Strand gets NLRA sweep at NCR, VanMil okay after wild incident

By Mike Spieker

ADA, Minn. (August 20, 2020) – Dustin Strand won Thursday’s NLRA Late Model special, presented by Seedex and Taylor Bosch Enterprises, to claim his second Late Model win in three weeks at Norman County Raceway.

Strand of East Grand Forks, Minn. and Jeff Hapala of West Fargo, N.D. led the field of 23 cars to the green flag, with Strand getting the holeshot.

After two attempts to get the first lap completed, Strand jumped out to a comfortable lead.

The NLRA series point leader ran relatively uncontested until Don Shaw of Ham Lake, Minn. reeled in Strand in the closing laps. Shaw looked to have the faster car in the late stages, but Strand was able to maneuver through lapped traffic better, which sealed the win for Strand; his third in a Late Model at Norman County.

Dustin Strand sweeps the NLRA Late Model events at Norman County Raceway in 2020. Photo by Mike Spieker.

“I never would have expected this in a million years at Ada,” Strand commented on the heavy and fast racing surface from the rainfall earlier in the week. “Normally we kind of like a hammer down race track. We’re actually running a concept motor, it’s a new rule package Wissota offered, and it’s a little less horsepower and torque, but it’s a really awesome package when the track is slick. I didn’t know if we were gonna be able to hang on tonight, but the ol’ girl was hitting on all eight.”

Casey Arneson of Fargo, N.D. raced to his division-leading third Sanders Metal Products IMCA Modified feature win from the ninth starting position. However, the story of the night came from the driver that finished eighth with a DNF (did not finish).

Rob VanMil of Barnesville, Minn. had a solid lead over Arneson midway through the race when he went to lap a slower car. VanMil went to the outside of the slower car, but just as he did, the backmarker moved to the high side. VanMil’s car jumped over the right front of the lapped car into the entry of turn one – the fastest part of the speedway – and set him airborne off the embankment. VanMil’s car landed at a high rate of speed just before hitting a grove of trees. From there, VanMil ramped up a five-foot dike inside the grove at about 60 miles per hour, went over a six-foot wire fence, and mowed down about 80 feet of trees and brush before coming to rest.

VanMil was okay. NCR officials assessed the situation and decided to wait until after the races were complete to get VanMil’s car out of the trees.

An NCR official hooks up to Rob VanMil’s Modified after he was launched into a grove of trees while leading the feature. Photo by Mike Spieker.

“I came over the bank of the track and I landed and it felt like I was gaining speed on the wet grass,” recalled VanMil of what was one of the craziest incidents in the 100-plus years of Norman County Raceway. “The last thing I remember is hitting that big dike going into the trees, then I just saw brush flying.”

Brock Gronwold of Fergus Falls, Minn. raced to his sixth Christian Motors WISSOTA Midwest Mod win.

Travis Robertson of Moorhead, Minn. picked up crucial points with his Norman County Implement IMCA Stock Car feature win. The top five in points are separated by just seven points. Ada’s Kalvin Kesselberg sits second, one point behind Rob VanMil with one race remaining.

Hometown driver Andy Wagner was the crowd-pleaser once again as he raced to his second Titan Machinery IMCA SportMod feature win of the season. Cory Probst of Brewster, Minn. won the Christian Brothers Ford IMCA Hobby Stock feature, while Ulen’s Ryan Braseth held off Tye Wilke to win the Seedex INEX Legends feature.

The 2020 racing season at Norman County Raceway concludes on Thursday with Season Championship night, presented by Auction Block and Christian Motors.

WISSOTA Late Models
A Feature: 1. 71-Dustin Strand[1]; 2. 42S-Don Shaw[5]; 3. 2-Dave Mass[3]; 4. 03-Casey Meyer[7]; 5. 14-Brody Troftgruben[4]; 6. 12S-Brad Seng[9]; 7. 16S-Jeff Hapala[2]; 8. 18X-Shawn Meyer[6]; 9. 10-Kevin Robertson[12]; 10. 18-Dustin Hapka[14]; 11. 2*-Cole Babcock[10]; 12. 45-Dustin Bluhm[15]; 13. 9-Steve Anderson[13]; 14. 9R-Erik Robertson[8]; 15. 02-Dan Dowling[21]; 16. (DNF) 47-Kreig Kasin[19]; 17. (DNF) C4-Ryan Corbett[11]; 18. (DNF) 41-Travis Saurer[17]; 19. (DNF) 84-Joshua Johnson[23]; 20. (DNF) 11-Troy Schill[16]; 21. (DNF) 9A-Blake Anderson[20]; 22. (DNF) 44-Cole Schill[18]; 23. (DNS) 42-Matthew Jarvis

Heat 1: 1. 42S-Don Shaw[8]; 2. 14-Brody Troftgruben[1]; 3. 03-Casey Meyer[3]; 4. 2*-Cole Babcock[5]; 5. (DNF) 11-Troy Schill[2]; 6. (DNF) 41-Travis Saurer[6]; 7. (DNF) 44-Cole Schill[7]; 8. (DNF) 02-Dan Dowling[4]

Heat 2: 1. 16S-Jeff Hapala[1]; 2. 18X-Shawn Meyer[7]; 3. 9R-Erik Robertson[3]; 4. C4-Ryan Corbett[5]; 5. 9-Steve Anderson[8]; 6. 45-Dustin Bluhm[6]; 7. (DNF) 47-Kreig Kasin[4]; 8. (DNF) 42-Matthew Jarvis[2]

Heat 3: 1. 2-Dave Mass[2]; 2. 71-Dustin Strand[6]; 3. 12S-Brad Seng[3]; 4. 10-Kevin Robertson[4]; 5. 18-Dustin Hapka[7]; 6. (DNF) 9A-Blake Anderson[1]; 7. (DNF) 84-Joshua Johnson[5]

WISSOTA Midwest Mods
A Feature: 1. 2G-Brock Gronwold[4]; 2. 87S-Reise Stenberg[2]; 3. 33-Jeff Nelson[1]; 4. 188-Hunter Hougard[3]; 5. 39-Jamie Dietzler[5]; 6. 5BA-Aaron Blacklance[8]; 7. 1S-Scott Bintz[6]; 8. (DNF) 32-Lindsey Hansen[7]

Heat 1: 1. 87S-Reise Stenberg[2]; 2. 39-Jamie Dietzler[3]; 3. 188-Hunter Hougard[4]; 4. 2G-Brock Gronwold[7]; 5. 33-Jeff Nelson[6]; 6. 1S-Scott Bintz[5]; 7. 32-Lindsey Hansen[1]; 8. 5BA-Aaron Blacklance[8]

IMCA Modifieds
A Feature: 1. 2A-Casey Arneson[9]; 2. 3S-Jesse Skalicky[4]; 3. 2*-Cole Babcock[1]; 4. 60-Tyler Hall[3]; 5. 30-Cole Neset[5]; 6. 96-Erv Grossman[7]; 7. (DNF) 84-Michael Johnson[6]; 8. (DNF) 40-Rob VanMil[2]; 9. (DNF) 57-Tom Cummings[8]

Heat 1: 1. 2*-Cole Babcock[3]; 2. 60-Tyler Hall[5]; 3. 40-Rob VanMil[4]; 4. 3S-Jesse Skalicky[6]; 5. 30-Cole Neset[9]; 6. 84-Michael Johnson[7]; 7. 96-Erv Grossman[2]; 8. 57-Tom Cummings[1]; 9. (DNF) 2A-Casey Arneson[8]

IMCA Stock Cars
A Feature: 1. 10R-Travis Robertson[2]; 2. 40-Rob VanMil[4]; 3. 11-Kalvin Kesselberg[3]; 4. 92-Dan Mackenthun[5]; 5. 38-Todd Heinrich[6]; 6. 4-Rick Schulz[7]; 7. 57K-Derrick Kronbach[8]; 8. 76Z-John Sandvig[1]

Heat 1: 1. 10R-Travis Robertson[4]; 2. 92-Dan Mackenthun[8]; 3. 76Z-John Sandvig[1]; 4. 40-Rob VanMil[7]; 5. 11-Kalvin Kesselberg[6]; 6. 38-Todd Heinrich[3]; 7. 4-Rick Schulz[5]; 8. 57K-Derrick Kronbach[2]

IMCA Northern SportMods
A Feature: 1. 3X-Andy Wagner[6]; 2. E6-Ryan Veralrud[1]; 3. 8J-Luke Johnson[9]; 4. 5-Scott Jacobson[8]; 5. 17-Rich Pavlicek[7]; 6. 15-Matthew Clark[2]; 7. 22-Vince Jegtvig[3]; 8. 40-Chris VanMil[13]; 9. 9-Torey Fischer[5]; 10. 12T-Brandon Tendeland[11]; 11. (DNF) 5F-Brandon Ferris[10]; 12. (DNF) 13C-Paul Colvin[12]; 13. (DNF) 69-Justin Jones[4]

Heat 1: 1. 9-Torey Fischer[4]; 2. 17-Rich Pavlicek[6]; 3. 15-Matthew Clark[2]; 4. 69-Justin Jones[3]; 5. 8J-Luke Johnson[7]; 6. 12T-Brandon Tendeland[1]; 7. 40-Chris VanMil[5]

Heat 2: 1. 22-Vince Jegtvig[2]; 2. 3X-Andy Wagner[4]; 3. E6-Ryan Veralrud[1]; 4. 5-Scott Jacobson[5]; 5. 5F-Brandon Ferris[6]; 6. 13C-Paul Colvin[3]

INEX Legends
A Feature: 1. 29-Ryan Braseth[2]; 2. 72-Tye Wilke[3]; 3. 34-Alex Kukowski[4]; 4. 14-Kody King[6]; 5. D1RT-Tony Brockhouse[9]; 6. B1-Brody Carlsrud[1]; 7. 2-Ashton Spieker[5]; 8. D11RT-Blaise Deckert[8]; 9. 19E-Elzetta Bitker[7]

Heat 1: 1. 29-Ryan Braseth[4]; 2. 72-Tye Wilke[6]; 3. B1-Brody Carlsrud[3]; 4. 34-Alex Kukowski[7]; 5. D1RT-Tony Brockhouse[9]; 6. 2-Ashton Spieker[2]; 7. 14-Kody King[5]; 8. 19E-Elzetta Bitker[1]; 9. D11RT-Blaise Deckert[8]

IMCA Hobby Stocks
A Feature: 1. 75C-Cory Probst[8]; 2. 27-Malik Sampson[9]; 3. 5G-Tim Gonska[7]; 4. 6-Scott Herron[6]; 5. 26-Ken Crane[2]; 6. B2-Brodee Eckerdt[12]; 7. 11-William Herron[14]; 8. 33-Shawn Niemeyer[13]; 9. 3XL-Brad Orvedal[5]; 10. 17-Nick Shumansky[11]; 11. 73-Todd Gettel[3]; 12. (DNF) 31X-Tim Shiek[4]; 13. (DNF) 54-Dylan Krueger[10]; 14. (DNF) 9-Skyla Miller[1]

Heat 1: 1. 27-Malik Sampson[7]; 2. 75C-Cory Probst[6]; 3. 26-Ken Crane[2]; 4. 6-Scott Herron[5]; 5. 73-Todd Gettel[3]; 6. 17-Nick Shumansky[1]; 7. 33-Shawn Niemeyer[4]

Heat 2: 1. 31X-Tim Shiek[3]; 2. 5G-Tim Gonska[5]; 3. 3XL-Brad Orvedal[4]; 4. 9-Skyla Miller[1]; 5. 54-Dylan Krueger[6]; 6. (DNF) B2-Brodee Eckerdt[2]

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