It was an uncharacteristically small field at the Devils Lake Speedway Saturday night, but that didn't stop the dirt -track-racing action on Independence Day weekend.
Just 40 drivers took to the track on Saturday, with five of them taking the checkered flag in their respective divisions.
In perhaps the closest race of the night, the 32 car of Eric Haugland edged 2012 Devils Lake Speedway champion Ricky Hamel in the 22 car to capture his second feature-victory of the season in the Midwest Modifier division.
Hamel kept the race close throughout, but he was simply unable to pass the 32 car.
"He's a good runner," Hamel said. "We had almost identical set-ups. He was fast. I was fast. He just had the good lane, and he took it."
Hamel was also the 2012 North Dakota State Wissota champion for Midwest Modifiers and finished 22nd in the national standings last season.
The win Saturday night saw Haugland maintain his fourth-place standing in the Devils Lake Speedway points standings while Hamel now sits in third.
Haugland was thrilled with the win, especially considering how close the 22 car made it for him.
"I knew he was there, but I wasn't going to let his presence make me think any different out there," Haugland said. "He was fast, and he was right on my tail. But I knew I just had to keep it in the lane, and we were good."
The Pure Stock feature was also a tense race, but it was also the messiest as a barage of cautions interrupted green-flag racing with consistency.
Devils Lake native Dustin Ebensteiner jumped out to an early lead, but he spun out in turn 4 with just ten laps remaining in the race, which allowed the 71 car of Dusty Hinrichs to grab the lead.
On the race's final lap, another Devils Lake driver in Josh Worrall, the 7J car and winner of the second Pure Stock preliminary heat, jumped to the inside lane after seeing the white flag and took a brief lead down the back stretch of the final lap. However, Worrall came a bit too hot into the final turn as he, like Ebensteiner, spun out of the final turn, giving Hinrichs a clear view of the checkered flag.
The win was Hinrich's first of the season, something that he felt was long overdue.
"It's an awesome feeling," he said. "I've been struggling since the last time I was here. I came up here for the big Pure Stock special last year, got wrecked and the car just hadn't been the same since. We've been battling all season, but we got it figured out today."
Hinrichs now sits 20th in the Devils Lake Speedway standings for Pure Stock.
Page 2 of 2 - Ebensteiner recovered to finish second in the race and is now ninth in the points standings. Worrall, who finished fifth, is currently sixth in points.
In the Street Stock division, the 18B car of Adam Burrows, a West Fargo native, took the checkered flag, his first feature win at the Devils Lake Speedway. Mark Schwan of Devils Lake finished second.
The 850 car of Colton Laber ran away with the Hornets feature to extend his lead in the points standings, as did Jason Rethemeier in the 9 car, who finished first in the Circle Track Mini-Trucks feature.
This weekend, Lake Chevy presents the NOSA Outlaw Sprint Special plus Professional Dirt Series at 7 p.m. at the Devils Lake Speedway.
Be sure to follow Joe Mellenbruch on Twitter @Journal_Joe or email him at email@example.com.