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Catching Up With: 2-Time Wissota Sprint National Champion Loren Langerud


Loren Langerud (56) won two Wissota sprint national titles. (Photo from Julie Grassel)

If you followed sprint car racing regionally in the early to mid 2000s, chances you saw Loren Langerud running towards the front of the pack. Langerud was a two-time Wissota Sprint National Champion (2002 and 2003) and also was a two-time Red River Valley Speedway track champion. The Harwood, N.D., resident retired from racing after the 2005 season as one of the top sprint car drivers in the region. “We had a lot of success for a stretch there,” Langerud said. “It was a lot of work, but it was a lot of fun.” Langerud raced in some enduros before starting in the limited sprints —which had similarities to the 360 sprints of today — at River Cities Speedway in Grand Forks in the late 1980s. For several years he was in partnership with his brother, Greg and John Byron in the #56 sprint car. “Everybody had a job to do,” Langerud said. “We worked hard at it all week long. The car was right and the driver was doing what he was supposed to most of the time. Once you get everything comfortable it goes pretty good.” One of the most memorable races for Langerud wasn’t even a victory. During a World of Outlaws show in West Fargo, he passed sprint car legend Steve Kinser to win the dash, which helped put him on the front row for the feature. Mark Kinser led early before taking over the lead. He led 20 of 25 laps at the World of Outlaws show at West Fargo in 2004 and was in position for his first WOO win. However, he encountered a lapped car and that left an opening for Joey Saldana who passed him in the final laps for the win. Langerud settled for second. “Anybody who was around, they always bring that up,” Langerud said. He says his biggest win was he Brodix Tournament of 360 Champions at Knoxville Raceway in 2004. “We had some success at Knoxville,” Langerud said. He also finished with three NOSA Sprint wins as that series was in its infancy. He estimates in his 2005 season, out of close to 40 shows, 33 percent were feature wins. He also remembers a win at Huset’s Speedway on a night when Terry McCarl and Danny Lasoski were competing. Langerud said several factors contributed to him walking away after the 2005 season — one was Red River Valley Speedway elected to drop the sprints weekly from their schedule. “We’d race there on Fridays and go wherever on Saturday,” Langerud said. “We had quit racing local and we were traveling more. When West Fargo dropped the weekly show, that helped decide it.” Langerud has worked for a building products company for several years. He doesn’t attend races very often anymore, and not because he doesn’t like it. “If I was around it all the time I’d want to be more involved,” Langerud said. “It never leaves you.”

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