Dakota Classic Modified Tour at Dacotah Speedway by Becca Rattei
The 26th Annual Dakota Classic Modified Tour visited the Dacotah Speedway on Thursday, July 9th. Records were broken as a tour high of 98 IMCA Modified and 37 IMCA Stock Car drivers from all over the U.S. and Canada checked in.
Two 12 lap IMCA Stock Car concies started the night after a brief intermission. Only the top six in each concy would transfer to the feature. In the first concy, Jordan Durward of Trenton, ND took the lead as pole sitter Kyler Jeffery had his hands full trying to hold off Eric Harpole for second. Jeffery and Harpole briefly raced side by side before Steve Kinle took it three wide. Jeffery shuffled into second to retake the position. Harpole's WISSOTA Street Stock lacked horsepower off the corners against the IMCA Stock Cars and he lost positions to Kinle, Beau Deschamp, Gary Goudy and Scott Gartner. Harpole finished one position shy of transferring to the feature. Jordan Durward led all 12 laps to win over Kyler Jeffery and Steve Kinle. Gary Goudy passed Beau Deschamp for fourth as Scott Gartner finished sixth in the final transfer position.
Matt Speckman and Blake Cole battled for the lead in concy number two. Speckman grabbed the lead while Adam Klocke passed Cole for second. Klocke quickly reeled in Speckman and challenged for the lead but Speckman started to pull away with five laps to go. Klocke settled for second as Chris Ellis held off Joren Boyce for third. Greg Wichman finished fifth and Andrew Altenburg finished six as Speckman went on to pick up the concy victory.
Six IMCA Modified concies were need to fill the 24 car field for the feature. Only the top two from each concy would transfer to the big show at the end of the night. Justin O'Brien of West Union, IA took the lead from pole sitter Jason Wolla in the first concy. As O'Brien pulled away from the field, Wolla was busy trying to hold off the IMCA Modified national points leader, Ricky Thorton Jr for second. They raced side by side for most of the concy but Wolla had better drive off the corner and completed the pass for second with three laps to go. O'Brien dominated the concy and led all 12 over Wolla, transferring both drivers to the feature.
Jeff Taylor cleared pole sitter Drew Christianson for the lead in the second IMCA Modified concy. Taylor pulled away as Christianson and Joey Galloway briefly raced side by side for second before Galloway took the position. Christianson rallied back to race side by side but began to fade as the laps wound down, losing third to Troy Heupel. Heupel quickly caught Galloway and they raced door to door for the final transfer position. As they crossed the Open Road Honda finish line, Joey Galloway just narrowly edged Troy Heupel for second as Jeff Taylor won in dominating fashion.
Mandan's Shawn Strand powered by pole sitter Jordan Huettl in the third IMCA Modified concy. Two cautions slowed the pace but on the final restart with two laps to go, Strand pulled away while Spencer Wilson and Josh Eberhardt of Jamestown battled for the final transfer spot. They raced side by side before Wilson completed the pass with one to go. Spencer Wilson held off Josh Eberhardt to transfer to the feature while Strand went on to win concy number three.
In the fourth IMCA Modified concy, Travis Hagen of Williston took the lead from pole sitter Adam Larson of Ankeny, IA. Larson, Ryan Mikkelson and Ethan Dotson battled for the final transfer position while Hagen pulled away. Larson cleared Mikkelson and Dotson for second but Mikkelson was all over Larson's rear bumper. Although Mikkelson had the faster car, he could not get by Larson who hung on to second place behind concy winner Travis Hagen.
Wayne Johnson and Rusty Kollman led the field to the green flag in the fifth IMCA Modified concy. The two drivers made contact in turn one and spun in front of the entire field. Johnson took his car to the pits while Kollman led the field to the restart. Rusty Corneliusen and Mike Jergens followed closely behind Kollman and briefly raced for second before Jergens took the position on lap four. Jergens challenged for the lead and they battled for the win, racing side by side for several laps. Jergens cleared Kollman for the lead but Kollman rallied back with three laps to go. Jergens led the final four laps and held off Kollman for the concy win.
In the final concy of the evening, Jason Czarapata of Pulaski, WI started on pole alongside Curt Lund of Redwood Falls, MN. Lund grabbed the lead from Czarapata on the start and the two drivers distanced themselves from the rest of the field. As the laps wound down, third place Travis Ulmer and fourth place Ben Seidler started to slowly close in on the leaders but were too far behind. Curt Lund led all 12 laps to win over Jason Czarapata. Dakota Classic Modified points leader Ricky Thorton Jr and Ryan Ruter, who both initially missed the feature, were the provisional points starters and would round out the 26 car feature.
Dalton Flory and Nathan Burke started on the front row of the IMCA Stock Car feature. Burke led lap one but over drove turns one and two, allowing Dalton Flory and Elijah Zevenbergen to slip by. Flory and Zevenbergen raced door to door for the lead before Zevenbergen took the position on lap five. A lap seven caution forced Flory to the pits and on the restart, Zevenbergen and Joe Flory battled for the lead. Joe Flory took the lead on lap eight, just before a lap 10 caution. On the restart, Zevenbergen battled hard and retook the lead on lap 13. On the final restart with 11 laps to go, Zevenbergen and Joe Flory pulled away from third place Andrew Altenburg and fourth place Scott Yale. However, Zevenbergen was in a league of his own as he pulled away and won over Joe Flory. Andrew Altenburg, who started last, finished third ahead of Scott Yale and Austin Daae.
After 12 IMCA Modified heat races and six concy races, the 26 car field was set. Only one driver would win the $2,100 feature prize. Jamestown's Jason Grimes started on the pole along side Manor, SK's Jett Big Eagle. Big Eagle grabbed the lead as Grimes, Kyle Brown and Lucas Schott raced three wide for second. Grimes held onto second and started closing in on the leader, Big Eagle. Dickinson's Mike Hansen passed Schott for fourth and quickly picked off Brown for third place. Hansen lurked behind the leaders as they raced side by side for the lead. Grimes took the lead on lap 11 as Big Eagle had his hands full with Hansen. Hansen completed the pass for second with 14 laps to, bringing Schott with him. With nine laps to go, Hansen dove low under Grimes and sliding up in front of him but Grimes did a cross over and they raced side by side for the lead. Hansen cleared Grimes for the lead but got loose in turn one, allowing Grimes to retake the lead. Lapped traffic hurt Hansen as Schott slipped by to take second with two laps to go. Jason Grimes went on to win his first career feature at the Dacotah Speedway. Lucas Schott of Chatfield, MN held off Mike Hansen for second. Jett Big Eagle faded to fourth while Jeff Taylor finished fifth.
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