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Mark Dobmeier tracks down Thomas Kennedy late to win sprint feature

The Grand Forks driver took the lead with three laps to go and grabbed the checkered flag at River Cities Speedway.

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From left; Noah Harris, Christopher Thram (24), and Nick Rantan race through turn one at River Cities Speedway Friday.
Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald
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GRAND FORKS — Mark Dobmeier had a few chances to take the lead Friday night.

There was a restart with 19 laps to go in the sprint feature at River Cities Speedway. Dobmeier briefly got ahead of Thomas Kennedy on Turn 2, but bounced on the track and Kennedy took the lead right back.

There was a restart with 15 laps to go — with both Dobmeier and Kennedy on the front row — but Kennedy again charged to the lead.

Dobmeier just needed a bit of lapped traffic.

With just over three laps left, Dobmeier snuck past the Winnipeg driver, who was hung up in lapped traffic, on the low side of Turn 4 to claim the lead. Dobmeier then masterfully weaved through lapped traffic in the final three laps to grab the checkered flag.

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"I was on the bottom groove," Dobmeier said. "We had good speed the whole race. We had a good car."

Kennedy finished second, followed by Jade Hastings, Austin Pierce and Brendan Mullen.

"It was pretty action-packed with Thomas," Dobmeier said. "He's a great racer and he can run hard like that. We had a clean race. It was fun."

It was Dobmeier's second feature win of the year at The Bullring. He is the current points leader at the track.

"We had a great car underneath us," Dobmeier said.

The 20-lap late model feature went green to checkered flag, lasting just 4 minutes, 48 seconds.

Lance Schill, who started on the outside of Row 2, surged to the lead early in the race, passing pole-sitter Tom Corcoran on Turn 3 just three laps into the feature.

Schill then weaved through lapped traffic to pull away from the rest of the field and win the race. Dustin Strand finished second, followed by Brody Troftgruben, Ryan Corbett and Corcoran.

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"That was fast," Schill said. "It was good. It was fast and good. Lots of bite down here and a lot of good traction on the exit."

Nick DaRonco of Britt, Minn., made his first-ever trip to River Cities Speedway on Friday night and made the most of it in the wingless sprint feature.

DaRonco started on the pole and cruised to the checkered flag in the 20-lap feature, beating out Chris Lewis, Ken Hron, Rob Caho Jr., and Lucas Logue.

DaRonco didn't have any trouble maintaining the lead after a long stoppage for a wreck on the front straightaway.

"This is my first time racing here," DaRonco said. "I had a really good time. It's a great track and I had a blast. It's awesome to win a race in front of a big crowd like this."

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Wingless sprints take off during a heat Friday night at River Cities Speedway.
Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald

In the 20-lap street feature, Greg Jose started on the front row and led for 18 laps, fighting off challenges from Trey Hess and Aaron Blacklance.

But finally, Blacklance got around Jose on the back straightaway with a lap and a half to go to take the lead. The Thief River Falls driver, who started the race on the inside of the fifth row, then drove to the checkered flag.

Jose finished second, followed by Hess, Seth Klostreich and John Halvorson, who started 18th.

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The car count in the Midwest Modifieds division was small to start — nine were on hand Friday night — and even smaller to end.

Just four drivers — Austin Hunter, Randy Thompson, Jory Berg and Jason Halverson — finished the 20-lap feature.

Hunter, of Winnipeg, led the feature from start to finish, holding off early challenges from Lance Schill, who spun out twice and failed to finish. Three others were unable to finish the feature and another was disqualified after a wreck in the heat race.

Thompson finished second, Berg third and Halverson fourth.

River Cities Speedway

Friday's results
Streets
First heat — 1. Trey Hess, GF, 2. Greg Jose, GF, 3. Weston Ramsrud, Bagley
Second heat — 1. Tucker Pederson, EGF, 2. Aaron Blacklance, TRF, 3. Seth Klostreich, GF
Third heat — 1. Daniel Aberle, Finley, 2. Josh Barker, Thompson, 3. Cole Greseth, Harwood
Feature — 1. Blacklance, 2. Jose, 3. Hess, 4. Klostreich, 5. John Halvorson, Warren
Midwest Modifieds
First heat — 1. Austin Hunter, Winnipeg, 2. Jason Halverson, Devils Lake, 3. Jory Berg, GF
Feature — 1. Hunter, 2. Randy Thompson, Lakota, 3. Berg, 4. Halverson
Wingless sprints
First heat — 1. Ken Hron, Grand Rapids, Minn., 2. Adam Sobolik, GF, 3. Chris Lewis, Grand Rapids
Second heat — 1. Nick DaRonco, Britt, Minn., 2. Brandon Palm, Portland, 3. Lucas Logue, Rush City, Minn.
Feature — 1. DaRonco, 2. Lewis, 3. Hron, 4. Rob Caho Jr., Rush City, Minn., 5. Logue
Late models
First heat — 1. Dustin Strand, EGF, 2. Ryan Corbett, GF, 3. Joey Pederson, EGF
Second heat — 1. Tom Corcoran, EGF, 2. Brad Seng, GF, 3. Lance Schill, Langdon
Third heat — 1. Brody Troftgruben, GF, 2. Blake Anderson, GF, 3. Ryan Kereluk, St. Andrews, Man.
Feature — 1. Schill, 2. Strand, 3. Troftgruben, 4. Corbett, 5. Corcoran
Sprints
First heat — 1. Brendan Mullen, GF, 2. Mark Dobmeier, GF, 3. Austin Pierce, GF
Second heat — 1. Noah Harris, Broken Arrow, Okla., 2. Christopher Thram, Sanborn, Minn., 3. Jack Croaker, EGF
Third heat — 1. Thomas Kennedy, Winnipeg; 2. Zach Omdahl, EGF, 3. Wade Nygaard, GF
Feature — 1. Dobmeier, 2. Kennedy, 3. Jade Hastings, GF, 4. Pierce, 5. Mullen

Related Topics: AUTO RACING
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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