Aug. 13—GRAND FORKS — The annual John Seitz Memorial Late Model Invitational is less than a month away.
It's the area's most prestigious late model race of the season. The three-day event ends with a 92-lap feature, with the winner taking home $9,200.
Dustin Strand, one of the area's top drivers, has been trying to win that event for years.
He earned some momentum for that event with his 20-lap feature win Friday night at River Cities Speedway.
"The Seitz race obviously is the big one," said Strand. "I've always wanted to win that one. We've been close quite a few times but we've always had some kind of issue. Hopefully, we can get the monkey off our back and be there for the end of that deal. But winning this race helps. If we can get a few wins here, it definitely helps your momentum."
Strand started in the second row and took the lead with 16 laps to go. He then had to hold off a strong charge from Jason Strand, who was looking for his second win of the season at The Bullring.
Strand held off Jason Strand by 0.939 seconds. Brody Troftgruben was third, followed by Lance Schill and Joey Pederson.
Dustin Strand's top lap time was 13.340 seconds.
"We've had some tough luck the last couple of weeks," said Strand. "So we were able to start in the second row. We've pretty much been starting ninth so to start up front played a big part. Like I always say, I'd rather be lucky than good."
In a rarity, only seven NOSA sprints showed up to race at RCS on Friday night, That's perhaps the lowest car count for sprints in years.
A big reason for the low car count likely was the fact that the Knoxville Nationals are underway in Knoxville, Iowa.
Mark Dobmeier is the only local driver that competed at the Nationals, but a number of NOSA regulars went to the famed half-mile track to watch the four-day event.
Austin Pierce captured the 25-lap feature, winning in dominating fashion.
Pierce started on the front row and led throughout. He beat Wade Nygaard to the flag stand by 4.251 seconds. Blake Egeland was third, followed by Shane Roemeling and Tom Egeland.
The track also hosted the Minn-Kota Lightning Sprint series.
In the 25-lap feature, Brent Sexton of Lakeside, Calif., passed Alex Truscinski on the white flag lap for the win. Sexton edged Truscinski by 0.273 seconds.
The California driver likes RCS.
"This track is phenomenal," said Sexton. "It's perfect for lightning sprints. We're not used to this type of clay, this type of thinking here... nothing."
His thinking on his white-flag pass for the win was simple.
"It was wreckers or checkers," he said. "I was going to do everything I could."
Julie Pederson rounded out the podium with a third-place finish.
Tucker Pederson won the 20-lap streets feature.
"It was good to get a win here; we've had a tough time here," said Pederson
Trey Hess finished second followed by Aaron Blacklance, Dan McNamee and John Halvorson.
Lance Schill captured another Midwest modified feature.
Nathan Raasakka finished second followed by Reise Stenberg.