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Press Photo by Meaghan MacDonald IMCA Modifieds driver Ryan Ruter from Iowa leads the way during heat six of the Dakota Classic Modified Tour on Wednesday at the Southwest Speedway. Ruter won the feature by 84-hundredths of a second.

Ruter edges win in Mods feature

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Ruter edges win in Mods feature
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Eight heats, four consolation rounds, one winner.

With more than 70 IMCA Modified racers from around the country competing, Ryan Ruter from Northern Iowa stood above the rest and took the Modifieds victory in the Dakota Classic Modified Tour on Wednesday at the Southwest Speedway.


With eight laps to go, tour leader and reigning Southwest Speedway tour winner Jeff Taylor briefly took the lead before Ruter edged him out a lap later to claim his first win by 84-hundredths of a second.

“There’s always pressure when the lap cars are a half a lap behind then all of a sudden eight or 10 laps you’re on them and then you can’t do anything with him,” Ruter said about the final laps. “The track is kind of locked down, rubbered up you just try to not tear the front end off at that point. It is what it is from there.”

Ruter couldn’t complain with how he finished in three of the races of the tour — runner-up, fourth and Wednesday’s win — against the country’s stiffest competition.

Though he traveled over 800 miles to compete this week, the fresh competition is something he enjoys and challenges his own driving to become better.

“You’re only as good as the people that you race with and if you don’t race with anybody good on a weekly basis it’s tough to get better,” Ruter said. “These guys are always pushing a guy to get better and try new things. Competition’s where it’s at.”

For the second year in a row, Elijah Zevenbergen from Ocheyedan, Iowa took first place at the Southwest Speedway and continued to defend his spot on top of the leaderboard for the Modified Tour in the Wissota Street Stocks. 

“You got to come back and prove that you can do it again and it’s been great so far,” Zevenbergen said. “The track’s are always nice and great people around. I love it.”

Zevenbergen came in first in the first heat which catapulted him to the front of the line in the feature. He never lost possession of the top spot the entire race.

However, after a caution with eight laps to go, Perry Misner drew in close and threatened twice to take the lead. Both drivers know each other so the competition was welcome and made the feature a little more interesting down to the checkered flag lap.

“I’m good friends with that No. 20 car and the No. 81 and they’re always fast,” Zevenbergen said. “I knew they were right behind me so we just raced our race and it ended up and went well.”

With just one race left in the Tour — Zevenbergen finished runner-up at Mandan on Thursday and the tour concludes tonight in Jamestown — looks to string together his strong performances and take home the championship.

“We’re just going to set it up good and see if we can do it again,” he said with a smile.

Southwest Speedway’s regularly scheduled races continue at 7 p.m. on Saturday, July 19.

Dakota Classic Modified Tour

IMCA Modifieds

Heat 1: 1, Brian Mullen. 2, Justin O’Brien. 3, Robert Hellebust. 4, Rusty Kollman. 5, Chris Clark. 7, Travis Ulmer, DNF. 8, Donovan Sorenson, DNF. 9, Lenny Makowski DNF. 10, Jason Strand DNF.

Heat 2: 1, Jeff Taylor. 2, Justin Yeager. 3, John Hansen. 4, Adam Larson. 5, HAnk Berry. 6, Josh Rogotzke, 7, Brandon Blochlinger. 8, Jason Beaulieu. 9, Jordan Huettl. 10, Paul Jones DNF.

Heat 3: 1, Eric Sinness. 2, Darin Duffy. 3, Chris Bragg. 4, Curt Lund. 5, Dane Aunne. 6, Jeffrey Larson. 7, Les McLenetlan. 8, Jason Wolla DNF. 9, Bert Beech DNF.

Heat 4: 1, Jordan Grabouski. 2, Mark Elliot. 3, Shawn Strand. 4, Lance Mari. 5, Mike Hansen. 6, Josh Walla. 7, Jason Hicks. 8, Jason Dinius. 9, Shawn Olheiser.

Heat 5: 1, Mason Big Eagle. 2, Allen Kent. 3, Aaron Turnbull. 4, Jeremy Sorenson. 5, Rusty Corneliusen. 6, Josh Jones. 7, Scott Bintz. 8, Mike Nelson. 9, Brent Schlafmann DNF.

Heat 6: 1, Ryan Ruter. 2, Mike Jergens. 3, Spencer Wilson. 4, Jett Big Eagle. 5, Tracey Domagala. 6, Brian Brennan. 7, Dwight Burwick. 8, Robert Heffer. 9, Brad Hartigan DNF.

Heat 7: 1, Scott Drake. 2, Tim Ward. 3, Drew Christianson. 4, Shawn Anderson. 5, David Murray. 6, Donald Robinson. 7, Kirk Wojahn. 8, Travis Olhesier. 9, David Berry DNF.

Heat 8: 1, Jeremy Keller. 2, Randy Artz. 3, Travis Hagen. 4, Eric Burwick. 5, Steven Pfeifer. 6, Tylor Velo. 7, Kyle Scholpp. 8, Mike Hagen.

Consolation 1: 1, John Hansen. 2, Justin O’Brien. 3, Justin Yeager. 4, Hank Berry. 5, Rusty Kollman. 6, Brandon Blochlinger. 7, Donovan Sorenson. 8, Josh Rogotzke. 9, Tyler Wagner. 10, Lenny Makowski. 11, Jason Strand. 12, Paul Jones. 13, Chris Clark. 14, Jordan Huettl DNF. 15, Jason Beaulieu DNF. 16, Robert Hellebust DNF.

Consolation 2: 1, Darin Duffy. 2, Chris Bragg. 3, Shawn Strand, 4, Mark Elliot. 5, Mike Hansen. 6, Josh Wolla. 7, Curt Lund. 8, Jason Wolla. 9, Jeffrey Larson. 10, Bert Beech. 11, Les McLenetlan. 12, Lance Mari. 13, Randy Burwick. 14, Shawn Olheiser. 15, Reese Artz. 16, Jason Dinius. 17, Jason Hicks DNF.

Consolation 3: 1, Spencer Wilson. 2, Allen Kent. 3, Aaron Turnbull. 4, Mike Jergens. 5, Jett Big Eagle. 6, Tracey Domagala. 7, Nick Fuchs. 8, Josh Jones. 9, Brian Brennan. 10, Rusty Corneliusen. 11, Robert Heffer. 12, Randy Sandvick. 13, Brent Schlafmann. 14, Mike Nelson. 15, Jeremy Sorenson DNF. 16, Dwight Burwick. 17, Brad Hartigan DNF. 18, Scott Bintz.

Consolation 4: 1, Randy Artz. 2, Tim Ward. 3, Drew Christianson. 4, Eric Burwick. 5, Travis Hagen. 6, David Murray. 7, Shawn Anderson. 8, Steven Pfeifer. 9, Hunter Marriot. 10, Tylor Velo. 11, Kirk Wojahn. 12, Donald Robinson. 13, Kyle Scholpp. 14, Mike Hagen. 15, Travis Olheiser. 16, David Berry. 17, Bland Bohannoh.

Feature: 1, Ryan Ruter. 2, Jeff Taylor. 3, Jordan Grabouski. 4, Jeremy Keller. 5, Scott Drake. 6, Brian Mullen. 7, Justin O’Brien. 8, John Hansen. 9, Darin Duffy. 10, Chris Bragg. 11, Allen Kent. 12, Shawn Strand. 13, Aaron Turnbull. 14, Spencer Wilson. 15, Eric Burwick. 16, Tim Ward. 17, Steven Pfeifer. 18, Adam Larsen. 19, Hank Berry. 20, Mark Elliot. 21, Mike Jergens. 22, Drew Christianson. 23, Randy Artz DNF. 24, Justin Yeager DNF. 25, Eric Sinness DNF. 26, Mason Big Eagle DNF.

Wissota Street Stocks

Heat 1: 1, Elijah Zevenbergen. 2, Joe Flory. 3, Greg Wichman. 4, Brendan Eilts. 5, Gary Goudy Jr. 6, Blaine Durward. 7, Caleb Sorenson.

Heat 2: 1, Cody Nelson. 2, Dalton Flory. 3, Kody Scholpp. 4, Travis Ulmer. 5, Scott Yale. 6, Austin Daae. 7, Scott Gartner.

Heat 3: 1, Perry Misner. 2, Matt Speckman. 3, Justin Schriefel. 4, Michael Vennes. 5, Kyler Jeffrey. 6, Dave Swallers DNF.

Heat 4: 1, Jordan Durward. 2, Jake Nelsen. 3, Jake Lunderby. 4, Shane Nehring. 5, Zach Frederick. 6, Chris Ellis.

Consolation 1: 1, Austin Daar. 2, Travis Ulmer. 3, Brendan Eilts. 4, Scott Yale. 5, Scott Gartner. 6, Caleb Sorenson. 7, Blaine Durward.

Consolation 2: 1, Nathan Burke. 2, Chris Ellis. 3, Michael Vennes. 4, Zach Frederick. 5, Dave Swallers. 6, Shane Nehring. 7, Allan Frederick.

Feature: 1, Elijah Zevenbergen. 2, Perry Misner. 3, Dalton Flory. 4, Matt Speckman. 5, Justin Striefel. 6, Jake Nelson. 7, Kody Scholpp. 8, JOrdan Durward. 9, Dave Swallers. 10, Scott Yale. 11, Austin Daae. 12, Michael Vennes. 13, Cody Nelson. 14, Chris Ellis. 15, Scott Gartner. 16, Brendan Eilts. 17, Zach Frederick. 18, Shane Nehring. 19, Travis Ulmer. 20, Jake Lunderby. 21, Caleb Sorenson. 22, Greg Wichman. 23, Joe Flory DNF. 24, Nathan Burke DNF.

Meaghan MacDonald
Meaghan is the sports reporter for the Dickinson Press, focusing primarily on Dickinson State athletics and rodeo. After graduating from James Madison University (Va.) in May 2013, she moved from New Jersey to North Dakota to start pursuing her career in sports journalism.