Last season, Elk Mound, Wisconsin's AJ Diemel, became the fourth native of the dairy state to win the Prelude in its' five years history. Adam Hensel of Barron, John Kaanta of Elk Mound, and Pat Doar on New Richmond, were winners of the event in 2011, 2012, and 2013 respectively. Ricky Weiss became the first non-Wisconsinite to win the race in 2014.
Thursday night will also feature a points battle come down to the final race. For the fourth time in the past five seasons, the driver heading into the night second in the standings has a mathematical shot at winning the title.
It will also be the closest battle since 2012, when Brad Seng, driver of the No. 12S S&S Transport MB Custom, went into the Prelude carrying a 16 point disadvantage to then leader and defending champion Ricky Weiss.
Weiss had to run the B Main, and started at the back of the feature. Weiss lost the title when he rolled his No. 7 machine off of turn one that night.
This time Seng is the one carrying a 16 point advantage, this time over defending series champion Dustin Strand, driver of the No. 71 Generations Salon & Spa Millenium.
This is also the third time in the past five seasons that Strand and Seng will battle for the title on the final night. Strand held a 44 point edge over Seng heading into the Prelude in 2013, and a 32 point lead over Seng at the same point in 2015. Strand held on to win both championships.
Winner of the last two NLRA features, Don Shaw (42), former prelude winner John Kaanta (85), and Steffen Snare (71S) in close quarters action at last years' prelude. Mike Spieker photo.
Seng won the 2014 title just by showing up to the Prelude after a stellar season that saw Seng chalk up six wins, the same amount Strand currently sits at. Strand will have one last opportunity to tie the single season mark for wins in an NLRA season with seven, a mark set by the man for whom this week of racing is named, John Seitz. Seitz set the mark in 2004.
Strand also won his seventh feature of the season at River Cities last Friday night, and in doing so, wrapped up the track title. Mike Balcaen, driver of the No. 10 Enns Brothers Black Diamond, has three wins at River Cities this season, while Bill Mooney, driver of the No. 2 Emerson Duty Free MasterSbilt, has two. Tom Corcoran, driver of the No. T1 D&B Motors Rocket, Donny Schatz, driver of the No, 15 K3 Farms Rocket, Brad Seng, and Don Shaw, driver of the No. 42S Shaw Trucking Victory by Moyer, have one each.
Barring complete disasters by the remaining eight drivers in the top ten in series points, those drivers will likely remain in their current spots, and make the back of next years' NLRA T-shirt. Shane Edginton, driver of the No. 4 Schill Construction Victory by Moyer, is third, with five-time champion Mike Balcaen fourth, and Cole Schill, driver of the No. 44 Gateway Chevrolet MasterSbilt, rounding out the top five.
Steffen Snare, driver of the No. 71S JMS Motorsports Bloomquist, is sixth, with Jeff Hapala, driver of the No. 16S City Parcel Delivery Rocket, seventh, Tom Corcoran eighth, Ryan Corbett, driver of the No. C4 Jess Rice Crary Realty MasterSbilt, ninth, and Steve Anderson, driver of the No. 9 Jiffy Lube MB Custom, rounding out the top ten.
Racing is scheduled to start at seven on Thursday night. You can find out more about the River Cities Speedway in our Tracks section.
2016 - Mike Balcaen on June 17, Don Shaw on June 25; Dustin Strand on August 26
2015 - Joey Pederson on June 19; Bill Mooney on August 21; AJ Diemel on September 10
2014 - Mike Balcaen on June 20; Brad Seng on August 15; Donny Schatz on August 16; Ricky Weiss on Sept. 4
2013 - Joey Pederson in June 21; Donny Schatz on August 16; Pat Doar on September 5
2012 - Joey Pederson on August 17; John Kaanta on Sept. 6
2011 - Ricky Weiss on August 18; Adam Hensel on Sept. 8
2010 - Steve Anderson on June 19; Ricky Weiss on June 20
2009 - Brad Seng on June 19
2008 - Joey Pederson on June 13
2003 - Dave Zimmerman on August 8
2001 - Brad Seng on August 3
2000 - Mitch Johnson on May 31; Johnny Johnson on June 1; Mitch Johnson on August 18
1999 - Don Shaw on June 17; Joel Cryderman on August 19
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