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Speedway celebrates Independence Day with Rick Warriner Memorial Special

Warriner recently passed away, and family and friends created a special race night in his honor with increased purses in the Wissota Hornet, Wissota Midwest Modifieds and Wissota Modified classes.

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Haley Jones carries the American flag during a race to honor her grandfather Rick Warriner on Sunday, July 3, 2022, at Bemidji Speedway.
Lisa Rhen / Special to the Pioneer
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BEMIDJI – Bemidji Speedway celebrated the Independence Day holiday with the Red White & Boom Rick Warriner Memorial Special on Sunday, July 3. Warriner raced in the pure stocks and streets between 1982–1995 at Bemidji Speedway. He also won a couple of championships and worked at the track later in various capacities.

He recently passed away, and family and friends created a special race night in his honor with increased purses in the Wissota Hornet, Wissota Midwest Modifieds and Wissota Modified classes.

Also during intermission, the Michael Fullerton special was held. Fullerton is the son of modified driver Matt Fullerton and is a special needs young man who loves racing. Josh Berg created a special seat for Michael and put a helmet on his head, and off they went on the track with a full field of drivers in a special race just for Michael. It was close at the end, but Michael and Josh won and drove to victory lane to a cheering grandstand of fans and memories for Michael that will last a lifetime.

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Numerous drivers pose after the Michael Fullerton Race on Sunday, July 3, 2022, at Bemidji Speedway.
Lisa Rhen / Special to the Pioneer

The big winner on the night was Shane Sabraski, with clean sweeps in both the Wissota Superstocks and Modifieds. Also picking up feature wins were Conrad Schwinn in the Bemidji Mini Stocks, Justin Barsness in the Wissota Hornets, Dustin Puffe in the Wissota Pure Stocks, Blake Erickson in the Wissota Mod Fours and Jeff Reed in the Wissota Midwest Modifieds.

Action returns to the track at 5:30 on Sunday, July 10, with the “Young Guns Night,” where all drivers 18 and under will be introduced. The Northern Renegade Non-Winged Sprints will also join the action with the Modifieds getting the night off.

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Wissota Midwest Modified Feature

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Jeff Reed won the Midwest Modifieds on Sunday, July 3, 2022, at Bemidji Speedway.
Lisa Rhen / Special to the Pioneer

The Rick Warriner Memorial feature winner took home a $714 check. Starting up front were Jeff Reed and Gary James Nelson, with national point leader Jake Smith in row two.

Reed, Nelson and Smith blasted to the front of the 15-car field in side-by-side action. Reed took the lead, with Nelson climbing into second followed by Smith, Alan Olafson and Doyle Erickson.

Reed held off several challenges by Nelson and Smith and a restart to claim the prize in a tremendous action-packed race. Smith took home second, with Nelson third. Olafson and Brandon Bahr were top-five finishers.

Wissota Mod Four Feature

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Blake Erickson celebrates after winning the Mod Fours on Sunday, July 3, 2022, at Bemidji Speedway.
Lisa Rhen / Special to the Pioneer

The Wissota Mod Four feature was led on track by Nick McCann and Conrad Schwinn. McCann powered to the lead, with Skyler Smith following in the inside lane into second. Schwinn, Blake Erickson and Patrick Specht trailed.

A good race developed, with Smith and Schwinn side-by-side for second. McCann was steady out front, with Smith slowly catching the leader. In turn one, the two tangled and brought out the caution flag for a restart, sending Smith back.

The restart was held by McCann, but Erickson made the pass late in the race to claim his second feature win in a row. McCann was second with Schwinn, Specht and Pete Nelson trailing.

Wissota Modified Feature

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Modifieds winner Shane Sabraski poses with the checkered flag on Sunday, July 3, 2022, at Bemidji Speedway.
Lisa Rhen / Special to the Pioneer

The second of the Rick Warriner Memorial races was the Wissota Modifieds, with an 11-car field led by Jeff Reed and John Farrington in row one. Racing for a $1,014 purse, the action was furious from the start, with Reed and Farrington side-by-side for the opening lap.

Farrington slid up high in turn one and brought out the caution flag, sending him to the rear of the field. The restart was controlled by Reed, with Shane Sabraski, Weston Ramsrud, Josh Beaulieu and Ron Reed trailing.

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Ramsrud powered to the top and into the lead, with Sabraski following in second. Ramsrud slid up high in turn four and dropped back, with Sabraski grabbing the opportunity and the lead. Sabraski stayed out front to pick up the big check and the win. Beaulieu was second, followed by Reed, Farrington and Lance Schilling in fifth.

Wissota Hornet Feature

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Justin Barsness won the Hornets on Sunday, July 3, 2022, at Bemidji Speedway.
Lisa Rhen / Special to the Pioneer

The final Rick Warriner Memorial race was the Wissota Hornets, racing for a $314 payday. Justin Barsness was on the pole, with Carter Matthews to his right. After an opening-lap crash that sent Haley Jones flying over the top of turn two, she was not hurt, but she was knocked out of the race.

The race resumed, with Barsness taking the lead, followed by Matthews and Travis Olafson in door-to-door action. Olafson raced tight along the front wall and into second as Barsness took the checkered flag and the win.

Olafson, Matthews, Caylyn Binkley and Ellen Lange took top-five honors.

Wissota Pure Stock Feature

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Dustin Puffe won the Pure Stocks on Sunday, July 3, 2022, at Bemidji Speedway.
Lisa Rhen / Special to the Pioneer

The Wissota Pure stocks were on track next, with Landon Gross and Hunter Weeks in row one. The two raced side-by-side for lap one before a caution slowed the race for a restart.

On the restart, Weeks moved to the front, followed by Gross, Dustin Puffe, Josh Berg and Kade Leeper. Puffe found traction on the high side and raced into second, with Leeper following into third.

A caution slowed the race and sent Gross to the rear. The restart was the opportunity Puffe needed, and he raced on the high side into the lead. Berg moved up into third in the 3-4 corner and powered up into second on the next lap.

One more caution flag flew, but Puffe held the restart and took the feature win, his first of 2022. Berg, Austin Carlson, Deryk Weleski and Bryan Karl held top-five honors. 

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Bemidji Mini Stock Feature

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Conrad Schwinn won the Mini Stocks on Sunday, July 3, 2022, at Bemidji Speedway.
Lisa Rhen / Special to the Pioneer

Hayden Engen was on the pole for the Mini Stock feature, with Brandon Hunter outside in the 12-car field. Engen grabbed the lead, with Ashton Schwinn, Hunter, Conrad Schwinn and Cory Nelson in the top five.

A father-son duel developed when Conrad Schwinn raced up side-by-side with son Ashton for third. The senior Schwinn made the pass and moved up to challenge for the lead in a three-car battle with Engen and Hunter. Conrad Schwinn took the lead and raced to the checkered flag for the win.

Hunter was second, with Engen, Kalin Honer, and Nelson in the top five.

Wissota Super Stock Feature

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Shane Sabraski celebrates in victory lane after winning the Super Stocks on Sunday, July 3, 2022, at Bemidji Speedway.
Lisa Rhen / Special to the Pioneer

The final race of the action-packed night was the Wissota Super Stocks. Dalton Carlson and Matt Sparby led the field of supers to the green flag.

Carlson took the lead over Sparby, with Dexton Koch, Shane Sabraski and Jeffrey Frey trailing. Koch raced inside into second, passing Sparby. Sabraski moved down low in turn one and passed Sparby for third.

Koch then powered down the back straight and into the lead, with Sabraski chasing him into second. The field spread out around the 1/3-mile oval until Sabraski caught the leader Koch, and the race was on.

The two tremendous drivers battled door-to-door before Sabraski made the pass charging out of turn two and powered away to the victory. Koch, Carlson, Sparby and Frey held the top five spots. For Sabraski, it was his second clean sweep of the night.

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