Arneson claims third Sanders Mod Challenge win, Strand scores NLRA victory at NCR

By Mike Spieker

ADA, Minn. (July 30, 2020) – A big field of 85 race teams were checked in on Thursday night as Norman County Raceway hosted the ninth annual Sanders Mod Challenge and the first leg of the IMCA Red River Modified Tour, presented by the IMCA Duel in the Desert, as well as the NLRA Late Models.

For the third time in his career, Austin Arneson of Fargo, N.D. claimed the Sanders Mod Challenge win after a dominating performance.

NCR regular Jesse Skalicky of Fargo and Darin Duffy of Urbana, Iowa paced the field to green with Duffy taking the early lead, but it took just two laps for Arneson to charge his way into the lead from the fourth starting position.

Once out front, Arneson wouldn’t be touched for the remainder of the 25-lap feature. A great battle brewed behind Arneson, however, as Duffy had to content with Arneson’s younger brother, Casey Arneson.

Despite multiple slide job attempts by Casey Arneson, Duffy was able to hang on to the runner-up spot. Duffy rallied late to turn a three-second lead by Austin Arneson to a 0.6 second lead at the checkers with Casey Arneson finishing three car lengths behind Duffy.

Behind the top three, there was an 11-second gap back to Michael Johnson of Moorhead, Minn. in fourth. Cody Leonard of Sinton, Texas rounded out the top five.

Austin Arneson claimed his third Sanders Mod Challenge win at Norman County Raceway on Thursday night. Photo by Mike Spieker

The win for Arneson gave his U-Motors Racing team its sixth Sanders Mod Challenge win. Casey Arneson, Cody Skytland, and Johnny Scott have also picked up Sanders Mod Challenge wins for U-Motors Racing.

The NLRA Late Models had 22 cars checked in for their first visit to Norman County Raceway since 2017. Don Shaw of Ham Lake, Minn. and Ryan Mikkelson of Alexandria, Minn. led the field to green with Shaw taking the early lead.

Fourth-place starter, Dustin Strand of East Grand Forks, Minn. pulled even with Shaw on lap five, and the two drivers engaged in a great battle for the lead, running two distinct lanes around the three-eighths-mile oval. Strand took the point on lap seven as Shaw pulled off the track the following lap with apparent mechanical failure.

Dustin Strand topped a stacked field of NLRA Late Models for his first Late Model win at NCR since 2012. Photo by Mike Spieker

Brad Seng of Grand Forks, N.D. came from ninth on the grid to second by lap 13 as he set his sights on Strand for the lead. Strand was too strong, however, as the three-time NLRA series champion cruised to his first Late Model win at NCR since 2012.

The first red flag of the season came out on lap two of the Christian Motors WISSOTA Midwest Modified feature. The No. E85 of Jason Strand of Portland, N.D. suffered a mechanical issue and looked to pull into the infield. Just as he did, Joe Henninger of Grand Forks clipped the left front of Strand with his right rear and barrel-rolled violently three complete times before coming to rest on all four wheels.

Henninger was okay, but his car was destroyed.

Hougard led the field until points leader, Brock Gronwold of Fergus Falls, Minn. reeled him in and made the pass coming to the white flag. Hougard did everything he could to regain the lead on the final lap, but Gronwold held on to pick up his fourth win of the season at NCR.

Gronwold again received a huge round of applause and roar from the crowd as he pulled his Donald Trump-inspired No. 2020 paint scheme into KRJB/KRJM/KKCQ Victory Lane.

The Titan Machinery IMCA SportMods were 14 cars strong for their main event. Things got off to a ragged start as outside front row starter, Brandon Tendeland of West Fargo, N.D., got sideways in turns one and two. The rest of the field was able to miss Tendeland except for Greg Schilling of Halstad, Minn. who made heavy contact with Tendeland.

Both Tendeland and Schilling were okay but were done for the night.

On the restart, Chris VanMil of Barnesville, Minn. took command of the race lead and checked out from the rest of the field. VanMil looked to have the race in hand until the final caution flew with three laps to go.

A three-wide race for the lead on the ensuing restart broke out between last week’s winner, Andy Wagner of Ada, Minn. and Luke Johnson of Moorhead. With two to go, it became a race between VanMil and Johnson as Johnson threw a slide job for the lead in turns one and two. VanMil countered with a crossover move down the back straightaway, but Johnson cleared for the lead in turns three and four coming to the white flag.

Johnson held off VanMil on the final lap to claim his second win of the season at NCR.

Backing up his win Friday night at Red River Valley Speedway in West Fargo, Ryan Braseth of Ulen, Minn. picked up an exciting Seedex INEX Legends feature win. Braseth held off his brother, Alex Braseth, and point leader Tye Wilke of Detroit Lakes, Minn. in the closing laps.

Todd Heinrich of Fargo dominated the Norman County Implement IMCA Stock Car feature for his third win of the season at NCR.


WISSOTA Late Models:
A Feature: 1. 71-Dustin Strand[4]; 2. 12S-Brad Seng[9]; 3. 2M-Dave Mass[13]; 4. 11D-Pat Doar[10]; 5. 03-Casey Meyer[5]; 6. 18X-Shawn Meyer[6]; 7. 15*-Ryan Mikkelson[2]; 8. C4-Ryan Corbett[3]; 9. 10-Kevin Robertson[8]; 10. 18-Dustin Hapka[7]; 11. 9-Steve Anderson[14]; 12. 14-Brody Troftgruben[12]; 13. 2-Dan Dowling[15]; 14. 16S-Jeff Hapala[11]; 15. 9R-Erik Robertson[19]; 16. 2*-Cole Babcock[18]; 17. 105-Ryan Dahl[22]; 18. 47-Kreig Kasin[21]; 19. (DNF) 11-Troy Schill[16]; 20. (DNF) 84-Joshua Johnson[17]; 21. (DNF) 9A-Blake Anderson[20]; 22. (DNF) 42S-Don Shaw[1]

Heat 1: 1. 71-Dustin Strand[2]; 2. 42S-Don Shaw[6]; 3. 18-Dustin Hapka[1]; 4. 11D-Pat Doar[5]; 5. 2M-Dave Mass[4]; 6. 11-Troy Schill[7]; 7. 9R-Erik Robertson[8]; 8. 105-Ryan Dahl[3]

Heat 2: 1. 15*-Ryan Mikkelson[2]; 2. 03-Casey Meyer[6]; 3. 10-Kevin Robertson[1]; 4. 16S-Jeff Hapala[4]; 5. 9-Steve Anderson[3]; 6. 84-Joshua Johnson[5]; 7. 9A-Blake Anderson[7]

Heat 3: 1. C4-Ryan Corbett[1]; 2. 18X-Shawn Meyer[6]; 3. 12S-Brad Seng[7]; 4. 14-Brody Troftgruben[2]; 5. 2-Dan Dowling[3]; 6. 2*-Cole Babcock[5]; 7. 47-Kreig Kasin[4]

IMCA Modifieds:
A Feature: 1. 10-Austin Arneson[4]; 2. 19D-Darin Duffy[2]; 3. 2A-Casey Arneson[5]; 4. 84-Michael Johnson[3]; 5. 12-Cody Leonard[8]; 6. 3S-Jesse Skalicky[1]; 7. 33-Allen Kent[7]; 8. XXX-Jesse Rogotzke[10]; 9. 44F-Fred Wojtek[6]; 10. 12A-Matt Aukland[9]; 11. 72-Dave Shipley[11]; 12. 442-Aaron Johnson[12]; 13. 6D-Dylan Goplen[15]; 14. 91-Craig Oakes[16]; 15. 60-Tyler Hall[13]; 16. 2-Rusty Kollman[17]; 17. 2*-Cole Babcock[19]; 18. 28-Cody Blixt[20]; 19. 12C-Nick Curtis[22]; 20. 96-Erv Grossman[18]; 21. 57-Tom Cummings[21]; 22. (DNF) 40-Rob VanMil[14]; 23. (DNF) 21-Jamie Schulz[23]

Heat 1: 1. XXX-Jesse Rogotzke[1]; 2. 2A-Casey Arneson[4]; 3. 12A-Matt Aukland[2]; 4. 3S-Jesse Skalicky[3]; 5. 60-Tyler Hall[6]; 6. 91-Craig Oakes[7]; 7. 2*-Cole Babcock[8]; 8. 12C-Nick Curtis[5]

Heat 2: 1. 10-Austin Arneson[4]; 2. 84-Michael Johnson[2]; 3. 72-Dave Shipley[6]; 4. 33-Allen Kent[1]; 5. 40-Rob VanMil[5]; 6. 2-Rusty Kollman[8]; 7. 28-Cody Blixt[3]; 8. 21-Jamie Schulz[7]

Heat 3: 1. 19D-Darin Duffy[1]; 2. 12-Cody Leonard[2]; 3. 44F-Fred Wojtek[3]; 4. 442-Aaron Johnson[6]; 5. 6D-Dylan Goplen[4]; 6. 96-Erv Grossman[7]; 7. 57-Tom Cummings[5]

WISSOTA Midwest Mods:
A Feature: 1. 2G-Brock Gronwold[6]; 2. 188-Hunter Hougard[3]; 3. 69-Justin Jones[10]; 4. 5BA-Aaron Blacklance[9]; 5. 87S-Reise Stenberg[5]; 6. 33-Jeff Nelson[2]; 7. 11-Bryan Kakela[8]; 8. 01-Zach Bruer[4]; 9. 35-David McIntire[11]; 10. (DNF) E85-Jason Strand[7]; 11. (DNF) 68-Joe Henninger[1]

Heat 1: 1. 2G-Brock Gronwold[1]; 2. E85-Jason Strand[3]; 3. 11-Bryan Kakela[4]; 4. 68-Joe Henninger[2]; 5. 5BA-Aaron Blacklance[6]; 6. (DNS) 69-Justin Jones

Heat 2: 1. 188-Hunter Hougard[4]; 2. 33-Jeff Nelson[1]; 3. 01-Zach Bruer[5]; 4. 87S-Reise Stenberg[3]; 5. (DNS) 35-David McIntire

IMCA Northern SportMods:
A Feature: 1. 8J-Luke Johnson[9]; 2. 40-Chris VanMil[4]; 3. 3X-Andy Wagner[6]; 4. 5-Scott Jacobson[11]; 5. 17-Rich Pavlicek[7]; 6. 74-Darren Medler[10]; 7. 3W-Aaron Wetterlin[8]; 8. 13C-Paul Colvin[3]; 9. 9-Torey Fischer[5]; 10. E6-Ryan Veralrud[14]; 11. 22-Vince Jegtvig[12]; 12. 2X-Brady Moore[1]; 13. (DNF) 29S-Greg Schilling[13]; 14. (DNF) 12T-Brandon Tendeland[2]

Heat 1: 1. 12T-Brandon Tendeland[2]; 2. 3W-Aaron Wetterlin[6]; 3. 40-Chris VanMil[4]; 4. 13C-Paul Colvin[3]; 5. 3X-Andy Wagner[5]; 6. 5-Scott Jacobson[7]; 7. 29S-Greg Schilling[1]

Heat 2: 1. 8J-Luke Johnson[6]; 2. 9-Torey Fischer[4]; 3. 17-Rich Pavlicek[5]; 4. 2X-Brady Moore[1]; 5. 74-Darren Medler[7]; 6. 22-Vince Jegtvig[3]; 7. E6-Ryan Veralrud[2]

IMCA Stock Cars:
A Feature: 1. 38-Todd Heinrich[2]; 2. 4-Rick Schulz[3]; 3. 40-Rob VanMil[5]; 4. 11-Kalvin Kesselberg[4]; 5. 10R-Travis Robertson[7]; 6. 57K-Derrick Kronbach[1]; 7. 76Z-John Sandvig[6]

Heat 1: 1. 57K-Derrick Kronbach[2]; 2. 4-Rick Schulz[4]; 3. 38-Todd Heinrich[3]; 4. 11-Kalvin Kesselberg[6]; 5. 40-Rob VanMil[7]; 6. 76Z-John Sandvig[1]; 7. 10R-Travis Robertson[5]

INEX Legends:
A Feature: 1. 29-Ryan Braseth[3]; 2. 20-Alex Braseth[2]; 3. 72-Tye Wilke[5]; 4. B1-Brody Carlsrud[4]; 5. D1RT-Tony Brockhouse[8]; 6. 2-Ashton Spieker[1]; 7. 79-Scott Richardson[7]; 8. (DNF) 19E-Elzetta Bitker[6]

Heat 1: 1. 29-Ryan Braseth[4]; 2. 72-Tye Wilke[6]; 3. B1-Brody Carlsrud[5]; 4. 2-Ashton Spieker[2]; 5. 20-Alex Braseth[3]; 6. D1RT-Tony Brockhouse[8]; 7. 19E-Elzetta Bitker[1]; 8. (DNF) 79-Scott Richardson[7]

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