Stock Car Racing: Opening day finally hits NCS
North Central Speedway opened the 2023 season Saturday, May 13.
BARROWS — A new season began Saturday, May 13, but familiar names dominated at the opening weekend for the 63rd season at North Central Speedway.
Slow snow melt and rainy weather pushed the season opener back three weeks but 97 cars made it for the heat races.
Shawn Fletcher served notice in the Modified Feature that he is out to take the track championship with a dominant victory over last year’s champion Aaron Johnson. And in the Stock Car feature, Dan Mackenthun and Johnson battled before Mackenthun pulled away for the win.
2022 was a good year for Fletcher who finished in the top five in 12 of the 14 feature races, but he won just one feature event as Johnson was dominant in the class with 11 wins.
Fletcher started from the front row and never lost momentum as he widened the lead over Johnson throughout the race and won by a comfortable margin. A new face to the class in Brainerd, Dalton Magers, took third place behind Fletcher and Johnson.
Mackenthun made the drive from Hamburg, Minnesota, just one time last season to North Central Speedway and it resulted in a first-place finish. He was on hand for the opener and he and Johnson battled each other clean through a feature event that was free of caution flags.
Jenna Hagemann, Tim Otterness, Mark Martini and Dustin Holtquist were all used to getting their pictures taken with the checkered flag in 2022 and the four drivers claimed their first wins of 2023.
Hagemann was a winner for the Sport Compact class and Otterness took the checkered flag for the Hobby Stocks. Mark Martini was a winner in his Sportmod car and Holtquist survived a 15-lap multi-caution Mod Four feature that saw only eight of the 19 cars make it to the end of the race.
Dexton Koch won the Super Stock feature as he finished in front of Dustin Nelson, who was a five-time winner in 2022, and James Trantina III. Defending track champion Dylan Nelson grabbed the fourth spot.
IMCA Expert Insulation Modifieds
Feature: 1-Shawn Fletcher, 2-Aaron Johnson, 3-Dalton Magers
Heat 1: 1-Aaron Johnson, 2-Devin Fouquette, 3-Scott Engholm
WISSOTA Super Stock
Feature: 1-Dexton Koch, 2-Dustin Nelson, 3-James Trantina III
Heat 1: 1-Dexton Koch, 2-Dylan Nelson, 3-James Trantina III
Heat 2: 1-Jack Koranda, 2-Dustin Nelson, 3-Austin Niemeyer
IMCA Northern Sportmods
Feature: 1-Mark Martini, 2-Jake Hagemann, 3-David Siercks
Heat 1: 1-Tim Bergerson, 2-David Siercks, 3-Luke Ryan
Heat 2: 1-Mark Martini, 2-Jake Hagemann, 3-Dustin Joel
WISSOTA Mod Four
Feature: 1-Dustin Holtquist, 2-Tommy Bawden, 3-Chad Funt
Heat 1: 1-Chad Funt, 2-Gerrald Nohner, 3-Jordan Fischer
Heat 2: 1-Robert Holtquist, 2-Tyler Berg, 3-Austin Szczodrowski
Heat 3: 1-Dustin Holtquist, 2-Tommy Pogones, 3-Tommy Bawden
IMCA Stock Car
Feature: 1-Dan Mackenthun, 2-Aaron Johnson, 3-Mason Goettl
Heat 1: 1-Dan Mackenthun, 2-Aaron Johnson, 3-Tim Gonska
IMCA Hobby Stocks
Feature: 1-Tim Otterness, 2-Nate Hanson, 3-William Herron
Heat 1: 1-Tim Otterness, 2-Travis Koester, 3-Scott Herron
Heat 2: 1-Tom Anderson, 2-Chris Seidel, 3-Chad Visser
Heat 3: 1-William Herron, 2-Rod Manthey, 3-Nate Hanson
IMCA Sport Compacts
Feature: 1-Jenna Hagemann, 2-Greg Kohl, 3-Josh Maleski
Heat 1: 1-Greg Kohl, 2-Travis Roush, 3-Keyonna Young
Heat 2: 1-Jenna Hagemann, 2-Alyssa Nelson, 3-Josh Maleski
Heat 3: 1-andrew Malinowski, 2-Brandon Backstrom, 3-Korbin Sarazin