BEMIDJI - Since September of last year, following the last race of the Stampede, drivers and fans have been waiting. After months of planning, building, and prepping for the 2016 racing season, the time had finally come - “race day.”

Bemidji Speedway opened it gates and they came, in record numbers. 141 cars filled the pits, the grandstands were filled near capacity with anxious fans and kids looking for their favorite drivers.

Track conditions were fantastic for the opener, smooth and fast and some of the best drivers from around the northland were on hand to try and win the right to enter Victory Lane on day 1 of the two-day Memorial Weekend special.

Racing continued on Memorial Day Monday afternoon. Next Sunday, races start at 5 p.m.

Mini Stock Feature

17 mini stocks rolled on track for the first feature of the night. Tim LaVoi charged up from his fourth row starting position to the lead and pick up the first feature win of the night. Zach Jackson finished second with James Koseathal third.

Outlaw Mini Mods Feature

Nine Outlaw Mini Mods drove on track led by Taton Hansen on the inside and Tyler Kaeter to his right.

Kaeter powered to the lead chased by Hansen and Kelly Steele with Allen Foster and Tyler Jonson in the top five. But it was Kaeter’s show as the past national champion took the checkered flag for the feature win. Steele raced into second with Hansen, Jonson and Foster in the top five.

Northern Vintage Racers Features

The Northern Vintage Racers from around the state brought in two classes of cars with Full Bodies running first. Paul Dolphy raced up from his second row start to take feature No. 1.

In the Super Modifieds, it was Dennis Olson from Braham, Minn. taking the feature.

Wissota Street Feature

The first of the Wissota classes, the Streets, were on track next led by Richard Jacobson and Chad Ramsrud in row one. Jacobson grabbed the lead with Lance Emenga pulling into second trailed by Ramsrud, Dustin Puffe and Brandon Fah. The two leaders fought bumper to bumper for most of the race while Ramsrud, Puffe and Fah had a fantastic race for third with each taking the position at a time before Fah finally took control of the spot. 

The race was won by Jacobson but was later DQ’d giving the feature over to Emenga. Fah finished second, Ramsrud third and Puffe fourth.

Wissota Mod Four Feature

The Wissota Mod Fours were up next with the No. 02 car of Laramie Peiker on the pole and Conrad Schwinn to his right. Peiker spun on the initial start and was sent tailback.

When the green flag waved, it was Schwinn in control with Jerry Esler pulling into second followed by DJ Blanchard, Chad Funt, and Dean Larson. Schwinn pulled out to a sizeable lead early as Esler tried to make up ground.

As the leaders began to lap the slower traffic, Esler was able to catch Schwinn but ran out of laps as Schwinn took the first Mod Four feature of 2016. Esler was a strong second with Funt, Larson, and Blanchard in the top five.

Wissota Pure Stock Feature

Sixteen Wissota Pures entered the track led by Taylor Heinle on the pole and Sterling Knaeble to the outside.

Knaeble took the lead with Josh Berg racing up into second followed by Mike Blevins, Kevin Baumgarner and Chad Puschinsky. Blevins drove high and around Berg for second but Berg came back on the inside and a door to door duel developed for several laps between the two fine racers.

While Berg and Blevins dueled it out, Baumgarner took the advantage to race into second.

Following a caution, Blevins pitted. With the green flag once again waving, Baumgarner was having issues with his racer and dropped back several positions.

Knaeble stayed on the gas to pick up the feature win. He was trailed by Berg, Puschinsky, Austin Carlson, and Wade Mickelson.

Wissota Midwest Modified Feature

The largest class of the night was the Midwest Modifieds with 34 cars.

The field for the feature was cut to 24 qualifiers led by Tim Jackson on the pole and Weston Ramsrud to his right.

Jackson outraced Ramsrud to the green and took the lead with Matt Schow pulling up into second followed by Ramsrud, Brandon Bahr and Doyle Erickson.

Erickson made the first move down low to take fourth with a six-car pack forming behind Erickson. Erickson’s hold on fourth didn’t last long as Skyler Smith grabbed the position from his fourth row starting spot.

Track conditions were extremely fast as the laps ticked off before the first caution of the race slowed the action.

When racing resumed, it was Jackson holding the lead with Schow, Ramsrud, Smith and Erickson in the top five. Schow powered up side by side with Jackson for the lead.

With the white flag waving by new flagman Jerry Davis, the No. 2 Bmod of Matt Schow looked inside and grabbed the lead and flashed by the waving checkered flag for the win by a nose, a great race. Jackson finished second with Ramsrud, Bret Schmidt and Smith trailing in order.

Wissota Super Stocks Feature

The Wissota Super Stocks rolled on track next led by Al Sadek Jr. and James Trautina III.

Trautina took the outside start to the lead with Sadek Jr., Tim Carlson, Mike Vajdl and Matt Sparby trailing. Sadek Jr. dropped back, moving Carlson into second and Sparby third but a spin later by Sparby dropped him to the tail of the field and moving Destin Kock into third ahead of Vajdl and Nathan Higginbotham.

Kock raced up door to door with the leader but Trautina powered back to a two-car length lead.

Following another caution, it was Sparby charging back from tailback to get back into contention racing into third. But it was as far as he would get, running out of time as Trautina took the checkered flag over Kock who finished a strong second. Sparby finished third with Carlson and Vajdl in the top five.

Wissota A Modified Feature

The final race of the night featured the Wissota Modifieds who were led on track by pole sitter Don Platow.

Bob Broking was on the outside for the start. It was Broking who took the lead at the green followed by Shane Sabraski, Denis Czech, Ken Hron, and Johnny Broking.

Broking and Sabraski quickly put some distance between themselves and the field to race for the lead. Sabraski pulled up on the tail of Broking but the first caution of the race slowed his advance.

With the restart green waving, Sabraski charged hard into the one/two corner and into the lead over Broking.

Sabraski powered to a small lead before another caution slowed the field sending Hron to the tail position.

Again the restart was held by Sabraski while Tim Jackson powered up from his fifth position around Johnny Broking.

Sabraski picked up the win with Bob Broking, Denis Czech, Tim Jackson and Johnny Broking in the top five, ending a fantastic night of racing on Bemidji Speedway’s opening night.

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SUMMARY

Wissota Pure Stock Feature

Sterling Knaeble, Josh Berg, Chad Puschinsky, Austin Carlson, Wade Mickelson, Tyler Kroening, Taylor Heinle, Travis Olafson, Kade Leeper, Dave Kurtz, Dustin Behrends, Jamie Chlebecek, Kevin Baumgarner, Mike Blevins, Kory Gunderson, Reid Watson

Heat 1

S. Knaeble, M. Blevins, T. Heinle, T. Olafson, J. Chlebecek

Heat 2

J. Berg, K. Baumgarner, C. Puschinsky, W. Mickelson, K. Leeper,

Heat 3

T. Kroening, A. Carlson, D. Kurtz, J. Geschwill, D. Behrends

Wissota Mod Four Feature

Conrad Schwinn, Jerry Esler, Chad Funt, Dean Larson, DJ Blanchard, Tyler Larson, Laramie Peiker, Lukas Klostermeier, Josh Seeleye-Sautbine, Chris Dyrdahl, Scott Dyrdahl, Larry Harp, Tonja Stranger, Jeremy Haines, Nicole Feda, Mike Margl, Mike Hart

Heat 1

C. Schwinn, L. Peiker, T. Larson, DJ Blanchard, J. Seeleye-Sautbine,

Heat 2

C. Funt, J. Esler, D. Larson, T. Stranger, M. Hart

Wissota Street Stock Feature

Lance Emenga, Brandon Fah, Chad Ramsrud, Dustin Puffe, Richard Jacobson

Heat 1

L. Emenga, R. Jacobson, C. Ramsrud, B. Fah, D. Puffe

Wissota Midwest Modified Feature

Matt Schow, Tim Jackson, Weston Ramsrud, Bret Schmidt, Skyler Smith, James Trautina lll, Brandon Bahr, Aaron Blacklance, Blake Higginbotham, Bill Yonke, Ron Reed, Willy Thompson, Jeff Nelson, Al Johnson, Alex O’dell, Marcus Dunbar, Dean Eggebraaten, Bohlman, Tyler Kaetor, Darrin Lawler, Kevin Feda, Doyle Erickson, Trent Dyrdahl, Darren Zorich

Heat 1

W. Ramsrud, S. Smith, A. Johnson, J. Nelson, Bohlman

Heat 2

B. Bahr, A. Blacklance, R. Reed, B. Higginbotham, A. O’Dell

Heat 3

D. Erickson, J. Trautina, T. Ketner, D. Lawler, R.Bohlman

Heat 4

T. Jackson, B. Schmidt, D.Eggebraaten, K. Feda, M. Fullerton

Heat 5

M. Schow, J. Nelson, B. Yonke, W. Thompson, A. Johnson

Wissota Super Stock Feature

James Trautina lll, Destin Kock, Matt Sparby, Tim Carlson, Mike Vajdl, Brandon Bahr, Dalton Carlson, Al Sadek Jr, Keith Keena, Kevin Baumgarner, Gordie Lancaster, Josh Behrends, Harley Kroening, Nathan Higginbotham

Heat 1

D. Carlson, D. Kock, K. Baumgarner, T. Carlson, N. Higginbotham,

Heat 2

J. Trautina lll, A. Sadek Jr, M. Sparby, M. Vajdl, H. Kroening

Wissota A Modified Feature

Shane Sabraski, Bob Broking, Denis Czech, Tim Jackson, Johnny Broking, Ken Hron, Ken Mostoller, Nathan Higginbotham, Doug VanMill, Nathan Sletto, Tyler Jonson, Don Platow, Ron Reed

Heat 1

D. Czech, B. Broking, S. Sabraski, K. Hron, N. Higginbotham

Heat 2

J. Broking, T. Jackson, D. Platow, T. Jonson, D. VanMill

Wissota Midwest Modified B Main

A. O’Dell, Bohlman, M. Dunbar, D. Zorich, T. Kaetor, A. Bohlman, A. Johnson, C. Miller, M. Baker, Ketner, R. Bohlman, M. Sparby, M. Fullerton, A. Nelson