Drivers make final push for championship
With one final race for points remaining, the margin for error will be at its slimmest during Championship Night at 6 p.m. Sunday at Nodak Speedway.
All five class championships are up for grabs, but most have become two-horse races to the finish.
Nathan Burke holds the largest advantage, leading fellow Minot native Robby Rosselli by 19 points in the International Motor Contest Association Sport Modifieds standings. The IMCA Hobby Stock competition is much closer, with Minot’s Brock Beeter leading brother Brandon by a single point.
Burke is seeking more than just one points title this year. Burke also leads the IMCA Stock Car points race by 15 points over Minot’s Kelly Henderson and Bob Fuegmann.
“The reason we got here is because we raced hard,” Burke said. “We still have to race hard.”
Burke said he may dial it back since finishing the race is more important than winning.
“The mindset is to take it easy and do a little points racing and keep the car clean,” he said. “We definitely want (the points title), but we still have to race.”
Burke is the defending Stock Car champion at Nodak Speedway.
The last points race on Aug. 11 shook up the standings in some classes and drew drivers closer to the leaders in others. Brock Beeter overtook Brandon Beeter that night after finishing second. Brandon Beeter – leading by two points entering the night – finished fifth and dropped to second in the points race.
Brandon Beeter won the points title last year, edging Minot’s Dana Brandt by seven points. Brock Beeter finished 18th, 275 points off the pace.
IMCA Modifieds points leader Steven Pfeifer of Minot enters Sunday’s race with a five-point advantage over Minot’s Allen Kent. Pfeifer led by 13 points two weeks ago, but a 12th-place finish in a green-white-checkered-shortened race put Kent – who finished fourth – within striking distance.
“I’ll have the same mindset I was supposed to have last week,” Pfeifer said. “Take it easy and finish where you have to. Don’t push the issue.”
Pfeifer finished second last year behind Kent.
“If we’re finishing 10 back or more for the second straight week, we don’t deserve to win the title,” Pfeifer said. “We’ve led this thing the last three years and haven’t been able to close it out.”
Minot won’t complete the sweep of the podium as Steven Kuntz and Paul Huettl of Bismarck and Donavin Wiest of Wishek are the only drivers in the running for the INEX Legends championship. Kuntz holds a six-point advantage over Huettl and a 13-point advantage against Wiest. Kuntz, Huettl and Wiest finished 2-3-4 in their last feature.
“It would mean a lot,” Kuntz said of winning the points title. “We work all year to get a championship. If we could come out on top it would be a great way to end the year.”
Mike Kraft covers racing at Nodak Speedway during the summer. Follow him on Twitter @MKraft23_MDN.