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Bemidji Speedway: Drivers qualify for Race of Champions

Gary Nelson Jr. (No. 74) tries to hold off Doyle Erickson (No. 99) and Brandon Bahr during Sunday's Midwest Modified feature. Dennis Peterson | Bemidji Pioneer

BEMIDJI - Bemidji Speedway hosted the Wissota Race of Champions qualifier Sunday with the winners punching tickets to the prestigious Wissota Race of Champions held later this fall at the South Dakota State Fair Speedway in Huron, South Dakota.

Track conditions were tremendous which ensured great racing.

Next Sunday the track will host "Rock Star Night" and the always popular kids "box car" races. Kids are encouraged to create, out of cardboard boxes, their favorite race car and bring it to the track.

Officials also announced that the A Modified Special which was postponed earlier this summer will be held Aug. 12 during the Boys and Girls Scout Night.

A small field of mini stocks were first on track led by Rick Watson and Cory Mueller. Watson took the lead and won the feature with a flag-to-flag victory. Mueller and Josh Berg trailed Watson.

Current point leader Bill Chaboyea raced into the lead. Bill Beaulieu moved up high on the track and passed Chad Puschinsky for third and a few laps later caught and passed Cory Peterson for second. Puschinsky took the inside line and also passed Peterson to take third. Chaboyea took the checkered flag and pulled into victory circle. Beaulieu, Puschinsky, Peterson and Brandon Smith made up the top five.

The first of the Wissota qualifier races was the Super Stocks and Brett Schmidt grabbed the lead from the outside position.

Schmidt maintained first place after a restart and Dalton Carlson held the second spot behind Schmidt who won his fourth feature of the summer in the super stock class along with the ticket to the Race of Champions. Carlson, Matt Sparby, Keith Keena, and Gary Nelson Jr. finished in top five spots.

Mike Margl and held it through a restart.

Late in the action the race was up for grabs with Margl holding the lead and being challenged by Nathan Higginbotham. With just a lap left Margl and Higginbotham raced in tight formation for the qualifying win. Margl punched his ticket when he crossed the finish line first. Higginbotham, Tonja Stranger, Conrad Schwinn and Craig Moore made up the top five finishers.

Doyle Erickson gradually was able to take the lead. A late caution slowed the race and brought the leader back to the pack but to no avail as Erickson held his lead position and won the feature and qualified for the ROC.

Skyler Smith, Brandon Bahr, Bret Schmidt and Gary Nelson Jr. came across the finish line behind Erickson.

Mini Stock Feature - Rick Watson, Cory Mueller, Josh Berg

Heat 1 - R. Watson, C. Mueller, J. Berg

Pure Stock Feature - Bill Chaboyea, Bill Beaulieu, Chad Puschinsky, Cory Peterson, Brandon Smith, Weston Ramsrud, John Kruschke

Heat 1 - B. Beaulieu, C. Puschinsky, B. Smith, C. Peterson, B. Chaboyea

Wissota Mod Four Feature - Mike Margl, Nathan Higginbotham, Tonja Stranger, Conrad Schwinn, Craig Moore

Heat 1 - C. Schwinn, N. Higginbotham, T. Stranger, M. Margl, C Moore

Wissota Super Stock Feature - Bret Schmidt, Dalton Carlson, Matt Sparby, Keith Keena, Gary Nelson Jr., Blake Higginbotham

Heat 1 - M. Sparby, D. Carlson, B. Schmidt, B. Higginbotham, K. Keena

Wissota Midwest Modified Feature - Doyle Erickson, Skyler Smith, Brandon Bahr, Bret Schmidt, Gary Nelson Jr., Chris Leek, Darrin Lawler, John Halverson, Al Johnson, Ron Reed

Heat 1 - J. Halverson, C. Leek, S. Smith, Al Johnson, D. Lawler

Heat 2 - D. Erickson, B. Bahr, B. Schmidt, Gary Nelson Jr., R. Reed