N.D. native claims big check in sprints
By Scott A. Kolb
KASSON -- Sprint cars made their only appearance of the season at the Dodge County Speedway on Sunday night and the spoils of victory headed back to North Dakota.
Since this was the one shot for the summer in Sprints, the prize for the winner was a check for 1,400 dollars. A big, shiny trophy also went along with the hefty check.
Loren Langerud of Harwood, N.D., is the defending national champion and he lived up to the billing by taking the checkered flag. But it wasn't easy as Langerud had to fight off the challenges of runner-up Jimmy Kouba throughout the race.
The five-hour drive back to North Dakota was made much easier for the Langerud contingent with the new hardware and big payday. Yet, the race started out with a couple of cautions in the first three laps and it appeared Langerud might languish in a series of restarts.
"I don't like early cautions, because I'm not able to get a rhythm going," Langerud said of the slow start in the night's final race. "After the first two yellow flags, everything went pretty well."
Kouba took advantage of a good starting spot and held the lead throughout the early laps. Langerud started in the middle and had to work his way through a crowd of cars. But he caught Kouba down the stretch and withstood any late challenges.
"We were lucky to draw bad," Langerud said. "Had we started up front, then I might not have made it to the top. I was kind of running in a pack of cars and decided to make a move."
The other features were also tightly contested races that came down to a decisive move in the final few laps.
Jade Anderson of Owatonna, who is near the bottom in the season point totals for the class, won the Midwest Modified main event. Mark Teske of Spring Valley won the Super Stock feature, while Chris Klinger of Austin was the runner-up in that event.
After six years of racing at the Dodge County track, Jason Gabrielson of Austin finally won his first Street Stock feature last Sunday night. Gabrielson proved the long road to victory lane was worth the wait as he made back-to-back feature wins last night.
"I was just hoping that I wouldn't screw up on the last lap," Gabrielson said. "I waited a long time to get a feature win on this track and now, we've got two in a row. The car ran good and I've got no complaints. We've put in so many hours on the car and all that hard work is finally paying off."
The only distraction for Gabrielson on his way to the feature win was the rattling of his seatbelts. It seems Gabrielson is a bit absent-minded when it comes to tightening his seatbelts. Yet, the loose harness didn't affect his push to the finish line.
"Midway through the race the seatbelts started rattling and they were flopping against me," Gabrielson mused. "I always seem to forget to tighten them, they should put a post-it note on my car to remind me. It was a tight race for a while, but I managed to get some breathing room with about five laps left and finished it off."
Gabrielson won the mid-season points championship for the class in Friday's races at Chateau Raceway in Lansing and it appears that success is following him to Kasson. With the second feature win, he is edging closer to the top five in points at Dodge County.
The Open Modifieds had another tight race in the final regular class feature. Steve Wetzstein of West Concord won the Open Modified main event in the final laps.
Rain early on Sunday morning didn't affect the racing as the track conditions remained dry. This meant the nearly 2,000 fans on hand left with a taste of track dust in their mouths after another exciting night at the Dodge County Speedway.
DODGE COUNTY SPEEDWAY
First heat -- 1. Jim Gullickson, 2. Steve Goodenough, 3. Tom McElDowney. Second heat -- 1. Troy Voth, 2. Dan Gullickson, 3. Jeff Brauer. Feature -- 1. Jason Gabrielson, 2. Gullickson, 3. Brauer, 4. Greg Erickson, 5. Goodenough, 6. Steve Eischens, 7. Charles Nerland, 8. Troy Baker, 9. Scott Olson, 10. Andy Solumn.
First heat -- 1. Jesse Frericks, 2. Terry Timmerman, 3. Joe Wernecke. Second heat -- 1. Chad Herman, 2. Jade Anderson, 3. Ryan Weber. Third heat -- 1. Gary Nordine, 2. Nick Kramer, 3. Daryl Hainka. Feature -- 1. Anderson, 2. Frericks, 3. Kramer, 4. Nordine, 5. Herman, 6. Jeff Ringenberg, 7. Hainka, 8. Timmerman, 9. Jimmy Struckman, 10. Harland Morehart.
First heat -- 1. Dustin Nelson, 2. Mark Teske, 3. Jake Progones. Second heat -- 1. Nick Herrick, 2. Dave Solum, 3. Mark Oeltjenbruns. Feature -- 1. Teske, 2. Chris Klinger, 3. Herrick, 4. Bill Clemens, 5. Dan Nissalke, 6. Oeltjenbruns, 7. Kelly Anderson, 8. Nelson, 9. Dave Haberman, 10. Solum.
First heat -- 1. Tom Donlinger, 2. Brad Waits, 3. Bobby Sorensen. Second heat -- 1. Jay Ihrke, 2. Todd Klees, 3. Darwyn Karau. Third heat -- 1. Jason Sleigh, 2. Steve Wetzstein, 3. Mick Glynn. Feature -- 1. Wetzstein, 2. Donlinger, 3. Ron Schreiner, 4. Waits, 5. Glynn, 6. Ihrke, 7. Scharkey, 8. Don Brightbill, 9. Klees, 10. Bruce Angst.
First heat -- 1. Jimmy Kouba, 2. Joe Kouba, 3. Tony Hargrave. Second heat -- 1. Jerry Richert, Jr., 2. Ryan York, 3. Arlen Gilbertson. Third heat -- 1. Roger Rager, 2. Loren Langerud, 3. Bill Boles. Feature -- 1. Langerud, 2. J.Kouba, 3. Rager, 4. Richert, 5. Chuck Swenson, 6. Gilbertson, 7. John Nelson, 8. Joe Kouba, 9. Brent Geldner, 10. Boles.