minot; 2. Ryan Sebo, Minot; 3. Shannon Cree, Minot.
Heat 3: 1. Ryan Wolla, Tioga; 2. Mike Lemay, Westhope; 3. Matt Lizotte.
B-Main: 1. Erik Laudenschlager, Surrey; 2. Jimmy Ness; 3. Eric Folstad; 4. Varion Hetle; 5. Andrew Bertsch.
A-Main: 1. Hooker; 2. Ryan Wolla; 3. Conway; 4. Tomlinson; 5. Folstad.
Heat 1: 1. Paul Huettl, Bismarck; 2. Zac Lutz, Burlington; 3. Tom Wagner, Mercer.
Heat 2: 1. Donavin Wiest, Wishek; 2. Shane Williams, Minot; 3. John Huettl, Minot.
A-Main: 1. Wiest; 2. Paul Huettl; 3. Williams; 4. Wagner; 5. Lutz.
IMCA Stock Cars
Heat 1: 1. Bob Fuegmann, Minot; 2. Geoff Mann, Estevan, Sask; 3. Dalton Flory, Williston.
Heat 2: 1. Joe Flory, Williston; 2. Austin Daae, Estevan, Sask; 3. Chad Strachen, Minot.
Heat 3: 1. Kelly Henderson, Minot; 2. Justin Striefel, Minot; 3. Josh Wolla, Minot.
A-Main: 1. Daee; 2. Dalton Flory; 3. Joe Flory; 4. Michael Vennes; 5. Henderson.
Heat 1: 1. Steven Pfeifer, Minot; 2. Ed Conlin, Williston; 3. Darin Wendt, Williston.
Heat 2: 1. Dallas Rice, Minot; 2. Bob Heffer, Swift Current, Sask; 3. Wayne Johnson, Minot.
Heat 3: 1. Shawn Anderson, Minot; 2. Troy Heupel, Williston; 3. Robert Hellebust, Kenmare.
Heat 4: 1. Ed Turnbull, Minot; 2. Allen Kent, Minot; 3. Drew Christianson, Minot.
B-Main: 1. Eric Sinness, Williston; 2. Jamall Wold; 3. John Barber; 4. Tyler Wagner; 5. Rusty Corneliuson.
A-Main: 1. Heupel; 2. Hellebust; 3. Johnson; 4. Tracy Domagala; 5. Anderson.