Bjerkeset up to challenge at Arlington

After accepting the back row challenge, Ryan Bjerkeset raced to the Saturday night IMCA Sunoco Stock Car checkers at Arlington Raceway. (Photo by Sarah Moriarty)

ARLINGTON, Minn. (June 5) – The highlight of the Saturday night show at Arlington Raceway was the IMCA Sunoco Stock Car feature, when Ryan Bjerkeset took a back row challenge along with Brent Uecker and Chad Schroeder for an extra $750 from the sponsors for winning the race. 

Seventeen cars started and there were three different leaders. Matt Schauer led for the first 13 laps with a hefty advantage on the field but pulled off due to his car overheating. Schroeder encountered a flat tire and pulled off on lap seven, ending his own night.

Alex Dostal took advantage of Schauer’s misfortune and inherited the lead but a yellow was thrown when Andrea McCain spun. That opened the door for Bjerkeset on the restart as he had been picking cars off lap by lap. He got around Dostal and remained the leader for the next four laps to win the race and $1,100 while becoming eligible to qualify for the B & B Chassis All-Star Race.

Dostal was so close but so far and settled for second ahead of Dan Mackenthun. Uecker, the other back row challenge racer, finished sixth.

Chad Porter was victorious in the IMCA Modifieds, winning his heat and feature for a clean sweep. Josh Larsen from Glencoe was the early leader but by lap three, Porter was in command. He had a generous lead on the field and as the laps were winding down with no caution flags, the race behind him was strong. 

Dan Menk, Clint Hatlestad and Matt Gilbertson were all neck and neck to battle each other. By the 11th lap, they all encountered lapped traffic but with only a few laps left Hatlestad was close to Porter’s bumper and tried unsuccessfully to get around him. Porter held his ground and won the race just ahead of Hatlestad. Menk took third and Gilbertston took fourth. 

Another new car in victory lane was Jason Schroeder in the Karl Kustoms Northern SportMods. The caution-free race saw him lead start to finish from his front row start. Chris Neisen was fast on the track and had his sights on the top spot but was working hard to fend off Matt Looft. He did a great job of blocking Looft from passing him. In the end he was successful taking second just ahead of Looft.

Rookie Matt Johnson took the lead on the third lap of the IMCA RaceSaver Sprint Car feature. The first couple laps belonged to Hannah Graf but she pulled off. Johnson then powered his way to the front.

On the lap seven restart, Johnson took off again with his father Bill behind him. Matt was able to lead the remaining laps to win the race right ahead of his dad. Chris Graf took third and Javen Osterman took fourth place for an exciting finish. 

Gary Schumacher led the first lap of the Mach-1 Sport Compact feature while Justin Dose moved quickly from his ninth place start to capture the top spot in only two laps. Soon he had the company of Marschall Robinson, who had started right behind Dose. The two raced side-by-side for several laps but in the end, Robinson overtook Dose to win. Dose took second ahead of J.R. Esquesda while Alan Lahr took fourth.

Scott Porter and Matt Olson had an awesome race going in the IMCA Sunoco Hobby Stock feature. Porter led the first five laps while Jordan Robinson stuck with him. By lap six, Olson, who had started 10th was battling both Robinson and Porter and was able to get both of them to take over the lead and go on to win. Porter held off Robinson for second.