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Dobmeier finishes season the way he started

The racing season ended on Friday night in River Cities Speedway the same way it began in the spring. Grand Forks driver Mark Dobmeier once again blew away the field and grabbed the checkered flag in the 25-lap sprint feature. The track's season ...

The racing season ended on Friday night in River Cities Speedway the same way it began in the spring.

Grand Forks driver Mark Dobmeier once again blew away the field and grabbed the checkered flag in the 25-lap sprint feature.

The track's season points champion started eighth and worked his way to second in just three laps, trailing only pole-sitter Ryan Wilson. After a restart on the fifth lap, Dobmeier blew past Wilson on the inside of turn two.

One caution flag, a restart and lapped traffic were hardly a problem for Dobmeier in the final 20 laps. He easily cruised around the bullring to grab his 14th overall feature win of the summer.

Wade Nygaard finished second, Wilson third, Bob Martin fourth and Tom Egeland fifth. Dobmeier lapped everyone except Nygaard, Wilson and Martin.

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"At the beginning of the race, I just had to go where everyone else wasn't," Dobmeier said. "Everyone was running over the middle and the top, so I figured I would try the bottom. That got us up to the front. After that, I moved up to my usual spot on the top."

Dobmeier figured there would be an opening to pass Wilson on the low side on the restart.

"He was running really strong on the top, so I figured we'd have to take the bottom," said Dobmeier, who wrapped up his third straight points title at Huset's in Sioux Falls, S.D., last weekend. "It feels great and I have to thank my crew. These guys put in a lot of hours."

Tom Wagner won the 24-lap legend-car feature that was shortened by six laps because of frequent cautions. Wagner held off Justin Batzer, Donavin Wiest and John Huettl. It was the first legends race at RCS this season. They raced in Grand Forks last year and Dobmeier won it.

Brandon Johnson of Holt, Minn., won both his heat race and the 20-lap feature in RCS's first lightning sprint feature since 2004. Johnson took the lead from Thief River Falls' Dennis Rantanen midway through the race and held on for the win. Rantanen finished second.

The lightning sprint field included Manitoba's Darren Pallen, who won the RCS points title in 1993 and 1994, when it regularly featured the class. Pallen finished eighth. Corey Olson was the driver of the night, moving from 18th to third in the lightning sprint feature.

The best finish of the night came in the pure stocks, where Heath Corneliusen of Warroad, Minn., passed Chad Geray coming out of the fourth turn on the final lap. Corneliusen took the low side and crossed the finish line just ahead of Geray.

Corneliusen came from the outside of the fourth row to win the feature and the hard charger award for passing the most cars in the race.

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Winnipeg's Michael Wenham held off Jim Mulholland to win both the four-cylinder heat race and the feature. It was the first four cylinder race at RCS since last summer's finale.

Note: Greg Nikitenko had one of Mark Dobmeier's wings on his car during the feature, because his car was damaged in a collision with Chris Shirek in the heat race.

Reach Schlossman at (701) 780-1129; (800) 477-6572, ext. 129; or send e-mail to bschlossman@gfherald.com .

Schlossman has covered college hockey for the Grand Forks Herald since 2005. He has been recognized by the Associated Press Sports Editors as the top beat writer for the Herald's circulation division four times and the North Dakota sportswriter of the year once. He resides in Grand Forks. Reach him at bschlossman@gfherald.com.
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