Title successfully defended
Entering the final race of the rain-shortened three-stop INEX Legends Tour, defending champion Shane Williams knew exactly what he had to do to ensure another title Sunday at Nodak Speedway: finish ahead of Steven Kuntz.
He did just that, placing fourth in the Legends feature, one spot in front of Kuntz. Williams entered the Tour finale three points ahead of Kuntz after taking second at Dacotah Speedway in Mandan on Friday and winning at McLean County Speedway in Underwood on Saturday. Instead of running near the bottom of the track, Williams opted for the top in an effort to cut off Kuntz, who favors that part of the oval.
“If I would have been on the bottom I might have had a chance to win it, but I know (Kuntz) is really super fast on the top,” Williams said. “I just stayed up there and you saw on the last lap I got up to second place. I kind of waited, biding my time. It seems like we always have something happen on the last lap and the race is over.”
Something did happen on the final lap as Dallas Maas’ engine blew, creating a wall of smoke for the leaders to navigate around. Maas was running last when his engine expired on the first turn. The cloud of smoke blinded leader Troy Hoff, allowing Donavin Wiest to take the lead. But the caution on the final lap awarded Hoff the feature win as he had taken the white flag a turn earlier.
“I was hoping I’d miss it,” Hoff said. “I couldn’t see where it was at, but I knew it was on a white flag so I knew I’d probably win.”
Hoff took the lead for good 10 laps in, passing Wiest. He edged Wiest by 0.681 seconds to grab the white flag.
Paul Morman took third, followed by Williams and Kuntz.
Hoff’s feature win moved him up to second in the final Tour standings. Kuntz finished third, Wiest fourth and Morman fifth.
“It’s a tougher fight,” Williams said. “The competition is just fierce. The top six guys in the race tonight were the top six in the Tour.”
Jeremy Keller took advantage of the final restart to win the International Motor Contest Association Modifieds feature. Eric Sinness dominated the opening 20 laps, but cautions slowed him down and eventually Keller made his move and led the final five laps.
Sinness dropped down to fourth, passed by Travis Hagen and Drew Christianson, who finished second and third, respectively. Shawn Anderson grabbed fifth.
Caution-free the first 15 laps, the yellow flag made an appearance four times in the next five laps, bringing Sinness back to the rest of the field. He held the lead through the first three cautions, but Keller finally broke through on the fourth.
Austin Daae’s domination of Nodak Speedway continues. The Estevan, Sask., native won his fifth IMCA Stock Cars feature this season and he did it in dominating fashion. Daae finished 6.013 seconds ahead of Rob Stenvold, who took second. He was 7.467 seconds in front of Dalton Flory and more than 10 seconds ahead of everyone else.
Daae grabbed the lead five laps in and increased his lead with each trip around the track. The only thing that could have brought him back to the rest of the back a caution flag didn’t appear until Daae had already crossed the finish line.
The only real battle was the one for fourth place. Chris Ellis and Bill Jones traded spots a couple of times before Ellis solidified the fourth spot on the final lap. Jones finished fifth.
Wyatt Olson started the IMCA Sport Modifieds feature outside of the top five and ended in victory lane. Olson took the lead with five laps remaining, passing Zac Lutz. He cracked the top five two laps in and found himself running second halfway through the race.
Lutz led the majority of the laps after starting fourth. He finished third after being passed by Justin Medler with two laps remaining. Medler held onto the second spot, finishing 1.379 seconds behind Olson.
Chase Conway took fourth and Eric Folstad fifth to round out the top five.
Kaiden Heggen won his first career IMCA Hobby Stocks feature race at Nodak Speedway, holding off Brock Beeter and Brad King by less than a second in a caution-checkered flag finish. On the final turn, the top three cars barreled into Adam Goff, who had spun out on the front straightaway, bringing out the caution-checkered flag.
Heggen built a substantial lead early, taking the lead over pole-sitter Vance Tomlinson on the first lap. As the race reached its final few laps both Beeter and King had shaved off the majority of Heggen’s lead and were less than a car length behind him. Beeter and King settled for a 2-3 finish behind Heggen when the caution flag came out.
Darren Schatz and Cody Dignan finished a distant fourth and fifth, respectively. Both finished more than five seconds behind Heggen.
Racing returns to Nodak Speedway on Sunday at 6 p.m. when the Late Models make their second appearance at the three-eighths dirt track. The Hobby Stocks, Sport Modifieds, Stock Cars and Modifieds will also be in action.
Mike Kraft covers the Minot Vistas and racing during the summer. Follow him on Twitter @MKraft24_MDN.
IMCA Hobby Stocks
Heat 1: 1. Brad King, Anchorage, Alaska; 2. Darren Schatz, Williston; 3. Keith Mattox, Williston.
Heat 2: 1. Kadi Ruby, Minot; 2. Vance Tomlinson; 3. Adam Goff, Minot.
Heat 3: 1. Brock Beeter, Minot; 2. Cody Dignan, Kenmare; 3. Phillip Keller, Williston.
A-Main: 1. Kaiden Hagen; 2. Beeter; 3. King; 4. Schatz; 5. Dignan.
IMCA Sport Modifieds
Heat 1: 1. Brandon Beeter, Minot; 2. Wyatt Olson, Des Lacs; 3. Varion Hetle.
Heat 2: 1. Jon Lizotte, Grand Forks; 2. Matt Lang, Turtle Lake; 3. Eric Folstad.
Heat 3: 1. Robby Rosselli, Minot; 2. Brady Bjella, Mesa, Ariz.; 3. Mike Lemay.
Heat 4: 1. Erik Laudenschlager, Surrey; 2. Justin Medler, Minot; 3. Zac Lutz, Burlington.
B-Main 1: *1. Kelly Henderson, Minot; *2. Chase Conway; 3. Robbie Conway; 4. Andrew Bertsch; 5. Jeremiah LaDue.
B-Main 2: *1. Myles Tomlinson, Turtle Lake; *2. Jarred Campos; 3. Isaac Sondrol; 4. Jason Kniffen; 5. Shayne Heggen.
A-Main: 1. Olson; 2. Medler; 3. Lutz; 4. Conway; 5. Folstad.
*Advanced to A-Main
Heat 1: 1. Donavin Wiest, Wishek; 2. Troy Hoff, Flasher; 3. Brian Hanson, Jamestown.
Heat 2: 1. Shane Williams, Minot; 2. Ivan Sailer; 3. Bruce Erickson, Watford City.
Heat 3: 1. Steven Kuntz, Bismarck; 2. Paul Morman; 3. Drew Papke, Bismarck.
A-Main: 1. Hoff; 2. Wiest; 3. Morman; 4. Williams; 5. Kuntz.
IMCA Stock Cars
Heat 1: 1. Justin Striefel, Minot; 2. Rob Stenvold, Minot; 3. Austin Daae, Estevan, Sask.
Heat 2: 2. Michael Vennes, Minot; 2. Cody Nelson, Kenmare; 3. Brett Woznicki, Minot.
A-Main: 1. Daae; 2. Stenvold; 3. Dalton Flory; 4. Chris Ellis; 5. Bill Jones.
Heat 1: 1. Jeremy Keller, Bismarck; 2. Drew Christianson, Minot; 3. Travis Hagen, Williston.
Heat 2: 1. Eric Sinness, Williston; 2. Troy Kittler, Turtle Lake; 3. Marlyn Seidler, Underwood.
Heat 3: 1. Aaron Turbull; 2. Dallas Rice, Minot; 3. Steven Pfeifer, Minot.
A-Main: 1. Keller; 2. Hagen; 3. Christianson; 4. Sinness; 5. Shawn Anderson.