(Photo courtesy of Layn Mudder of LPT Images.)
Race fans from all over Bismarck-Mandan packed the stands for the season opener at the Dacotah Speedway, Friday, May 9th. Celebrating it's 25th season, Dacotah Speedway had an amazing 126 cars grace its 3/8 mile high banks.
The IMCA Sport Compact feature kicked off the night before intermission. Jamie Schlafmann picked up where she left off last year by starting on the pole and pulling away when the green flag waved. Alex Thompson and Kody Stoxen battled hard for second which allowed a speedy Josh Roehrich to catch and pass them both. Roehrich quickly reeled in leader Schalfmann. They raced side by side for the lead but the outside line gave Schlafmann an extra boost of speed, which help her hang onto the lead. As they came to the checkered flag, Schlafmann and Roehrich were side by side once more. However, the high line gave Schlafmann the momentum to hang on and win the first feature of the season over Roehrich. Thompson finished a distant third place ahead of rookie Brandon Anderson and Michelle Stoxen.
Minot's Joren Boyce started on the pole for the first of two IMCA Mofidied concy races. Only the top five would transfer to the feature. Outside pole sitter, Shawn Anderson grabbed the lead early and pulled away before a caution would regroup the field on lap five. On the restart, Williston's Jason Wolla battled for the lead, racing side by side with Anderson until another caution slowed the field. Anderson pulled away on the restart, leaving Wolla to hold off a tough Chris Welk for second. Welk got off the frontstretch banking slightly, which let Aaron Turnbull and Mark Dahl catch him with two laps to go. As they crossed the Open Road Honda finish line, Dahl made a last lap pass on Turnbull to finish fourth behind Welk, Wolla and concy winner Shawn Anderson. *After the conclusion of the the first IMCA Modified concy, Aaron Turnbull's car was disqualified for being too light. Sixth place Randy Sandvick transferred to the feature.
Jordan Huettl of Minot blew by pole sitter Dan Aune for the lead in the second IMCA Modified concy. Huettl pulled away, leaving Troy Heupel and Robert Hellebust to battle for second. On a lap three restart, Hellebust passed Heupel for second, bringing Darin Wendt with him. Hellebust and Huettl raced side by side for the lead, flip flopping position before Hellebust grabbed the lead with six laps to go. Hellebust pulled away from the field but on the final lap, he got too high in turn four and as he came to the finish line, he narrowly edged Huettl for second. Hank Berry, who started last in the 15 car field finished third ahead of Huepel and Wendt.
In the Hobby Stock feature, Roy Erickson and Brent Vetter started on the front row. Vetter, from Wishek, grabbed the lead quickly and pulled away from Erickson and third place Wyatt Rath-Wald. As Erickson and Rath-Wald battled for second, Dana Welder and Derek Voller raced hard for fourth. As Vetter's lead continued to grow, Erickson and Rath-Wald continued to race side by side for second. With four laps to go, Rath-Wald got into the side of Erickson and spun Erickson's car out on the front stretch. Rath-Wald was sent to the tail and on the restart, Welder passed Erickson for second. Welder was all over Vetter's bumper while young gun Aaron Aaseth passed Erickson for third. Vetter lead all 15 laps to held off Welder for his first career Dacotah Speedway feature victory. Aaseth finished third while Erickson and Jeremy Engelhardt rounded out the top five.
Bismarck's Tanner Dosch started on the pole for the WISSOTA Street Stock feature. Dosch held onto his lead over veteran John Feist before a quick caution regrouped the field. On the restart, Eric Paul muscled his way into third place when another caution slowed the race. Paul challenged Feist for second on the restart while Dosch pulled away from the field. With eight laps to go, a huge six car wreck temporarily stopped the race. When the race resumed, Paul was all over Dosch's bumper for the lead. Dosch ran a perfect race until he over drove turns one and two, dropping from first to third with four laps to go. Eric Paul led the final three laps to win the feature victory. Feist who ran top three all night finished second ahead of Dosch, Hunter Domagala and Jason Meidinger.
After a complete restart, Shane Williams took the lead in the INEX Legends feature. Cautions came often and frequently throughout the feature. Williams held off Tom Wagner on a lap two restart and then Paul Huettl on a lap three restart. He pulled away, leaving Huettl and Wagner to battle for second. Donavin Wiest, last season's track champion, quickly drove his way through the field after starting ninth and took Huettl and Wagner three wide. Wiest passed Huettl and Wagner with ease to take second place. Lapped traffic helped Wiest catch leader Williams in the closing laps. They raced side by side for lead when a caution came out with seven laps to go. When yet another caution came out on the restart, the feature was called due to time limit. Shane Williams picked up feature victory over Wiest, Wagner, Huettl and Steven Kuntz.
The IMCA Modified feature finished the night. Last season's track champion, Jeremy Keller quickly took the lead from pole sitter Tyler Velo. A caution on lap two regrouped the field and on the restart, Shawn Strand raced side by side with Keller for the lead. Another caution slowed the pace but this time, Keller pulled away on the restart. While Strand kept Keller in his sights, Velo tried to hold off Drew Christianson and Marlyn Seidler for third. Seidler muscled his way into third place, leaving Velo and Christianson to battle for fourth. Minot's Spencer Wilson, who started 13th, passed Velo, then Christianson for fourth. Wilson started to reel in Seidler for third as Keller started to catch lapped traffic. Second place Strand maneuvered through the lapped traffic quicker than Keller and was quickly catching Keller for the lead but he ran out of time. Jeremy Keller led every lap to win the feature over Strand. Marlyn Seidler finished third while Wilson and Christianson rounded out the top five.
Up next, Prairie Knights Casino and Starion Financial night on Friday, May 16th with IMCA Modifieds, WISSOTA Street Stocks, INEX Legends, Dacotah Speeday Hobby Stocks and IMCA-Mach 1 Sport Compacts. For more information visit us online at http://www.dacotahspeedway.net/ or “LIKE” our Facebook page. You can also follow us on Twitter, @dacotahspeedway or on our YouTube channel.
For Dacotah Speedway updates and information, text the word “Speedway” to 20691.
Dacotah Speedway is a high-banked three-eighths-mile clay oval located at 2500 Longspur Trail, just to the South of McDonalds on Memorial Highway, Mandan, ND.