Tougher than Dirt Tour highlights racing at Nodak

Alex Eisen/MDN Cody Nelson (10N) from Kenmare beats out Eric Harpole, Bismarck, in the first IMCA Stock Cars heat race on Sunday at Nodak Speedway.

The Tougher than Dirt Tour brought out the best in the IMCA Sport Mods and IMCA Hobby Stocks Sunday night at Nodak Speedway. Each class ran four heat races and two ‘B’ features to determine the starters for their respective main features.

Taming the dirt at the end of the night were Minot’s Jeff Hooker (Sport Mods) and Minot’s Andrew Bertsch (Hobby Stocks).

The stop at Nodak marked the third of five races in five days to make up the Tougher than Dirt Tour. As those two classes competed for the special tour points, the IMCA Modifieds and the IMCA Stock Cars also ran on Sunday for track points. Those two features were won by Ray’s Jason Wolla (Modifieds) and Minot’s Scott Yale (Stock Cars).

For the Sport Mods and Hobby Stocks, the top three in each heat advanced to the main feature with the Top 6 transferring from the two ‘B’ features.

McKenzi Faul, Minot, went wire-to-wire to win her heat race in the Sport Mods for her first win at Nodak. The other heat winners in the class were Philip Keller, Robbie Conway and Erik Laudenschlager.

Brent Burckhard outlasted everyone in a crash-filled first ‘B’ feature in the Sport Mods. The second ‘B’ feature went green all the way through with Matt Lizotte cruising to a convincing win.

The main feature went past press deadline with Hooker getting the victory.

Heat winners in the Hobby Stocks were Kevin Tvedt, Cole Hanshew, Devon Gonas and Vance Thomlinson. Brock Beeter and Shawn Green drove away with the ‘B’ features.

Tvedt, who started on the outside pole in the main feature, pulled out into the early lead before Bertsch jumped pass him on a restart with 13 laps to go.

Bertsch hugged the bottom lane all the way to the winner’s circle. Tvedt held off a hard charging Beeter for second place.

The Tougher than Dirt Tour rolls on to Williston tonight and returns to Nodak Speedway on Tuesday to wrap up the five-day event with a special night of Fourth of July racing.

The Stock Cars were the first main feature of the night. After two quick restarts in the 20-lap event, Yale got around Rob Stenvold for the lead with 14 laps left. Heat 2 winner Joren Boyce and the track points leader Dalton Flory entered the picture with four laps to go.

Bunched up in a tight group of four cars, Yale held off Boyce, who passed Stenvold on the last lap for second place with Flory finishing fourth.

Demoted from usually being the final feature to close out the racing to the second feature because of the Tougher than Dirt Tour, the Modifieds still put on a great show for 25 laps.

Heat 2 runner-up and outside pole sitter Steven Pfeifer built up a sizeable lead before getting pulled back to the field after a caution four laps into the race.

Working his way through traffic, track points leader Wolla met Pfeifer at the front with 16 laps remaining. Wolla, gliding across the top of the track and then using a cross-over move, cleared Pfeifer for the lead a lap later.

Wolla went into cruise control from there to grab his fifth victory at Nodak this season. Dallas Rice and Jared Thelen rounded out the podium. Pfeifer slipped to seventh.

Nodak Speedway is back in action on Tuesday with the races starting at 6 p.m.

Alex Eisen covers Minot High School, Minot State athletics and high school sports. Follow him on Twitter @AEisen13.