Good day for Minoters: Magic City drivers win 4 of 5 feature races
According to Allen Kent, sometimes it’s better not to lead.
Kent trailed the leaders of the IMCA Modifieds feature race Thursday at Nodak Speedway as they got caught in lap traffic. From his third-place position, the Minot driver spotted a high-side opening around the slower cars, blew into first place on lap 22 of 25 and pulled away to claim the checkered flag.
“I gained a little bit of ground there and I timed it just right with that lap car in the middle and got by most of those guys in one shot,” Kent said. “The two leaders, they were stuck on the bottom. When you’re leading, it’s hard to change lanes. That’s the advantage of being second or third.”
Kent finished in front of Minot’s Drew Christianson and Williston’s Travis Hagen, who battled for the top two spots for most of the race.
The victory capped a solid day for Minot natives, who won the features in four of the five classes.
Nathan Burke did his part by winning the IMCA Sport Modifieds race and the IMCA Stocks feature. Minot’s Brock Beeter won the IMCA Hobby Stocks race and Bismarck’s Paul Huettl finished first in the INEX Legends class to spoil a potential Magic City sweep.
Kent and Burke both plan to race in the Dakota Classic Modified Tour, which runs Saturday through Thursday and includes a stop at Nodak on Sunday. Kent said his car is running well entering the circuit.
“I’ve changed quite a bit of things on the car trying to get it to work the way I wanted,” he said. “That’s the best it’s been so far. It felt really good.”
In the stocks race, Burke took the lead following a restart on the ninth lap and didn’t relinquish it. He bested second-place finisher Michael Vennes by 2.91 seconds.
It was a lightly contested finish to a race that was messy at the start. The drivers were required to stop on the front straightaway three times before four laps were completed as wreckers separated damaged cars. Five of 11 drivers didn’t finish the race.
Burke survived another battle of attrition in the IMCA Sport Modifieds feature to earn his first checkered flag of the night. The race featured nine cautions and only 11 of 26 cars finished the race.
Burke took the lead on a restart on lap 13 of 20 and held off second-place finisher Robby Rosselli the rest of the way. Brothers Justin and Darren Medler jockeyed for the third spot for the second half of the race, with Justin passing Darren on the final lap.
As well as Burke raced strategically to earn two victories, he was just as encouraged to learn that he posted the fastest lap in both of his feature races. His best speed was 67.17 mph in the stock car and 70.76 mph in the sport mod.
“Whether you win or lose, I like having a fast car,” said Burke, the points leader in both classes. “That’s kind of what this year is about, is trying to find some speed.”
Eric Folstad of Glenburn led during the middle portion of the stocks race, but slowed dramatically before a caution on the 13th lap. Folstad took his car to the pits and didn’t return.
Donavin Wiest threatened to run away with the INEX Legends victory when he opened a wide lead on the field early in the 15-lap race. But Huettl closed the gap considerably on laps five through eight and finally executed an inside pass on lap 11.
Huettl held on to win and Wiest took second, followed by points leader Steven Kuntz and Steve Pankowski.
Beeter cruised to the IMCA Hobby Stocks feature victory after placing fifth in his heat. Beeter took the lead during the second lap and never trailed again.
There was only one caution in the race, but Beeter quickly distanced himself from the rest of the pack and won by more than two seconds. Fellow Minoter Dana Brandt finished second and Brad King of Fairbanks, Alaska, took third.
Daniel Allar reports on Minot State University and assists with high school and Legion coverage. Follow him on Twitter @DAllar_MDN.