The checkered flag dropped on a weekend of bumper to bumper racing action Sunday as the 12th annual Governor's Cup came to a close at Dacotah Speedway. A total of 177 cars took the green flag as titles in eight different classes were determined in two days of action.
Drivers from western North Dakota dominated the action with five of the eight winners, including Dickinson's Brad Meidinger, who picked up his first-ever feature race at Dacotah Speedway. Meidinger stormed to the lead in the street stock feature midway through the race and held a comfortable margin heading into the final two laps.
But when Eric Anderson lost a tire, which flew high into the air before rolling and coming to rest standing up just inside the final turn, a caution flag, the first of the race, came out. That caused the cars to be bunched together again for the final sprint to the finish line and Meidinger had no trouble holding onto his lead.
Meidinger won over David Rohweder, who had won two races Saturday to advance to the feature, and Valley City rookie Luke Nelson, who finished third.
Mandan's Terry Barnes, who was bidding for his second Governor's Cup title, finished fifth behind Kelly Seckerson.
A near repeat of Saturday foiled another Bismarck driver's attempt to win a Cup title. Jeremy Gunderson, who lost his left rear tire one night earlier, saw his dreams of a title go by the wayside just four laps into his hobby stock feature and for the second night in a row had to be towed from the track.
"I have no idea what caught the tire (Sunday)," said a disappointed Gunderson, who entered the weekend in fourth place in the points standings. "We worked on the tires all morning … I guess it just wasn't enough."
The road hog tandem of A.J. Davenport and Jessica Backer also picked up a title for area drivers. And it was a special one for the pair.
Davenport and Backer just started driving together two weeks ago after Davenport spent much of the summer driving with his father.
"(Backer) had never won a race before and we decided to give it a shot," said Davenport.
It's working. The pair also won the feature at last week's regular racing action at Dacotah Speedway.
But Sunday's win was diminished somewhat by numerous cautions that forced the race to be shortened.
The winners, who started near the back of the pack, were in front most of the way and that turned out to be a benefit in the end.
"You just have to keep thinking positive," Davenport said. "You can really think about what's happening behind you. You just have to concentrate on what you are doing … and the rest will take care of itself.
The modified feature race was also dominated by area drivers. Underwood's Marlyn Seidler held off Brian Strand of Bemidji, Minn., for the win in a race that was determined on the final turn which Seidler edging Strand by just fractions of a second. But three Bismarck drivers, Shawn Strand, Troy Kittler and Brian Swenson, finished in the next three spots.
Heat 1: 1. Ron Joern, Bismarck. 2. Dan Berger, Mandan. 3. Danny Gunderson, Bismarck. 4. Mike Appert, Hazelton. 5. Larry Himmerich, Jamestown.
Feature: 1. Jeff DeBuck, Montpelier. 2. Jayson Corell, Jamestown. 3. Brett McIlonie, Pingree. 4. David Falkenstein, Bismarck. 5. Vince McCleary, Lincoln.
Heat 1: 1. John Feist, Lincoln. 2. Mark LeCount, Sterling. 3. Carrie Mundahl, Bismarck. 4. Travis Ulmer, Dickinson. 5. Billy Michaelsohn, Fargo.
Heat 2: 1. Jason Grimes, Jamestown. 2. Spencer Johnson, Jamestown. 3. Eric Paul, Dickinson. 4. Gene Munyon, Lemmon, S.D. 5. Eric Anderson, Bismarck.
Feature: 1. Brad Meidinger, Dickinson. 2. David Rohweder, Wishek. 3. Luke Nelson, Valley City. 4. Kelly Seckerson, Jamestown. 5. Terry Barnes, Mandan.
Heat 1: Hank Berry, Sidney, Mont. 2. John Seitz, Bemidji, Minn. 3. Steve Anderson, Grand Forks. 4. Brian Strand, Bemidji, Minn. 5. Tom Corcoran, Grand Forks.
Heat 2: 1. Troy Olsen, Fargo. 2. Brad Seng, Grand Forks. 3. Mike Balcaen, Winnipeg, Manitoba. 4. Shaun Malsam, Aberdeen, S.D. 5. Lyn Lamb, Lisbon.
Heat 3: 1. John Corell, Jamestown. 2. Troy Schill, Grand Forks. 3. Paul Mueller, Bismarck. 4. Chad Ohnstad, Harwood. 5. Bob Moody, Williston.
Heat 4: 1. Curt Gelling, Aberdeen, S.D. 2. Blaine Doppler. 3. Roger Gendron, Surrey. 4. Troy Heupel, Williston. 5. Johnny Johnson, Minot.
Consolation: 1. Corcoran. 2. Johnson. 3. Todd Carter, Lisbon. 4. Pat Weisgram, Aberdeen, S.D. 5. Eddy Werre, Minot.
Feature: 1. Balcaen. 2. Gelling. 3. Berry. 4. Seng. 5. Strand.
Heat 1: 1. David Day, Moffit. 2. Mark Dahl, Bismarck. 3. Ed Turnbull, Estevan, Saskatchewan. 4. Steve Herman, Bismarck. 5. Kevin Eklund, Minot.
Consolation 2: 1. Troy Butz, Bismarck. 2. Don Gumke, Jamestown. 3. Lee Burkhardsmeier, Bismarck. 4. Darrell Bauer, Mandan. 5. Mike Hagen, Fortuna.
Feature: 1. Marlyn Seidler, Underwood. 2. Brian Strand, Bemidji. 3. Shawn Strand, Bismarck. 4. Troy Kittler, Bismarck. 5. Brian Swenson, Bismarck.
Feature: 1. A.J. Davenport/Jessica Backer, Wing-Mandan. 2. Chad Rowe/Cheryl Gessele, Mandan-Bismarck. 3. Ryan Feichert/Ian Kopp, Mandan. 4. Phil Grossman/Bryan Bohrer, Hazen. 5. Eugene Halvorson/Mark Frohlich, Mandan.
Feature: 1. Al Kraft, Washburn. 2. Kelly Hoerner, Bismarck. 3. Dennis Everding, Lincoln. 4. Wes Doepke, Wilton. 5. Tyler Clark, Underwood.
Feature: 1. Jason Laducer, Belcourt. 2. Tyler Dosch, Rugby. 3. Mark Dahl, Bismarck. 4. Randy Fyllesvold, Plaza. 5. Tim McCloud, Belcourt.
North Star Bombers
Feature: 1. Corey Mock, Minot. 2. Dean Brecht, Golden Valley. 3. Mike Swallers, Minot. 4. Jade Hanson, Des Lacs. 5. Matt Hamilton.