Balcaen started on the outside of the front row in the No. 10 Eastern Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram Black Diamond, as he had former Wissota national champion Chad Becker lined up to his inside in the No. 12 Aberdeen Wings MB Custom.
The beginning of the race was marred with cautions, however, as the feature was slowed by multiple cautions periods before the halfway point.
Balcaen was the man to beat on each start and restart, as he was able to grip the middle of the speedway to keep Becker in arrears.
As it was in the first three heats races, it was all South Dakota behind Balcaen, as Becker and fellow Aberdeen native Josh Skorczewski, driver of the No. 2S Pro Ag Supply Rocket, duked it out for the runner up spot.
Behind them, Hecla, South Dakota Modified hot shoe Mike Stearns was running fourth in his NLRA debut behind the wheel of the No. 11 Nickeson Angus Ranch & Harvesting Rocket.
Once the race heated up, Cole Schill and Jeff Hapala in the No. 16S City Parcel Delivery MasterSbilt by JMR, challenged Stearns for fourth.
Mike Balcaen on his way to win number 26 of his NLRA career. Speedway Shots photo.
The battle between Schill and Stearns remained the best on the speedway through the midway point. The final caution of the race for Ellendale, North Dakota's Brandon Rekow with nine laps remaining of the scheduled 25 lapper, bunched up the field one last time.
Rekow, who was making his series debut in the Autumn Breeze Acres No. 69, became the newest member of a select club to race in an NLRA and NOSA Sprint race during their career, a list that includes the late Troy Olson, our 2006 NLRA co-champion, Ryan Flaten, Chuck Swenson, and series regulars Mike Balcaen, Donny Schatz, and Ryan Corbett, who was unable to start the feature in the No. C4 Nutrien Ag Solutions MasterSbilt.
Becker had closed in on Balcaen both before and after the final caution, as he showed his nose to Balcaen both on the inside and outside. Balcaen, however was able to fight him off each time to collect the win. Skorczewski snuck by Becker coming off of turn four on the final lap to steal second. Schill and Stearns rounded out the top five.
Defending series champ Dustin Strand came home sixth in the No. 71 Q&Z Plumbing & Heating Millenium SRT, with Brody Troftgruben scoring a seventh place run in the No. 14 Kaz Construction Rocket after starting 13th.
Jeff Hapala was eighth, with another Aberdeen traveler Curt Gelling ninth in the No. 18 S&S Auction Rocket. Shawn Meyer rounded out the top ten in the Southern Valley Cenex No. 18X.
Balcaen said post race about how track position was key for the race, saying, "we got really lucky to get it done in the heat race, and then we got the good draw and started up front. I didn't know if the inside or the outside would be quicker, but, we got the jump on him, and the car really left on re-starts really well."
He continued by saying how luck with the yellows also played a factor, "I knew it was latched up with rubber, I knew in the middle, but I wasn't sure how high, or how low, I was really just on every yellow trying to gauge where I thought I needed to run each time, but the car was really good, and we actually really got lucky with the yellows. Usually you don't want yellows, but, for me, just as we were coming up to lap, the yellow came out, so it worked out well."
Skorczewski, Becker, Stearns, and Balcaen were the heat winners. Jesse Teunis was the hard charger, as he moved the No. 70 Performance Auto MasterSbilt from 25th to 15th. 28 cars were in attendance in Jamestown. NLRA action continues next weekend with two shows. First at the River Cities Speedway on Friday night, July the 26th, then the following evening, a trip north to the Greenbush Race Park in Greenbush, MN.