Upon further review, Mark Dobmeier captures thrilling sprint feature win at RCS
RCS officials reverse decision 30 minutes after the checkered flag was waved
GRAND FORKS – Over the years, there have been many down-to-the-wire, near-photo finishes at River Cities Speedway.
Friday night’s 35-lap sprint feature may have topped them all.
Roughly 30 minutes after Jade Hastings appeared to have beaten Mark Dobmeier in a thrilling finish, RCS officials awarded the win to Dobmeier after track and NOSA officials reviewed the ending.
The feature came in the track’s season finale and it was part of the Buffalo Wild Wings Blazin’ Challenge series. Dobmeier had the option of starting last by winning the King of the Hill event, in which drivers post qualifying times against each other in order to earn the right to start last in the 17-car feature.
By starting last and winning, Dobmeier took home $5,000. A second-place finish would have paid Dobmeier $3,000.
After Hastings celebrated in Victory Lane with his crew and fans, RCS and NOSA officials reviewed timing, scoring, photos and video of the race. It was then determined that Dobmeier crossed the finish line first.
Lon Kvasager, the track’s competition director, said there was some type of malfunction in the My Laps Transponder system, which originally gave Hastings the win by 0.092 seconds. After a review, Dobmeier won by 0.048 seconds.
“Both drivers agreed,” said Kvasager after the review.
The overturned result also gave Dobmeier the season track championship at RCS, two points ahead of Hastings.
“The race was absolutely phenomenal,” said Dobmeier. “It was a hard race to the end. The track couldn’t have been more perfect. I knew I beat Jade by half a car length. Then they announced on the radio that Jade had won. I was kind of shocked. So we had a meeting at the scale and we reviewed everything.
“There was some kind of transponder glitch at the end. River Cities Speedway did a great job and got things figured out.”
Hastings started on the pole and was in control until the red flag came out for a fire in Tim Estenson’s car with 13 laps remaining.
Dobmeier had moved up to second by then. With seven laps to go, Dobmeier used lapped traffic to slip by Hastings in Turn 2.
On the white flag lap, Hastings made a surge and the two literally were side by side coming out of Turn 4.
“I’ve never had a finish like that,” said Dobmeier.
With the moisture the track had received in the past two days, the track was wicked fast all night.
Brenden Mullen and Dobmeier posted fast laps of 9.811 seconds and 9.897 seconds, respectively, in their heat race. In his 14 laps of posting lap times in the King of the Hill event, Dobmeier averaged 9.7 seconds per lap.
“You could race anywhere on the track,” said Dobmeier. “It was neck-and-neck all night. It was anyone’s race at the end.”
Hastings was searching for his fourth win of the season.
When Dobmeier passed him for the lead with seven laps to go, Hastings thought he had lost the race.
“But after he passed me, I realized he wasn’t any faster than me,” said Hastings in Victory Lane. “I just had to be smoother than he was. And luckily, there were 35 laps, not 30.”
Roughly 30 minutes after the celebration in Victory Lane, Hastings lost what would have been one of his more memorable victories, especially after he nearly beat Dobmeier – the track’s career leader in wins.
“Props to Mark,” added Hastings. “He’s the best (driver) to ever come out of this town. He’s still the best driver here. But when the helmet comes on they’re all just other drivers.”
Blake Egeland finished third while Mullen and Shane Roemeling rounded out the top five.
In other features, Adam Sobolik led from start to finish in winning the wingless sprint feature. It was his 13th win of the season.
Alan Truscinski won the lightning sprints feature; Jay Loughman captured the IMCA hobby stock feature; Erick Laudenschlager won the IMCA Northern Sports Mod feature and Keaton Froemke took the IMCA stock feature.
A demolition derby is scheduled for Saturday night at River Cities.