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Kennedy makes it two straight sprint wins at RCS

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Jack Croaker spins through the air after hitting the wall on turn four during a heat race at the River Cities Speedway in Grand Forks on Friday, May 19, 2017. (Joshua Komer/ Grand Forks Herald)2 / 4
Jack Croaker makes his way to the ambulance to make sure he is OK after crashing into the wall at Turn 4 at the River Cities Speedway in Grand Forks on Friday, May 19, 2017. (Joshua Komer/ Grand Forks Herald)3 / 4
Jackson Moffett, left and Bob Martin, center lead the pack at the beginning of the heat race at the River Cities Speedway in Grand Forks on Friday, May 19, 2017. (Joshua Komer/ Grand Forks Herald)4 / 4

Last week, Thomas Kennedy won the sprint feature at River Cities Speedway. And a win at The Bullring is special, but his triumph came without Mark Dobmeier—the track's top driver—in the field.

On Friday night, Kennedy had another chance for a win—with Dobmeier in the field.

As expected, the two put on a good show.

Kennedy made it two straight wins as he beat Dobmeier in the 25-lap feature. Kennedy and Dobmeier started on the front row, and at the end, the Winnipeg driver edged the driver of the familiar No. 13 sprint by 0.379 seconds.

"I knew that coming into tonight it wouldn't be easy, especially with him sitting on the front row with me," said Kennedy. "But it was an awesome race. He's a respected name in sprint car racing throughout North America. To race with him wheel to wheel, there is nothing better than that."

Kennedy led all 25 laps. At times, he led Dobmeier by the length of a straight-away. But in the closing laps, Dobmeier pulled up to Kennedy and with two laps to go he was on Kennedy's bumper.

"Around the 16th lap, I started to feel rubber up top," said Kennedy. "So I knew he'd be gunning for me. But I wasn't going to let him pass me."

Kennedy posted the fastest lap time of 12.131 seconds (89.028 mph). Dobmeier had the second fastest time at 12.304 (87.776 mph).

"Mark is a great driver and he knows this place better than anyone else," said Kennedy. "It was just a pleasure to beat him."

For Kennedy, it was his fifth win of the season. He plans to race RCS from time to time this season, but won't be in the field next week.

Wade Nygaard finished third, followed by Casey Mack and Chris Ranten.

The feature was a rough one for three drivers. Austin Pierce, Mitch Mack and Bob Martin all flipped their cars. Martin's wreck was a wicked one, coming on the final corner of the last lap has he and Cap Henry got together.

In the late model feature, Joey Pederson started on the pole—and stayed there for all 20 laps.

The East Grand Forks driver ended a drought as well.

"We weren't here (in Victory Lane) at all last year," said Pederson, one of the track's top drivers over the years. "It's been a dry spell. It bothered me all winter."

Pederson held off Mike Balcaen by 1.234 seconds. Pederson's top speed was 12.968 seconds (83.282 mph)

Bill Mooney finished third, followed by Brad Seng and Ryan Corbett. There have been three different winners in the late model feature in all three weeks of the RCS season.

"There are at least six drivers who can win here every night," said Pederson. "That's what makes it so much fun to race here."

Austin Hunter won the caution-plagued Midwest modifieds feature, with Todd Johnson, Jordan Wahl, Tim Kanten and Nate Reynolds rounding out the top five.

Adam Burrows captured the streets feature, passing Steven Richards on the last lap for the win. Burrows won by 0.012 seconds.

Riley Gregoire, Ryan Johnson and Bryce Reimer finished third, fourth and fifth, respectively.

Wayne Nelson
Nelson is the sports editor of the Herald
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