Atkinson Savoring Breakthrough Win
There have been a few big wins in Landon Atkinson's racing career, but none was bigger than Aug. 9 at I-94 Speedway in Fergus Falls.
Atkinson won the USMTS Summersota Nationals at the 3/8-mile oval, picking up $3,000. He led all 40 laps and beat big USMTS guns like Rodney Sanders, Zach Vanderbeek, Terry Phillips and Hunter Marriott in the process.
"Winning a USMTS feature is something I think every modified racer dreams of," Atkinson said. "When you think about it, it’s the pinnacle of modified racing and you won’t find a more prestigious group of racers. My first memory of USMTS racing I was real young, probably 13, and I just remember the atmosphere and thinking 'this is it, this is the real deal.' I’ve always thought about what it would feel like to win one of those races and I can honestly say it’s an indescribable feeling. I watched the video and it seems surreal, five years ago I was a field filler when the series came around here. The whole thing is just very gratifying and I’m glad my dad and I got to experience it together."
The 22-year-old from Little Falls, who drives the 18A Wissota Modified, had some big wins prior -- the Fallen Linemen Race at Viking Speedway in 2017 and the Harvest Cup at Ogilvie Raceway in 2018 -- but the USMTS victory rises to the top in his nine-year racing career.
The Atkinson name may sound familiar in western Minnesota racing parts. Scott Atkinson raced the #21 late model for several years at Viking Speedway in Alexandria. Scott is now Landon's crew chief and is the big reason he got into racing.
"It's almost unexplainable. I have a guy that's bled racing for years and years and years that kinda instilled it on me by accident," Landon Atkinson said. "It's always him and I on the road. We spend all summer together; we go all over the place even when we're not racing. It's something we've built a really close relationship off of."
Landon Atkinson was involved in motocross from an early age, but the family moved away from that after the oldest child, Levi, broke both of his feet. Scott Atkinson bought a late model to get back into the stock cars in 2010 and a year later, Landon was in the Wissota Mod 4s
Landon Atkinson got into racing in 2011 in the Wissota Mod 4s, and then moved into the A modified division in 2014, where he's been ever since.
Scott Atkinson is well-known name at Viking Speedway. So when Landon won the Fallen Linemen Race at Viking in 2017, it carried a special meaning.
"It was my first win at Alexandria. It'll always be a very special win for me," Atkinson said. "It brings me really cool memories."
As far as 2019 goes, Atkinson had a slow start as a result of having some had personal stuff going on early and all the rainouts. Since July 1, he has five top five finishes, including the USMTS win.
He has other goals -- winning the Wissota 100 is on his list.
"We're finally getting out of it and been running up front," Atkinson said. "We're focusing on being fast at the end of the year again."
Racing is more about the competition on the track for Atkinson.
"To me racing is more than racing. The people that you meet and stories that get told and the memories is something that's been realy big with me," Landon Atkinson said.
Wissota Modified #18A
Residence: Little Falls, Minn.
Sponsors: Little Falls Auto and Transmission, Hilmerson RV, Hilmerson Sports Center, Advanced Repair Inc., JackalsGym.com, Red’s Racing Supplies, Cain Designs