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Dennis Peterson | Special to the Pioneer Tommy Sabraski (top), Tonja Stranger (97) and Chad Funt (21) are locked in a close race during Sunday's Mod Four feature at Bemidji Speedway.

National points leader Zieske shines at Bemidji Speedway

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sports Bemidji,Minnesota 56619
National points leader Zieske shines at Bemidji Speedway
Bemidji Minnesota P.O. Box 455 56619

BEMIDJI -- The Fourth of July celebration in the Bemidji area ended on Sunday with the traditional parade through the middle of town and races at Bemidji Speedway.


A great crowd enjoyed very competitive racing on the high-banked quarter-mile oval. National point leader Dustin Zieske in the Wissota Mod Fours was on hand, and three new winners found themselves in Victory Lane.


Newcomer Dezmond Berndt of Pillager used his outside front row starting position to take the lead and hold off Danny Brown to pick up the win. Jenny Watrud, Sue Berg and Joey Brown made up the top five.


All eyes were on national point leader Zieske in row three and local track leader Conrad Schwinn, who has been -- undefeated -- at Bemidji in 2013, in row two.

With the green flag waving down the front straight, the mob of mod fours flew and into the air went Jess Geesey, landing sideways and sending the caution flag into the air for a restart.

Another restart was needed late for a spin sending the race to a green-white-checkered finish. Zieske held his control of the race and took the checkered flag for the win. Chad Funt, Schwinn, Tonja Stranger and Mike Margl took the next four spots.

Zieske admitted following the race he had lost his brakes in the heat race and raced the feature without them, "I just tried to get out front and see what would happen," he said. His plan seemed to work quite well.


The Wissota Midwest Modifieds were led on track for the feature by Darrin Lawler and Matt Fullerton. After one lap it was Lawler in the lead followed by Fullerton, Brandon Bahr, Doyle Erickson and Matt Schow. Bahr quickly made a move charging high around Fullerton for second and proceeded up even with Lawler in the lead in turn four. Lawler held off the challenge. A lap later it was Bahr again on the gas charging along the grandstand straightaway around Lawler to take the lead. Erickson and Schow were in a side by side duel for fourth with Erickson taking the position before the first caution waved for action in turn four. Gary James Nelson was sent tailback. On the restart Schow was shuffled back into the pack while Ricky Jacobson raced up into fourth from a fourth row start using the high side. Lawler spun around in turn two and amazingly the entire field of mods avoided near disaster but bringing out the caution and sending Lawler tailback for a late restart. The restart was led by Bahr with Fullerton, Erickson, Jacobson and Skyler Smith in the top five. Erickson got by Fullerton for second with Smith following into third on the high side.

Brandon Bahr picked up his second feature win of the summer with Doyle Erickson on his bumper. Skyler Smith, Matt Fullerton and Ricky Jacobson rounded out the top five in a very entertaining race.


Following a series of misfires in the Wissota Super Stock feature the race sending front row starters backwards and three cars pitting the race went green with Gary Nelson Jr taking the lead over Dalton Carlson, Tyler Kintner, and Derek Vesel. A quick caution waved again for a spin sending Nathan Higginbotham tailback. The restart had Nelson Jr leading over, Carlson, Kintner, Vesel and Ricky Jacobson in top five positions. Carlson found himself slipping back as Kintner, Vesel and Jacobson all got around him and then the caution flag waved for Carlson who had gone over the top of turn three. The restart found Nelson Jr, Kintner, Jacobson, Vesel and Matt Sparby in the lead positions. Kintner was challenged by Jacobson for second racing door to door as Vesel also got into the mix in great fast action. Kintner slid up high in the 3-4 corner and dropped back to fifth behind Tristan Labarge now is fourth. Another late spin created a restart of leader Nelson Jr, Jacobson, Vesel, Labarge and Kintner. The green flag waved and even though the action was furious no positions changed.

Gary Nelson Jr. picked up the feature win, followed by Rick Jacobson, Derek Vesel, Tristan Labarge and Tyler Kintner.


Kevin Baumgarner picked up his first feature win after several restarts. Bill Chaboyea finished second, followed by Weston Ramsrud, Leahna Barrett and Josh Berg.

Mini Stocks

Feature - Dezmond Berndt, Danny Brown, Jenny Watrud, Sue Berg, Joey Brown

Heat - D. Berndt, D. Brown, J. Brown, S. Berg, J. Watrud

Wissota Mod Fours

Feature - Dustin Zieske, Chad Funt, Conrad Schwinn, Tonja Stranger, Mike Margl, Scott Dyrdahl, Craig Moore, Jess Geesey, Tom Sabraski, Chris Brown

Heat 1 - T. Sabraski, C. Schwinn, S. Dyrdahl, D. Zieske, C. Brown

Heat 2 - C. Funt, C. Moore, T. Stranger, J. Geesey, M. Margl

Wissota Midwest Modifieds

Feature - Brandon Bahr, Doyle Erickson, Skyler Smith, Matt Fullerton, Rick Jacobson, Trent Dyrdahl, Dylan Miller, Gary James Nelson, Ron Reed, Darrin Lawler, Alex Johnson, Matt Schow

Heat 1 - M. Schow, B. Bahr, D. Lawler, M. Fullerton, G. J. Nelson

Heat 2 - D. Erickson, R. Jacobson, D. Miller, T. Dyrdahl, R. Reed

Wissota Super Stocks

Feature - Gary Nelson Jr., Rick Jacobson, Derek Vesel, Tristan Labarge, Tyler Kintner, Matt Sparby, Trever Arens, Dalton Carlson, Keith Keena, Nathan Higginbotham, James Trantina lll, Blake Higginbotham, Kyle Oman

Heat 1 - N. Higginbotham, G. Nelson Jr., K. Oman, D. Carlson, B. Higginbotham,

Heat 2 - T. Kintner, D. Vesel, A. Labarge, J. Trantina lll, M. Sparby

Bemidji Pure Stocks

Feature - Kevin Baumgarner, Bill Chaboyea, Weston Ramsrud, Leahna Barrett, Josh Berg, Rick Fuentress, Sterling Knaeble, Jessie Lutgen, Jay Lutgen

Heat 1 - B. Chaboyea, K. Baumgarner, L. Barrett, J. Lutgen, J. Lutgen

Heat 2 - J. Berg, S. Knaeble, W. Ramsrud, R. Fuentress