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A special win at River Cities Speedway

Joey Pederson is one of the top late model drivers at River Cities Speedway. He has been for years. He's won his share of races and has been competitive as well in the big-money races The Bullring holds each year. On Friday night, however, he exp...

Kelsi Pederson, left, holds the lead during the feature race for the lightning sprints at the River Cities Speedway on Friday, June 23, 2017. (Joshua Komer/Grand Forks Herald)
Kelsi Pederson, left, holds the lead during the feature race for the lightning sprints at the River Cities Speedway on Friday, June 23, 2017. (Joshua Komer/Grand Forks Herald)

Joey Pederson is one of the top late model drivers at River Cities Speedway. He has been for years.

He's won his share of races and has been competitive as well in the big-money races The Bullring holds each year.

On Friday night, however, he experienced one of his biggest thrills. His 15-year-old daughter, Kelsi, won the lightning sprints feature at RCS.

Kelsi drew quite a few cheers when she exited her lightning sprint in Victory Lane. She started on the pole and won the 15-lap feature. And it wasn't easy, either, as she had to navigate lapped traffic in addition to holding off a hard charge from Dexter Dvergsten.

"Kelsi getting a win ranks right up there with some of the more special things I've ever experienced in racing," said Joey. "She not only won it; she earned it. There are some tough competitors out there and there are a lot of cars.

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"In lightning sprints this season, there has been a different winner just about every week. It's a class not dominated by one or two drivers."

Joey didn't get a chance to see the race as he was preparing to race the ensuing 20-lap late model feature.

Kelsi also had the fastest lightning sprint in the feature, turning in the quick time of 12.622 seconds (85.565 mph). On Lap 10, she had her biggest challenge in lapped traffic.

"I got a little nervous," said Kelsi. "I just kept the car straight and tried to hit my marks the rest of the race. It worked out well."

Kelsi competes with the Northern Lightning Sprint Association, which holds races mainly at the Greenbush Race Park and the Buffalo River Race Park. The NLSA races at RCS a couple of times each season.

Her first feature win was extra special.

"It feels really good to win, especially to get my first feature win at home," said Kelsi. "It means a lot to me."

Kelsi comes from a racing family as her mother, Julie (Osowski) Pederson, competed in a super stock. Joey also helps his 13-year-old son, Tucker, compete in the streets division.

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"As you get older in racing, you just kind of transition into helping your kids and being their mentor," said Joey. "There is nothing more rewarding than seeing your kids having success in anything."

Kelsi is in her second season racing lightning sprints. She wants to race for a long time.

"I never want to quit," she said. "The thrill of winning means the world to me."

Grand Forks produced another young NLSA winner this season as Brendan Mullen won a feature June 11 at the Buffalo River Race Park in Glyndon, Minn.

Wayne Nelson is the sports editor at the Herald.


He has been with the Grand Forks Herald since 1995, serving as the UND football and basketball beat writer as well as serving as the sports editor.



He is a UND graduate and has been writing sports since the late 1970s.



Follow him on Twitter @waynenelsongf. You can reach him at (701) 780-1268 or wnelson@gfherald.com.
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