Spencer Wilson led all 30 laps to win the opening night Kupper Chevrolet Dakota Classic IMCA Modified Tour feature, and $2,300, at Jamestown Speedway. (Photo by Byron Fichter)JAMESTOWN, N.D. (July 8) – Spencer Wilson laughed when he was asked if he was ready to consider himself an IMCA Modified special series specialist.The answer was no – not yet, anyway.With a track record 100 Modifieds checked in for opening night, Wilson led all 30 laps of Saturday’s 28th annual Kupper Chevrolet Dakota Classic Modified Tour main event at Jamestown Speedway. The win paid $2,300.Wilson had raced his way onto the Fast Shafts All-Star Invitational ballot in February with a win in the Arizona Modified Tour. The Saturday checkers came on a night when Modified drivers from 17 states and two Canadian provinces converged on Jamestown.“I enjoy going to big shows like this and racing with this level of competition,” said Wilson. “This was a great group of drivers. I knew I could run with them. I just needed to stay smart and not overdrive the car.”Wilson pulled away from 2015 champion Ricky Thornton Jr. and Johnny Scott following a series of restarts. Cody Baumann and Tracy Domagala rounded out the top five.Passing was no problem for 2014 champion Jeff Taylor and defending tour king Hunter Marriott who started 28th and 29th, respectively, and rocketed to ninth and 10th-place finishes.“We’ve been to Jamestown two or three times before and always for the tour,” said Wilson, who got on the road to Minot and had the luxury of sleeping in his own bed before the night two show at his hometown Nodak Speedway. “It’s a little higher on the totem pole now as far as being one of my favorite tracks.”The single-night Modified car count record for the tour is 101, set at last year’s finale at Dacotah Speedway.Three-time and defending IMCA Sunoco Stock Car tour champion Elijah Zevenbergen picked up right were he left off last year, in victory lane.After an early flat tire sidelined contender Chad Sterling, Zevenbergen passed Aaron Olson and then caught Angel Munoz for the lead midway through the 25-lapperBoth Munoz and Olson had shots at Zevenbergen following late-race restarts, but neither could find the way by and deny Zevenbergen the $800 checkers. Munoz, 2014 champion Dalton Flory, who started 19th, and Olson rounded out the top four.A track record 41 Stock Cars ran at Jamestown. Both divisions are in action Sunday at Nodak. Race time is scheduled for 6 p.m.All six Dakota Tour programs are broadcast by IMCATV.Feature ResultsModifieds – 1. Spencer Wilson, Minot; 2. Ricky Thornton Jr., Chandler, Ariz.; 3. Johnny Scott, Cameron, Mo.; 4. Cody Bauman, Eureka, Ill.; 5. Tracy Domagala, Bismarck; 6. Jesse Hoeft, Forest City, Iowa; 7. Jordan Grabouski, Beatrice, Neb.; 8. Jason Grimes, Jamestown; 9. Jeff Taylor, Cave City, Ark.; 10. Hunter Marriott, Brookfield, Mo.; 11. Tom Berry Jr., Medford, Ore.; 12. Jason Wolla, Ray; 13. Lance Mari, Imperial, Calif.; 14. Paul Stone, Winton, Calif.; 15. Josh McGaha, Abilene, Texas; 16. Shawn Strand, Mandan; 17. Jeremy Keller, Mandan; 18. Troy Heupel, Williston; 19. Jamie Trautner, Felton, Minn.; 20. Dallas Rice, Minot; 21. Tyler Hall, Fertile, Minn.; 22. Tyler Wagner, Weyburn, Sask.; 23. Greg Metz, Washington, Kan.; 24. Joel Rust, Grundy Center, Iowa; 25. Mike Greseth, Harwood; 26. Hank Berry, Sidney, Mont.; 27. Mark Dahl, Bismarck; 28. Brad Hartigan, Dickinson; 29. Steven Pfeifer, Minot; 30. Corey Dripps, Reinbeck, Iowa.Stock Cars – 1. Elijah Zevenbergen, Ocheyedan, Iowa; 2. Angel Munoz, Lamar, Colo.; 3. Dalton Flory, Williston; 4. Aaron Olson, Mekinock; 5. Curt Lund, Redwood Falls, Minn.; 6. Eric Harpole, Bismarck; 7. Perry Misner, Albert, Kan.; 8. Jake Nelson, Williston; 9. Joe Flory, Williston; 10. Rick Schulz, Horace; 11. Michael Vennes, Minot; 12. Kyle Pfeifer, Hill City, Kan.; 13. Cody Nelson, Kenmare; 14. Beau Deschamp, Bottineau; 15. Jody York, Lubbock, Texas; 16. Jordan Durward, Grand Forks; 17. Alan Bertsch, Minot; 18. Scott Sim, Williston; 19. Jeremy Swanson, Westby, Mont.; 20. Jason Schoenberger, Russell, Kan.; 21. Duffy Froemke, Lisbon; 22. Scott Gartner, Bismarck; 23. Scott Yale, Minot; 24. Chad Sterling, Stockton, Kan.; 25. Rob VanMil, Barnesville, Minn.; 26. Dustin Reeh, Council Bluffs, Iowa; 27. Tim Compson, Valley City.
USC has opened the season by going 1-3, its worst start in 15 years, since 2001, ironically the same year that a relatively unknown and unproven Pete Carroll got his shot as a Trojan. Flash forward several years, and USC is in a place it hasn’t been for some time, and not in a good way.Nick Entin | Daily TrojanGetting JuJu involved · Junior wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster’s turns upfield after a reception against Utah State. He had just four combined catches against Alabama and Stanford, but caught eight passes last Friday.Just four games into the season, the season is already filled with an air of desperation and hopelessness in which the team must win five of their remaining eight games in order to be comfortably in bowl eligibility.USC is 1-6 in its last seven games against Power-5 opponents, the losses from this season being Friday’s 31-27 meltdown against Utah, the previous week’s 27-10 loss at Stanford and the season opening 52-6 blowout at the hands of Alabama. Additionally, the Trojans lost in the Holiday Bowl last December to Wisconsin, 23-21; lost to Stanford again in the Pac-12 Championship game, 41-22 and lost at Oregon in November, 48-28. The lone victory in the last seven games against Power-5 opponents was a 40-21 victory over UCLA in the Coliseum last November.Since November 14, the Trojans have only won two games: The win over UCLA last season and the single victory this year being a 45-7 trouncing of an inferior Utah State team.Head coach Clay Helton is 1-5 as a full time head coach, and with USC’s recent penchant for short leashes with football coaches, media members and fans alike are beginning to speculate how long USC will ride the Helton wave.The Trojans are currently last in the Pac-12 in scoring offense, averaging just 22.0 points per game. The leader, Arizona State, which USC will face next week, is averaging 48.8 points per game. USC is ninth in both rushing offense and passing offense.USC has not scored a touchdown against a ranked opponent on a pass. The Trojans have only scored four touchdowns against ranked opponents, and all have been on the ground. On the season, USC has 10 total touchdowns, tied for second to last with Oregon State and ahead of only Stanford.Through the offensive struggles, the Trojans have used two different quarterbacks. Redshirt junior Max Browne was named the starter to begin the season and after the offense sputtered through three games, Helton switched over to redshirt freshman Sam Darnold.In his first start (Friday’s game against Utah), Darnold went 18-26 for 253 yards, running for 41 yards and one touchdown. Darnold targeted top wide receiver junior JuJu Smith-Schuster and connected for eight catches totaling 98 yards. Darnold was the spark the offense was looking for, but only to a certain extent.The offense fumbled the ball three times — Darnold fumbled once — which was a contributing factor in time of possession. Utah had possession of the football for 15 more minutes than the Trojans. This directly influenced the ability of the defense to perform because they were constantly on the field.After the loss to Stanford, graduate transfer defensive end Stevie Tu’ikolovatu spoke about the defensive unit’s frustration.“It’s frustrating staying on the field when we know we should be off,” Tu’ikolovatu said.Defensively, USC is still in the lower half with its defense ranking seventh overall. For rush and pass defense, the Trojans are 10th and sixth, respectively. The team is also tied for fewest interceptions this season, with only three.In fact, of all the offensive and defensive team statistics, USC is only in the top half of the conference in pass defense, kickoff returns (3) and punt returns (1). Junior cornerback and return specialist Adoree’ Jackson is directly involved in all three.