ADA, MN (August 25) – Thursday night marked the final night of racing in 2016 at Norman County Raceway as a great crowd jammed the stands to watch 74 race teams battle it out on the high-banked 3/8th mile oval on season championship night.
The first feature to roll out on the track were the Pure Stocks. Paul Colvin jumped out to the early lead, but Ken Crane and Tim Shiek quickly made it a three wide race for the point on lap one. On lap two it became a two-car battle was Crane and Shiek raced door to door down the back stretch. Shiek cleared Crane for the lead entering turn three and drove away from the rest of the pack to take the win. Crane was crowned the track champion; his first-ever NCR title. Earlier in the night, Crane announced that it would be his last night behind the wheel of Pure Stock since he will not be making the transition over to an IMCA Hobby Stock next year at NCR. After taking the checkers, Crane gave the grandstands a big wave as the drove along the front stretch and the crowd answered back with a round of applause.
Justin Olson and Steve Hougard led the field of Northwest Truck & Trailer Midwest Modifieds to the green flag. Olson took the lead as Joe Thomas, Hougard, and Jeff Nelson ran three wide for second. The caution quickly came out on lap two for Dale Kraling, who had spun.
On the restart, Matt Schow moved into second and brought the #6D of Dylan Goplen along with him into third. With seven to go, Goplen moved to the inside of Schow for the runner-up spot and set his sights on the leader, Olson. Another caution erased the sizable advantage Olson had built up and put Goplen right on his rear bumper. Goplen was able to keep up with Olson’s pace on the restart and made the race winning pass coming out of turn two with two laps to go. Goplen picked up his second career win as Kraling rebounded to finish second with Schow in third. Aaron Blacklance was awarded the 2016 Midwest Modified track championship.
Things got really exciting in the late stages of the INEX Legends feature as Troy Hoff, Tim Brockhouse, and Steven Kuntz went three wide for the lead with four laps to go. Brockhouse, who started 10th on the field, won the battle and cruised to the feature win. Josh Julsrud came from ninth to steal second on the last lap over Steven Kuntz. Josh Julsrud picked up the track championship by 16 points over his father, Dean.
Nearly every night this season the TDS Trucking Street Stocks put on the best race of the night, but James Tandeski stunk up the show during the season finale. Tandeski of Christine, ND started on the pole and led all 14 laps, uncontested. The win for Tandeski broke a winless streak of nearly two years. His last win at NCR came on season championship night in 2014. Ryan Satter on the track title by just 10 points over Travis Robertson for his second consecutive NCR championship.
Following the Streets, the IMCA Sport Mods took to the track with Vince Jegtvig and Taylor Grove on the front row. The “One-Armed Bandit”, Grove, took the early lead in his #1RM machine but the hard charging Andy Wagner drove from fourth to lead lap one. After withstanding a minor threat from Matt Talley, Wagner built up a comfortable lead until the white flag flew. Seventh starting, Tyler McDougall, had reeled in the Ada, MN driver on the 14th and final circuit and had pulled even with him in turns three and four. It came down to a drag race off of turn four, which was won by Wagner by about two feet at the Frandsen Bank & Trust flagstand. Jesse Skalick finished third and picked up his first career IMCA Sport Mod track championship. Talley and Grove rounded out the top five.
Twenty IMCA Modifieds rocked NCR with the final main event of the season. Jamie Trautner and Dustin Wahl paced the field to the green flag. Immediately a three wide race for the point broke out between Trautner, Rich Pavlicek and Tyler Hall, but Traunter was able to come around to lead lap one. Pavlicek stole the top spot on lap two, however, as Billy Vogel drove into second. Vogel wasn’t done yet as he wheeled his way pasted Pavlicek for the lead on lap four. At the midpoint of the race, it looked as though Vogel was going to pick up his first NCR win, but the fast guys were still coming up through the running order. With five to go 11th starter Tyler Peterson and 12th starter Austin Arneson broke into the top three, with Peterson taking the lead with four to go. Arneson quickly followed into second and tried to track down the #1TPO, but Peterson was too quick and went on to take his second Christian Brothers Ford IMCA Modified feature win. Arneson, Vogel, Pavlicek, and Josh Beaulieu rounded out the top five. Michael Greseth put on a show in his drive from 19th to sixth. Michael Johnson took the track championship; his second title in three years.