A Look Back at the 2020 RaceChaser Area Season
The Fall Classic wrapped up the RaceChaser season, so it’s time for a little recap to 2020.
I Highlighted the Top Guns (top drivers in area), Breakout Performers, Most Improved, etc. in the blog
I will do a year in review later to highlight more individual/specific events by the calendar.
Here are some drivers who stood out in 2020.
Brock Gronwold (#2020G Wissota Midwest Modified, Fergus Falls): Including his wins down south over the winter, Gronwold had a RaceChaser-area best 22 feature victories in 2020. He also won three track championships at Norman County Raceway, I-94 Sure Step Speedway and Viking Speedway. Overall he had 40 top fives in 56 starts. Had there been a national points race in Wissota, he would have been a prime candidate for the title.
Tye Wilke (#72 INEX Legend, Detroit Lakes): Second in RaceChaser coverage area with 20 feature wins, Wilke was the only driver with four track championships locally (Norman County Raceway, Red River Valley Speedway, Jamestown Speedway and Sheyenne Speedway. The teenager finished in the top five 35 out of 44 starts which is beyond impressive.
Austin Arneson (#10 IMCA Modified, Fargo): The 2020 Dakota Classic Modified Tour champion, Arneson had 11 wins in his bullet-fast 10 car. That includes a win at Night 1 of the Jamestown Stampede along with big wins at Red River Valley Speedway and Norman County Raceway. Arneson won the track title at RRVS over his brother, Casey. He was the top IMCA Modified locally once again.
Jonny Carter (#46 Wissota Street Stock, Lisbon): The 2019 Wissota Street Stock national champion had 12 wins in 2020. He won the inaugural Steffes Street Stock Tour title with four wins on the tour, including the finale at Sheyenne. Carter has won six straight point titles at Sheyenne. The #46 machine was really fast later in the year including a win at the Stampede.
Dustin Strand (#71 Wissota Late Model, Grand Forks): Strand won the NLRA Late Model title in 2020 and the River Cities points title. He won eight late model features on the year and swept both NLRA events at Norman County Raceway. He also had some big mod wins, including the Fallen Linemen victory at Viking Speedway.
Ryan Satter (#67 Wissota Street Stock, Dent, Minn.): Satter won two track titles (Viking and I-94 Sure Step), 14 feature wins and had 29 top fives in 39 starts. He won the King of the Dirt title at I-94 and the Steffes Street Stock tour stop there as well, and recently won the Fall Classic at Ogilvie.
Austin Pierce (#2A NOSA Sprint, Grand Forks): Pierce won the 2020 track title at River Cities Speedway and led all area 410 sprint drivers with eight wins. He had 14 wins in 18 starts and was pretty fast every night he unloaded.
Eric Riley (#51 Wissota Street Stock, Morris): Riley was runner-up of the Steffes Street Stock tour, losing only by a tiebreaker to Jonny Carter. He had a career-best eight wins, including four on the tour. While the 51 car had some engine issues later in the year, he was very fast when his car avoided mechanical issues.
Jade Hastings (#8H NOSA Sprint, Grand Forks): Hastings had the best season of his career on his way to the Buffalo Wild Wings NOSA Sprint title, the first of his career. Hastings had six feature wins and had 14 top five finishes in 25 starts. Not bad for a driver who wrecked his primary car early in the year.
Brendan Blascyk (#9B Wissota Midwest Modified, Kensington, Minn.): Blascyk raced toe-to-toe several times with Gronwold on his way to six feature wins, a career-best. The #9B car was in the top five 18 of 34 times this season.
Brody Carlsrud (#B1 INEX Legend, Fargo, N.D.): Carlsrud had the best season of his young legend career with four wins and 26 top fives in 43 starts. He will be moving to the IMCA Stock Cars in 2021.
Dylan Steele (#22 Hobby Stock/Bomber, Jamestown): Steele had a career-best four wins this season and had a terrific 17 top fives in 26 starts. He won the track title at Jamestown and was third at Sheyenne.
Todd Carter (#19 Wissota Street Stock, Lisbon): Carter had eight wins in 2020, including the Steffes Street Stock tour win at Brown County Speedway in Aberdeen.
Matt Schow (#2S Wissota Midwest Modified, McIntosh, Minn.): Schow won the 2020 track championship at River Cities Speedway with a steady year. He had three feature wins and 18 top five finishes overall.
Tom Corcoran (#T1 Wissota Late Model, East Grand Forks): At age 66 Corcoran won a feature (June 26) in his sixth different decade which speaks to how good he’s been for a long time. He was fourth in the points at River Cities and had nine top five finishes in 19 starts.
Rich Pavlicek (#17 IMCA Sport Mod, Casselton): Pavlicek had three wins this season and 19 top fives. He won the track title by the slimmest of margins at Red River Valley Speedway.
Bo Gregor (#2G Hobby Stock, Lisbon): Gregor won his second straight track title at Sheyenne in the closest of fashions over Jayden Michaelsohn of Aberdeen. He had two wins and eight top fives in 13 starts this year.
Kelsi Pederson (#93 Lightning Sprint, East Grand Forks): Pederson had five wins this season in the #93 Lightning Sprint. She finished in the top five 19 out of 23 times in a remarkable stretch of consistency.
Cole Schill (#44 Wissota Late Model, Horace): Schill had five wins in 2020 and 14 top fives in his #44 machine. His biggest win was at night 2 of the Jamestown Stampede.
Kyle Anderson (#59 Wissota Street Stock, Jamestown): Anderson entered 2020 with no wins in the Wissota Street Stock class and picked up five this season. He’s made a lot of strides in his 59 car and now has some wins to show for it.
Brody Troftgruben (#14 Wissota Late Model, Grand Forks): Troftgruben picked up his first career win on Aug. 1 at Devils Lake Speedway with a late pass of Dustin Strand for an NLRA victory. He had 11 top fives.
Ryan Gierke (#26G, Wissota Mod/Midwest Modified, Villard, Minn.): Gierke, 17 did double duty for much of the season in the Midwest mods and mods. He won his first career midwest modified feature on July 9 at KRA Speedway. He had nine top fives in the modified where showed remarkable progress.
Brendan Mullen (#11 NOSA Sprint, Grand Forks): Mullen, 17, won his first two Buffalo Wild Wing NOSA Sprint features of his career in 2020 and had nine top fives. He was sixth in the final NOSA standings.
Gavin Walton (#17X, Mini Stock, Englevale, N.D.): Walton, 14, could be included in the Young Guns category but showed a lot of improvement in his 7X car. He won the feature at the season championship -- which to me is a clutch performance -- at Sheyenne to win the points title there. He had four top fives in 11 starts. He sure made his dad, Neil, proud.
Jamie Dietzler (#39 Wissota Midwest Modified, Larimore, N.D.): Dietzler entered 2020 with just one career win but picked up three at River Cities Speedway and finished second in the points there.
Bryce Sward (#1-2 Wissota Late Model, Nelson, Minn.): Sward, 17, didn’t have any wins this season, although he came close on Sept. 4 at I-94. He had two runner-up finishes and four top fives. He also qualified for the A main at the Seitz Memorial. He showed a lot of progress in a very tough division.
Brodee Eckerdt (#B1 IMCA Hobby Stock, Grand Forks, N.D.): Eckerdt, 15, won his first career feature in 2020 and a late surge helped him to win the track title at Red River Valley Speedway. He won four features overall.
Tanner Engen (#44 IMCA Hobby Stock, Detroit Lakes): Engen, 17, had four wins on the year, including three in a row at Red River Valley Speedway, where he finished second in points.
Jack Koranda (#22 Wissota Street Stock, Bluffton, Minn.): Koranda, 15, earned his first career win at I-94 Sure Step Speedway earlier this summer and added two more wins along the way. He’s proving to be a force at western Minnesota tracks in the street stocks.
Cole Greseth (#19 Mini Stock/Short Tracker, Harwood): The 13-year-old picked up two feature wins in 2020 after winning his first career one in 2019. He had nine top fives.
Adam Sobolik (#52 Western Renegade Non-Winged Sprint, Grand Forks): Only 17, Sobolik picked up his first career win on Aug. 29 at Devils Lake and had nine top five finishes in 18 starts.
Hard Luck Drivers
Haley Lee (#50H Wissota Midwest Modified, Starbuck, Minn.): She would win this award if we singled out one driver. She was caught up in several wrecks this season that were not of her doing, and her luck was terrible (like at the Fall Classic last weekend). She did manage three top fives this year but also had 13 DNFs.
Randy Klein (#88 Wissota Midwest Modified, Lisbon, N.D.): Klein wrecked two cars this year — his IMCA Modified and his Wissota Midwest Modified. Other times he gambled on sliders and lost at Sheyenne. Usually a car that wins plenty, he had six DNFs in 19 starts and did not earn a win in 2020.
Troy Schill (#11 Wissota Late Model, Thompson, N.D.): The veteran started out good with three top fives in his first eight starts. But his luck went downhill after that. He had a stretch of six DNFs late in the season in what was an uncharacteristic season for him.