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STAMPEDE: Jamestown's crown jewel racing event begins Friday

Eric Edwards (14) flies three-wide out of Turn 2 with Marlyn Seidler (7) underneath during IMCA Modified racing action earlier this season at Jamestown Speedway. Michael Savaloja / The Sun

A 16-year-old Eric Edwards drove onto Jamestown Speedway 14 years ago with the No. 14 proudly displayed on the side of his car.

Little did the driver from nearby Edgeley know, but that would be the exact number of years it'd take the man who'd become known as "The Kid" to claim his first track title. Edwards, the 2018 Jamestown Speedway IMCA modified track champion, will now be gunning for a victory in the 47th annual Jamestown Speedway Stock Car Stampede beginning tomorrow, Sept. 21, at 7 p.m.

"If I knew it would take 14 years to win my first track title, I might have reconsidered the number on the side of my car," Edwards said. "And, I had to skip two of the five weddings I had this summer to stay out front."

Edwards won it in style, driving to his only feature victory of 2018 to this point on title night in Jamestown, holding off Jamestown's Josh Eberhardt by 15 markers in the season standings. Edwards will be competing in both the WISSOTA late model and IMCA modified divisions this weekend after completing triple duty in the lates, mods and WISSOTA B-mods during last year's Stampede.

Edwards placed eighth in the 2017 late model feature field, won by 2017 WISSOTA late model national champion Don Shaw, of Ham Lake, Minn., and placed 13th in the A-mod feature, won by Dustin Strand, of East Grand Forks, Minn.

"It would be by far the biggest win I've ever had," Edwards said. "Anytime the trophy is taller than the car, you know it's a special night."

Jamestown Speedway track promoter Tim Baldwin said it's all systems go for this weekend's Stampede, even with Thursday's rain. Weather has affected the past two Stampedes, but the forecast looks promising the remainder of the weekend.

"We prepared the track for the rain," Baldwin said. "We packed it a little extra and did some dirt work around the track to try and hopefully make things drain. But we've got a great forcast for the weekend, so that really helps."

A total of 232 drivers were registered Thursday night for the annual calcutta-style driver charity auction, which is a good indicator that the car count could be up this year. Last year's Stampede brought in 270 cars after 198 turned out in 2016, which was postponed to Oct. 14-15 because of poor weather. The Stampede had generated over 300 cars and drivers from 2012-2015, with a record 317 turning out in 2012.

"Up until this weather, it felt like there was a lot of positive energy out there the past couple days," Baldwin said. "The calcutta got a better response than it's ever had and (social media activity) was all up compared to normal, plus we had a decent year of racing."

Friday night is all about heat races, which will feature nine classes of cars. Consolation and feature races will take to the track beginning at 5 p.m. on Saturday.

"There's going to be a lot of cars and a lot of good racing," Baldwin said. "We're going to have people from several states and hopefully Canada. Come on out, it's going to be a good time."

Edwards said the recent rain should produce a fast racing surface, which fans normally tend to enjoy.

"I like dry-slick, but the tacky tracks are more exciting for the fans," said Edwards, who placed 14th in late model standings this season at Brown County Speedway in Aberdeen, S.D., his second season racing a late. "You basically hope you get a decent draw. If you can start up front, you've got a pretty good shot of finishing good and starting towards the front of the feature.

"It would be a huge win, but 300 other drives are coming with the same aspect. It'll be interesting when the green flag drops."

Stampede Schedule

Friday

• Dirt Late Model Simulator — Feel what it's like inside a stock car through Saturday!

• Gates open for racers, 10 a.m.

• Grandstand opens for fans, 3 p.m. Tickets: $20 adults, $10 ages 6-14, $50 family.

• Racing begins, 7 p.m. Heat races for all classes.

Saturday

• First Assembly of God's free breakfast for racers and crews in the beer gardens, 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.

• Wilhelm Chevrolet Buick GMC's annual 5K walk/run for Huntington's Disease and car show to follow, 8 a.m.

• Buffalo City Karting, 11 a.m.

• Dakota Motocross at the fairgrounds, 8 a.m.

• Grandstand opens for fans, 2 p.m. Tickets: $25 adults, $10 ages 6-14, $60 family.

• Stock Car Stampede championship night, 5 p.m. Consolation and feature races for all classes.

2017 Stock Car Stampede winners

WISSOTA Late Models: Don Shaw (Ham Lake, Minn.).

IMCA Modifieds: Dustin Strand (East Grand Forks, Minn.).

WISSOTA Street Stocks: Royce Jawaski (Horace, N.D.).

WISSOTA Midwest Modifieds: Brock Gronwold (Fergus Falls, Minn.).

IMCA Sportmods: Robby Rosselli (Minot, N.D.).

Bombers: Wyatt Rath-Wald (Napoleon, N.D.).

INEX Legends: Tim Estenson (Fargo, N.D.).

All-Star Slingshots: Connor McLachhlan (Jamestown, N.D.).

Junior Slingshots: Jacoby Traut (Jamestown, N.D.).

Stampede Payouts

Bombers: $300 to win, $100 to start.

INEX Legends: $1000 to win, $100 to start.

WISSOTA Midwest Modifieds: $1,000 to win, $100 to start.

IMCA Sport Mods: $1,000 to win, $100 to start.

WISSOTA Street Stocks: $1,000 to win, $100 to start.

WISSOTA Super Stocks: $1,000 to win, $100 to start.

IMCA Modifieds: $2,000 to win, $300 to start.

WISSOTA Late Models: $3,000 to win, $300 to start.

2018 Jamestown Speedway Season Review

Track Champions

BOMBERS: Clay Gentzkow (LaMoure, N.D.)

WISSOTA MIDWEST MODIFIEDS: Nate Reinke (Lisbon, N.D.)

WISSOTA STREET STOCKS: Bob Banish Jr. (Milnor, N.D.)

IMCA MODIFIEDS: Eric Edwards (Edgeley, N.D.)

Feature Winners

BOMBERS: Clay Gentzkow 2, Greg Moore 2, Travis Edinger 2, Tony Smith 1, Lane Stoppleworth 1, Jason Miller 1, John Gartner Jr. 1.

WISSOTA MIDWEST MODIFIEDS: Nate Reinke 2, Scott Bintz 2, Kelly Hagel 1, Jim Morlock 1, Lucas Rodin 1, Travis Traut 1, Jason Grimes 1, Kyle Langland 1

WISSOTA STREET STOCKS: Jonny Carter 4, Bob Banish Jr. 2, Royce Jawaski 2, Rory Opp 1, Jerry Lamb 1.

IMCA MODIFIEDS: John Nord 2, Eric Edwards 1, Josh Eberhardt 1, John Corell 1, Rusty Kollman 1, Marlyn Seidler 1, Joey Rowell 1, Tyler Peterson 1, Jason Wolla 1

WISSOTA LATE MODELS: Dustin Strand 1.

NOSA SPRINTS: Wade Nygaard 1.

INEX LEGENDS: Donavin Wiest 1.

LIGHTNING SPRINTS: Kelsi Pederson 1.

JR. SLINGSHOTS: Jaidyn Edinger 2, Gavin Edinger 2, Jacoby Traut 2, Andrea Edinger 1, Connor McLachhlan 1.

Final Points Standings

(Top 10)

IMCA MODIFIEDS: 1. Eric Edwards 340; 2. Josh Eberhardt 325; 3. John Nord 318; 4. Greg Friestad 318; 5. John Corell 294; 6. Jarrett Carter 287; 7. Lucas Rodin 272; 8. Rusty Kollman 261; 9. Billie Christ 261; 10. Marlyn Seidler 254.

WISSOTA STREET STOCKS: 1. Bob Banish Jr. 1,011; 2. Rory Opp 968; 3. Jerry Lamb 959; 4. Kyle Anderson 943; 5. Jonny Carter 890; 6. Dustin Erickson 869; 7. Charlie Christ 833; 8. Chris Ritter 833; 9. Shawn Becker 819; 10. Royce Jawaski 792.

WISSOTA MIDWEST MODIFIEDS: 1. Nate Reinke 969; 2. Kelly Hagel 905; 3. Jim Morlock 02; 4. Arin Beyer 840; 5. Zach Reinke 839; 6. Lucas Rodin 820; 7. Andy Kapp 766; 8. Jay Sahr 759; 9. Aaron Michel 708; 10. Travis Traut 685.

BOMBERS: 1. Clay Gentzkow 1,001; 2. Leann Christensen 993; 3. Billy Carow 947; 4. Tony Smith 912; 5. Greg Moore 911; 6. Lane Stoppleworth 893; 7. Erik Busche 837; 8. Travis Edinger 755; 9. Hayden Aberle 676; 10. Larry Hanson 551.

Michael Savaloja

Hometown: Churchs Ferry, N.D.; College: North Dakota

A recipient of the NDHSCA Award of Merit, Savaloja has been reporting sports for The Sun since 2008.

Follow on Twitter: @MichaelSavaloja

(701) 952-8461
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