Aukland a Tough Competitor in IMCA Modifieds
Matt Aukland had been out of racing for a few years when his friend, Mike Greseth, had an IMCA Modified for sale prior to the 2019 season. Aukland, from Glyndon, decided it was time for a comeback.
“A buddy of mine, Mike Greseth was running the IMCA Mods; he got a new one and his old one was sitting there,” Aukland said. “I had just enough lug nuts to put it together.”
The 37-year-old from Glyndon pilots the #12 IMCA Modified weekly at Red River Valley Speedway. He’s run some specials in the region as well.
Aukland’s last name is well-known in the Red River Valley racing scene — his dad, Rick, is one of the most decorated late model drivers to come out of the Midwest. Rick Aukland, now living in Ohio, has pretty much scaled back his racing, Matt said, but remains an influence on his son.
“We still talk every day about this and that on the race cars,” Aukland said. “We’re both still interested in it.”
Matt Aukland started his racing career in 2003, hopping right into the late model class. He had success in the class, winning the 2007 NLRA Late Model point championship and four NLRA features in his career. His biggest win of his career came in the late models in 2012 when he won Tony Stewart Night at Red River Valley Speedway. That win was worth $4,000.
“It was a rainy night, and the track was real hammer-down and rough and muddy,” Aukland said. “We broke more stuff than it paid, but it was a nice trophy.”
He got out of racing for a few years to devote time to his family and his business — he owns Aukland & Co., a trucking business.
Aukland is driving a Lethal Chassis — which is growing heavily in popularity in modified racing in the region — that Dusty Bitzan drove at Viking Speedway and I-94 Sure Step Speedway. After some persuading, Dave Thoennes, the owner of Bitzan’s car, sold the machine to Aukland this past offseason.
This year, Matt Aukland has two wins and 11 top five finishes in 18 starts. He’s finished in the top three seven times.
“It’s a really friendly car to drive,” Aukland said.
Aukland credits his crew, including Jon Young, his crew chief, and Justin Hanson, for helping his race team out. He also gets help from John and Tommy Sandvig.
He has never been a big points chaser at weekly shows, and this year is no different. He did run some IMCA specials at Princeton, Brainerd and Granite City but has been pretty much a regular at Red River Valley each week.
“For the most part I just race when it’s convenient,” Aukland said. “We do what we can. We race around here and go to the lake on weekends.”
IMCA Modified #12
Residence: Glyndon, Minn.
Sponsors: Sanders Metal Products, Northwest Auto Body, Static Electric, Rotten Johnny’s Repair, P & B Transportation, Aukland & Co., Corey’s Car Center.