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Schill, Johnson stay dominant at The Bullring

Brandon Fuller, top hits Bryce Reimer as Steve Pankowski dodges the wreck during a heat race at the River Cities Speedway. (Joshua Komer/Grand Forks Herald)1 / 2
From left, Steve Anderson, Dustin Strand and Shane Holden fight for position during a heat race at the River Cities Speedway. (Joshua Komer/Grand Forks Herald)2 / 2

Each Friday night, Jon Roberts stands in Victory Lane at River Cities Speedway, interviewing the winner in each class.

He's getting used to seeing some familiar faces.

Midwest Modified driver Lance Schill and street-car driver Ryan Johnson both continued their tears through The Bullring on Friday night by winning features in their classes once again.

For Schill, of Langdon, N.D., it was his fourth consecutive feature win at River Cities Speedway and his seventh consecutive feature win overall. The other three have come in Devils Lake, where he will race tonight.

For Johnson, of Karlstad, Minn., it was also his fourth consecutive street feature win at The Bullring and his sixth of the year.

Schill's victory didn't come easy.

The Langdon resident started the race 12th—in the back half of the 22-car field. He knifed his way through the field to win the 18-lap feature, though.

In the first six laps of the race, Schill charged up to seventh. He was second behind Cole Haugland on a restart with six laps to go.

Schill finally grabbed the lead, going underneath Haugland on Turn 3 of the 14th lap.

"This car is unbelievable," Schill said. "This is awesome. This is unbelievable. We never would have dreamt anything like this."

Schill lamented his ability to draw good starting positions, but it hasn't mattered.

Johnson, the points leader in the streets division, has been just as dominant.

The Karlstad product has started 10 features at River Cities Speedway this year, earning nine top-five finishes and six wins.

He started Friday's feature 10th, but quickly worked his way to the front. He passed Adam Burrows out of a restart to take the lead for good.

"I don't know where the horseshoe is right now," Johnson said. "But if the shoe fits, it fits. It has been a blast."

No season points up for grabs for the sprints—only 12 showed up as many of track's top drivers were in Knoxville, Iowa, for the Knoxville Nationals.

The small field went green-to-checkered in the feature with Austin Pierce taking his third feature win at River Cities Speedway this season.

The most challenging part of the night for Pierce was getting his car ready for the feature.

A power line in the pits started sparking, so Pierce and his crew spent the night moving his trailer out of the way, so firefighters and power workers could fix it.

"We had the car really hooked up there," Pierce said. "We didn't get a chance to tinker with it because we had to move our trailer. Luckily, we got it moved and we were able to race."

Don Shaw of Ham Lake, Minn., who made the trip to Grand Forks because of a lack of WISSOTA late model races in the area and to prepare for the John Seitz Memorial race in September, took his third-career checkered flag at The Bullring.

Shaw beat out runner-up Troy Schill and third-place Mike Balcaen, who charged from 12th to get a top-three finish in the 18-lap late model feature.

Lightning sprints also raced at River Cities Speedway on Friday night.

Alex Truscinski of Greenbush, Minn., started third and quickly made his way to the front to win his first feature at The Bullring.

"It was a fun track," Truscinski said. "I looked during intermission what line I wanted to take and it worked out for me."

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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