Monkey off the back
Ed Turnbull was starting to think he wasn’t going to win a feature race this season despite a four-win year in 2012.
The Estevan, Sask., native no longer has to worry about a winless season after holding off Minot’s Steven Pfeifer in the International Motor Contest Association Modifieds feature Tuesday at Nodak Speedway.
Turnbull went wire-to-wire after starting on the pole for his first win of the season. The victory came longer than anticipated with seven cautions in the first six laps – four on lap three alone. The final 14 laps went uninterrupted, allowing Turnbull the opportunity to show off what he said was a “good car” to the North Dakota State Fair crowd.
“It would get into the corner nice,” Turnbull said. “I could gas it a bit through the middle of the corner and come off hard.”
Pfeifer – Turnbull’s stiffest competition Tuesday – started fifth, but quickly moved into the second position after Williston’s Mike Hagen, running second at the time, left the race following the third caution. Turnbull and Pfeifer were 1-2 for the final 17 laps, with the No. 10EH car hugging the inside to keep the No. 11 in the rearview mirror.
“I knew for sure if I went wide once that Steven would be there,” Turnbull said. “He’s a good driver. There’s no question. I’ve had Steven pass me on the inside plenty of times.”
Said Pfeifer: “I had a good car. I don’t think I had as good of a car as him, but the best car doesn’t always win. But it did tonight. It definitely did tonight.”
Pfeifer said the early cautions were frustrating, especially being near the front. Some fans shared his sentiment and headed for the exits following the seventh and final caution roughly 20 minutes into the 30-minute allotted race.
Turnbull had thoughts creeping into his head as his car made countless laps around the track under caution.
“There was caution after caution there for awhile and you wonder ‘Is there something going to fall off my car? Am I going to get low on fuel?’ You start to wonder after the fifth caution,” Turnbull said.
Travis Hagen finished third, followed by Allen Kent and Travis Peery in fourth and fifth, respectively.
Minot’s Nathan Burke wasn’t catching a break in the first half of the IMCA Stock Car feature. Burke took the lead from Williston’s Joe Flory on lap seven and lap nine, but caution flags on both laps sent the Stock Car points leader back into the second position.
The third time was the charm for Burke as he passed Flory on lap 11 following the fourth caution of the race and cruised to the win.
“Once we got in the lead, I thought our car was handling pretty good,” Burke said.
Burke wasn’t the only driver making moves as the top five shifted during that lap. Randy Conway of Minot move into second place, while Flory dropped to third in front of son Dalton Flory and Chad Strachen.
Burke led the final nine laps, stretching his lead to several car lengths. Joe Flory finished second after passing Conway on the final lap.
Minot’s Michael Vennes went from being black flagged on lap seven to finishing third. Flag officials initially showed Vennes the black flag during the third caution of the race after the Minot driver had the right-side door ripped off. Vennes was allowed to go to the pit area to remove debris from the bottom of his car, but had to restart at the back of the pack. Five laps later Vennes cracked the top five.
Racing returns to Nodak Speedway on Aug. 11 with Hobby Stocks, Sport Modifieds, Legends, Stock Cars and Modifieds. Tuesday’s races did not count toward the track points standings.
Mike Kraft covers racing at Nodak Speedway during the summer. Follow him on Twitter @MKraft23-MDN.
IMCA Stock Cars
Heat 1: 1. Dalton Flory, Williston; 2. Nathan Burke, Minot; 3. Brett Woznicki, Minot.
Heat 2: 1. Randy Conway, Minot; 2. Michael Vennes, Minot; 3. Chad Strachen, Minot.
A-Main: 1. Burke; 2. Joe Flory; 3. Vennes; 4. Conway; 5. Dalton Flory.
Heat 1: 1. Allen Kent, Minot; 2. Steven Pfeifer, Minot; 3. Robert Hellebust, Kenmare.
Heat 2: 1. Troy Girolamo, Eleva, Wisc.; 2. Steven Seibel, Parshall; 3. Mike Hagen, Williston.
Heat 3: 1. Wayne Johnson, Minot; 2. Travis Peery, Yreha, Calif.; 3. Riley Emmel, Estevan, Sask.
A-Main: 1. Ed Turnbull, Estevan, Sask.; 2. Pfeifer; Travis Hagen; 4. Kent; 5. Peery.