Hot Sunday night at Bemidji Speedway
BEMIDJI - The temperature in the area has cooled but Sunday night at Bemidji Speedway the action was hotter than ever.
Clean sweeps by Jenny Watrud and Midwest Modified driver Gary James Nelson and numerous crashes which sent many drivers to the pits highlighted the night's racing.
Coming up at the speedway next Sunday is the Wissota "Race of Champions" qualifier. Winners earn the right to represent Bemidji Speedway later this fall at the Wissota Race of Champions held in Huron, S.D. That race will include qualifiers from tracks throughout the Midwest.
Watrud raced her Mini Stock into the lead in turn one and stayed there to claim her second Mini stock feature of the summer. For Watrud it was a clean sweep after also winning her heat race. Desmond Berndt, Sue Berg, Danny Brown and Rebecca Rogalski followed Watrud across the finish line.
The Pure Stock race was exciting from the initial green flag. Kevin Baumgarner took his outside pole position to the front. Following several cautions, including a wild four-wide battle for the lead which resulted in a spin and a caution, Baumgarner claimed his second feature in a row at the track. Baumgarner was followed across the finish line by Al Sadek Jr., Weston Ramsrud, Josh Berg and Sterling Knaeble.
When the green flag waved Conrad Schwinn, starting in the second row, blasted into the lead coming out of turn one. Mike Margl raced to the high side around both front row starters and took over the back-up position. Schwinn took the checkered flag with Margl, Craig Moore, Tonja Stranger, and Chris Brown in top five positions.
Dalton Carlson, Ricky Jacobson and newcomer to the class Rick Watson all made contact with the front wall early in the race and the crash forced Jacobson and Watson out of action before the race made a single lap. Carlson was able to keep his car on track with some right wheel damage.
Later in the Carlson moved up high and powered around the three-four corner into the lead. Carlson seemed to build confidence with each lap extending his lead slightly to the end. Carlson picked up his first feature win of the year at Bemidji Speedway. Blake Higginbotham, Keith Keena, Nathan Higginbotham, Rick Jacobson and Gary Nelson Jr. were top five finishers.
A major crash on the back straight involving multiple cars brought the red flag and track medical personnel were called to check on the drivers.
Racing down the back straight into a setting sun Alex Johnson's car stalled. Coming out of turn two and charging down the back straight, Ricky Jacobson didn't see Johnson's immobile car and slammed hard into him, careening into Davey Mills and Doyle Erickson's cars as well. All drivers were unhurt but the same could not be said of their cars. Johnson, Mills and Jacobson's cars were towed to the pits. Erickson was able to pit and return tailback.
The race was given the green flag once the track was cleared. Gary James Nelson took the lead and maintained it the rest of the way.
Mini Stock Feature - Jenny Watrud, Desmond Berndt, Sue Berg, Danny Brown, Rebecca Rogalski
Heat - J. Watrud, S. Berg, D. Brown, D. Berndt
Pure Stock Feature - Kevin Baumgarner, Al Sadek Jr., Weston Ramsrud, Josh Berg, Sterling Knaeble, Jessie Lutgen, Rick Fuentress, Leahna Barrett, Joel Harvey,
Heat 1 - A. Sadek Jr., K. Baumgarner, S. Knaeble, L. Barrett, R. Fuentress
Heat 2 - J. Lutgen, W. Ramsrud, J. Harvey, Jr.. Jones, J. Berg
Wissota Mod Four Feature - Conrad Schwinn, Mike Margl, Craig Moore, Tonja Stranger, Chris Brown
Heat 1 - M. Margl, C. Schwinn, C. Moore, T. Stranger, C. Dyrdahl, C. Brown
Wissota Super Stock Feature - Dalton Carlson, Blake Higginbotham, Keith Keena, Nathan Higginbotham, Rick Jacobson, Gary Nelson Jr., Rick Watson
Heat 1 - G. Nelson Jr., R. Jacobson, D. Carlson, B. Higginbotham, K. Keena, N. Higginbotham, R. Watson
Wissota Midwest Modified Feature - Gary James Nelson, Bret Schmidt, Brandon Bahr, Trent Dyrdahl, Skyler Smith, Matt Fullerton, Doyle Erickson, Jerad Lene, Rick Jacobson, Davey Mills, Alex Johnson, Ron Reed
Heat 1 - G. James Nelson, B. Schmidt, D. Erickson, B. Bahr, M. Fullerton
Heat 2 - S. Smith, T. Dyrdahl, D. Mills, R. Jacobson, J. Lene