With saddened hearts and thoughts, there was one face that was a staple Friday nights at River Cities Speedway. That being the multi-champion, John Seitz.
But things carried on just as John would have wanted them to and just as if
he was there. In some sort of way he was. The scoreboard that carried the
numbers 92 many times was illuminated with his car number throughout the
hotlap sessions and during a short remembrance prior to the national anthems
by Pat Mooney. Drivers lined the top of the backstretch facing the crowd
while Mooney spoke of John and some great memories. All to honor a great
racer and man that circled our track.
As the speedway’s race program carried out, the first set of Unicel street
stock heat races rolled up on the track as the crowd was ready to see the
first race of 2007 season. Jim Geringer took the checkered flag by a
straightaway over Sheldon Peterson. The second heat race was won by Aaron
Olson with Dan Arends finishing second after leading much of the race. Joe
Potter showed how strong he was by capturing the win over Tyson Anderson.
New to the speedway this year are the Midwest Modifieds. The Super Stock
class was replaced by this up and coming class, in which the numbers seem to
keep growing. The first Dempsey Truck Service heat race was won by Dustin
Strand over Bryan Dyrdahl. A mid-race caution took out Bryan LePier and
Patrick Sobolik. Heat race two was won by Bobby Eckerdt who started in the
back of the heat race and took the lead with four laps to go. Bret Schmidt
was runner up with David Hultstrand third after leading much of the race.
The first of three DTRA Late Model races was won by a fast Cody Skytland
with Joey Pederson right behind him in a caution free race. The second Atek
Auto Parts heat race was won by Troy Schill after he had passed Tom Corcoran
for the lead late in the race. Mike Balcaen won the third heat race from the
fourth starting spot with Brad Seng second after passing Tom Balcaen.
The two NOSA Sprint Car heat races were action packed with the first heat
race being won by Austin Monson with Wade Nygaard chasing him all race. Bad
luck hit the 2006 track champion as he slowed on the front stretch and was
pushed pitside. Lou Kennedy Jr led every lap with Bob Martin chasing him all
race. Martin slipped up a little which allowed Casey Mack and Dave Sobczak a
chance to get past and finished respectively second and third.
After a brief intermission, the Unicel Street Stock feature race started
with Arends and Potter on the front row. This year, the Street Stocks will
be ran on Goodyear tires and co-sanctioned with the newly formed driver
association, MDRA and DTRA. Potter grabbed the lead and led all but the last
lap with Geringer hot on his bumper. A lap car slowed up potter which
allowed Geringer to grab the lead and the first win of 2007 at River Cities
Speedway. Tyson Anderson also slipped past Potter for the second spot after
David Hultstrand and Rod Peterson led the field around to take the checkered
flag for the first ever Dempsey Truck Service Midwest Modified feature race.
Before any laps were complete, there were two cautions in which the field
had to reset and given the green flag again. Dustin Strand looked to be the
one to beat as he used the high groove of the speedway to his advantage and
take over the lead with 10 laps to go. As he stretched out his lead, Eckerdt
and Schmidt battled for the second spot lap after lap, but it was Eckerdt
that was able to take the second spot and give Strand a run for his money
late in the race. Eckerdt tried both lines, hi and low, but was unable to
overtake Strand as he cruised to the checkered flag. Halvorson and Nelson
also put on a great show for the fourth spot with Nelson capitalizing on the
spot at the line.
The Atek Auto Parts feature race for the DTRA Late Models started all
twenty-one cars with Corcoran and Schill on the front row. There were a
couple of cautions before the whole field was able to complete a lap.
Corcoran and Schill battled for the lead, but it was Pederson who slipped
around them for the lead and continued to lead through the next five
cautions for various cars. With twelve laps to go, Mike Balcaen appeared
from the eighth starting spot to challenge Pederson for the lead. With two
more laps complete, Balcaen made his move around Pederson in turn three for
the lead. From there on, Balcaen was smooth in the corners and was able to
continue on through the checkered flag with Pederson in his mirror while
Corcoran and Schill scrapped for the third spot. Schill was able to secure
the third spot with Corcoran accepting fourth. During the interview with
Balcaen in victory lane, he dedicated the win to Johnny.
The last feature race of the evening was ready and all Sprint Cars were
pushed off. Jeff Vonasek had some issues and couldn’t keep the engine fired
so he was pushed to the infield while Bob Martin and Scott McDonald led the
field around for the green flag. With the leaders crossing the line for the
first lap, McDonald and Burke made contact with McDonald getting the worse
of it and turned his sprinter over and was unable to continue. Jade
Fredrickson was also caught up in the melee, and rolled many times near the
front wall. Linnell’s front end was damaged too much and was pulled to the
infield. Chris Shirek’s top wing was damaged but made repairs and tagged the
field. After the field was refired, Burke used his front row spot to take
the lead and with authority was pulling away from Bob Martin while Sobczak
and Kennedy battled for the third spot. With Burke coming up on lap traffic,
Kennedy was able to find his way to the second spot and pressure Burke.
Nygaard was also making his way to the front and found himself racing Martin
for the third spot. Lap cars were what held up Burke and enabled Kennedy to
complete the pass for the lead. By this time Dobmeier had went to the back
and raced his way back up to about eighth. After a few more cautions,
Kennedy found Nygaard trying to pass him for the lead in the closing laps.
Kennedy seemed to change his line at each end of the track to close the door
on Nygaard. Kennedy held on for the win with Nygaard and Martin second and
third. Burke finished with a strong run in fourth and Dobmeier rounded out
the top five spots.