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Finally, a trip to Victory Lane

Zach Naastad has raced buses at River Cities Speedway since the track began featuring the novelty a few years ago. He finished second to Craig Hauser on Friday night. "I think I've finished second about the last six years," he said. But his night...

Zach Naastad has raced buses at River Cities Speedway since the track began featuring the novelty a few years ago.

He finished second to Craig Hauser on Friday night.

"I think I've finished second about the last six years," he said.

But his night changed in a hurry.

A few minutes later, Naastad was in Victory Lane, enjoying his first late model feature win at The Bullring.

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Naastad led from start to finish in winning the 20-lap event Friday night. He was in command most of the race until Brad Seng moved to within striking distance during the final few laps.

"This feels a lot better," said Naastad. "There are a lot of good drivers out here; it's tough keeping up with them."

Naastad beat Seng to the flagstand by 1.063 seconds. His fastest lap time was 13.213 seconds, that coming on Lap 10. Naastad started third and quickly jumped to the top spot. Midway through the feature he led by roughly a straight-away.

Seng, who started fifth, closed the gap in the final laps. The driver of the No. 12 car posted the only sub-13 second lap of the race. His top time was 12.978 seconds on Lap 12.

Mike Balcaen finished third, followed by Joey Pederson and Dustin Strand.

Strand also raced in the 20-lap A modified feature. The A mods don't run regularly at RCS but they are featured a few times each season.

Ward Imrie of Winnipeg captured the feature, leading from start to finish. He had to hold off a hard charge from Strand in the closing laps.

The Canadian driver had nearly a 4 second lead on the field until a caution flag with 8 laps to go wiped out that big advantage.

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After the restart, Strand steadily closed the gap. He and Imrie were nearly side-by-side in the final laps but Strand couldn't make the pass for the lead.

Imrie won by 0.158 seconds and had the fastest lap time (14.175) as well.

Scott Greer was third, followed by Ryan Kereluk and Aaron Holtan.

"It seems like Dustin and I have been racing side-by-side for the last three weeks," said Imrie. "It's awesome to race against him."

The annual bus race again didn't disappoint the more than 2,000 fans that turned out. There were 12 buses in the feature with Hauser, an RCS track official, taking the win. Naastad finished second followed by Riley Gregoire.

The field was comprised mostly of drivers and track officials.

For the second straight week, weather was an issue for RCS officials, who pushed the show along as fast as they could to beat the rain.

The 25-lap sprint feature, however, was rained out. The cars were preparing to line up when the rain hit. It's expected the feature will be made up at a later date.

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Dustin Strand (71) works his way through traffic during the A modifieds feature race at the River Cities Speedway in Grand Forks on Friday, June 9, 2017. Strand finished second to Ward Imrie. (Joshua Komer / Grand Forks Herald)
Dustin Strand (71) works his way through traffic during the A modifieds feature race at the River Cities Speedway in Grand Forks on Friday, June 9, 2017. Strand finished second to Ward Imrie. (Joshua Komer / Grand Forks Herald)

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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