On Friday night, June the 17th, the NLRA will once again proudly co-headline one of the areas biggest racing spectacles, as the World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series makes its' first of two stops at the three-tenths mile oval on the Grand Forks County Fairgrounds. The NLRA will be making its' 26th appearance at the speedway since 1999, and will be making the first of five scheduled appearances at the speedway this season.
Zach Naastad, driver of the Q&Z Plumbing & Heating No. Z17, won the NLRA season opener at the Jamestown Speedway in Jamestown, ND Saturday night. Naastad became the 50th different driver to win an NLRA series feature, and is the second first time series winner in a row, as AJ Diemel won last September's 'Prelude to the Johnny' at the River Cities Speedway. Naastad's win didn't come easy, as he had to defend his lead on a number of restarts, and regain the lead on other restarts, as multiple caution periods, three of which were multi-car pileups, that plagued the main event.
Zach Naastad won the NLRA season opener at the Jamestown Speedway in Jamestown, ND Saturday night. Naastad lead 22 of the 25 laps, and fended off challenges by Shane Edginton and Cole Schill for his first career NLRA series victory. Naastad also had to defend his lead on a number of restarts, as five caution periods, three of which were multi-car pileups, plagued the main event. Schill and Edginton finished second and third respectively, while Dustin Strand began his title defense by finishing fourth ahead of Ryan Corbett who finished fifth in his series return. Naastad will be the series point leader heading into Friday nights' event at the River Cities Speedway in Grand Forks, ND. Mike Spieker photo.
On Saturday night, June the 11th, the NLRA storms into Jamestown to take on the quarter-mile bullring on the Stutzman County Fairgrounds for the 21st time in series history.
Two-time and defending series champion Dustin Strand, driver of the No. 71 Q&Z Plumbing & Heating Millenium, was the only driver to emerge from a late model in victory lane at the speedway last season. Strand won the NLRA series race on August 1st, and the Late Model portion of the Jamestown Stampede last September. Strand's NLRA win last August was his second at the Speedway, his first coming in August of 2012.
Bill Mooney, driver of the No. 2 Winnipeg Hearing Centres MasterSbilt, won his first race of the season last Friday night at the River Cities Speedway in Grand Forks. The win was his sixth in late model action at the speedway, as he fended off charges from two-time and defending NLRA series champion, and defending River Cities champion Dustin Strand, driver of the No. 71 Q&Z Plumbing & Heating Longhorn. Mooney became the fourth different winner in four nights in what is arguably the most competitive class at the three-tenths mile oval on the Grand Forks county Fairgrounds, that will host five NLRA series races this season. The first NLRA race at River Cities is two weeks from this Friday night when the World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series hits town for the first of two scheduled visits.
Brad Seng, driver of the No. 12S S&S Transport MB Custom, won his first race of the year at River Cities Speedway last Friday night. Mike Balcaen, winner at the Speedway two weeks prior crossed the line second in the No. 10 Enns Brothers Black Diamond, with Shane Edginton, driver of the No. 4 Performance Auto Victory rounding out the podium in third. Steffen Snare, driver of the No. 71 Todd's Electric Bloomquist finished fourth in his season debut, while two-time track champion Joey Pederson, driver of the No. 7P Dahlstrom Motors MB Custom rounded out the top five.
Mike Balcaen, driver of the No. 10 Enns Brothers Black Diamond, won his first feature at River Cities since 2014 last Friday night, rebounding from a DNF at the opener the week prior. Balcaen went on to finish second to Don Shaw at the season opener at the Viking Speedway last Saturday night.
Shane Edginton, driver of the No. 4 Performance Auto Victory, finished second at River Cities, with Bill Mooney, driver of the No. 2 Winnipeg Hearing Centres MasterSbilt rounding out the podium. Winners of seven of the last eight River Cities season points titles, Joey Pederson, driver of the Dahlstrom Motors No. 7P, and Brad Seng, driver of the S&S Transport No. 12S, guided their pair of MB Customs to top five finishes.
The River Cities Speedway roared to life in a big way Friday night. 16 late models began their 2016 campaigns at the River Cities Speedway test and tune night. As the night went on, the moisture under the track worked its way to the surface, creating very fast conditions, with the cushion ascending no further than the middle of the track for the duration of the night.
Brad Seng, driver of the No. 12S S&S Transport MB Custom, set a new track record for late models, with a time of 11.584 seconds. Seng then lowered that mark to 11.514 seconds, at just under 94 mph for an average speed.
The NLRA has released its' 2016 series schedule. The series 19th season features 19 rounds, starting on Saturday night, June the 11th at the Jamestown Speedway in Jamestown, ND. The schedule also includes the return to the Red River Valley Speedway in West Fargo, ND on Friday night, June the 24th, and a second appearance in West Fargo on Sunday night, July the 17th alongside the Northern Outlaw Sprint Association. This is the first time the Upper Midwest's two premier racing series have met on the same night, and at the same track (away from River Cities) since June 10th, 2007, when Jeremy Keller and Jason Linnell were winners at the Nodak Speedway, in Minot, ND. It's also the fourth time in the history of the two series that they'll share the same dirt, the other two occurrences happened at the Norman County Raceway in 1998, and again in 2001.
The off season may be in full swing around our neck of the woods, but that isn't stopping some drivers that we are familiar with to make the long trip to the USA Raceway in Tucson, Arizona for the 10th annual Wild West Shootout. Around fifty drivers from 19 states and 2 Canadian provinces are expected to compete during the series, which includes six races in nine nights, starting this Saturday, January the 9th. Some of the sports biggest names are expected to make the long tow to Arizona including Brandon Sheppard, Don O'Neal, Jimmy Owens, Billy Moyer, and WoO Champion Shane Clanton, just to name a few. The following is a roster of area drivers that are also expected to make the trek to the southwest.