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Stock Car Racing: Sabraski returns, Nelson looks ahead

Racing at North Central Speedway.

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BARROWS — Driving his No. 18 IMCA Stock Car, Alex Dostal led all 20 laps of the feature race and drove to his first career Stock Car win Saturday, May 15, at North Central Speedway.

Dostal and runner-up Kris Peterson were in side-by-side competition until the last turn when Dostal surged ahead for the win.

Super Stock legend Shane Sabraski made his return after several years and gave fans a glimpse of his racing greatness. Sabraski finished behind Dexton Koch in the second heat race and earned a spot on the inside fourth row after the redraw.

Andrew Johnson and Jesse Smolik started on the front row in the 16-car feature. Johnson led for the first four laps before Sabraski overtook him with a pass on turn two of lap five. Sabraski widened the gap and comfortably took the checkered flag in front of Dexton Koch and Johnson.

At the height of his driving at North Central Speedway, Sabraski often competed in three classes, the Midwest Mods (now the Northern Sport Mods), the Super Stocks and the Modified and it wasn't rare for him to win all three feature races in the same night.

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Last week's winner Dylan Nelson finished fourth. Now starting his sixth season in the Super Stock Car, he has been driving cars since 13. Both his father and grandfather raced on dirt and after starting out in go-karts at 5, Nelson and his father decided it was time to move to Pure Stock and race at North Central Speedway

"My dad raced dirt track and so had my grandpa so it was his decision," Nelson said. "He was paying for it by working two jobs. I was just driving and I was happy with whatever we were doing.

"My dad's rule was 'If I am going to work on it you at least have to be out here watching and learning and being a part of it or else we won't go racing.’”

Nelson waved the checkered flag a few times during his run in a Pure Stock and it wouldn't have been a shock for him to move up to a different class, but as a small family operation, something else drove that decision.

"We never really thought about it until the end of the year (in 2016), it was just how things worked out,” Nelson said. “With the Pure Stock, we put a high selling price on it not thinking it would sell and then someone bought it so we figured it was time to move up."

After getting the feel of the car and the class in the first two years, Nelson's racing career climbed. He claimed the 2109 championship with three wins and 12 top-five finishes in 17 features. In 2020 he placed third behind Austin Niemeyer but scored two wins and had nine top-10 finishes in 10 feature races.

Last year he and Dustin Nelson battled all season. In the end, just five points separated them. Dustin Nelson claimed the track championship, but Dylan led the class in wins with five and totaled 12 top-five finishes in 14 feature races.

Nelson and his dad look at the finances after each season and are clear-eyed about goals for the next season.

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"Usually in the off-season, you spend a lot of money and then in the summer you just look to break even or gain just a little bit, but with fuel prices and tires we are just happy if we are breaking even," Nelson said. "We just love doing it and it is all my dad and I have known."

Nelson would welcome the opportunity to drive in multiple classes, but is satisfied with his career. If the budget allows he hopes to increase his time behind the wheel in 2022.

"I wouldn't be able to afford one to be honest so if a ride came up with somebody I would drive, but I am happy with just the one car," he said. "We are usually one night and then get around to a second night if we feel like it. This year, we are going to try and do two nights each weekend if we can and then possibly add a third night. Now it is harder traveling with gas prices, but we are having fun with it."

Along with Sabraski and Dostal, the other feature winners were Devin Fouquette, Justin Jones, Skyler Smith, Brandon Bombardo and Nathan Kohl.

Saturday, May 21, will be the second-annual Ron Johnson Memorial and racing will begin one hour earlier at 5:45 p.m. The pits will be open at 3 p.m. and the gates will be open at 4 p.m.

IMCA Expert Insulation ModifiedsFeature: 1-Devin Fouquette, 2-Erick Thiesse, 3-Zackry FletcherHeat 1: 1-Devin Fouquette, 2-Jeff Nelson, 3-Jared HinesHeat 2: 1-Aaron Johnson, 2-Pete Hines, 3-Erick Thiesse

WISSOTA Super StockFeature: 1-Shane Sabraski, 2-Dexton Koch, 3-Andrew JohnsonHeat 1: 1-Andrew Johnson, 2-Jack Koranda, 3-Jesse SmolikHeat 2: 1-Dexton Koch, 2-Shane Sabraski, 3-Bailey Rosch

IMCA Northern SportmodsFeature: 1-Justin Jones, 2-Tim Bergerson, 3-Jake HagemannHeat 1: 1-Chris Siercks, 2-Justin Jones, 3-Jake HagemannHeat 2: 1-Tim Bergerson, 2-David Siercks, 3-Tim Siercks

WISSOTA Mod FourFeature: 1-Skyler Smith, 2-Dustin Holtquist, 3-Tommy PogonesHeat 1: 1-Nick McCann, 2-Tommy Bawden, 3-Tommy PogonesHeat 2: 1-Skyler Smith, 2-Gerrald Nohner, 3-Albert Hemmesch

IMCA Stock CarFeature: 1-Alex Dostal, 2-Kris Peterson, 3-Dave JohnsonHeat 1: 1-Tim Gonska, 2-Kris Peterson, 3-Dave Johnson

IMCA Hobby StocksFeature: 1-Brandon Bombardo, 2-Tim Otterness, 3-Scott HerronHeat 1: 1-Brandon Bombardo, 2-Tim Otterness, 3-Cory LodermeierHeat 2: 1-Scott Herron, 2-Chad Visser, 3-Chris Seidel

IMCA Sport CompactsFeature: 1-Nathan Kohl, 2-Brandon Nyberg, 3-Josh MaleskiHeat 1: 1-Nathan Kohl, 2-Josh Maleski, 3-Ellen LangeHeat 2: 1-Jenna Hagemann, 2-Alyssa Nelson, 3-Harry RuikkaHeat 3: 1-Brandon Nyberg, 2-John Aderman, 3-Bayden Ruikka

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