Auto Racing: Racing returns to NCS
COVID-19 has not ended, but a small taste of racing returned to the Brainerd Lakes area Friday, June 5, with racing at North Central Speedway.
Seventy-nine drivers turned out in sun-splashed conditions. The off-season work of track owner Cliff Sasker and his crew, the track was in prime condition for racing.
Drivers, however, weren't yet in prime condition as all four feature races saw an abundance of caution flags, but four winners were crowned and awarded points.
With the current state restrictions in place, racing is not open to fans. Each driver was allowed to have four pit crew members with social distancing in practice.
Sport Compact drivers from across the state created a 26-car field for the feature event. A number of drivers were making their first appearance in a Sport Compact car and the race was shortened due to excessive cautions. In the end, it was Dannie Burkholder of Princeton claiming the checkered flag finishing in front of Joseph Wilber from Foreston. Madelia is located in the southwest corner of Minnesota, but RJ Esqueda made his five-hour drive to NCS count with a third-place finish.
Seventeen cars lined up for the feature and Prieve was looking up at the two top finishers after the 15-lap feature. Tommy Bawden of Clear Lake took the checkered flag and Jamie Lenarz of St. Cloud finished second with Prieve settling for third place.
Last season, the Mod Four and the Super Stock class both returned to NCS. With drivers being able to compete for national points, the competition in the Super Stock class in 2019 intensified. This season 19 drivers, including 2019 champion Dylan Nelson, made it for the dropping of the green flag.
Drivers struggled on the opening lap of the 20-lap feature with four caution flags coming out before a lap was completed. Cars finally separate from each other and a three-way battle developed between Jacob Knapper of Montevideo, veteran driver Dave Mass of East Bethel and Jared Zimpel of Braham. At the checkered flag, Knapper bested Mass for the top spot with Zimpel claiming third place.
Brendon Yamry of St. Stephen and Zachery Schreder of St. Cloud are former Sport Compact class drivers who moved to the Sportmod class. Schreder earned a sixth-place finish in the 15-lap feature and Yamry finished third, but it was veteran driver Mark Martini of Avon taking the checkered flag and former track champion David Siercks of Princeton in second.