Braaksma is first at Fairmont for third IMCA Speed Shift TV Dirt Knights win

Ethan Braaksma won for the third time in five Speed Shift TV Dirt Knights starts this summer, when the tour for IMCA Modifieds traveled to Fairmont Raceway Wednesday night. (Photo by Jim Steffens)

FAIRMONT, Minn. (Aug. 5) – Ethan Braaksma’s first visit to Fairmont Raceway ended with his third Speed Shift TV Dirt Knights Tour for IMCA Modifieds feature win of the summer. 

Braaksma started outside the front row and led all 25 laps Wednesday on the fast half-mile oval, earning $1,000 for his efforts. 

“I had a good car tonight and hit some good, consistent laps,” he said. “We haven’t changed much on the car this year and kind of went with what we’ve been doing. I don’t have a lot of experience on half miles and thought we did a good job making adjustments from our heat to the feature.”

After an early caution, the Bob Shryock Memorial headliner ran green another 17 straight laps. Braaksma led by more than four seconds and was catching up with the back of the field when home track heavyweight and 12th starting Brandon Beckendorf passed Todd Stinehart for second, just before midway.

Beckendorf made up ground in a hurry as the front pair ran in heavy traffic. Braaksma’s challengers got the break they needed when the yellow came out again with five laps to go.

The leader was quick to extinguish any late-race hopes, however, pulling away on the restart as 10th starting Casey Skyberg and Stinehart both drove by Beckendorf.

“We had pulled ahead coming to lapped traffic and I knew I had to pick up the pace a little bit,” said Braaksma. “I was pretty sure if I could hit my line perfect (on the final restart) it would work out for me.” 

The tour point leader’s latest victory came in just his 11th start in a new Rage ride. 

“I did not expect this. Corey Dripps has been working with me on this car and it’s been amazing. It just fits my driving style,” Braaksma said. “It’s crazy to race with all these guys who are so good. The competition is just unreal.”

Ryan Bjerkeset completed the top five.

Other winners Wednesday at Fairmont were Jeff Larson in the IMCA Sunoco Stock Cars, Keeran Sampson in the IMCA Sunoco Hobby Stocks, Jared Boumeester in the Karl Kustoms Northern SportMods and Bubba Brown in the Mach-1 Sport Compacts. 

The third and final Dirt Knights Tour event of the week is Thursday at Kossuth County Speedway. Pit gates open at 5:30 p.m. and racing follows 7 p.m. for the $1,000 to win Denny Hovenga Memorial race. 

Aug. 6 is also the final day for 2020 Fast Shafts All-Star Invitational ballot qualifying events to be held.

All Dirt Knights races are broadcast by Speed Shift TV. The season finale and 100th event in tour history is Aug. 30 at Benton County Speedway.

Feature results – 1. Ethan Braaksma, Newton, Iowa; 2. Casey Skyberg, Rapid City, S.D.; 3. Todd Stinehart, Waseca; 4. Brandon Beckendorf, Danube; 5. Ryan Bjerkeset, St. Peter; 6. Kyle Brown, Madrid, Iowa; 7. Kelly Shryock, Fertile, Iowa; 8. Corey Dripps, Reinbeck, Iowa; 9. Mat Hollerich, Good Thunder; 10. Benjamin Chukuske, Welcome; 11. Randy Brown, Chowchilla, Calif.; 12. Jeff Ignaszewski, Wells; 13. Lyle Sathoff, Sherburn; 14. Travis DeBoer, Fairmont; 15. Trent Loverude, New Ulm; 16. Cole Bents, Rushmore; 17. Garett Wilson, Carlisle, Iowa; 18. John Burrow, Denver, Colo.; 19. Chris Palsrok, Sibley, Iowa; 20. David Brown, Kellogg, Iowa; 21. Jason Brees, Meriden, Iowa; 22. Jesse Rogotzke, Sanborn; 23. Al Hejna, Clear Lake, Iowa; 24. Cody Blixt, Clancy, Mont.; 25. Nicholas Carpenter, Leavenworth, Kan.