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Fargo’s Arneson wins big payday

By Eric Morken

and Ryan Schmitz All the Dirt Racing News

Fargo, North Dakota driver Austin Arneson held off former Mod Nationals champions, Scot Danziesen and Dale Mathison, to win the 10th annual Minnesota Modified Nationals Championship, presented by Performance Auto, on a beautiful Sunday evening at the Viking Speedway this past weekend.

It was the largest modified payout in WISSOTA history at $10,001 and easily the biggest win of the 22-year-old’s career.

“By far,” Arneson said in a phone interview with the Echo Press on Wednesday after having a few days to let the win sink in. “I’ve never really run good at Alexandria. Years before I haven’t been able to figure it out. It’s kind of a tricky track. We put together a car this winter and that was my third time racing it. I’ve won three heat races, second in a feature, first in a feature and then the qualifying feature and the big show. It’s been a pretty good car.”

Arneson and Dale Mathison paced the star studded, 29-car WISSOTA modified feature to the green on Sunday for the 70-lap feature event.

After the first caution 10 laps into the race, Mathison paced the field to the green and Arneson moved to the extreme high side of the speedway and completed the pass on both Mathison and Joey Jensen to move into the lead.

Out front is where he found himself almost all night, and it made for a nerve-racking evening as he did everything he could to hold off a loaded field.

“There’s a lot of pressure those last 25-28 laps,” Arneson said. “I saw a lot of noses from Scot and Dale. I knew Cody [Skytland] was coming. I could see up on the scoreboard him creeping into the top five. I don’t think anyone likes leading races that long. The track could change. You’re kind of a sitting duck.”

Arneson continued to lead the field to the fuel stop yellow on lap 30 with Mathison in second, Mike Stearns third, Kelley Estey fourth, and Danziesen in fifth. With the cars refueled, Arneson led Mathison and Stearns to the green and jumped back to the cushion and into the lead.

Arneson said he felt good about his car and where everything stood after the fuel stop, but he was taking nothing for granted down the stretch.

“I knew we put on a good set of tires this year,” he said after commenting on how he burned his tires up too quick in the same race last year. “The new WISSOTA-W tire – it’s been a good tire for us…I knew if I got the lead, my tires were really good. Every time I did try to relax and be a little content I saw a nose, so there wasn’t a lot of relaxing in my cockpit.”

With 15 laps remaining, Danziesen made a strong run to the low side of turn two and took the lead as the cars motored down the back chute. As the leaders entered turn three, Arneson blasted to the high side of the track and the duo raced side by side to the flag stand.

Arneson gained the advantage once again, while Danzeisen settled into the second spot. Another caution with 10 laps left put Danziesen and Mathison back on Arneson’s back bumper one more time. Once again Arneson was able to fight off the duo.

The final yellow flew with only two laps remaining when Darrell Nelson slowed on the back stretch. This set up a green-white-checkered finish for the big prize.

Arneson led the field to the green and planted his right rear on the cushion. He simply wasn’t going to be denied as he pulled away and raced to the win ahead of Danziesen. Skytland raced back to third, and Mathison and Jason Thoennes rounded out the top five.

“I was pretty confident on that green-white checkered,” Arneson said. “It was pretty unreal. It got real quiet for a while and kind of sunk in that I just won what could be the biggest race of my life.”

Arneson has been racing for almost seven years and was well aware of the significance of a win like this so early in his career. It also gives him a lot of confidence going forward in what has already been quite a summer for him.

“Lately I have gotten in a good rhythm with that car,” Arneson said. “It’s one of those things that just clicks and you really don’t want to change it.”


Feature: Shane Sabraski, Trevor Saurer, Dexton Koch, Jeff Crouse, Mike Peterson, Dan Gullikson, Denis Czech, Derek Quinn, Jason Cook, Donna Schmidt, Jon Stepan

WISSOTA Midwest Modifieds:

Feature: Shane Sabraski, Mack Estey, Cody Lee, Jason Vandekamp, Jamie Thorstad, Jason Hoffman, Travis Saurer, Denis Czech, Andrew Bangsund, Tyler Peterson, Corey Storck, William Lund, Justin Froemming, Tim Ims, Blake Swenson, Shawn Olson, Tyler Vanderby, Shane Howell, Hayden Hanson, Jeff Nelson, Wade Skindelien, McKenzie Gerdes, Shawn Fernkes, Haley Lee

WISSOTA Modifieds:

Feature: Austin Arneson, Scot Danzeisen, Cody Skytland, Dale Mathison, Jason Thoennes, Blake Jegtvig, Dave Cain, Jesse Glenz, Corky Thomas, Kelly Estey, Shaun Peterson, Jeremy Nelson, Andy Gordon, Matt Leer, Jeff Wildung, Josh Thoennes, Darrell Nelson, Zach Johnson Mike Stearns, Joey Jensen, Jason Grimes, Matt Gilbertson, Dennis Bitzan, Shane Sabraski, Scott Greer, Dev Malmlov, Don Eischens, Travis Saurer, Bob Broking

Non Qualifier Feature: Mark Esala, Jamie Trautner, Brady Gerdes, Jason Blasyck, Brian Haben


Feature: Shane Sabraski, Mike Peterson, Jeff Crouse, Trevor Saurer, Derek Quinn, Jon Stepan, Dexton Koch, Rocky Yeats, Bryan Hellerman, Jason Cook, Jeremy Tyson, Christopher Lynch, Andy Hofteig, Craig Hiemstra, Larry Lund

WISSOTA Midwest Modifieds:

Feature: Travis Saurer, Jason Vandekamp, Andrew Bangsund, Jason Hoffman, Jason Schill, Cody Lee, William Lund, Jamie Thorstad, Justin Froemming, Rob VanMil, Ron Saurer, Blake Swenson, Shane Sabraski, Hayden Hanson, Shawn Olson, Tyler Peterson, Kurt Deters, Corey Storck, Tim Ims, Ryan Cousins, Shawn Fernkes, Wade Skindelien, Nick Bruder, Mack Estey