SPRING VALLEY, Minn. – An IMCA modified driver who’s been racking up some impressive wins this summer added another one to his resume Tuesday night.
Austin Arneson topped the 28th annual Harris Clash at Deer Creek Speedway, leading the last 11 of 30 laps and outrunning fellow North Dakota hotshoe Tom Berry Jr. in the dash to the checkers coming out of the final turn.
“It was a great night for me. It was a fun race with a lot of sliding back and forth,” said Arneson, who earned $3,000 for the victory, in addition to a 2020 Fast Shafts All-Star Invitational ballot berth.
More than 140 race teams from 14 states saw action in front of another big Clash crowd at Spring Valley.
Berry had caught race-long and defending Clash winner Cayden Carter for the lead on lap 18, then saw Arneson drive by the next time around.
He couldn’t quite make a last-shot slider stick, however, and had to settle for a close second. Carter, hard charger Jake O’Neil and Ricky Thornton Jr. completed the top five.
Berry had drawn the pole, but it was the fourth starting Carter leading the pack up through the only caution of the night on lap 14.
Berry was the first to challenge and then pass Carter, before giving way to Arneson. Frontrunners had to contend with traffic as the race wound down.
The post-race traffic Arneson planned to contend with was with fans and fellow drivers also headed to Dairy Queen for a Blizzard.
“This was pretty exciting,” said Arneson, winner of both the Legendary and Governor’s Cup last month at Dacotah Speedway. “The Harris Clash is pretty prestigious. This was one of my biggest wins.”
Brayton Carter collected the $1,200 Karl Kustoms Northern SportMod checkers, leading all 25 laps before electronic scoring showed him crossing the stripe all of .019 seconds in front of Colby Fett.
“I knew this was going to be a tough race. The track was perfect,” Carter said. ”I didn’t realize who won. I probably won by a foot.”
Logan Anderson, Zach Mitsch and Carter VanDenberg were scored next after Carter and Fett. The Northern SportMod feature stayed green after a lap two restart.
Richie Gustin won the Modified Race of Champions sponsored by Wehrs Machine and Racing Products. That victory paid $1,000.
1. Austin Arneson, 2. Tom Berry Jr., 3. Cayden Carter, 4. Jake O’Neil, 5. Ricky Thornton Jr., 6. Richie Gustin, 7. Mike Mullen, 8. Brad Dierks, 9. Ethan Dotson, 10. Corey Dripps, 11. Joel Rust, 12. Brock Bauman, 13. Joe Duvall, 14. Matthew Meinecke, 15. Jacob Bleess, 16. Cody Bauman, 17. Ethan Braaksma, 18. Kelly Shryock, 19. Jared VanDeest, 20. Benji LaCrosse, 21. Aaron Johnson, 22. Jimmy Gustin, 23. Stacey Mills, 24. Jeff Aikey, 25. Kollin Hibdon.