Bemidji Speedway: Fans, racers raise money to fight cancer
BEMIDJI - Bemidji Speedway held its special "Relay for Life" event Sunday and the drivers, crews and fans raised $416 passing the helmet for the cause.
Greg Aos of Gonvick, who currently is fighting cancer, took a few laps on the track in Tim LaVoi's mini stock and received a standing ovation.
Next Sunday the track continues its special events as the speedway recognizes the legendary Gordie Lancaster for his 50 years of racing. All "former" racers who raced with Lancaster will be given free admission and will be recognized during intermission.
The races will start at 5 p.m.
Winning his heat race and giving his car over to cancer fighter Greg Aos to drive a few laps during intermission, LaVoi promptly drove to the front of the mini stock field and made it a clean sweep. Weston Ramsrud, Leahna Barrett, Josh Berg, and Becky Barrett finished in the top five.
Brandon Smith and Wade Schmidt raced bumper-to-bumper for most of the race with Smith holding the advantage out front. Chad Puschinsky raced up side-by-side with Schmidt making it a three-car battle for the lead. With the fans cheering the racers were given the white flag lap by flagman Dustin Puffe. Contact between Schmidt and Smith resulted in Smith sliding and losing ground giving the lead over to Schmidt who picked up his first feature win of the summer. Puschinsky took second with Bill Beaulieu, Joel Harvey and Smith trailing.
Lap after lap Bret Schmidt and Keith Keena battled with Schmidt going low and high looking for an opening and Keena staying in the fast lane. Each time Keena came into the straightaway with the lead.
Finally, on the last lap, Schmidt raced low and nosed ahead and made it stick taking the lead and picking up another feature win. Keena was a close second with Matt Sparby, Rick Jacobson and Gary Nelson Jr. trailing in the top five.
The Wissota Mod Fours entered the track next with Mike Margl on the pole and Conrad Schwinn to his right. Schwinn took the early lead and was pulling away from the field but a spin on the back straight slowed the race for a restart.
With the green flag once again waving Schwinn took the lead again and cruised to the victory with Nathan Higginbotham, John Halverson, Tonja Stranger and Billy Smith making the top five.
The racing was very tight everywhere on the track, so tight that a chain reaction crash occurred when a car checked up going into the first turn. The chain reaction forced multiple cars to slam into each other with Gary Nelson Jr. pushed up and over the first turn's high bank. Also damaged in the crash were Bret Schmidt, Brandon Bahr, and Christopher Leek. Nelson Jr. was towed to the pits, Schmidt also was out of the race.
When racing resumed a three-wide race for the lead developed and Erickson found the opening he needed to take the lead.
Erickson kept his lead and claimed his second feature of the summer. AdamGajeski, making his initial appearance at Bemidji in 2012, finished second with John Halverson, Skyler Smith and Al Johnson in the top five.
Mini Stock Feature - Tim LaVoi, Weston Ramsrud, Leahna Barrett, Josh Berg, Becky Barrett, Rick Watson, Cory Mueller
Heat 1 - T.LaVoi, R. Watson, W. Ramsrud, L. Barrett, J. Berg
Pure Stock Feature - Wade Schmidt, Chad Puschinsky, Bill Beaulieu, Joel Harvey, Brandon Bahr, Bill Chaboyea
Heat 1 - B.Chaboyea, J. Harvey, W. Schmidt, B. Smith, B.Beaulieu
Wissota Super Stock Feature - Bret Schmidt, Keith Keena, Matt Sparby, Rick Jacobson, Gary Nelson Jr., Dalton Carlson, Scott Messner
Heat 1 - S. Messner, B. Higginbotham, D. Carlson, K. Keena, M. Sparby
Wissota Mod Four Feature - Conrad Schwinn, Nathan Higginbotham, John Halverson, Tonja Stranger, Billy Smith, Craig Moore, Mike Margl
Heat 1 - J. Halverson, C. Schwinn, T. Stranger, M. Margl, N. Higginbotham
Wissota Midwest Modifieds Feature - Doyle Erickson, Adam Gajeski, John Halverson, Skyler Smith, Al Johnson, Brandon Bahr, Darrin Lawler, Chris Leek, Trent Dyrdahl, Mike Johnson
Heat 1 - A. GAjeski, J. Halverson, G. Nelson Jr., J. Lene, R. Reed
Heat 2 - B. Schmidt, S.Smith, D. Erickson, B. Bahr, C. Leek