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Schatz comes up clutch

Donny Schatz wins hometown NLRA Late Model race

Alex Eisen/MDN Winnipeg's Shane Edginton (4) holding off Donny Schatz (15S) in a NLRA Late Model heat race Sunday evening at Nodak Speedway.

Coming off a second place Saturday at the Ironman 55 in Pevely, Missouri, Donny Schatz traded his World of Outlaw Sprint Car for a NLRA Late Model Sunday night at his hometown track in Minot.

The 10-time World of Outlaw champion was tested on Nodak Speedway’s 3/8-mile dirt track circuit.

Nothing was handed to him, and Schatz still found Victory Lane.

Starting the main feature seventh, inside row No. 4, Schatz exclusive used the outside lane to storm his way to the front.

Leader Dustin Strand started to run into lap traffic with 16 laps remaining. That allowed pole sitter Mike Balcaen and Schatz, in third place, to catch up.

Stand literally ran into the lap car of Ryan Kereluk with 13 laps remaining. That drew a caution and sent Strand to the back of the pack.

On the restart, Schatz set up Balcaen with a world class slide job in turn No. 3 and took the lead. The rest was history.

Schatz powered away to win the NLRA Late Model main feature race at Nodak Speedway for a second time in the last two years.

Balcaen settled for second with Minot native Robert Hellebust in third.

Three other classes also raced on Sunday.

Twenty-seven cars lined up for the IMCA Hobby Stock main feature. With such a large pack, getting a green flag run in the 15-lap race was seemingly impossible.

After 20 minutes of constant cautions, Jesse Dettman managed to lead six laps before crashing out. Heat 1 winner Tim Anderson took over and went two more laps in the lead before the race hit another caution and was called for reaching the time limit.

Finishing behind Anderson was Zach Lutz, Brad King and Caden Appelt.

While the Hobby Stocks feature was crowded, the IMCA Sport Mods had more than enough track to work with. Only 12 cars made the trip to Nodak Speedway.

Heat 1 winner Jeff Hooker, who started fourth, took the lead early was constantly under pressure by a trio of Erik Laudenschlager, Kelly Henderson and Robby Rosselli.

Despite their best efforts to get around each other, that’s the order they finished in. Hooker got his first Sport Mod win at Nodak Speedway this season.

The IMCA Sport Compacts main feature was being dominated by lone heat winner James Gilbert. But, with six laps left, Gilbert’s sizeable lead vanished because of a flat right front tire.

Gilbert was in position to take over the lead in the season track points standings as well. Instead, Craig Kastner from Bismarck swooped in for his first victory at Nodak Speedway this season and Gilbert didn’t finish the feature.

Nodak Speedway takes next week off before the Magic City Dirt Series resumes on August 18. Championship Night is the following Sunday on August 25.

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

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