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Record number of open motors expected for WoO late model show

Shane Clayton leads the pack during one of the heats at the River Cities Speedway in Grand Forks during the Outlaw Late Models' last trip to the Bullring on July 10, 2015. (Grand Forks Herald/ Joshua Komer)

Local River Cities Speedway late model drivers had their best outing against the World of Outlaws when they were last at The Bullring two summers ago.

Two locals finished in the top 10 for the first time ever.

Joey Pederson of East Grand Forks finished eighth and Brad Seng of Grand Forks finished ninth.

Repeating such a finish will be much more difficult tonight, though.

When the World of Outlaw Late Models return to Grand Forks for the first time since 2015, they are expected to attract roughly 21 open motors—a track record for this show.

With only 24 spots available in the feature, the locals that drive with WISSOTA-regulated motors may find it a challenge to make the A Main.

"Any time you can make the feature in this race, it's a good night," said Seng, who has been the top local finisher in the World of Outlaw Late Models show four times out of seven. "We don't have the motors or the tires that these guys have. It's like when the Outlaw Sprints come to town: Our guys are happy to make the feature. It's the same thing with the late models. They are some of the best drivers in the United States."

The top RCS regulars this summer have been Seng, Pederson, Dustin Strand, Mike Balcaen, Billy Mooney and Zach Naastad. All of them except Balcaen have won features this year in one of RCS's most competitive classes.

"But with 21 open motors coming, it ain't hard to figure out that a few of us are going to be drinking beer during the feature," Seng said.

Strand, who leads the class with four feature wins, will be driving with an open motor tonight.

Strand also raced Wednesday night with the World of Outlaw Late Models in Ogilvie, Minn., finishing 11th in the feature.

"He should be fun to watch," Seng said.

The event will be highlighted by an appearance by NASCAR Hall of Fame driver Rusty Wallace, who will serve as grand marshal and will address the crowd during intermission.

Wallace also will sign autographs for fans from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. at ACME Tools.

Because of the special event, only WISSOTA modifieds, late models and sprints will race at River Cities Speedway this weekend.

For the sprints, it will be a regular show.

But for the late models, it will be a big challenge on what's expected to be a hot day in Grand Forks. The heat races will be 10 laps, followed by a 12-lap B Main and a 50-lap feature.

"It's just an accomplishment to make that feature," Seng said. "I think you are more in awe when you make this feature as opposed to disappointed if you don't. It's just good to hang out with them. You always learn something."

RCS World of Outlaw Late Model winners

2016—Rain

2015—Tim McCreadie

2014—Tim Fuller

2013—Rain

2012—Darrell Lanigan

2011—Tim McCreadie

2010—Austin Hubbard

2009—Josh Richards

2008—Brady Smith

Top local finishers

2015—8. Joey Pederson, 9. Brad Seng

2014—15. Dustin Strand

2012—12. Seng

2011—14. Seng

2010—14. Seng

2009—15. Dustin Hapka

2008—15. Seng

Brad Elliott Schlossman

Schlossman is in his 12th year covering college hockey for the Herald. In 2016, he was named the top beat writer in the country by the Associated Press Sports Editors. He has voted in the national college hockey poll since 2007 and has served as a member of the Hobey Baker and Patty Kazmaier Award committees.

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