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Thomas Kennedy wins sprint feature at RCS after not being able to race in more than two years

Pandemic shut down Kennedy’s racing career as he couldn’t cross the U.S.-Canadian border

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NOSA sprints driver Mark Dobmeier, right, keeps a close pace with Wade Nygaard during a heat race at River Cities Speedway in Grand Forks on Friday, May 27, 2022.
Nick Nelson / Grand Forks Herald
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GRAND FORKS – Thomas Kennedy waited more than two years to race his blue-and-white No. 21k sprint car.

It was a painful two-plus years for Kennedy as well.

The Winnipeg driver won Friday night’s 25-lap sprint feature at River Cities Speedway, which finally launched its 2022 season after three straight weather-related cancellations.

The pandemic shut down Kennedy’s racing career as he couldn’t cross the U.S.-Canadian border. And there was no sprint racing, either, near his Winnipeg home.

To make it much worse, Kennedy had to deal with the death of his mother and grandfather, the Hall-of-Famer Lou Kennedy Sr.

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So the emotions ran high for Kennedy as he climbed out of his sprint car in Victory Lane. He earned the win, too, holding off Mark Dobmeier, who finished second, and Austin Pierce, who was seeking his eighth-straight win dating back to last season.

“I didn’t expect this,” said Kennedy. “It’s great to be back and I’ll definitely take it. I dedicate this win to my mom, who passed away in 2020 at an early age and to my grandpa, who passed away in 2020.

“I haven’t always had the best of luck here. I’ve struggled but it’s great to be back in Victory Lane.”

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Lou Kennedy Jr. and Thomas Kennedy, right, celebrate Kennedy's NOSA sprints feature win at the conclusion of the Premier Racing Series event Friday, May 27, 2022 at Grand Forks' River Cities Speedway.
Wayne Nelson / Grand Forks Herald

Kennedy started third but was at the front with 18 laps to go. From there, he held off charges from Dobmeier and Pierce as the race had a number of caution flags. Kennedy was strong on all the restarts and had a comfortable lead as he crossed the finish line. Pierce, who had not lost at RCS since last July, finished third.

“As long as I could keep my momentum on the restarts, I knew there wasn’t anybody who could catch me.”

In other classes, it was a big night for Lance Schill, who won the Midwest modified and late model features.

The Langdon, N.D., driver used lapped traffic to take the lead with eight laps to go in the late model feature.

Chad Corbett finished second, followed by Brad Seng.

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“This night is really special,” said Schill. “I’ve always wanted to win both features here on the same night for a long time.”

Trey Hess won the streets feature.

RCS will host the World of Outlaws next Friday.

Related Topics: AUTO RACING
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