Racing on the Fourth

Rosselli, Lucy capture Tougher than Dirt titles

Alex Eisen/MDN Robby Rosselli (0) leads a pack of IMCA Sport Mods in his heat race Tuesday evening at Nodak Speedway.

There were fireworks on and off the track at Nodak Speedway on Tuesday.

On a scorching Fourth of July evening, Minot’s Robby Rosselli (IMCA Sport Mods) and Tyler Lucy (IMCA Hobby Stocks) were crowned winners in the Tougher than Dirt Tour.

The features on the night were won by Minot’s Erik Laudenschlager (IMCA Sport Mods), Minot’s Brock Beeter (IMCA Hobby Stocks), Minot’s Steven Pfeifer (IMCA Modifieds), Minot’s Scott Yale (IMCA Stock Cars) and Bismarck’s Jason Berg (IMCA Sport Compacts).

The most interesting battle going into the final races in the Tougher than Dirt Tour was in the Hobby Stocks with Lucy and Andrew Bertsch tied at 147 points each.

“Tonight, it’s really hot,” Bertsch said before the race with temperatures in the mid-90s. “We got to try and make sure we don’t overheat.”

Alex Eisen/MDN Tyler Lucy (15) exits turn four in an IMCA Hobby Stocks heat race Tuesday at Nodak Speedway.

Bertsch lasted a lap in his heat race before pulling off the track because of a performance chip problem. Bertsch had won the last two nights in Williston on Monday and in Minot on Sunday, but had to start on row nine in the feature with Lucy up in seventh place.

The distance was just too much to make up in 20 laps.

Lucy drove around in second place behind pole sitter Beeter for most of the race, as Bertsch forced his way to the front. With eight laps remaining, Bertsch was on Lucy’s bumper for second place.

Bertsch went to the top of the track, but couldn’t make it stick and dropped to fourth. Lucy held second place behind Beeter to win the title. Devon Gonas took third.

In the Sport Mods, Rosselli came in with a 14-point lead over Beeter and 15 points on Laudenschlager.

“I just need to keep my nose clean and keep second through fourth (in points) in my sight,” Rosselli said. “I got to stay out of trouble and hopefully bring home a championship.”

He did just that. Starting on the pole, Rosselli stayed out of harm’s way and finished seventh to claim the Tougher than Dirt championship.

“To win this tour would mean a lot,” Rosselli said before the race. “So much work and dedication goes into it. My cousin comes up every weekend from Bismarck and helps me out. Saturday after Dickinson, we didn’t get home until five in the morning. We were up working on the car at nine o’clock… You just get up and get after it again. You are not just going to win it on the race track. You got to win it in the garage too.”

In the five races in the tour, Rosselli didn’t win a feature.

With 16 laps to go, race leader Luke Krogh had an issue with his No. 47K machine and pulled off the track and into the pits. That opened the door for Kelly Henderson, who was then passed by Laudenschlager with 10 laps left.

Laudenschlager brought them home for his third win in the tour and third win at Nodak this season. Henderson placed second with Beeter in third.

Yale, Sunday night’s Stock Car winner at Nodak, went from starting sixth to first place in two laps in their main feature. Seizing the lead, Yale never looked back for his fourth win of the season at the track. Behind him were Heat 2 winner Eric Harpole and Austin Daae.

The Top 2 in the Stock Car track season points standings in Dalton and Joe Flory didn’t race on Tuesday.

In the 25-lap main feature in the Modifieds, track points leader Jason Wolla calmly worked his way from the middle of the pack to the front. It appeared Wolla wasn’t going to have enough time to catch pole sitter Pfeifer. But, the caution waved with eight laps to go to set up a shootout.

Pfeifer held on for his first victory at Nodak this season and just his second Top 5.

Berg drove away in the lone heat race and main six-car feature for the Sport Compacts.

The Dakota Classic Modified Tour rolls into Minot on Sunday. Racing at Nodak will start at 6 p.m.

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