Giovanni Scelzi tames lightning-fast race track at RCS to win Don Mack Classic

Jun. 8—GRAND FORKS — Don Mack loved fast, tacky race tracks conducive to speed and passing.

The late River Cities Speedway promotor and National Sprint Car Hall of Fame member would have loved the racing surface Friday night at The Bullring, where the World of Outlaws managed to complete a 40-lap feature despite a near hour-long rain delay that produced a lightning-fast surface when racing resumed.

In the end, California driver Giovanni Scelzi took the checkered flag, holding off Sheldon Haudenschild and winning the inaugural Don Mack Classic before a near-capacity crowd.

Under threatening skies, WoO officials tried to beat the rain. But a shower hit the track just as the feature was about to begin. That resulted in an hour-long delay as RCS officials had to rework the quarter-mile track.

Scelzi started on the pole and led the first 19 laps before Haudenschild took took the top spot. But Scelzi regained the lead two laps later and held on the rest of the way as he had to navigate lapped traffic while holding off charges from Haudenschild and 12-time RCS winner Donny Schatz, who finished third.

"The track was real fast early," said Scelzi. "It was super difficult to pass but it worked out. I got held up by lappers and Sheldon blazed around me."

But he recovered quickly to hold on for his eighth career WoO victory. "This is a great race track," said Scelzi. "Kudos to the race track crew for sticking with it."

Haudenschild, who was seeking his seventh win of the season, was appreciative that RCS and WoO officials managed to complete the night, considering the weather.

"I'm just glad we got it in," said Haudenschild. "I did manage to get the lead but I made a mistake."

Scelzi's fastest lap time was 9.940 seconds, a speed normally seen only during qualifying. Lap times also were fast during qualifying as 10 of the 31 drivers managed to post sub-10 second laps. Carson Macedo had the fastest qualifying time of 9.777 seconds.

Fast tracks usually result in some wicked crashes. And on Lap 3 of the feature, Bill Balog, David Gravel and Gage Pulkrabek were involved in a nasty wreck on the front straightaway. Gravel, the series points leader, managed to get his car repaired under red flag conditions and finished 10th.

Mark Dobmeier, who has three WoO wins, was the top local driver as he finished fifth after starting 11th.

"The track crew did a phenomenal job getting the track back in shape," said Dobmeier. "The track was really fast and there were two grooves. I wish there were a couple more caution flags. That would have helped us."

Dustin Strand won the 25-lap NLRA late model feature in thrilling fashion.

He led early but surrendered the lead to Shane Edginton midway through the race. But on the last corner of the race, Strand managed to squeeze past the Winnipeg driver at the flagstand, winning by 0.049 seconds. John Buchner was third, followed by Jason Strand and Cole Schill.

The race was red flagged after Laela Eisenschenk rolled her car in Turn 2 early in the race. She managed to exit the car under her own power.

River Cities Speedway

Friday's results

WoO sprints

First heat — 1. Carson Macedo, 2. Kaleb Johnson, 3. Tim Kaeding, 4. Mark Dobmeier, 5. Gage Pulkrabek

Second heat — 1. Garet Williamson, 2. Landon Crawley, 3. Logan Schuchart, 4. Bill Balog, 5. Andy Pake

Third heat — 1. Sheldon Haudenschild, 2. David Gravel, 3. Giovanni Scelzi, 4. Colton Young, 5. Brendan Mullen

Fourth heat — 1. Nick Omdahl, 2. Donny Schatz, 3. Tim Estenson, 4. Blake Egeland, 5. Zach Omdahl

Dash — 1. Scelzi, 2. Schatz, 3. Macedo, 4. Johnson, 5. Crawley, 6. Williamson, 7. Haudenschild, 8. Omdahl

B main — 1. Brock Zerface, 2. Kraig Kinser, 3. Jack Croaker, 4. Adam Sobolik

Feature — 1. Scelzi, 2. Haudenschild, 3. Schatz, 4. Macedo, 5. Dobmeier

Late models

First heat — 1. Joey Pederson, 2. Jason Halvorson, 3. Brody Troftgruben

Second heat — 1. Cole Schill, 2. Blake Anderson, 3. Ryan Corbett

Third heat — 1. Dustin Strand, 2. Laela Eisenschenk, 3. Brandon Fuller

Feature — 1. Strand, 2. Shane Edginton, 3, John Buchner, 4. Strand 5. Schill