Don Shaw holds on to capture his second 92-lap Seitz feature win
Winning the Seitz race had extra meaning for the Ham Lake, Minn., driver
GRAND FORKS – The John Seitz Memorial Late Model Invitational is the region’s biggest event of the season for late model drivers,
But the event means much more to Don Shaw of Ham Lake, Minn.
Shaw, who was the brother-in-law of the late Seitz, won his second title early Sunday morning after he held off numerous challenges in the 16th annual 92-lap event at River Cities Speedway. He took home $9,200 for the win but the money was secondary to winning a race in honor of his brother-in-law and best friend.
“I don’t know if there is any other race that could really mean as much to me as this one because, you know, John was my best friend and my brother-in-law. It’s a tough one. It’s tough to swallow and say ‘you know, he’s gone and he’s not here to race with us anymore.'
“All I can do is give it my best shot and see what happens.”
Shaw started fifth and grabbed the lead from Dustin Strand out of Turn 2 with 83 laps to go.
He was the driver to beat the rest of the way.
Shaw briefly surrendered the lead to Chad Mahder with 33 laps to go but Shaw quickly retook the lead on the next lap and his No. 42 car became stronger down the stretch.
Shaw finished 1.776 seconds ahead of A.J. Diemel of Elk Mound, Wis., who was looking for his third Seitz win. Cole Searing was third, followed by Mahder and Jeff Massingill.
Shaw also had the fastest lap of the race at 12.488 seconds.
There were a number of caution flags waved and that didn’t help Shaw.
But on each restart, he was able to hold off a handful of challengers.
“The track was very technical,” said Shaw. “You really had to look at the lines to run here. I changed my lines a bunch of times. There were enough yellows so you knew the fast guys would be all over you at the end, no matter what. I knew I was going to have my hands full the last few laps.
“It was a demanding race physically in a way but it wasn’t bad until the last 20 laps. Then I really had to be up on the wheel.”
And he knew Diemel would be there. Diemel closed to within 0.279 seconds of Shaw with 10 to go. Then, the final yellow flag of the night was waved. On the restart, however, Shaw was strong enough to hold off Diemel. With 18 laps to go, Diemel was 2.345 off the pace.
“I knew A.J. would be there one way or another,” said Shaw. Diemel, who started 17th, slowly worked his way to the front and was in third place with 20 to go.
“From where I started, I’ll take it,” said Diemel of his finish.
Strand was the top local finisher, ending in sixth. Brody Troftgruben finished eighth while two-time Seitz winner ended in 10th.
There were three other feature races during the six-plus hours of racing, which ended at 12:16 a.m. Sunday.
Tyler Peterson won the modified feature by a margin of 2.348 seconds over Dale Ames.
In the Midwest modified feature, Lance Schill took another checkered flag, holding off Jory Berg by 1.008 seconds. The feature was marred by a multi-car crash on the first lap that involved approximately 14 cars. Only 10 of the 24 cars that started the race finished.
In the streets feature, Tucker Pederson capped off a strong season with his 12th win of the year.
Pederson, who started 11th, took the lead with eight laps to go.
“This was a great way to cap off the season,” said Pederson.