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AUTO RACING: Late model feature often comes down to the last lap

River Cities Speedway

At River Cities Speedway during the past five weeks, one thing has remained constant: The late model feature hasn't been decided until the last lap -- and in a couple of cases -- the final corner.

And Joey Pederson and Brad Seng have been involved in nearly all of those features, as the two RCS drivers have staged some entertaining late-race dramatics. As a result, they're 1-2 in season points heading into tonight's regular night of racing at the track.

Pederson has a 13-point lead on Seng, last season's champion. The margin, however, may be too much for Seng to make up this late in the season considering Pederson's consistency.

"A miracle would have to happen," Seng said. "Joey would have to have a DNF."

Seng had a DNF early in the season, and that may turn out to be the difference in another close points race in the late model division.

"That's about all it takes in this game," said Seng.

How close have the late model features been the past five weeks?

Here is how close:

• Last week, Seng edged Pederson by 0.654 seconds to take the win.

• On Aug 16, Donny Schatz, the hottest sprint car driver in the country, raced his late model at RCS and beat Pederson to the checkered flag by 0.291 seconds and Seng by 0.292 in one of the more memorable features in recent history.

• Pat Doar, a Wisconsin driver, edged Seng by 0.583 seconds on Aug. 9 for the win. Pederson finished third, 0.910 seconds off the pace.

• Dustin Strand, who is third in season points, won the Aug. 2 feature, 0.609 seconds ahead of Pederson.

• And on July 26, Seng edged Schatz by 0.327 seonds and Pederson by 0.710 seconds for the win.

After tonight's races, the late models will be on center stage at RCS next week as the seventh annual John Seitz Memorial Late Model Invitational rolls into town.

Approximately 50 drivers from the Upper Midwest are expected for the three-day event. The winner of the Sept. 5 feature, 92 laps in distance, will receive $9,200.

Wisconsin driver Brady Smith won last year's event.

Seng also is a past winner.

Nelson reports on sports. Call him at (701) 780-1268; (800) 477-6572, ext. 1268; or send e-mail to

Wayne Nelson
Nelson is the sports editor of the Herald
(701) 780-1268