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Out for the big money

In a matter of seconds, Brad Seng's plans for this weekend's third annual John Seitz Memorial Late Model Invitational at River Cities Speedway changed drastically.

In a matter of seconds, Brad Seng's plans for this weekend's third annual John Seitz Memorial Late Model Invitational at River Cities Speedway changed drastically.

Seng was involved in a nasty wreck during last week's 20-lap feature at RCS. It was the last thing the Grand Forks driver needed on the eve of the Seitz Memorial -- one of the biggest late model races of the season in the Upper Midwest.

"It was a $25,000 crash," Seng said. "But it's over and done with."

Seng's car was destroyed. And it had become clear in the past few weeks that Seng had a car capable of winning Saturday's night feature, which pays $9,200 to win.

That left Seng scrambling to prepare a new car for tonight's opening round of the Seitz Memorial, which includes heat races and the dash -- a race that pays $920 to win and sets the first few rows of Saturday night's 50-lap feature.

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The Seitz field will include most of the top WISSOTA drivers from the Dakotas, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Canada.

Last year's winner, Justin Fegers of Minneapolis, will be in the field as will top WISSOTA drivers such as Pat Doar of New Richmond, Wis., and Joel Cryderman of Thunder Bay, Ont.

Focus is foremost

Between 40 and 50 cars are expected for the event, which pays tribute to the late John Seitz, who was one of the more popular late model drivers at RCS. Seitz, of Bemidji, died during a snowmobile trip to Idaho in 2007.

Seng said no driver can afford to look ahead.

"If you're looking forward to Saturday and you don't take care of Friday, nothing is going to happen," Seitz said.

Seng will be one of a handful of local drivers expected to make a strong run at the Seitz title.

Joey Pederson is one of the RCS regulars that has had a lot of success at RCS the past few seasons.

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With his second-place finish in last week's feature, Pederson wrapped up his second straight RCS season points championship.

"There are so many variables that go into a big show like this," said Pederson, who was one of a handful of drivers that practiced Thursday night at RCS. "The draw and where you start in your heat is important. If you have to go into the B main, you're behind the 8-ball."

No holding back

That likely means tonight's heat races, scheduled for 15 laps, will be aggressive as drivers will try and qualify for the A main on their first attempt.

"The caliber of cars that end up in the feature is second to none," Pederson said.

Pederson said his season has been one of trial and error.

"We've been trying a lot of things on the car this season," he said. "It seems we take two steps back before we take one step forward. But coming to the end of the season, things seem to be on the upside."

Midwest modified and streets will run tonight with the late models. Sprints will join the field on Saturday night.

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Nelson reports on sports. Reach him at (701) 780-1268; (800) 477-6572, ext. 268; or send e-mail to wnelson@gfherald.com .

Tonight's races

What: John Seitz Memorial Late Model Invitational, River Cities Speedway.

When: Hot laps 6:30 p.m., racing 7:30 p.m.

Tickets: Tonight: Adults $16 ($13 in advance); Children (7-12) $5; Saturday's tickets: Adults $23 ($20 in advance); Children (7-12) $5.

Classes: Late models, Midwest modifieds, streets will race tonight; Saturday: Late models, Midwest modifieds, streets, sprints will race.

Of note: A rain date for the event is scheduled Sunday.

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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