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Aaron Saunders, Published July 08 2012

VanMil doing double duty

Glyndon, Minn. - When Rob VanMil wakes up on a race day his mind is moving faster than his cars do on the dirt track. Checking tire pressure and bolts on his cars usually tops his list of things to do.

“It’s pretty much a second job, keeping these cars going and making sure everything is together and everything is right,” VanMil said.

With a hectic race schedule that spans four different race tracks from Thursday to Sunday, there is plenty of opportunity for lapses.

However the Barnesville, Minn., native’s stressing seems to be paying off as he is currently the points leader in two categories in the AMSOIL dirt track series.

Entering Sunday’s race at Buffalo River Race Park, VanMil held a five-point lead in the Wissota Midwest Mod (B-Mod) over Tyler Hall and a 12-point lead in the Wissota Mod Four over Troy Kuehl.

VanMil, 33, looks poised to complete the double, racing two cars competitively this year has not been entirely peachy keen.

“With the B-mod it was a little hairy for a while, but for the most part it’s beginning to become second nature,” VanMil’s crew chief Frank Nisen said.

VanMil, does not seem to be severely impacted by going back and forth between the two cars.

“Normally it takes me about a lap or two to get used to the stirring, but the basics of driving the cars are pretty similar.”

Perhaps the reason for the racers easy transition is the confidence he has in his team who have helped him to back-to-back Wissota Mod Four championships.

“The last three years have been good, real good. This is a great family to work with,” said Nisen. “Rob and I make a good team, he gives really good feedback. He tells me what we need and I just keep working on it until we find it.”

Despite his success on dirt tracks, VanMil has no desire to race on the asphalt. “I’ll be racing dirt tracks forever. … I have a little one that I’d like to see get away from the dirt,” he said.

Sunday was not VanMil’s most successful day at the track, but he did finish second in the Mod Four and fourth in the Midwest Mod on the dark dusty track.

“I like the tracks when they get dusty it takes the horse and the car out of the equation and then it’s about the driver, and the patience game.”

Heat races

Pure Stocks

Heat 1 – Luke Johnson Glyndon, MN, Jon Nettleton Dilworth, MN, Kelly Jacobson Fargo, ND.

Heat 2 – Kristen Nelson West Fargo, ND, Taylor Saari Mapleton, ND, Corey Doll Fargo, ND.


Heat 1 – Shane Williams Minot, ND, Dean Sommerfeld Bismarck, ND, Andrew Sommerfeld Bismarck, ND.

Heat 2 – Dean Julsrud Moorhead, MN, Casey Henriksen Glyndon MN, Cole Sogge Glyndon MN.


Heat 1 – Josh Abrahamson Moorhead, MN, Bryce Bjerken Felton, MN, Aaron Wetterlin Moorhead MN.

Heat 2 – Rob VanMil Barnesville, MN, Troy Kuel Glyndon, MN, Dustin Knutson Lake Park MN.

Midwest Mod

Heat 1 – Tim Kanten Milan, MN, Scott Jacobson Fargo, ND, Scott Bintz Jamestown, ND.

Heat 2 – Tony Engelstad Fertile, MN, Cole Haugland Lakota, ND, Tailin Tommerdahl Dilworth, MN.

Heat 3 – Rob VanMil Barnesville MN, Tyler Hall Fertile MN, Tom Andring Detroit Lakes MN.


Heat 1 – Dean Julsrud Moorhead, MN, Tommy Habedank Mahnomen, MN, Cody Meyer Glyndon, MN.

Heat 2 – Thomas Ahrndt Hawley, MN, Gene Bates Moorhead, MN, Zack Osbjornson Glyndon, MN.


Heat 1 – Rich Pavlicek Casselton,ND, Jeff Odden Fargo, ND, Bryce Borgen Ada, MN.

Pure Stock Feature

1, Doug Gardner Glyndon, MN. 2, Luke Johnson Glyndon, MN. 3, Kelly Jacobson Fargo, ND. 4, Kristen Nelson West Fargo, ND. 5, Michael LeRoux Sabain, MN.

Legends Feature

1, Shane Williams Minot, ND. 2, Andrew Sommerfeld Bismarck ND. 3, Kasey Kurtz Perham, MN. 4, Dean Julsrud Barnesville, MN. 5, Dean Sommerfeld Bismarck ND.

Mod-Four Feature

1, Josh Abrahamson Moorhead, MN. 2, Rob VanMil Barnesville, MN. 3, Aaron Wetterlin Moorhead, MN. 4, Dustin Knutson Lake Park, MN. 5, James Erdmann Horace, ND.

Midwest Mod Feature

1, Tony Engelstad Fertile, MN. 2, Scott Bintz Jamestown, ND. 3, Tyler Hall Fertile, MN. 4, Rob VanMil Barnesville, MN. 5, Tim Kanten Milan, MN.

Hornets Feature

1, Thomas Ahrndt Hawley, MN. 2, Tommy Habedank Mahnomen, MN. 3, Sean Johnson Durbin, ND. 4, Aaron LeRoux Dilworth, MN. 5, Dustin Nelson Waubun, MN.

Modified Feature

1, Justin Jones Bemidji, MN. 2, Ty Hanten West Fargo, ND. 3, Rich Pavlicek Casselton, ND. 4, Bryce Borgen Ada, MN. 5, Scott Bintz Jamestown, ND.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Aaron Saunders at (701) 241-5549