Moore, Bahr, LaBarge qualify for Race of Champions at Bemidji Speedway
BEMIDJI — With the feel of fall in the air and a cool crisp breeze out of the north Bemidji Speedway played host to the Wissota Race of Champions qualifier Sunday night.
Three champions were crowned and will represent Bemidji Speedway later this fall at the Race of Champions held in Huron, S.D. Representing the track in the Mod Fours will be Craig Moore while the Midwest Modifieds representative is Brandon Bahr and the Super Stock representative is Tristan LaBarge.
Coming up at the speedway next week will be another “Kids Night” with all kids 12 and under getting free admission. Many bikes will be given out and during intermission everyone can go onto track and meet the drivers. On Aut. 11 the track will have the “Relay for Life” night and the always popular “Kids Box Car” race.
Jenny Watrud picked up where she left off last week with a clean sweep, taking the heat race and the feature. Danny Brown, Andrew Hanson and Sue Berg finished behind her.
Bemidji Pure Stocks
Chad Puschinsky started in the second row and was third after the first lap with Josh Berg in the lead and Jessie Lutgen second. Berg slid high in turn two and dropped back into the pack and Lutgen’s racer sputtered and pulled off the track giving the lead to Puschinsky who raced away from the crowd to claim his third feature of the summer. Kevin Baumgarner was second with Weston Ramsrud, Josh Berg and Leahna Barrett in the top five.
Wissota Mod Fours
After a pair of re-starts Craig Moore, who had never won a Mod Four feature, raced high, found a groove that he liked and began his move. With just a couple of laps remaining he took the lead from Fran Hauber and claimed his first ever feature win and the right to represent Bemidji Speedway at the Race of Champions. Hauber finished second with Conrad Schwinn, Tonja Stranger and Mike Margl in the top five.
Late in the race and after a re-start Tristan LaBarge had a three-car length lead over Ricky Jacobson. Using every bit of the track to maintain his lead, racing high and into the corner and then darting low around the corner, LaBarge maintained his lead and became the qualifier for the Race of Champions race.
“It’s why I came over here,” said LaBarge, “We wanted to try and qualify for the Race of Champions.”
Jacobson finished second with Gary Nelson Jr., Blake Higginbotham and Nathan Higginbotham in the top five.
Brandon Bahr has had a great year at Bemidji Speedway and with each lap he worked closer to the leader.
Nosing inside on the back straight and keeping the gas on into the turn three corner Bahr eventually grabbed the lead and quickly pulled away before the caution flag was waved for Bret Schmidt who had gone over the top of turn four. Bahr controlled a couple of more restarts and won for the third time this summer, this time as the Race of Champions qualifier.
This article was written by Dennis Peterson, special to the Pioneer
Mini Stock Feature – Jenny Watrud, Danny Brown, Andrew Hanson, Sue Berg
Heat – J. Watrud, S. Berg, A. Hanson, D. Brown
Bemidji Pure Stock Feature – Chad Puschinsky, Kevin Baumgarner, Weston Ramsrud, Josh Berg, Leahna Barrett, Sterling Knaeble
Heat 1 – C. Puschinsky, K. Baumgarner, W. Ramsrud, J. Lutgen, J. Berg
Wissota Mod Four Feature – Craig Moore, Fran Hauber, Conrad Schwinn, Tonja Stranger, Mike Margl, Derek Vesledahl,
Heat 1 – D. Vesledahl, F. Hauber, C. Schwinn, M. Margl, T. Stranger
Wissota Super Stocks Feature – Tristan LaBarge, Ricky Jacobson, Gary Nelson Jr., Blake Higginbotham, Nathan Higginbotham, Keith Keena, Matt Sparby, Andy Davey
Heat 1 – A. Davey, T. LaBarge, G. Nelson Jr., R. Jacobson, N. Higginbotham
Heat 2 – M. Sparby, G. Lancaster, T. Hemphill, B. Higginbotham, K. Keena
Wissota Midwest Modified Feature – Brandon Bahr, Gary James Nelson, Bret Schmidt, Doyle Erickson, Dylan Miller, Skyler Smith, Ron Reed, Jerad Lene, Trent Dyrdahl, Matt Fullerton
Heat 1 – D. Erickson, B. Schmidt, T. Dyrdahl, M. Fullerton, J. Lene
Heat 2 – B. Bahr, D. Miller, G. J. Nelson, R. Reed, S. Smith