A day after forgetting to go to tech after winning his B Main, Jake O’Neil started 14th in the 31st Annual Moritz Sport & Marine Dakota Classic Modified Tour presented by Bismarck Motor Company Modified “A” Feature. What ensued after that was a memorable contest for the Arizona racer.
Collen Winebarger started on the pole and jumped out to the lead early. A caution reset the field with Robert Hellebust, Marcus Tomlinson, and Travis Hagen searching for track position behind Winebarger. Hellebust made a move around the outside of Winebarger on Lap 8 but jumped the cushion in Turns 3 & 4, then 1 & 2 on Lap 9. This allowed Hagen and O’Neil to drive underneath Hellebust and set their sights on Winebarger.
O’Neil caught up on Lap 10 and tried to find a way underneath Winebarger. Hagen came shooting around the top side on the next lap, officially taking the lead on Lap 12. Hellebust followed as the top line became the preferred line around the speedway.
O’Neil was able to find some grip on the bottom lane and drove around Hellebust by Lap 18. O’Neil then ripped around the top lane, catching up to Hagen, who was catching the back of the field. On Lap 27, with 3 to go, O’Neil entered Turn 1 normally and got spun by a lap car. O’Neil got his spot back for the restart.
Hagen resumed his race around the top of the speedway, with O’Neil keeping pace on the low side. O’Neil drove low coming to the white flag and had the lead at the flag stand. He slid up the track to protect his lead and Hagen lost momentum. A caution negated this, resetting the field to a green-white-checkered restart.
O’Neil had a great restart, allowing Hagen to jump back up to the top lane while 3rd-place runner Grey Ferrando floated over the top of the banking. Hellebust took the low lane to try and grab second from Hagen, taking the spot coming to the white flag and clearing him in turns 1 & 2. O’Neil motored to the win, followed by Hellebust, Hagen, Winebarger, and 21st-place starting Austin Arneson.
In the Stock Cars, A $1,500 bounty on Elijah Zevenbergen after winning the first 3 nights of the Tour kept competition tense. Eric Mahlik was able to clear outside starter Joren Boyce and settled into the lead. Zevenbergen, who started 3rd, settled in behind Mahlik with 12th-place starting “Mad” Mike Hagen able to ride the rim of the track all the way up to 3rd place by the end of Lap 4.
Austin Daae, the lone Canadian, fought with Hagen for that 3rd spot while Zevenbergen reeled in Mahlik. By halfway through the 20-lap contest, Zevenbergen had figured out that the high line had some speed, and snuck his 66Z machine around Mahlik for the lead.
Restarts on Lap 12 and 13 re-racked and re-stacked the anxious field. Hagen drove a calm race around the high side, eventually passing Mahlik with 5 to go. Zevenbergen was able to cowboy his machine to a win in Minot with a broken right front shock mount but on Lap 17, Zevenbergen’s lower ball joint broke, ending his night as he watched Hagen, Mahlik and the field pass him.
Mahlik tried multiple lines around the race track but could not make up enough ground to get to hometown talent Hagen. Dalton Flory, who started 26th, Angel Munoz, and Jordan Zillmer finished out the Top 5. Hagen collected the $1,500 bounty after it was ruled that Zevenbergen started the race and was not wrecked out.
Modifieds – 1. Jake O’Neil; 2. Robert Hellebust; 3. Travis Hagen; 4. Collen Winebarger; 5. Austin Arneson; 6. Ricky Alvarado; 7. Jacob Bleess; 8. Jason Wolla; 9. Shane DeVolder; 10. Tanner Black; 11. Marcus Tomlinson; 12. Chris Bragg; 13. Billy Kendall; 14. Eddie Belec; 15. Kyle Brown; 16. Greg Gustus; 17. Grey Ferrando; 18. Jeff Taylor; 19. Kyler Jeffrey; 20. Alex Stanford; 21. Jeremy Sorenson; 22. John Corell; 23. Tripp Gaylord; 24. Kelsie Foley; 25. Justin O’Brien; 26. Casey Skyberg; 27. Travis Olheiser; 28. Hank Berry; 29. John Flory; 30. Ryan Gaylord.
Stock Cars – 1. Mike Hagen; 2. Eric Mahlik; 3. Dalton Flory; 4. Angel Munoz; 5. Jordan Zillmer; 6. Chanse Hollatz; 7. Travis Ulmer; 8. Dave Swallers; 9. Joe Flory; 10. Chris Ellis; 11. Brennan Borg; 12. Matt Speckman; 13. Keith Mattox; 14. Mike Swallers; 15. Cole Trickle; 16. Jake Brown; 17. Joren Boyce; 18. Michael Logelin; 19. Elijah Zevenbergen; 20. Adam Goff; 21. Austin Daae; 22. Jace Iverson; 23. Kevin Roberts; 24. Tripp Gaylord. DNS – Justin Bachmeier, Beau Deschamp, Ricky Thornton Jr.