Mike Anderson Wins Stock Car Thriller on Opening Night

By Mike Spieker

ADA, Minn. (June 4, 2020) – A sizable, yet socially distant crowd filled the historic Norman County Raceway grandstand on Thursday night as the speedway hosted its 102nd season of racing at the three-eighths-mile oval.

The IMCA Stock Cars proved once again why they are the nightcap at the speedway. In what was the most exciting event of the evening, Mike Anderson of Walcott, N.D. raced to his first career NCR Stock Car win after a hard-fought battle with Rob Vanmil of Barnesville.

Photo: Mike Anderson claimed the night’s Stock Car feature win after an exciting battle with defending Stock Car champion, Rob VanMil. Photo by Mike Spieker.

Starting on the pole, Anderson took the lead from fellow front-row starter, Travis Robertson of Moorhead, on the opening lap. Robertson filed into second, but after a few laps had the fifth-place starter, VanMil, hot on his heels. Both Robertson and VanMil remained within striking distance of the leader until both of them caught Anderson at the halfway point.

Exiting turn two on lap seven of 14, they raced three-wide down the back straightaway into turn three. Anderson hung on to lead the lap, but VanMil came charging back two laps later. Anderson and VanMil ran the final six circuits side by side, exchanging the lead seemingly every circuit, while Robertson and seventh-place starter, Todd Heinrich of Fargo, remained in contention for the win.

VanMil gave Anderson everything he had on the final lap, but Anderson’s momentum carried him to the win.

On Thursday night, Norman County Raceway honored fallen Grand Forks Police Department officer, Cody Holte, before the Stock Car feature. Kalvin Kesselberg (pictured), a cousin of Holte, led the field during Lap of Silence.

Austin Arneson of Fargo found his way to KRJB/KRJM/KKCQ Victory Lane after a convincing performance in the IMCA Modified feature. Arneson started on the pole and led every lap. Arneson is no stranger to visiting victory lane early in the season at the Norman County Fairgrounds. Since 2016, Arneson hasn’t finished worse than second at NCR’s season opener. During that streak, Arneson has three wins and an average finish of 1.4. The win was Arneson’s first in his homebuilt chassis.

Brock Gronwold of Fergus Falls dominated the night’s WISSOTA Midwest Modified feature. Gronwold grabbed the lead early on from the pole position as Jeff Nelson of Perham, Lance Schill of Langdon, N.D., and Brendan Blascyk of Kensington all battled for second.

Midway through the event, lapped traffic wreaked havoc for the leaders. Gronwold was able to slip by cleanly, however drivers in positions two through five became all bunched up down the back straightaway.

That allowed Gronwold to open up a big lead. Several laps later, lapped traffic was encountered again by the leaders, however, this time second-place runner Lance Schill was collected and brought out the caution.

Gronwold went on to claim the win in a green-white-checkered finish. Hunter Hougard of Warren was the hard charger of the event, racing from seventh to finish second.

Tim Gonska of Brainerd has been racing since early this winter at IMCA Hobby Stock events across the country. Gonska, who has won his fair share of those races, continued his winning ways at Norman County Raceway. The defending North Central Speedway track champion dominated the Hobby Stock main event to score his first Norman County Raceway win since June of 2018.

Ryan Braseth of Ulen cruised to the INEX Legends feature race. Braseth came from the fourth starting position to take the lead on the opening lap. The young up-and-comer led every lap to pick up his third career Norman County Raceway feature win.


IMCA Modifieds:
A Feature: 1. 10-Austin Arneson[1]; 2. 3S-Jesse Skalicky[7]; 3. 2-Casey Arneson[6]; 4. 442-Aaron Johnson[2]; 5. 60-Tyler Hall[4]; 6. XXX-Jesse Rogotzke[9]; 7. 84-Michael Johnson[8]; 8. 2T-Mike Tomlinson[10]; 9. 96-Erv Grossman[12]; 10. 57-Tom Cummings[11]; 11. (DNS) 40-Rob VanMil; 12. (DNS) 30-Cole Neset

Heat 1: 1. 10-Austin Arneson[2]; 2. 84-Michael Johnson[3]; 3. 60-Tyler Hall[5]; 4. 40-Rob VanMil[1]; 5. 30-Cole Neset[4]; 6. 57-Tom Cummings[6]

Heat 2: 1. 3S-Jesse Skalicky[2]; 2. 2-Casey Arneson[5]; 3. XXX-Jesse Rogotzke[4]; 4. 442-Aaron Johnson[6]; 5. 2T-Mike Tomlinson[3]; 6. 96-Erv Grossman[1]

WISSOTA Midwest Mods
A Feature: 1. 2G-Brock Gronwold[1]; 2. 188-Hunter Hougard[7]; 3. 9B-Brendan Blascyk[6]; 4. 69-Justin Jones[8]; 5. 33-Jeff Nelson[2]; 6. 5BA-Aaron Blacklance[5]; 7. 6J-Taylor Jacobson[9]; 8. 55X-Chris Mack[10]; 9. 01-Zach Bruer[4]; 10. 35-David McIntire[11]; 11. (DNF) 17-Lance Schill[3]

Heat 1: 1. 188-Hunter Hougard[2]; 2. 01-Zach Bruer[1]; 3. 9B-Brendan Blascyk[6]; 4. 2G-Brock Gronwold[5]; 5. 6J-Taylor Jacobson[3]; 6. (DNS) 35-David McIntire

Heat 2: 1. 33-Jeff Nelson[1]; 2. 17-Lance Schill[2]; 3. 5BA-Aaron Blacklance[5]; 4. 69-Justin Jones[4]; 5. 55X-Chris Mack[3]

IMCA Hobby Stock
A Feature: 1. 5G-Tim Gonska[1]; 2. 31X-Tim Shiek[2]; 3. 3XL-Brad Orvedal[3]; 4. B2-Brodee Eckerdt[5]; 5. 22W-Will Miller[6]; 6. (DNF) 74-Steve Nordhagen[4]; 7. (DNS) B1-Marvin Priem

Heat 1: 1. 5G-Tim Gonska[1]; 2. 3XL-Brad Orvedal[3]; 3. 31X-Tim Shiek[4]; 4. 74-Steve Nordhagen[5]; 5. B2-Brodee Eckerdt[6]; 6. (DNF) 22W-Will Miller[2]; 7. (DNS) B1-Marvin Priem

IMCA Northern SportMod
A Feature: 1. 17-Rich Pavlicek[2]; 2. 40-Chris VanMil[1]; 3. 8J-Luke Johnson[3]; 4. 5-Scott Jacobson[5]; 5. 3X-Andy Wagner[10]; 6. 3W-Aaron Wetterlin[11]; 7. 22-Vince Jegtvig[4]; 8. E6-Ryan Veralrud[7]; 9. 13C-Paul Colvin[9]; 10. (DNF) 9-Torey Fischer[6]; 11. (DNF) 12T-Brandon Tendeland[8]; 12. (DNF) 2X-Brady Moore[12]

Heat 1: 1. 13C-Paul Colvin[4]; 2. 40-Chris VanMil[6]; 3. 12T-Brandon Tendeland[3]; 4. 9-Torey Fischer[5]; 5. (DNF) 3X-Andy Wagner[1]; 6. (DNS) 3W-Aaron Wetterlin

Heat 2: 1. 8J-Luke Johnson[1]; 2. 17-Rich Pavlicek[4]; 3. 5-Scott Jacobson[5]; 4. 22-Vince Jegtvig[6]; 5. E6-Ryan Veralrud[3]; 6. 2X-Brady Moore[2]

IMCA Stock Car
A Feature: 1. 18A-Mike Anderson[1]; 2. 40-Rob VanMil[5]; 3. 10-Travis Robertson[2]; 4. 38-Todd Heinrich[7]; 5. 11-Kalvin Kesselberg[10]; 6. 21-Tim Church[3]; 7. 21J-Andrew Jochim[8]; 8. 86-Thomas Ahrndt[11]; 9. 13X-Jonathan Johnson[4]; 10. 4-Rick Schulz[9]; 11. (DNF) 76Z-John Sandvig[6]

Heat 1: 1. 38-Todd Heinrich[2]; 2. 10-Travis Robertson[1]; 3. 18A-Mike Anderson[3]; 4. 11-Kalvin Kesselberg[5]; 5. 21-Tim Church[4]; 6. 86-Thomas Ahrndt[6]

Heat 2: 1. 40-Rob VanMil[3]; 2. 4-Rick Schulz[4]; 3. 21J-Andrew Jochim[5]; 4. 76Z-John Sandvig[2]; 5. 13X-Jonathan Johnson[1]

INEX Legends
A Feature: 1. 29-Ryan Braseth[4]; 2. D1RT-Tony Brockhouse[2]; 3. 72-Tye Wilke[1]; 4. B1-Brody Carlsrud[3]; 5. 2-Ashton Spieker[5]; 6. 19E-Elzetta Bitker[6]; 7. (DNF) 5G-Garrison Miller[7]; 8. (DNS) 20-Alex Braseth

Heat 1: 1. B1-Brody Carlsrud[1]; 2. 29-Ryan Braseth[6]; 3. D1RT-Tony Brockhouse[7]; 4. 72-Tye Wilke[4]; 5. 2-Ashton Spieker[5]; 6. 19E-Elzetta Bitker[8]; 7. (DNF) 5G-Garrison Miller[2]; 8. (DNF) 20-Alex Braseth[3]

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