Stock Car Racing: 2021 racing ends with a bang at NCS

The season final Mighty Axe races took place at North Central Speedway

Alex Dostal leads the pack out of turn two in the stock car category Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021 on the opening night of the Mighty Ax Nationals at North Central Motor Speedway. Steve Kohls / Brainerd Dispatch

BARROWS — For 20 years, Labor Day weekend at North Central Speedway has been a tradition.

The Mighty Axe Nationals, a two-day event running Saturday and Sunday night, marks the end of the summer season at the speedway.

A large RV community forms a crescent around the track and the pit area is overflowing with haulers, ATV’s and golf carts. The sounds of cars firing and hammers on sheet metal change to smells of barbecue, bonfires, laughter and loud conversation when the event ends.

For the individuals taking part in the after-race fun, there is a good chance of still being up to see the sunrise. Time is irrelevant as friends and family enjoy the last weekend at the track.


On the racing surface, drivers are competing for a gold axe, the brainchild of owner Cliff Sasker’s promoter 20 years ago. The axe is not actual gold, it is a normal axe painted gold. Flagman Jess Geesey had to remind drivers of that Saturday night where there were over 30 caution flags thrown.

A fan who wants to see the entire night of racing has to be hearty and patient. Saturday night’s racing ended after 1:30 a.m. and Sunday night, which started two hours earlier, ended after midnight.

A terrific crash normally comes at some point during the evening and that happened in the Sport Compact feature Sunday night. Harry Ruikka, who took first place in the B-Main, ran into trouble on the backstretch resulting in his car rolling over multiple times before coming to rest on its roof. Ruikka exited the car to cheers from the crowd, a credit to roll cages and other safety requirements.

There were also poignant moments. In the opening ceremony Saturday, all drivers, pit crew and family came on to the track and 14 drivers each took one rose and placed it on an American flag as 14 names of the servicemen and women killed in the recent terror attack in Afghanistan were announced to the crowd.

There was also a pass-the-hat announcement for a driver’s family member who recently had passed away with fans contributing money to help the family.

There were great moments of racing, including Micro Sprint driver Kendra Pickett winning her first feature and claiming an axe. Shawn Fletcher finished off a fantastic second half of the season with a sweep of the Modified features. And there was Tim Johnson, a multiple axe winner, holding his first one for winning in his Stock Car.


Saturday, Sept. 24
IMCA Modifieds
Feature: 1-Shawn Fletcher, 2-Clint Hatlestad, 3-Josh Anderson
Heat 1: 1-Jesse Rogotzke, 2-Brandon Beckendorf, 3-Dalton Magers
Heat 2: 1-Shawn Fletcher, 2-Tyler English, 3-Lyle Sathoff
Heat 3: 1-Erick Thiesse, 2-AJ Viehauser, 3-Adam Johnson
WISSOTA Super Stock
Feature: 1-Dave Mass, 2-Tim Johnson, 3-Dylan Nelson
Heat 1: 1-Dexton Koch, 2-Ryan Studanski, 3-Neil Chevalier
Heat 2: 1-Dave Mass, 2-Tim Johnson, 3-Dustin Nelson
Heat 3: 1-Dylan Nelson, 2-Austin Niemeyer, 3-Erick Thiesse
WISSOTA Super Stock
Feature: 1-Dave Mass, 2-Tim Johnson, 3-Dylan Nelson
Heat 1: 1-Dexton Koch, 2-Ryan Studanski, 3-Neil Chevalier
Heat 2: 1-Dave Mass, 2-Tim Johnson, 3-Dustin Nelson
Heat 3: 1-Dylan Nelson, 2-Austin Niemeyer, 3-Erick Thiesse
IMCA Stock Car
Feature: 1-Brandon Beckendorf, 2-Kenneth Richards, 3-Aaron Johnson
Heat 1: 1-Kalvin Kesselberg, 2-Tim Gonska, 3-Austin Jahnz
Heat 2: 1-Brandon Beckendorf, 2-Tim Johnson, 3-Aaron Johnson
Heat 3: 1-Dean Cornelius, 2-Tim Pessek, 3-Alex Dostal
IMCA Sport Mods
Feature: 1-Mark Martini, 2-Justin Jones, 3-Tim Bergerson
B Main: 1-Erick Gruhlke, 2-David Siercks, 3-Tom Anderson
Heat 1: 1-Jacob Jordan, 2-Tim Bergerson, 3-Zachery Schreder
Heat 2: 1-Craig Paul, 2-Dru Nelson, 3-Michael Swanson
Heat 3: 1-Mark Martini, 2-Justin Jones, 3-Chase Peterson
Heat 4: 1-Troy Jordan, 2-Mike Brenny, 3-Mike Johnson
Heat 5: 1-Torey Fischer, 2-Anthony Sabinash, 3-Paul Colvin
Feature: 1-Tommy Bawden, 2-Tommy Pogones, 3-Chad Funt
Heat 1: 1-Skyler Smith, 2-Tommy Bawden, 3-Tommy Pogones
Heat 2: 1-Dean Larsen, 2-Josh Litzau, 3-Peewee Kuhnau
Heat 3: 1-Nick McCann, 2-Gerrald Nohner, 3-Chad Funt
IMCA Hobby Stocks
Feature-Devin Larson, 2-Brandon Bombardo, 3-Dave Johnson
Heat 1: 1-Dave Johnson, 2-Eric Knutson, 3-William Herron
Heat 2: 1-Robert Young Jr., 2-Chris Seidel, 3-Joe Regner
Heat 3: 1-Brandon Bombardo, 2-Devin Larson, 3-Ryan Kleinschmidt
IMCA Sport Compacts
Feature: 1-Greg Kohl, 2-Nathan Kohl, 3-Brett McConnell
B Main: 1-Harry Ruikka, 2-Tristan Raths, 3-Bryce Huff
Heat 1: 1-Brett McConnell, 2-Dan Kastner, 3-Keyonna Young
Heat 2: 1-Nathan Kohl, 2-Greg Kohl, 3-Nick McConnell
Heat 3: 1-Josh Maleski, 2-Anthony Jenson, 3-Travis Roush
Heat 4: 1-Joseph Wilber, 2-Alex Aderman, 3-Isaiah Carner
Heat 5: 1-Marcus Ammerman, 2-Zachary Furbur, 3-Jadyn Brusven
Micro Sprints
Feature: 1-Kendra Pickett, 2-Cole Elton, 3-Mason Seubert
Heat 1: 1-Mason Seubert, 2-Ryan Erickson, 3-Kendra Pickett
Heat 2: 1-Ashley Williams, 2-Dylan Larsen, 3-Joe Snow
Sunday, Sept. 5
IMCA Modifieds
Feature: 1-Shawn Fletcher, 2-Aaron Johnson, 3-Brandon Beckendorf
Heat 1: 1-Aaron Johnson, 2-Brandon Beckendorf, 3-Shawn Fletcher
Heat 2: 1-Jesse Rogotzke, 2-Clint Hatlestad, 3-Zack Fletcher
Heat 3: 1-Ryan Putnam, 2-Pete Hines, 3-Seth Kramer
WISSOTA Super Stock
Feature: 1-Dustin Nelson, 2-Tim Johnson, 3-Austin
Heat 1: 1-Butch Butcher, 2-Dylan Nelson, 3-David Dosh
Heat 2: 1-Dustin Nelson, 2-Brandon Clemens, 3-Jesse Smolik
Heat 3: 1-Josh Anderson, 2-Jamie Lenarz, 3-Austin Niemeyer
IMCA Stock Car
Feature: 1-Tim Johnson, 2-Dean Cornelius, 3-Brandon Beckendorf
Heat 1: 1-Dan Cornelius, 2-Aaron Johnson, 3-Tim Pessek
Heat 2: 1-Chad Schroeder, 2-Kenneth Richards, 3-Tim Johnson
Heat 3: 1-Brandon Beckendorf, 2-Tim Gonska, 3-Scotty Baron
IMCA Sport Mods
Feature: 1-Chris VanMil, 2-Justin Jones, 3-Tim Bergerson
Heat 1: 1-Mark Martini, 2-Mike Brenny 3-Dru Nelson
Heat 2: 1-Tim Bergerson, 2-Paul Colvin, 3-Chris Siercks
Heat 3: 1-David Siercks, 2-Chris VanMil, 3-Ben Reierson
Heat 4: 1-Justin Jones, 2-Jacob Jordan, 3-Troy Jordan
Feature: 1-Tommy Bawden, 2-David Slovick, 3-Dean Larson
Heat 1: 1-Tommy Bawden, 2-Peewee Kuhnau, 3-Dean Shaver
Heat 2: 1-Mick McCann, 2-David Slovick, 3-Gerrald Nohner
Heat 3: 1-Dean Larson, 2-Dustin Holtquist, 3-Jordan Fischer
IMCA Hobby Stocks
Feature: 1-Dave Johnson, 2-Brandon Bombardo, 3-Curt Derichs
Heat 1: 1-Brandon Bombardo, 2-Scott Herron, 3-Curt Derichs
Heat 2: 1-Dave Johnson, 2-Brad Becker, 3-Chase Peterson
Heat 3: 1-William Herron, 2-Clay Lommen, 3-Bryon Britton
IMCA Sport Compacts
Feature: 1-Brett McConnell, 2-Greg Kohl, 3-Nate Servaty
Heat 1: 1-Greg Kohl, 2-Keyonna Young, 3-Bryce Huff
Heat 2: 1-Dan Kastner, 2-Nathan Kohl, 3-Brett McConnell
Heat 3: 1-Josh Maleski, 2-Alex Aderman, 3-Harry Ruikka
Heat 4: 1-Isaiah Carner, 2-Lexy Kastner, 3-Anthony Jenson
Micro Sprints
Feature: 1-Mark Martin, 2-Ashley Williams, 3-Charles Bragg
Heat 1: 1-Jack Lobin, 2-Dylan Larsen, 3-Ryan Erickson
Heat 2: 1-Mason Seubert, 2-Mark Martin, 3-Ashley Williams

A heat of IMCA sport modifieds heads out of turn two of the Mighty Ax Nationals Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021, with Michael Swanson leading the pack of in the heat. Steve Kohls / Brainerd Dispatch

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