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AUTO RACING: Dobmeier starts strong

It was no surprise to see Mark Dobmeier win another Outlaw sprint feature at River Cities Speedway. The dominant driver from Grand Forks took the season opener at RCS on Friday night before an estimated 3,000 fans. But it was a surprise to see an...

It was no surprise to see Mark Dobmeier win another Outlaw sprint feature at River Cities Speedway.

The dominant driver from Grand Forks took the season opener at RCS on Friday night before an estimated 3,000 fans. But it was a surprise to see another driver hold off Dobmeier and the other top RCS drivers for a good portion of the race.

Ryan Wilson led the first 11 laps of the 25-lap feature before Dobmeier passed the driver of the plain white-and-blue No. 18 sprint coming out of Turn 4 with 14 laps to go.

"(Wilson) did a real good job early in the race," Dobmeier said. "We had trouble keeping up to him. He'll be a contender out here this year."

But Wilson -- a young driver from the Duluth area -- still has a lot of work to do to catch Dobmeier and the other top RCS drivers.

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After Dobmeier grabbed the lead, he pulled away from Wade Nygaard and Lou Kennedy Jr. With seven laps to go, Dobmeier led Nygaard by a straightaway.

Kennedy, however, closed in the final few laps to finish second. Nygaard was third.

"The track was great," said Dobmeier, who won earlier this week at Huset's Speedway near Sioux Falls, S.D. "It was really racy on top and on the bottom. There was even a middle groove."

Dobmeier started seventh in the 22-car field. Kennedy started on the pole but was sent back two rows after he jumped the start.

Still, Kennedy managed to close hard despite the early setback.

"I don't think I jumped," Kennedy said. "But I've been around long enough. You don't panic."

Kennedy has raced at RCS for approximately 25 years. He believes he'll get another shot at Dobmeier.

"He won't win them all," Kennedy said.

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Dobmeier said he needed patience early "because there was a lot of traffic."

Ryan Corbett won the 20-lap late model feature. He led much of the way, but the Grand Forks driver was passed by Winnipeg's Ricky Weiss with five laps to go. Weiss, however, slid off the back straightaway with three remaining, bringing out the caution flag.

Corbett regained his spot at the front of the field and held off Tom Corcoran, Joey Pederson and Mike Balcaen for the win.

Pederson had a strong run, finishing third after starting deep in the field.

In the Midwest modifieds, Bob Smith started strong and finished strong to win the 18-lap feature.

The Bemidji driver started on the pole and led every lap.

Dustin Strand, last season's RCS season points champion, made it close at the end. The Grand Forks driver was on Smith's bumper coming out of Turn 2 on the final lap but couldn't get past the No. 19 car.

Bryan LePier finished third, followed by Bobby Eckerdt and Rod Peterson.

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In the streets class, Aaron Olson and Kyle Leake battled for the lead on the first lap. Olson managed to grab the lead and never looked back.

Olson won the 15-car, 12-lap event, followed by Leake, Jim Geringer, Steve Jose and Joe Potter.

Friday's winners

Streets: Aaron Olson.

Midwest modifieds: Bob Smith.

Late models: Ryan Corbett.

Sprints: Mark Dobmeier.

Nelson reports on sports. Reach him at (701) 780-1268; (800) 477-6572, ext. 268; or send e-mail to wnelson@gfherald.com .

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