It was another exciting John Seitz Memorial at the River Cities Speedway in Grand Forks, with Jake Redetzke winning the 'Prelude to the Johnny' on Thursday night, while Brad Seng captured his fourth NLRA championship, and the pole for the 92-lap finale on Saturday night by winning Friday's 'Go Hard Or Go Home' Pole Dash. But is was Estevan, Saskatchewan's Aaron Turnbull that came away as the weekend's big winner, by scoring his first John Seitz Memorial victory.
Redetzke Wins The Battle; Seng Wins The War
The 13th Annual John Seitz Memorial triple header kicked off with the 'Prelude to the Johnny,' as the top three in the series standings came into the evening separated by just 66 points.
Brad Seng came into the evening with the advatage, as he had the No. 12S S&S Transport MB Custom on top of the standings, with a thirty point lead over Shane Edginton, and his No. 4 Performance Auto Victory.
Both drivers, along with third place in the standings, defending champion Dustin Strand, drew sixth or worse for their heat races.
Strand improved to third from sixth in his heat, Seng finishing fourth from eighth in his heat.
It was Edginton, however, that put the road to the championship in his hands, with an incredible comeback in his heat.
Edginton, who started ninth, took the lead from veteran Dairy Stater Pat Doar in the waning laps to score a heat win. The subsequent redraw placed him on the outside of the front row in the main event.
Fellow Winnipeg native Mike Balcaen lined the No. 10 Enns Brothers Black Diamond to Edginton's inside at the start of the main event, as Seng lined up fifteenth.
Edginton led the first four trips around the 'Bullring,' before the event's only caution on the fifth round.
At this point, Seng was still outside the top ten, which would have gave Edginton the title if the running order stayed the same for the final twenty-one circuits.
Balcaen took the lead on the restart, and he brought Jake Redetzke with him, as the No. 27 Champ Pans MB Custom moved into the runner-up spot.
Brad Seng after winning the 2019 NLRA series title.
Mike Spieker photo.
Further back in the field, Seng started making progress, climbing into the top ten on the eleventh lap. Seng still had work to do, as he would still lose the title if the running order at the midway point held true.
Back up front, Redetzke moved in on Balcaen for the lead, eventually taking the point with seven laps remaining.
That, combined with Doar passing Edginton for third with three laps remaining, earned Seng his fourth series title as Redetzke took the checkered, for his second NLRA victory, and his first since a win at the Red River Valley Speedway on Tony Stewart night in 2011.
Redetzke on what the key part of him scoring the victory was, "The biggest thing was getting put to fourth on that restart, [it] put me on the bottom. If I would've been running third, and forced to the top, I don't think we would have pulled this thing off. I just stayed disciplined on the bottom, and tried to find the smoothest lane around. Mikey [Balcaen] was doing the same thing, and he kinda moved up a little bit, and I stayed down and shot the traction underneath him. There was only a few laps to go there, and I just stayed down, and tried not to hit a lapped car and do anything stupid and spin out."
Doar was second, with Balcaen third, Edginton fourth, and Strand rounding out the top five.
Seng was happy with winning the title, but deflected the spotlight from himself after the race, saying, "It feels good. I've been doing this a long time now, and we've got some young talent coming up in Shane Edginton. His hard work has really payed off this year. Dustin Strand, you can't say enough about him. And they've really got you on your game." Seng continued on about having to climb from midpack to gain enough spots to win the title, "I had to get a little youth out of me tonight."
Mike Balcaen and Brody Troftgruben followed the lead trio in completing the top five in the series final standings.
Jesse Teunis finished sixth in the standings with the No. 70 Grand Prix Amusements MasterSbilt, with Ryan Corbett, driver of the No. C4 Corbett Trucking MasterSbilt in seventh, and Cole Schill, driver of the No. 44 Mid Ag Dispatch MB Custom, in eighth
A pair of rookies complete the 2019 top ten, as Cole Babcock, driver of the No. 2* Casselton Lumber Pierce, and Ryan Kereluk, driver of the No. 29K Dirty Bodies by RJK Victory, will make the back of 2020 NLRA t-shirt for the first time.
Seng Earns The Pole During 'Go Hard Or Go Home' Pole Dash
Five of the eight starters in the 'Go Hard Or Go Home' Pole Dash were NLRA series regulars, as Brad Seng scored the victory, earning him the pole for Saturday night's 92-lap finale. Dustin Strand was second, with first time Seitz Memorial starter, Aberdeen's Thomas Weisgram, finishing third.
Shane Edginton was fourth, with Aaron Turnbull rounding out the top five. Tom Corcoran, and Mike Balcaen were the other NLRA'ers in the race, as Corcoran finished seventh in the No. T1 D&B Motors MB Custom, with Balcaen completing the eight car field.
Other NLRA regulars who locked themselves in through their heat races were, Ryan Corbett, Cole Schill, Brody Troftgruben, and Joey Pederson, driver of the No. 7P Dahlstrom Motors Victory.
Jesse Teunis just missed out on locking straight into the show, finishing 18th in the points, after a great comeback in his heat race. Teunis fought back from an early caution, restarting last, and finishing fourth.
Turnbull Scores Seitz Memorial Victory
Ten more drivers earned their way into the show on Saturday evening, as Cody Skytland and Jordan Tollakson won the B Mains, while Casey Meyer won the last chance race. Two more NLRA regulars made the show, as Ryan Kereluk got the final transfer spot in the first B Main. Bill Mooney, driver of the No. 2 Lithia Toyota of Grand Forks MasterSbilt by JMR, earned the final spot in the finale, as his sixth place run last season was the best of the drivers not yet qualified.
Seng and Strand lead the field to the green at the start, with the latter taking the early lead. For the second straight year, Strand started on the front row, but also for the second straight year, Strand's Seitz Memorial unfortunately came to an early end, as he headed to the infield with mechanical woes on lap eighteen.
Turnbull inherited the lead at that time, as the No. 21 Mack Auction MB Custom, took the point just past the quarter pole of the race.
Despite a number of early cauitons, Edginton used the middle of the track to move past Turnbull for the lead on lap twenty-eight, and lead through the fuel stop on lap forty-two.
On the restart, Edginton fought off the low running AJ Diemel, and the top running Turnbull to retain the lead. Turnbull took the low lane way from Diemel and tracked down Edginton, regaining the lead on the forty-ninth circuit.
A pair of cautions with six laps remaining, then again with three to go, bunched the field back up, giving the field their final opportunities at keeping Turnbull from victory lane.
Turnbull, however, hammered the cushion to perfection, holding off Diemel, who pulled even off of turn two on the final restart, to score the win, denying Diemel of his third Seitz victory in six years.
Turnbull about the late cautions post race, "I really didn't have much of a mark, just trying to get through those lapped cars a quick as I could. I had to run the bottom the whole time, and I kinda started running the middle before that last caution. I didn't know where to go in lapped traffic, and I had no idea if they were on my bumper, if I had a lead. I was just waiting to see the 58 [Diemel] beside me. I seen someone poke their nose, I don't know if it was him or a lapped car, but, I soon as I saw that, I kinda stepped on it with another ten percent."
Don Shaw was third, after coming from a B Main, and starting nineteenth. Shane Edginton and Jake Redetzke, who started twentieth, rounded out the top five.