DUBUQUE, Iowa – When the sprint cars hit the Dubuque Speedway bullring, it’s always edge of your seat action, and Thursday’s 30-lapper was no different.
Seth Bergman rode the cushion and the wall to record the $2,000 feature win over an impressive 22-car field that featured drivers from four states, as well as Australia and Canada. It was the third career Sprint Invaders win for the Snohomish, Wash., native.
Bergman shot out from the pole to lead early in the main event ahead of Paul Nienhiser and Kyle Offill. Lynton Jeffrey gained third from Offill on lap two, before Cody Wehrle spun, bringing out a caution. The early yellow flag was the first of several.
Offill gained third on the restart, before Dustin Selvage spun four laps in, and Carson McCarl did the same after contact. McCarl spun again on the restart and retired.
Dylan Westbrook shot around Offill to take over third, but flipped hard in turn four on lap seven. He climbed out under his own power.
Bergman led Nienhiser, Offill, Jeffrey and JJ Hickle, who was moving up through the field from row five, at that point. On lap 11, Jeffrey took back third with Hickle in tow, and by lap 12 young Colton Fisher had advanced into the top five from the eighth row.
Bergman was in lapped traffic by lap 13, and Chris Martin had moved by Fisher into the top five after starting 19th. Hickle worked by Jeffrey for third on lap 16.
Dicing through traffic, Bergman lengthened his advantage on Nienhiser. With just two laps to go, he had lapped up to sixth place, when Hickle’s good run came to a close with a throttle spring issue.
Bergman was deterred over the final two laps, winning ahead of Nienhiser, who was second for the second straight year at Dubuque. Fisher, Jeffrey and hard-charger Martin filled out the top five.
Alex Hill, Selvage, John Schulz, Tanner Gebhardt and Offill rounded out the top 10.
Bergman, Westbrook and McCarl won heats, and Jeffrey won the Dash.
“When there’s a curb up on the wall, I feel comfortable,” said Bergman in victory lane. “I was kind of waiting for it to get there all night. Since we rolled in the gates, I thought it was an awesome shape for a race track, and if they did a good job of prepping it, it was going to be a hell of a race. They did a good job all night. We had to fight a little adversity in the dash, and we got through that. Once we got out front, I knew the deal for me was not stuffing it in the fence and giving it away.
“I felt when I needed to push it I could to make speed. I went into cruise mode for a while to make sure I didn’t wreck it, but the last restart had me worried,” Bergman added. “I didn’t get off of four as well as I would have liked. I anticipated a slide, but it never came. I was counting on traffic a little bit. I knew a lot of these guys wouldn’t be leaning on the wall the way they needed to. I came through there, and the ones who were up top were making mistakes so I could get runs to slide them. It was a good run, and I’m glad we came.
“It was about a ten hour drive for us, but winning tonight made it well worth it.”
Feature (30 laps): 1. 23, Seth Bergman, Snohomish, WA (1) 2. 50, Paul Nienhiser, Chapin, IL (3) 3. 11, Colton Fisher, Mediapolis, IA (15) 4. 83, Lynton Jeffrey, Sydney, NSW, Aust. (5) 5. 44, Chris Martin, Ankeny, IA (19) 6. 77x, Alex Hill, Six Nations, ONT, Can. (8) 7. 88, Dustin Selvage, Indianola, IA (10) 8. 99, John Schulz, West Burlington, IA (7) 9. 81, Tanner Gebhardt, Burlington, IA (14) 10. 88w, Kyle Offill, Tracy, CA (2) 11. 51J, Blaine Jamison, Mediapolis, IA (20) 12. 11c, Mason Campbell, New Berlin, IL (11) 13. 13, Brayden Gaylord, Wever, IA (21) 14. 69 Justin Buchholz, Davenport, IA (16) 15. 9, Daniel Bergquist, Burlington, IA (18) 16. 4, Bailey Goldesberry, Springfield, IL (13) 17. 40c, Cody Wehrle, Burlington, IA (12) 18. 29w, Wyatt Wilkerson, Morning Sun, IA (17) 19. 63, JJ Hickle, Quilcene, WA (9) 20. 47x, Dylan Westbrook, Scotland, ONT, Can. (6) 21. 27, Carson McCarl, Altoona, IA (4) 22. 22, Riley Goodno, Knoxville, IA (22).
Lap Leader: Bergman 1-30.
KSE Hard Charger: 44-Chris Martin (+14)