Nelson is the sports editor of the Herald
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In April, Brendan Mullen turned 15 -- the age when a lot of teen-agers get their driver’s license. Even though he’s well aware of the speed limit, “I already got a speeding ticket,” said Mullen. “I guess that has to happen once.” More appropriately, he’s also been on the gas at River Cities Speedway -- where speed is accepted and encouraged.
For roughly two decades, Ed Schultz was at the forefront of the North Dakota sporting scene—mostly as a highly watched, often controversial, television personality. If that wasn't enough, he dominated the radio airwaves as well, calling every big college contest in North Dakota. He was involved—in one way or another—in every big game, it seemed, first at North Dakota State and later at UND—the two schools with a rivalry as big as any in the country.
Early in the day, it rained fairly hard at River Cities Speedway -- leaving the Friday night’s race program in doubt. But RCS officials managed to get the track ready and the racing surface -- aided by the late moisture from the rain -- was as fast as it has been in a number of seasons. Predictably, it was a wild night at The Bullring.
Wade Nygaard has raced a sprint car for nearly 30 years in Grand Forks and the region. He’s won hundreds of features along the way. And, he, more than anyone, knows it never hurts to have a little luck on your side.
Last season, Nick Omdahl missed four NOSA points races. Still, the East Grand Forks sprint driver finished fourth. "We did really well last year; we finished fourth and missed four shows," said Omdahl. "So we figured we might as well make a run at the points title this season." With that, Omdahl is off and running toward the 2018 NOSA season points title. And he's off to a strong start.
The Grand Forks Royals were scheduled to hit the road today for its longest road trip of the season, one that's been a staple of the program for years. Grand Forks will play Legion games this week in Omaha in conjunction with the College World Series. But the Royals first had some business to attend to Tuesday night as they met East Grand Forks. For the Royals, it was a case of start strong and finish strong as Grand Forks took a 14-10 win over East Grand Forks at Kraft Field.
For more than half the race, Donny Schatz was running in second place. Kerry Madsen, a driver from Australia, was setting a blistering pace in the lead. But Schatz remained patient. It was only a matter of time before the dominating driver on the World of Outlaws circuit would make his move. And he did. And he won again.
For Mark Dobmeier, the past two months have been a whirlwind. He's still building his own sprint car team; he owns a business and he's trying to race as much of possible—balancing work, family and racing at the same time. So far, so good. But the career wins leader at River Cities Speedway still is chasing his ultimate goal. He wants to win a World of Outlaws feature at RCS, his home track. He'll get that chance Friday night when the Outlaws make their first of two appearances of this season at The Bullring.
One of UND's major athletic accomplishments came in March of 2017 when the Fighting Hawks won the Big Sky Conference men's basketball tournament, thereby qualifying for the NCAA Tournament. That's a big deal. It's probably one of the most significant athletic accomplishments in school history, given the scope and enormity of the Big Dance. And for a low mid-major program to play on that stage is even more impressive. But that success, it appears, came with a price.
When it comes to the big-money sprint car races, Donny Schatz usually is running up front. The same holds true when Schatz races with the World of Outlaws at River Cities Speedway—one of the top tracks on the circuit. Schatz pocketed $40,000 on Saturday night, winning the big-paying Jackson (Minn.) Nationals feature, besting a field of 42 sprint cars. The purse for three-day show in Jackson was just over $300,000.