Nodak Speedway continues on Father’s Day

Max native Christopher Zenz (right) turns the corner with father Greg Zenz (left) trailingduring Heat 1 of the IMCA Sport Compacts class on Sunday at Nodak Speedway.

In that moment, Greg Zenz didn’t care about the race.

The veteran speedster from Max got to spend his Father’s Day the only way he wanted to on Sunday afternoon when he competed with his son Christopher in the main feature of the IMCA Sport Compacts class at Nodak Speedway.

Christopher, who is only in his second year of racing, entered the showdown with the car to beat. His No. 69z machine couldn’t be touched in the first and only qualifying heat, as he secured a first-place finish with ease. Greg, sporting the No. 69 car, took third.

Now the father-son duo had one more shot at bragging rights in the main feature.

“It was really awesome,” Greg said. “It’s cool to be out here with your family and just enjoy togetherness. This is it for me.”

Justin Martinez/MDN Williston native Brady Bjella (99) storms down the track during Heat 2 of the IMCA Sport Mods class on Sunday at Nodak Speedway.

Both Christopher and Greg stayed in the middle of the pack through the halfway mark of the race, but then things took an unfortunate turn.

With just seven laps to go, Christopher went high on a turn and lost control, sending the 16-year-old racer’s car flying off the track.

“I was doing pretty good there,” Christopher said. “Either I made a mistake or something was wrong with the spot on the track, but I drove off the corner.”

Clouds of dirt got lifted into the air as the black-and-red vehicle rolled three times before eventually landing right-side up.

The red flag immediatelycame out and forced the race to come to a standstill. After a short period of uncertainty, the crowd let out a sigh of relief when Christopher emerged unharmed from the car.

Nobody at Nodak Speedway was more relieved than Greg, but he still had a race to finish. Knowing his son was now safe, Greg got back into racing mode and ultimately claimed third place. James Gilbert took first.

“I assumed it was (Christopher) who rolled over because I tried to find him on the track and he wasn’t there,” Greg said. “But, once I found out he was fine, I just tried to get back in the mindset. You just try to block out everything that doesn’t pertain to going fast.”

Greg found Christopher, who was visibly upset about the accident, after the race concluded and assured him things were fine.

“I got out really upset when I rolled,” Christopher said. “But (my dad) told me cars can be replaced. Next time we’ll get to race each other is July 4, so hopefully we can get (the car) back together by then.”

The red flag was one of many on Sunday, as the latest chapter of the Magic City Dirt Series unfolded at Nodak Speedway.

Next to claim top honors was Adam Goff, who emerged from a chaotic IMCA Hobby Stocks main feature. After a series of yellow flags and even a red flag from a three-way collision, time restrictions ultimately crowned the Minot native.

With just one lap to go, Alex Tvedt’s No. 103 car got spun around. This drew the yellow flag that proved to be the backbreaker, as the race reached its 20-minute time limit. Goff, who was in first place when time expired, was named the winner.

Goff made sure to shoutout his three-year-old daughter, Harper, during his victory speech in what was a stellar Father’s Day in his book.

“My little girl was here today, and she’s my biggest race fan,” Goff said. “She doesn’t get to come to Minot very often, but she was here to witness my first Minot win and win No. 7 of the season, so that was great.”

In the IMCA Sport Mods main feature, Chase Conway fended off a pack of Minot natives. The Westhope native earned first place, making him the only racer not from the Magic City in the Top 5.

Mike Hagen joined the winner’s circle next with a first-place finish in the IMCA Stock Cars main feature, while fellow Williston native Dalton Flory earned second.

The Modifieds feature race went to Tom Barry Jr.

The Magic City Dirt Series continues next Sunday at Nodak Speedway at 7 p.m.

Justin Martinez covers Minot High School sports and Class B high school sports. Follow him on Twitter @JTheSportsDude.