Close finishes feature Speedway races Sunday
Bemidji Speedway got back to racing Sunday night after last week's rainout, and the fans saw good battles in six classes. Three-wide, four-wide and even five-wide racing in the various classes was not uncommon in some of the best action of the summer.
It was Beltrami County Humane Society night and fans who brought a pet item received a discounted ticket into the races. Next week the track will host a special night as three new members will be inducted into the Bemidji Speedway "Hall of Fame" during intermission.
The first feature of the night brought a small field of streets on track with Mike Kuhlman leading the way on the pole and Don Bowman to his right.
Kuhlman took the initial lead with Bowman, Dustin Puffe and Scotty Messner trailing. Lap two was owned by Messner as the Bemidji racer powered to the front and quickly pulled away for the win in dominating fashion.`
Tim Barrett led the mini stocks on track and took the lead into turn one over Neil Fleming, Billy Smith, Lahna Barrett and Joe Doti.
Smith raced low in the number three corner and passed Fleming for second and began a race-long chase to catch Barrett. Fleming raced high in the second corner and Lahna Barrett took over third.
Tim Barrett went on to win his first feature race trailed by Smith, Lahna Barrett, Fleming and Doti.
The Amsoil Dirt Track Series Wissota Mod Fours were next with Mike Margl on the pole and current Bemidji points Fran Hauber to his right.
Hauber powered into the lead going into turn one. Brandon Bahr followed in second with Brian Tehar, Scott Dyrdahl and Margl trailing.
Up front it was Hauber with a two car length lead over Bahr but Bahr was picking up ground and with the white flag coming out caught and passed Hauber on the back straight using an inside line around the three-four corner.
Bahr drove on to his second consecutive win with Hauber running a fine race to take second. Dyrdahl, Tehar, and Margl made up the top five.
Once again a fine turnout of Amsoil Dirt Track Series Wissota Midwest Modifieds had the crowd on the edge of their seats in anticipation for the feature race.
Jason Davis led the pack on the pole with Jerry Esler outside.
Esler raced to the lead followed by Bret Schmidt. Davis, Gary Nelson Jr. and Tim Carlson.
Nelson made the first move racing low in turn four and beating Davis out of the corner for third. Nelson advanced up to challenge the leaders making a three car race for the lead with Esler and Schmidt before a caution flag was waved for a spin by Davis in the 3-4 corner. Davis was sent tailback for the restart.
On the restart Schmidt raced up side by side with Esler but another caution again slowed the race and returned Schmidt to second with Brian LePier being sent tailback.
Racing resumed with Esler again battling with Schmidt for the lead in. Directly behind the dueling Esler and Schmidt another battle was brewing with Nelson, Doug Voss and Carlson who were also in a tight race for third.
Schmidt chased Esler around the track and finally running high on the track took the lead. Voss, Davey Mills and Carlson were running three wide for third when the caution flag once again waved slowing the action in turn four. Carlson was tagged to go tailback with Mills and Adam Johnson also pitting. Before racing could resume another spin sent Brandon Smith tailback.
The green flag finally got the race resumed with Schmidt out in front..
Schmidt pulled out to big lead over Esler as the race came to an end with Esler, Nelson, Voss, and LePier making the top five in an exciting action packed race.
Chris Molash and Matt Sparby led the Amsoil Dirt Track Series Wissota Super Stocks on track and into the first turn.
In a wild start, Molash, Sparby, Tyler Kintner, Andy Davey and Gary Nelson Jr. raced five wide through the first turns and into the back straight before Kintner took the lead by a slight margin. Next to him was Nelson running side by side with Davey hot on their bumpers looking for an opening.
Lap after lap the three raced door to door and nose to tail showing great skill and determination.
A caution in the three-four corner finally slowed the action and everyone took a breath for the restart.
The restart had Kintner in front followed by Nelson, Davey, Molash and Sparby. Sparby shot low into the first turn and passed Molash for fourth. But a lap later the caution flag waved for a crash on the front straight this time with Molash and Dale Lindell. Molash had to be towed to the pits but Lindell was able to continue the race.
The race was restarted and again Sparby dove low and passed everyone but Kintner only to slide high and drop back to third.
The action now shifted to the front where Kintner and Davey were locked in a battle for the lead. Kintner raced the high side with Davey inside, the two raced door to door before a right front tire issue forced Kintner to pit giving up his lead following a caution.
With the end of the race in sight Sparby gave a final shot charging low sliding high and dropping back to fifth. Davey took the checkered flag for his eighth win of the summer, fifth at Bemidji, followed by Nelson, Lindell, Lancaster, and Sparby.
Brandon Hilliard and Wade Schmidt led the final feature, the Pures on track. Racing side by side the opening lap Schmidt and Hilliard battled door to door before Schmidt took the lead followed by Hilliard, Bill Chaboyea, Matt Jerry and Dalton Carlson.
Point leader Chaboyea charged up inside to pass Hilliard for second and on the next lap passed Schmidt for the lead.
Jerry tried high and dropped to the tail of the field. Schmidt also slid up high and Hilliard retook his second position. Carlson raced low and passed Schmidt for third while Chaboyea built up a huge lead.
Carlson made one last move passing Hilliard late down the front straight to finish second behind Chaboyea. Hilliard was third with Schmidt and Dustin Puffe trailing.
Feature - Scotty Messner, Mike Kuhlman, Don Bowman, Dustin Puffe
Heat - Kuhlman, Messner, Bowman, Puffe
Feature - Tim Barrett, Billy Smith, Lahna Barrett, Neil Fleming, Joe Doti
Heat - T. Barrett, Smith, L. Barrett, Fleming, Doti
Feature - Brandon Bahr, Fran Hauber, Scott Dyrdahl, Brian Tehar, Mike Margl, Brandon Lindquist, Ev Barrett
Heat - Dyrdahl, Bahr, Hauber, Margl
Feature - Bret Schmidt, Jerry Esler, Gary Nelson Jr., Doug Voss, Brian LePier, Al Sadek, Jason Davis, Brandon Smith, Tim Carlson, Dustin Ness
Heat 1 - Davey Mills, Nelson, Sadek, Voss, C. Dudley
Heat 2 - Carlson, Esler, Davis, Ness, R. Schow
Heat 3 - Schmidt, LePier, Adam Johnson, B. Smith
Feature - Andy Davey, Gary Nelson, Dale Lindell, Gordie Lancaster, Matt Sparby, Tyler Kintner, Chris Molash, Jerry Davis
Heat - Davey, Nelson, Kintner, Sparby, Molash
Feature - Bill Chaboyea, Dalton Carlson, Brandon Hilliard, Wade Schmidt, Dustin Puffe, Corey Peterson, Matt Jerry, Sadie Neimela
Heat 1 - Carlson, Jerry, Hilliard, Chaboyea, Schmidt