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  • tombergie01

Are We Spreading the Late Models Too Thin During Invitational Season?

Late model racing, photo by Mike Spieker/Speedway Shots

As a far, I have a lot of choices this weekend for late model racing within a couple hour drive of Fargo-Moorhead this weekend, and I’m thinking it’s maybe spreading the late model class a little thin.

Here’s a peak at racing in the region:

—The 48th annual Jamestown Stampede — one of the longest running late-season specials in the midwest — is set for Friday and Saturday at Jamestown Speedway in Jamestown. The Stampede is paying $4,000 to win late models, $2,500 to win IMCA Modified, $2,000 to win midwest modifieds, $1,500 to win street stocks and IMCA Sport Mods, $1,000 to win INEX Legends, $500 to win the bombers and $300 to win the hornet/mini stock feature.

—The Viking Fall Classic in Alexandria is Sept. 20-21 with two complete shows for the Wissota Late Models, Modifieds, Super Stocks, Midwest Modifieds and Street Stocks. It is $2,000 to win and $175 to start each day for the late models and mods; $1,000 to win and $100 to start super stocks and midwest modifieds; and $750 to win and $75 to start street stocks both days. This is a pretty good purse — and there are two separate shows, which seems to be growing in popularity during invitational season as opposed to one, two-day show.

—Casino Speedway in Watertown, S.D., is holding two separate shows as part of their second annual Autumn Classic this Friday and Saturday. Late models, modifieds, super stocks, midwest modifieds, street stocks and limited late models will run this weekend at the 1/4-mile oval with a slight increase over the weekly payout.

The appeal of Casino and Viking are two completely separate shows for Wissota points. Which will attract cars especially for those in the national point hunt.

Here is my issue. Casino, Viking and Jamestown are all running late models this weekend. To the east, the long-running the 40th annual Punky Manor Challenge of Champions— paying $4,000 to win late models — will be held at Red Cedar Speedway in Menomonie, Wis. to the north, Red River Co-op Speedway in Winnipeg is running the Delaine Memorial on Saturday which also includes late models. Jamestown and Punky Manor have long held this weekend.

My concern with this is are there enough late models to go around for these events? Some late model drivers are done for the summer as well. I think the other classes should be fine for car counts, there are plenty of modifieds, midwest modifieds and street stocks around.

The Seitz Memorial at River Cities Speedway paid $9,200 to win and $920 to start — an excellent purse and attracted 41 late models. Four-plus hours to east, Gondik Law Speedway in Superior, Wis., ran the Northern Nationals and paid $2,500 to win late models (one night Saturday show) — and got 24 cars.

See my point? The late model class doesn’t have the numbers to support this many big races on one weekend, at least in my opinion I understand weather dictates scheduling this time of year — scheduling into October is a crapshoot — and that willl lead to a lot of events on the same weekend. However, next weekend, Red River Co-op and ABC Raceway in Ashland, Wis., are the only tracks running late models that I can find on the schedule.

Maybe Wissota needs get more involved with guiding the scheduling so some of these year-end events don’t conflict, at least for the late models. Just a thought as a fan.

There is another special in central North Dakota that will be running against the Stampede — the McLean County Speedway in Underwood, N.D. is hosting the Coal Classic, which is two complete shows that will run modifieds, stock cars, sport mods, hobby stocks and sport compacts (IMCA rules but not sanctioned). It pays $2,500 to win the A mods each day and $1,200 to win the sport mods each day, which I would think would impact Jamestown’s counts some in those classes. However, there are plenty of IMCA modifieds around in North Dakota and both should draw well. At least I hope so.

I will be curious to watch the late model numbers at these events this weekend. I hope the class isn’t being spread too thin.

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