Austin Arneson Becomes First Repeat Winner of the Sanders Mod Challenge
ADA, MN (August 18) – The inaugural Sanders Modified Tour commenced Thursday night at Norman County Raceway (NCR) with a record 46 IMCA Modifieds on hand. While the Sanders Modified Tour is still in its onset, the one-night Sanders Modified Challenge, which now apart of the four-night mod tour, has been the premier Modified event on the NCR schedule for the previous four years.
Before Thursday night, there had been no repeat winner of the Sanders Modified Challenge, but all that changed when Austin Arneson drove from third to the lead and picked up the win to back up his 2014 Sanders Mod Challenge title.
“This is huge. To have a race this big close to home in front of a lot of guys that watched me grow up racing here and in front of family and friends, it’s a really big deal,” said Arneson of nearby Fargo, ND. “I’m really excited to have won it a second time.”
After getting by his older brother Cale for second, Arneson used the high side to take the lead away from pole sitter Ryan Mikkelson on lap five.
“It just took patience right away. I knew the track was going to be racy all over,” continued Arneson. “The bottom was fast. The top was fast, but I prefer the top. I just had to hit my marks and we started picking up momentum and I got out front and stayed out front.”
Arneson went on the lead the final 20 laps of the A-main, but it didn’t come without its challenges. A few mid- to late-race cautions put IMCA newcomer, Tyler Peterson of Hickson, ND, right on Arneson’s rear bumper. Each restart Peterson would threaten to take the point, but over the course of a handful of laps, Arneson would prevail and regain his sizable lead.
Arneson took the checkers in his U Motors #10 machine by a margin of victory of over three seconds. Peterson came home as the runner-up, while B-main No. 1 winner Hunter Marriott wheeled his way through the field to round out the podium. Josh Eberhardt came home fourth with Justin Jones in fifth.
By winning both his heat and the feature, Arneson picked up the $250 clean sweep bonus. Johnny Corell took home the $100 Out-Pace Hard Charger award, while Tommy Lee was the $100 Performance Auto Tough Luck award recipient.
Friday night the tour heads 45 miles south to Red River Valley Speedway in West Fargo, ND for another $2,000-to-win event.
Feature – Austin Arneson, Tyler Peterson, Hunter Marriott, Josh Eberhardt, Justin Jones, John Corell, Michael Greseth, Michael Johnson, Ryan Mikkelson, Dev Malmlov, Rich Pavlicek, Tommy Lee, Bryce Borgen, Josh Rogotzke, Cody Erickson, Jerry Lamb, Myles Tomlinson, Jamie Trautner, Rusty Kollman, Cale Arneson, Josh Beaulieu, Cody Peterson, Tom Berry, Tom Silver, Billy Vogel
B-Main 1 – Marriott, Pavlicek, Rogotzke, Lamb, Corell, Tomlinson, Beaulieu, Dave Shipley, Tyler Hall, Troy Heupel, Michael Griffin, Dustin Wahl, Jamall Wold, Brennan Borg, Bryce Bjerke, Jordan Zillmer, Nick Curtis, Bryce Bjerken
B-Main 2 – Borgen, Malmlov, Eberhardt, Jones, Berry, Silver, C. Peterson, Tommy Lee, Rob VanMil, Darin Duffy, Greg Friestad, Mike Tomlinson, Jeff Odden, Lance Schilling, Tailin Tommerdahl, Tim Thomas, Mark Trautner, Owen Siebert
Heat 1 – C. Arneson, Vogel, Rogotzke, VanMil, Beaulieu, Thomas, Heupel, Lee
Heat 2 – T. Peterson, Kollman, C. Peterson, Lamb, Berry, Shipley, Friestad, Griffin, Siebert
Heat 3 – A. Arneson, Johnson, Marriott, Eberhardt, Tomlinson, Duffy, Bjerken, Tomlinson, Curtis
Heat 4 – Erickson, Mikkelson, Malmlov, Corell, Jones, Wahl, Borgen, Wold, Tommerdahl
Heat 5 – Greseth, J. Trautner, Pavlicek, Silver, Hall, M. Trautner, Borg, Odden, Zillmer