Stars, stripes and dirt track racing at Nodak Speedway
Before lining up the heat races Saturday evening at Nodak Speedway, a sentimental green-white-checkered flag was shown to Joren Boyce and the track’s wrecker crew. The two-lap memorial recognized Charles “Chuck” Joern and Val Horner. Both passed away before the racing season began.
Joern raced for many years at Nodak Speedway before taking up a pit crew advisory role for his son and grandson. Horner volunteered as a member of the wrecker crew for 30 years.
Only three classes of cars raced on Saturday with the IMCA Modifieds and IMCA Stock Cars taking the Fourth of July holiday weekend off.
IMCA Sport Mods
Pole sitter Reid Hanson gave up the top spot to Jeff Hooker four laps into the 25-lap feature race. Hanson pulled off the track four laps after that with car problems.
The first and only caution came with 17 laps remaining when season points leader Chad Strachen went around with some help from Cole Hanshew.
The field got strung out and was mostly single-file after the reset with Hooker riding around ahead of Darren Medler and Kelly Henderson.
Robby Rosselli, second in the season points, passed Strachen for fourth place with eight laps remaining. He couldn’t catch the trio in front of him.
Hooker parked his car in victory lane for the first time this season, beating out Medler, Henderson, Rosselli and Strachen.
Rosselli wrecked the back end of his car in the special Dash of the Cash at the end of the night after sliding off the track in the first corner. Despite the possibility of jaded sheet metal cutting down a rear tire, Rosselli stayed on the track and finished the event. His speed wasn’t the same.
With random fireworks in the surrounding area going off in the distance, Hooker cruised to the Dash to the Cash victory as well to close out the race program on Saturday.
IMCA Hobby Stocks
Brandon Honrud and Jesse Long occupied the front row for the 20-lap main feature. Long got squirrely on the first corner and slipped back. The next lap, Honrud spun on his own up front and collected multiple cars.
Caden Appelt, the track season points leader, suffered a flat tire in the mayhem and couldn’t get his car fixed before the race went green again.
Shawn Green eventually took over the point and started to drive away. He happily watched Alex Tvedt, Brock Beeter and Brad King battle for second place behind him.
A debris caution, however, reeled Green back in with 11 laps remaining.
Beeter, who was back in his race car after loaning it to Nodak Speedway announcer Nick Hulberg last week, grabbed the lead out of the restart by sliding in front of Green entering the first corner.
Kylee Englert’s smoking, slow-rolling car in front of the grandstand brought out the next yellow flag with five laps left.
Tvedt passed Green on the reset for second place but couldn’t keep his car on the track on the backstretch and dropped all the way to the back.
Beeter held off Green to revisit victory lane after watching his car get lapped multiple times a week ago. Andrew Bertsch, Honrud and Troy Bertsch rounded out the Top 5.
Green got the last laugh, though, by beating Beeter, Tvedt and Long in the special $350 prize pool King of the Hill event at the end of the night. A slide job move was critical in knocking out last year’s winner Tvedt and the top groove of the track was enough to beat Beeter one-on-one.
IMCA Sport Compacts
James Gilbert paced the 10-car field in the feature warm-up laps with an American flag waving outside the driver’s side window.
Gilbert, starting fourth, split the front row at the drop of the green flag to quickly take the lead. Second place Greg Zenz gave Gilbert a strong shot in the bumper with 11 laps left, but that killed all the momentum Zenz had.
Maneuvering through sketchy lapped traffic in the final laps, Gilbert secured his second win of the season at Nodak Speedway. Zenz kept second and Christopher Zenz placed third.
At the end of the night, Gilbert bowed out of the special Dash for the Cash event. The bulk of the cash went to winner Christopher Zenz.
The night concluded with a Fourth of July fireworks show.
Racing resumes next Sunday, July 12, as Nodak Speedway welcomes the Dakota Classic Modified Tour to Minot. It will be the third night in a grueling stretch of six straight days of racing for some of the best modified drivers in the country.
The other stops in the Dakota Classic Modified Tour include Red River Valley Speedway (July 10), Jamestown Speedway (July 11), Williston Basin Speedway (July 13), Southwest Speedway (July 14) and Dacotah Speedway (July 15).
Alex Eisen covers Minot State athletics, the Minot Minotauros and high school sports. Follow him on Twitter @AEisen13.