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Stock Car Racing: Fletcher, Virkus running hot at North Central Speedway

AJ Viehauser (26V), Josh Beaulieu (22B), Luke Hines (17) and Justin Jones (69) race Saturday, July 21, in a Modified heat at North Central Speedway in Barrows. Kelly Humphrey / Brainerd Dispatch

Modified driver Shawn Fletcher opened up a 20-point lead in the points race after his second straight win and Dustin Virkus stayed hot with his third straight win in the Sports Compact feature Saturday, July 21, at North Central Speedway.

On July 7, Fletcher lost to Lance Schilling in a hard-fought feature. Since then he has two straight wins and is in position to defend his 2017 points championship.

In Saturday's race, Fletcher bested teammate AJ Viehauser, who secured his fourth top five finish in 10 feature events, and Justin Jones, who finished third. Jones notched his sixth top five finish in eight races.

Derek Stanoch holds a 19-point lead over Peewee Kuhnau in the Sports Compact points race, but the hottest driver in the class is Dustin Virkus who won his third straight feature Saturday. Virkus has raced in just seven features but he has five wins. Stanoch has finished second the last three weeks, and is a perfect 10-for-10 in in top five finishes this season.

Twenty-two cars participated in the Hobby Stock feature and it was Malik Sampson taking the checkered flag in front of Tim Gonska and Rod Manthey. The second-place finish helped Gonska increase his points lead.

In just his fifth race of the season Jerry Esler made his second trip to the winners' podium in the Mod 4 feature. Gerry Nohner grabbed second and Francis Hauber was the third-place finisher. Hauber notched the sixth top 10 finish in seven races and the first top five finish of the season. Jess Geesey leads the overall points race.

Mark Martini won the Sportmods feature and Dylan Nelson was the Super Stock winner. The Sportmods and Super Stock classes have the two most hotly contested points battles.

David Siercks notched the second-place spot and increased his lead to three points over Troy Jordan in the Sportmods race.

Nelson and Jake Goetze have been trading first-place finishes the last three weeks with Nelson winning July 7 and Saturday and Goetze getting the top spot on July 14. Of the 10 feature races this season, Nelson has five wins and Goetze three. Goetze holds a 4-point lead over Nelson with five nights of points racing remaining.

IMCA Sport Compacts:

Feature: 1-Dustin Virkus, 2-Derek Stanoch, 3-Peewee Kuhnau

Heat 1: 1-Dustin Virkus, 2-Peewee Kuhnau, 3-Travis Roush

Heat 2: 1-Derek Stanoch, 2-Devin Dustin Flannigan, 3-Branley Theel

IMCA Hobby Stocks:

Feature: 1-Malik Sampson, 2-Tim Gonska, 3-Rod Manthey

Heat 1: 1-Brock Beeter, 2-Rod Manthey, 3-Tim Siercks

Heat 2: 1-Chris Plamann, 2-Chris Seidel, 3-Devin Larson

Heat 3: 1-Joe Gonska, 2-Tim Gonska, 3-Malik Sampson

NCS Mod 4s:

Feature: 1-Jerry Esler, 2-Gerry Nohner, 3-Francis Hauber

Heat 1: 1-Jerry Esler, 2-Jess Geesey, 3-Gerry Nohner

IMCA Sportmods:

Feature: 1-Mark Martini, 2-David Siercks, 3-Jason Vejtruba

Heat 1: 1-Jacob Jordan, 2-Mike Johnson, 3-Todd Rizer

Heat 2: 1-Troy Jordan, 2-Mark Martini, 3-Bret Masters

Heat 3: 1-Jason Vejtruba, 2-David Siercks, 3-Jake Hagemann

NCS Super Stock:

Feature: 1-Dylan Nelson, 2-Jake Goetze, 3-Jesse Smolik

Heat 1: 1-Jake Goetze, 2-Jesse Smolik, 3-Dylan Nelson

IMCA Modifieds:

Feature: 1-Shawn Fletcher, 2- AJ Viehauser, 3-Justin Jones

Heat 1: 1-Seth Kramer, 2-Shawn Fletcher, 3-Ryan Canon

Heat 2: 1-AJ Viehauser, 2-Luke Hines, 3-Justin Jones

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