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Volk nabs first Speedway win of season

Press Photo by Meaghan MacDonald Bismarck driver Shawn Volk competes in Heat 1 of the Wissota Streets Stocks on Saturday at the Southwest Speedway. Volk went on to win his first Speedway feature of the season.

Better late than never.

After weeks of finishing just out of reach of wins and breakdowns, Wissota Street Stocks driver Shawn Volk finally picked up the win he had been longing after.

The Bismarck driver was shaking with joy and disbelief after driving to victory lane on Saturday at the Southwest Speedway.

“I’ve had so many cars fall apart racing and stuff. It really helped. I was nervous the whole entire time,” Volk said with a smile.

Although he picked up the win, Volk said it wasn’t easy. The car was too tight, he said, and Volk had to overcorrect with the steering, but was able to hold on long enough.

“The first two races of the year I led the whole race, broke a ball joint the first one, didn’t finish,” Volk said. “Second time out, led almost the whole race. Chad Jahner got around me, water pump came loose and I DNFed that night too. So a couple hard-luck nights but it finally paid off.”

Pure Stocks driver Jeremy Engelhardt isn’t wasting any time picking up points.

For the second week in a row, Engelhardt snagged a victory, bringing him closer to first place. He is now third in the standings, 14 points behind leader Deryk Voller. Tyler Bartholomew trails Voller in second.

During his heat race, Engelhardt’s car — which has been plagued with motor and mechanical issues all season — lost oil pressure and started spewing white smoke. But he kept his lead and won the heat. Going into the feature, Engelhardt was nervous but had the pole position at the start and stayed in front for the remainder of the race.

With next week’s race marking the final one before the Speedway’s season championship — which starts at 7 p.m. on Aug. 23 — it’s a crucial feature to try and remain in the hunt for the top spots.

“All it takes is one thing for one of those guys to have something like a flat tire to set them back. So we’re going to do a little extra work on the car this week, double check, triple check to make sure everything is right and hopefully it works out for us,” Engelhardt said.

With two wins at the Southwest Speedway and another one in Mandan, Thunder 4s points leader Kody Stoxen couldn’t be happier with the way his rookie season is going.

The Mandan driver cruised to his second win of the weekend — winning in Mandan on Friday — and was happy his car was able to stay in one piece after weeks of issues.

While he still can’t help but look at the points board — Gary Bennett 11 behind him — Stoxen said at the end of the day, winning at both tracks is all he wanted and now he can comfortably compete in next week’s title race.

“I’m not worried about the win anymore,” Stoxen said. “I got a win in Mandan, two here. I’m happy. My rookie year so couldn’t ask for anything better. I’m glad to be where I am at.”

In the final feature of the night, Shawn Strand won his second IMCA Modifieds feature in the past three weeks.

Though he has only competed at the Speedway just a handful of times and isn’t in the points race, Strand is in a battle for the top of the points in Mandan. He’s just nine points back from leader Spencer Wilson there.

“That’s kind of stressful going into the night and you want to do everything right. You don’t want to make the changes in the car that are probably necessary because you don’t want to do the wrong thing,” Strand said.

With nothing to lose in Dickinson and everything to gain in Mandan, Strand has been using the Saturday night races to experiment with his car and is driving to be in top shape for his more crucial races on Friday nights at the Dacotah Speedway.

“It’s kind of nice to come out here because I can test some stuff out, try some things that I want to try and I necessarily don’t want to sacrifice,” he said.

MacDonald is a sports reporter for the Dickinson Press. Tweet her at MegtotheMac.

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.