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Wisconsin driver looking for another Seitz feature win

The 16th annual John Seitz Memorial Late Model Invitational on tap this weekend at RCS

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Crews add fuel and make adjustments to A.J. Diemel's No. 58 late model during a break in 2020 John Seitz Memorial Late Models feature race at River Cities Speedway. Nick Nelson / Grand Forks Herald
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GRAND FORKS – A.J. Diemel has raced a late model for a long time. And he’s well aware that his whopping win in last year’s John Seitz Memorial Late Model Invitational will be hard – if not impossible – to replicate this weekend at River Cities Speedway.

That will be one of the story lines to follow as the 16th annual Seitz weekend kicks off Thursday and concludes Saturday night with a 92-lap, $9,200-to-win feature race that traditionally attracts the top late model drivers in the region.

This season, approximately 50 late models are expected to run for the big money.

Diemel is the only three-time winner of the event. The Elk Mound, Wis., driver won by a whopping 13 seconds last season, a margin of victory rarely seen on the quarter-mile bullring.

Diemel led all but 10 laps last season and lapped up to the fifth-place car.

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He's hoping for another strong weekend at RCS, but realizes the challenges that exist for another title, let alone a 13-second win.

"I hope we can do what we did last year," he said. "Chances of that aren't that good but we'll see what we can do. We're bringing back the same car and we'll prepare like last year."

Due to the tire shortages that exist in dirt racing throughout the region, Diemel said he hasn't raced as much this season. Between his modified car and late model, he estimates he's raced around 20 shows this summer.

"But we circle this race on the calendar every year," said Diemel.

At last season’s event, Diemel won Thursday night’s NLRA season finale and had a strong car in the Friday night pole dash, which set the top eight starting spots for the feature.

“We were really good when we unloaded,” he said last year in Victory Lane. “We tweaked things here and there and it paid off. And this was a heck of a race track to race on.”

That’s one of the reasons why the Seitz weekend attracts a strong field each year. There will be five divisions racing this weekend.

Mdifieds, Midwest modifieds streets and sprints will join the late models this weekend.

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In 2017, the Seitz weekend drew a record 211 cars on its final night. The racing on that final night began at 6 p.m. and ended at 2:25 a.m. Sunday when Mark Dobmeier won a back-row challenge in the sprint feature worth $8,200.

On Thursday, the highlight will be the NLRA season championship. With one race remaining, Mike Greseth of Harwood, N.D., is the season-points leader. Brody Troftgruben is second, 136 points off the pace. Five-time NLRA champion Brad Seng is third, followed by Jesse Teunis and Ryan Kereluk.

Modifieds, Midwest modifieds and streets also will run Thursday.

On Friday, the highlight will be the late model pole dash. The winner will start on the pole for Saturday’s 92-lap feature.

Also Friday, the final leg of the Wayne Anderson Cup will take place. The event is in honor of the late Wayne Anderson, who was one of the original managing partners of RCS and a big sprint car booster for years. The three previous winners of the Anderson Cup this season are Dobmeier, Austin Pierce and IRA racer Jack Blackhurst.

Modifieds, Midwest modifieds and streets again will race Friday as they will on Saturday.

The 92-lap late model feature caps the three-day event.

Related Topics: AUTO RACING
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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