Bemidji Speedway: Geesey, Higginbotham capture first feature wins
BEMIDJI -- Fun, exciting, thrilling are just a few adjectives describing Sunday night's races at Bemidji Speedway. Two first time winners, and three repeat winners highlighted the action on the track. There also was a clean sweep in the Mini Stocks by Jenny Watrud, Josh Berg won his second feature in two weeks in the Pure Stocks, Jess Geesey claimed his first ever win in the Wissota Mod Fours, Blake Higginbotham captured his first ever feature win in the Wissota Super Stocks and Bret Schmidt set the pace for the first of time this year in the Wissota Midwest Modifieds.
Sunday also was Kids' Night and that always is a highlight of the racing season at Bemidji Speedway. Drivers and the Red Lake police department officials donated 24 bikes during intermission. Officers Ron Leyba and Harlan Johnson from the Red Lake police were on hand to greet the kids and hand out the goodies.
With all the rain of the past week the track was in very poor condition Sunday morning but the track was ready by start time. Next Sunday will feature the second of the four race Bemidji Pure Stock Challenge events.
A three-wide race ensued when Jerry Esler, Mike Margl and Jess Geesey all battled for the lead position with Esler on the inside. Margl held them off for a time but on the next lap Geesey found room on the top charging hard down the back straight and into the lead. Esler was battling with Geesey for the lead but Esler was forced to pull into the infield with car trouble, returning the lead to Geesey. Geesey drove on to win his first ever feature win in the Wissota Mod four class. Conrad Schwinn, Margl, Fran Hauber and Tonja Stranger made the top five.
Following a spin on the first try at a start Blake Higginbotham took the lead with Gary James and Gary James Nelson close behind. Higginbotham pulled out to a five car length lead but Nelson slowly reeled the leader in until he was on his rear bumper. An excellent race developed between the two for the lead. Following a restart for a spin the green flag waved and Nelson drove into the infield with his car up in smoke. Again the restart was led by Higginbotham with Sparby chasing. The last lap of the race had the fans standing and cheering as the two raced side-by-side but Higginbotham held on to take the checkered flag for the first time ever in the super stock class.
Brett Schmidt raced low and into the lead followed by Skyler Smith from his third row start. Following a restart Schmidt with Smith maintained their positions. Another spin created another restart with Schmidt still in the lead and Smith,Alan Bohlman, Davet Mills and Brandon Bahr holding top five positions. Smith and Bohlman put on a show for the fans racing side-by-side for second late in the race. Smith held on to the position as Schmidt won his first of the summer. Smith, Bohlman, Bahr, and Mills placed in the top five ending a fantastic race for Schmidt who led the entire race.
Jenny Watrud took the lead with Becky Barrett racing into second, Sue Berg, Danny Brown and Mitch Uselman trailing. Brown raced inside to take third as Watrud completed the clean sweep after winning her heat race as well. For Watrud it was her third feature win. Barrett, Brown, Berg, Uselman and Nicole Feda finished behind her.
On lap two, the two front row racers flip flopped with Josy Berg eventually taking the lead. Berg held his lead and won his second feature win in two weeks. Kevin Baumgarner,
Bill Chaboyea, Chad Puschinsky and Al Sadek Sr. took top five honors.
Wissota Mod Four Feature — Jess Geesey, Conrad Schwinn, Mike Margl, Fran Hauber, Tonja Stranger, Dallas Buckholz, Josh Seeleye-Sautbine, Joey Brown, Chris Brown, Jerry Esler
Heat 1 — C. Schwinn, J. Geesey, M. Margl, D. Buckholz, J. Brown
Heat 2 — J. Esler, T.Stranger, F.Hauber, D. Larson, J. Seeleye-Sautbine
Wissota Super Stock Feature — Blake Higginbotham, Matt Sparby, Nathan Higginbotham, Keith Keena, Gary James Nelson, Gordie Lancaster (DQ)
Heat 1 — G J Nelson, B. Higginbotham, M. Sparby, N. Higginbotham, G. Lancaster.
Wissota Midwest Modified Feature — Brett Schmidt, Skyler Smith, Alan Bohlman, Brandon Bahr, Davey Mills, John Halvorson, Gary James Nelson, Don Platow, Matt Fullerton, Weston Ramsrud, Trent Dyrdahl, Rich Bohlman, Al Johnson, Jerad Lene, Steve Horgard, Adam Bohlman
Heat 1 — Davey Mills, J. Halvorson, W. Ramsrud, R. Bohlman, R. Dyrdahl
Heat 2 — G. J. Nelson, D.Platow, B. Bahr, S. Hougard, A. Johnson
Heat 3 — A. Bohlman, B. Schmidt, S. Smith, M. Fullerton, J. Lene
Mini Stock Feature — Jenny Watrud, Becky Barrett, Danny Brown, Sue Berg, Mitch Uselman, Nicole Feda
Heat 1 — J.Watrud, S. Berg, B. Barrett, M. Uselman, N. Feda
Pure Stock Feature — Josh Berg, Kevin Baumgarner, Bill Chaboyea, Chad Puschinsky, Al Sadek Jr., Harley Kroening, Al Sadek Sr., Brian Feda, Tyler Kroening
Heat 1 — K. Baumgarner, A. Sadek Sr., A. Sadek Jr., B. Chaboyea, J. Berg