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  • tombergie01

Appreciate the Longevity of the Long-Time Veterans

I was talking to my best friend Bryan at the USA Nationals at Cedar Lake Speedway in Wisconsin last summer, and I was thinking out loud — could it be the last time I ever see Billy Moyer race?

Moyer, from Batesville, Ark., is a legend in national dirt late model racing. He has 840 career wins in his #21 machine, won every big late model event out there (including the World 100 six times), and is as popular a driver as I can recall. He also just turned 62 in October and is nearing the end of a storied career.

I really hope it isn’t the last time I see him race, but it is a possibility and a sad one at that.

I thought about that with modified driving legend Mark Noble, who I saw at Viking Speedway in September. The Blooming Prairie driver has more than 600 modified feature wins and along with Ron Jones of Princeton, set the standard for modified racing in the upper Midwest in the 1980s and 1990s. Noble won the IMCA Super Nationals three times. He is also 63 now, and in the twilight of a racing career that few will every equal. Could the trip to Viking be the last time I see him?

Then there are some retirements that will affect tracks in the RaceChaser area — modified driver Jason Thoennes (who I hope reconsiders at some point :) ), late model driver Jeff Wildung and street stock driver Jerry Lamb (who raced 50 years)— that will leave big voids.

I hope we appreciate the drivers who’ve raced for as many as 40 or 50 years that are closer to the end of their careers than the beginning. Drivers like Noble, John Corell of Jamestown, Tom Corcoran of East Grand Forks, Marlyn Seidler of Underwood, N.D., Clarence Washburn of Hector, Minn., John Kaanta of Elk Mound, Wis., and Ron Saurer of Dalton, Minn., to name a few.

We’ve seen these drivers race for a long, long time and sometimes take for granted that they will be around forever.

Let’s appreciate their longevity and celebrate it.

The Dakota Rumble is Coming Back

One of Wissota’s most popular late model races — the Dacotah Rumble in Aberdeen, S.D. — is coming back in 2019 after an absence of 12 years, according to the Brown County Speedway Facebook page. The event is set for July 10 and 11. Purse and support classes will be announced. IN the past it was a $10,000 to win late model special and brought big-time car counts to Aberdeen.

This was one of my favorite races for many years. Guys like Joel Cryderman, Jimmy Mars, Mitch Johnson, Duane Mahder and Jerry Redetzke have reached victory lane in that event.

There are new promoters in Brown County and a lot of dirt has been added and worked in during the fall at the 1/3-mile high-banked oval. I look forward to getting back there this summer.

Social Media and Banquets

Some people have mentioned to me about track postseason banquets. I know some are set for after the first of the year, and I-94 Speedway held theirs the Saturday before Thanksgiving with what looked to be a good turnout.

One thing I will say on this issue — there needs to be ample notice of these events, and some promotion of it on sites like Facebook. Because to many drivers and crews, the banquet is a big deal — it celebrates a season and honestly gets people a bit excited about racing in the offseason, which many of us need after the latest snowstorm. Not only that, but make it a fun event. I’ve been to a few — I had to emcee one once which was nerve-wracking — and to be honest they are chances to build some camaraderie between drivers.

It’s not that hard to make a Facebook post starting times and location and follow ups to remind people when and where it is.

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