Bemidji Speedway features latest Kids Night, first-time winners
Bemidji Speedway was the place to be on Sunday with the track hosting Kids Night.
BEMIDJI -- Bemidji Speedway was the place to be on Sunday with the track hosting Kids Night.
Young racing fans received 68 school backpacks filled with school supplies, bicycles, scooters and other gifts, all of which were donated by the drivers and crews.
Eighty-seven cars were on hand and the grandstand was packed with excited fans on a picture-perfect night for racing.
As the season winds down -- with just two more sessions of regular races -- next week is another treat for kids as the track hosts “Box Car” night. Kids can create a cardboard race car and race down on the track. Racing begins at 5:30 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 21.
Wissota Pure Stock Feature
Bryan Karl and Billy Binkley led 17 cars onto the track. Binkley powered to the lead with Dusty Caspers, Karl, Kade Leeper and Hunter Weeks chasing him until the first of many cautions slowed the race for restarts. With the green flag once again waving, Caspers powered up on the inside and raced side-by-side with Binkley before another caution flag waved on the front straight. When the race went Green, Austin Carlson worked up from deep in the pack and into the top five. Carlson raced up on the high side while Caspers raced low, with Binkley in the middle. Carlson moved to the lead with Caspers close behind and another contender, Michael Roth, surging up from his sixth-row starting position. Roth and Leeper got around Caspers but could not catch Carlson, who picked up his fourth feature win of the season. Roth, Leeper, Caspers and Josh Bitker made up the top five.
Bemidji Mini Stocks Feature
A field of 14 Bemidji Mini Stocks were next on the track, led by front-row starters Preston Winter and Gordon Hunter. Winter grabbed the early lead with Hayden Engen, Shannon George, Hunter and Kalin Honer trailing. Following a caution, Winter pitted and Engen moved into the lead. Honer raced to the inside of turns one and two and into third place, and then proceeded up side-by-side with George and made the pass for second. Charging up fast from his fourth-row starting spot was Conrad Schwinn by using an inside line to make his advances. Following a caution for debris on track, it was a three-car fight to the finish with Engen, Honer and Schwinn. Coming out of turn four with the checkered flag waving, Honer raced up alongside Engen and edged him out at the finish line for the win. Engen was second with Conrad Schwinn, Cory Nelson and Ashton Schwinn in the top five.
Wissota Midwest Modified Feature
In a wild start, front-row starters Joey LaValley and Blake Higginbotham battled side-by-side for the lead with heavy action behind them. After a caution, LaValley and Higginbotham dueled for the lead with Higginbotham gaining the advantage. LaValley, Josh Beaulieu, Doyle Erickson and Jeff Reed were all in tight contention, but once again a violent crash coming out of turn four took out several cars including Higginbotham, Jason LaValley and Conner Drewry. Drewry was able to return from the pits but LaValley and Higginbotham were done for the night. The race went green once again with Joey LaValley now out front and Beaulieu in second. Erickson also pulled up, and it was a three-car race to the end with Erickson outlasting the others to pick up his third win of the season. Beaulieu was second with Joey LaValley, Brennan Schmidt and Reed in the top five.
Wissota Hornets Feature
Malakai Wilson was on the pole and Cejay LaValley outside for the start of the Wissota Hornet feature race. LaValley, impressive in recent weeks, powered to the lead with Megan Vernlund, Caylyn Binkley, Chad Reller and Ellen Lange in the top five after a lap. Travis Olafson raced up on the inside from his fourth-row starting position into third place with Carter Matthews following him into the top five. Binkley, searching for her first-ever feature win, raced inside on LaValley and grabbed the lead. Olafson followed her lead and took over second with Matthews again right behind. Most of the field raced bumper-to-bumper to the finish line, and Binkley claimed the victory. Olafson, Matthews, Lange and Vernlund finished in the top five.
Wissota Mod Four Feature
A small but fast field of Wissota Mod Fours drove onto the track with spouses Jenny and Skyler Smith in row one. Blake Erickson started right behind Jenny Smith and took the lead, with Skyler Smith taking second. Jenny Smith, Conrad Schwinn and Doyle Erickson were in the top five. On lap two, Skyler Smith drove past Erickson for the lead, and Doyle Erickson raced up into third behind his son Blake in second. It was a family affair on the track with the Smiths and Ericksons in the top four. Skyler Smith won the race, his sixth, with Blake and Doyle Erickson in second and third. Jenny Smith was fourth and Schwinn fifth.
Wissota Super Stock Feature
Ten Wissota Super Stocks entered the track with Nic Lewis on the pole and Fritz Myers to his right. It was a three-wide start with Myers, Lewis and Jack Koranda all vying for the lead, while Matt Sparby and Karter Reents dueled for fourth. Myers grabbed the lead in impressive fashion with Koranda and Sparby in the top three, followed by Reents and Dalton Carlson. Myers flew out to the large lead as the rookie Super Stock driver has impressed in recent weeks. Myers stayed in the fast lane and picked up his first feature win. Koranda, Sparby, Carlson and Reents finished in the top five.
Wissota Modified Feature
Brandon Bahr and Ron Reed led the 11-car field up front. The two raced side-by-side for the first lap and, after a caution, Reed pulled ahead. Bahr, Jeff Reed, Lance Schilling and Josh Beaulieu trailed. With Beaulieu racing high and Jeff Reed down low, Schilling raced up to challenge both before a caution flag was thrown for several cars sideways in the 1-2 turns. Once the race went green again, Ron Reed, Lance Schilling, Jeff Reed, Beaulieu and Bahr were in the top five. The race then went three-wide for the lead with Jeff Reed coming out on top. Beaulieu raced up and challenged Jeff Reed as the race heated up, and Beaulieu snuck inside and took control of the lead as Reed slid up high. Beaulieu won his third feature of the summer with Jeff Reed, Schilling, Bahr and Ron Reed in the top five.