VanMil, Skalicky claim track championships at Norman County Raceway
ADA — A lot of excitement and buzz were felt in the grandstands as Ada’s Kalvin Kesselberg rolled out for the Norman County Implement IMCA Stock Car feature this past Thursday. Kesselberg sat one point behind leader Rob VanMil of Barnesville, Minn. in the point standings and had to beat VanMil by just one spot on the track as Kesselberg held the tiebreaker.
Unfortunately for Kesselberg, his feature ended before he could even take the green flag. On the initial start, a car got loose in turn four in front of the field and collected several cars. Kesselberg received the worst end of it as severe damage to his steering forced him back to the trailer.
VanMil, who’s night ended in the trees off turn one during the Modified feature last week, went on to score the win and claimed the track championship - his third consecutive at the speedway.
Jesse Skalicky of Fargo, N.D. claimed his second consecutive track championship on Thursday night at Norman County Raceway in the track’s premier division - the Sander’s Metal Products IMCA Modifieds. A fifth place finish was just enough to claim the title over Fertile, Minnesota’s Tyler Hall by just four points.
The championship for Skalicky is the fourth of his career at NCR. He also has collected championships in the IMCA SportMods (2016) and Pure Stocks (2012).
Austin Arneson of Fargo dominated the 15-lap feature. Arneson started 5th on the grid and checked out after taking the lead on lap two. Arneson was followed to the line - well over a straightaway back - by Hall and Austin’s younger brother Casey Arneson.
Luke Johnson claimed the Titan Machinery IMCA SportMods track championship. Johnson’s title run was backed by two wins on the season and nine top five finishes in 10 events.
In an exciting SportMod feature, Paul Colvin of Horace, N.D. led the majority of the race, but Scott Jacobson of Fargo made a late-race surge from the eighth starting position. Jacobson took the lead from Colvin down the back straightaway with six laps to collect the win; his second of the season at NCR.
Despite Tye Wilke winning over half of the Seedex INEX Legends features in 2020, the championship race still came down to the final lap of the feature on Thursday. Wilke, a Detroit Lakes, Minn. native, had to beat Ulen, Minn. driver, Ryan Braseth, by four positions.
Brody Carlsrud of Moorhead, Minn. started on the front row and led every lap of the feature to score his first NCR win of the season. Braseth and a host of others were hot on the heels of Carlsrud in the closing laps. Carlsrud scored the win by two car lengths as Braseth finished second. Wilke finished fourth, which was good enough to secure the title by just two points.
In truly dominant fashion, Brock Gronwold claimed the Christian Motors WISSOTA Midwest Modified feature win and championship. Gronwold, of Fergus Falls, Minn., started sixth on the grid and charged into the lead on lap eight of 12. Once out front, the driver of the Make American Great Again No. 2020 sped off for his seventh win of the season in nine races.
In a great battle between two NCR ringers, Cory Probst of Brewster, Minn. and Tim Gonska of Brainerd, Minn. raced for the win in the Christian Brothers Ford IMCA Hobby Stocks. Probst started eighth while Gonska started sixth, but both met at the front of the field early in the race. Probst took the lead from Gonska with four laps to go and was able to hang on for his third win of the season at NCR. Gonska was crowned champion with his five wins and perfect nine top fives.
Jake and Sharnel Bitker, operators of NCR, gave a heartfelt message on social media following the final checkered flag of the season.
“Thank you to all of our drivers, fans, and sponsors. Thank you to all of our employees. Thank you to the Norman County Fair Board. This was an interesting year and we couldn’t have done it without all of you! See you in 2021!"
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