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Catching Up With former Buffalo River Champion Steve Pavlicek



Steve Pavlicek says he was born to race.

“It was just in me,” said Pavlicek, who now lives in Casselton, N.D. “The day I was born, I wanted to race.”

Ironically, he racing career began when his son, Rich was born on June 9, 1973.

“The day he was born, I started,” Steve said.

Steve Pavlicek - known by many in the Red River Valley as Duffer -- started in the street stock division, but had a yearning for the opening wheel classes. He was interested in a sprint car before the modified class rose to prominence in the mid 1980s.

Sponsored by Brody Carlsrud Racing

“I was trying to get a ride. I loved the open-wheeled deal, but I couldn’t get a ride, Steve said. “(The modifieds) came along, and I said ‘this is an open wheel deal, I can go with this.’”

He has success in the modified class. Pavlicek won track championships at Buffalo River Speedway and at Winnipeg. His most memorable win came at the Corn Cob Nationals at Buffalo River in 2005, which he had won for the first time in the midwest modified class.

“I wanted that for a lot of years,” Steve said. “And I finally got it.”

Steve is now the crew chief for his son, Rich, who has raced in the Wissota Midwest Modifieds, IMCA Modifieds and IMCA Sport Mods in recent years. Rich won the IMCA Sport Mod track title at Red River Valley Speedway last summer by two points.

“It’s been awesome,” Steve said. “I’m with him at every race. I maintain the car and I let him figure (driving) out for himself. He’s gotten so good that I don’t have to tell him what to do.”

The two have raced against each other, too several times. In fact in 2014, according to Rich Pavlicek, the two drivers were in the B-mod class together. At Norman County Raceway in Ada that year, Rich won the points while Steve finished third.

Steve, even now at age 71, is tempted to get behind the wheel again.

“It’s tough. I won’t even get in Rich’s race car,” Steve said. “Every time I do, I want to do this again.”

Steve Pavilcek’s involvement in area racing spans nearly five decades.

“There’s been so many good times, fun times,” Steve said. “Ninety percent of the time it was a good time and a heck of a lot of fun.”



The Silver Bullet Modified piloted by Steve Pavlicek was popular with fans.

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