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Southwest Speedway crowns 4 new winners

Press Photo by Meaghan MacDonald Deryk Voller (front) of Dickinson races ahead of Tyler Maule in the first heat of the Pure Stocks class during Saturday’s race at Southwest Speedway.

First place has a nice ring to it.

All four winners picked up their first Southwest Speedway wins of the season on Saturday but in the Thunder 4s, Kody Stoxen celebrated his first career victory.

With just two laps to go, the Mandan driver had a smooth ride to the finish line and just beat out two other competitors in the field, including his wife, Michelle.

“It feels good,” Kody said. “This just my third time in the car.”

This is Michelle’s sixth year racing and Kody had been working alongside her as pit manager. After years of watching and working on cars, it was time for him to get behind the wheel and give the competition a shot.

“It’s fun,” Kody said. “I hope I can move up to the next class next year.”

Despite the new competition on the track, Michelle said she was more than thrilled to have her husband win. She enjoys racing against him.

“I’m ecstatic doing it,” she said. “He used to be my pit man but now he’s right out there with me enjoying this just as much as I am. Now he knows the feeling that I’ve always had these last six years.”

After finishing in a close second on opening night, Dickinson’s Deryk Voller came out victorious, and all smiles, in the pure stocks. Of course it didn’t hurt Voller started out on the pole Saturday night as well, but still had to battle a field full of fast and tested drivers.

“It was a good race, I got to start on pole so I knew Jeremy (Engelhardt) was going to be fast too,” Voller said. “I just stuck with my line until I got around him and got up high. I guess I finished from there.

“(Jeremy’s) a really good competitor and I know he’s really fast, and I know Tyler (Bartholomew) is fast and the rest of those guys are fast so just try to get the lead and stay there.”

In just two weeks, it was a complete turnaround of a race for Wissota Streets winner Eric Paul. Opening night, Paul won his heat and was leading the feature until bad luck struck not once, but twice.

“Got a right front flat, went to the back was back to eighth or ninth and started on fire and DNFed,” Paul said.

Despite the series of unfortunate events, it only helped Paul for Saturday’s race and put him in a great position to win.

“We had some bad luck the first night and means the point average, we had a low point average so we got to start in the front which made it easy tonight,” he said. “Track’s kind of rough so I just try to hold a straight line and not break.”

IMCA Modifieds driver Mike Hansen didn’t have much luck either in his last race. With just one lap to go Hansen’s car broke down and cost him the victory.

But now with his first win out of the way, Hansen can relax and said it’s a definite confidence booster.

“I’ve won a bunch of races every year to get your first win kind of reassures you going through the rest of the year,” he said. “Car’s in one piece at the end of the night so you can work on it.”

The race did, however, come with a little pressure. In the final laps and the white flag in sight, Tracey Domagala, who finished in second, kept the pressure on and was right behind Hansen every step of the way. But Hansen was able to shake the No. 96 car off and take the win.

“You just kind of gotta keep doing what you’re doing and hopefully it works,” Hansen said. “But when he poked his nose there at the bottom it was like, ‘I’m going to go down there and make sure he doesn’t come by me.’ That wasn’t any too good where I was at I was maintaining trying to stay ahead of him.”

The next race is scheduled for 7 p.m. May 31 at Southwest Speedway.

Meaghan MacDonald

Meaghan is the sports page designer and copy editor for the Forum of Fargo-Moorhead.  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 and was a sports reporter for the Dickinson Press and covered Dickinson State athletics. Meaghan has been working for the Forum since June 2015.