Bitzan Fast Out of the Gate in 2020
Updated: Jul 31, 2020
If Dusty Bitzan ever needs advice about racing, he doesn’t have to look far for expertise. Like his own pit area.
His #10X Wissota Modified is co-owned by Alexandria resident Dave Thoennes — a 2017 Viking Speedway Hall of Fame inductee who’s owned or co-owned race cars for decades at the half-mile — and Dennis Bitzan, a multi-time track champion at Viking Speedway who very likely will be in the track’s hall of fame one day. Dave Thoennes is Dusty’s uncle (Dave’s wife Elaine and Dusty’s mom are sisters) and Dennis is his cousin (and not his dad or uncle as RaceChaser as erroneously mentioned).
“They give me a lot of pointers,” Dusty Bitzan said. “They’ve been around it a long time — they’re just trying make you better every week.”
The 29-year-old farmer from Brandon, Minn., is in his fifth year in the Wissota Mods. He got his start in the Wissota Midwest Modified class in the #10B machine and was successful with 11 feature wins. He’s in his 11th year of racing overall.
Bitzan, driving a Lethal Chassis built by former NASCAR driver David Stremme, has run well this season. In seven starts, he has six top five finishes, including the win at I-94. He leads the points at Fergus by 34 points over Appleton driver Brian Haben.
“So far, our season as been going very well,” Bitzan said.
Like many, Dusty Bitzan’s interest in racing started by going as a kid.
“Just hanging out at the track and going to watch the races when I was young,” Bitzan said. “I just kinda got hooked on it.”
He ran in the midwest modifieds for several years before taking a year off. When he returned, he hopped into the #10X modified that Dennis Bitzan had driven for several years.
Naturally, there was an adjustment period switching classes, and taking a year off.
“The biggest difference is the horsepower,” Bitzan said. “That’s the biggest adjustment. I didn’t race for one year, and I jumped into the big mod. It was a little different getting into it.”
Bitzan has five career feature wins in the Wissota Modified, including winning the season opener at I-94 Sure Step Speedway on June 12. That was his first win at Fergus Falls.
“It was a good way to start off the year. I’d never won here in a A mod before, so it felt good to finally get one,” Bitzan said. “I’d been close a few times, but could never secure one. It’s tough. There’s a lot of heavy hitters every week.”
He’s looking to continue the momentum he’s established as the season moves into August.
“I hope to just continue to be consistent and run up front week after week,” Bitzan said, “and try to get more wins.”
Wissota Modified #10X
Residence: Brandon, Minn.
Sponsors: Lake Side Lumber Company, Bitzan Ohren Masonry, Joe’s Gas and Deli, West Central Electric, Budweiser, Subway, Fastenal, TRE Race Parts, Alexandria Refrigeration