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Fargo-native Donny Schatz, a driver for the World of Outlaws Sprint Cars, rounds turn two Friday evening during a late model heat at River Cities Speedway. Photo by Kile Brewer/Grand Forks Herald

AUTO RACING: Dobmeier dominates Friday's 25-lap feature

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AUTO RACING: Dobmeier dominates Friday's 25-lap feature
Grand Forks North Dakota 375 2nd Ave. N. 58203

Mark Dobmeier has won more than 100 sprint features. He’s been the dominant driver at River Cities Speedway for a long time.


He dominated Friday night’s 25-lap feature again before nearly 3,000 fans at the Bullring. That’s no surprise.

But the win may be his most memorable at the quarter-mile track. He won on the night his dad, Mike, was inducted into the RCS Hall of Fame.

“My dad has put his heart and soul into racing,” said Mark. “It’s special to see him recognized and it’s extra special to pull off a win on this night. He and my whole family have given me a lot of opportunities in racing.”

Mike raced a sprint car for a number of years before turning it over to Mark while he was in high school. From there, Mark began to pile up the wins — becoming one of the top sprint drivers in the country.

Flips and spills

His latest win didn’t come on an exactly smooth night. A handful of caution flags were waved and two red flags were thrown for wrecks.

Dobmeier started eighth but had a laser start. By the end of the first lap he was in second and shortly thereafter took the lead.

“I used the middle of Turns 1 and 2 on the first lap to get my advantage,” said Dobmeier. “Everyone was getting away from the middle of those two turns because there was a hole there. But I used the hole to my advantage and slipped by a lot of cars on those first two corners.”

Thomas Kennedy, who started on the pole, chased Dobmeier for much of the race. On Lap 15, however, Kennedy got too high on Turn 2 and rolled his No. 20k sprint. From there, Dobmeier pulled away, winning by 3.665 seconds.

His top speed was 90.703 mph, that coming on Lap 2. Casey Mack finished second, followed by Chris Shirek, Wade Nygaard and Nick Omdahl.

Austin Pierce, who was gunning for his fourth straight RCS win, was running up front early in the race before sliding off Turn 4. He rebounded to finish seventh.

Dobmeier, who ran a 360 motor Friday night, said the past week wasn’t a smooth one, so a win entering the stretch run of the season was important.

“We had a big stretch of bad luck last week,” he said. “We went three races in a row and didn’t finish any of them. We had speed at every one of those races, but we couldn’t finish. So we’ve been working hard at the shop this week putting our stuff back together.”

Pederson outduels Schatz

One of the top sprint car drivers in the country was at RCS on Friday, but he was racing a late model. Donny Schatz, on an off night for the World of Outlaws, raced his late model in Grand Forks.

He’s had success at RCS in both his sprint car and late model, but Joey Pederson turned in another dominating performance — holding off Schatz to win the 20-lap late model feature.

Schatz started on the pole, but Steffen Snare was the early race leader. Pederson worked his way to the front and grabbed the lead from Snare on the front straightaway on Lap 14.

Schatz made his way into second, but Pederson had the strongest car all night.

Pederson’s top speed was 81.775 mph and he edged Schatz 1.465 seconds.

Dustin Stand, whose dad, Brian, also was inducted into the RCS HOF, finished third, followed by Brad Seng and Mike Balcaen.

In the Midwest modifieds feature, Matt Schow edged Tyler Peterson by 0.296 of a second to take the checkered flag. Darren Pfau, John Halvorson and Dustin Strand rounded out the top five.

Rookie Travis Robertson won his first streets feature at RCS, edging Ryan Johnson for the win. The race went green to checkered without a caution flag.

Mike Anderson, Bryce Reimer and Heath Corneliusen rounded out the top five.

Wayne Nelson
Nelson is the sports editor of the Herald
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