Kalvin Kesselberg now gets the chance to race against some of the drivers he grew up admiring.
The 20-year-old Ada, Minn., resident is in his fifth year of racing overall and second in the competitive IMCA Stock Car class at Norman County Raceway in Ada and Red River Valley Speedway in West Fargo.
“It’s especially fun for me, I grew up watching Rob VanMil race,” Kesselberg said. “Getting to be able to race against him…against Rick Schulz, Todd Heinrich…against all of those guys, it’s so much fun to be able to do.”
He’s still looking for his first career win, although he has been second several times.
Current NCR IMCA Sport Mod driver Andy Wagner was Kesselberg’s baseball coach, by the way. Kesselberg grew up attending his hometown track in Ada with his father, Aaron.
“Dad and I have always been at the racetrack. Since Ada went went to weekly racing, we never missed a night,” Kesselberg said.
He hopped into a hobby stock for the first three years of his career and then made the jump to the IMCA Stock Cars in 2019. In his rookie season, he had six top 5 finishes, highlighted by finishing second twice.
This season, he’s been right in the thick of contention at the local tracks. Kesselberg is fourth in points at NCR, and is just one point behind a three-way tie for first place. He’s finished in the top five all three nights with one runner-up finish.
“I think overall the season has started off pretty strong,” Kesselberg said. “We’ve ran six nights and ended up with a second place run, three top 5s and six top 10s. I feel our car has been very competitive in both Ada and West Fargo.”
As far as the rest of the year goes I plan on racing Ada and Fargo weekly and racing three nights of the mod tour.
Kesselberg graduated from Lakes Area Tech in Watertown, S.D., this past May and is working at Quality Engine in Fargo.
While he still is seeking that first career victory, that isn’t his focus nightly at the track.
“If I can’t keep a smile on my face every night, I don’t want to do it,” Kesselberg said. “I just want to have fun. If a win does happen, that would be awesome. I’m not going to show up at a racetrack and need to win. I want to have fun. I get to spend time with my brother (Ashton) and my dad. You can’t trade that for anything.”
IMCA Stock Car #11
Hometown: Ada, Minn.
Sponsors: Sanders Metal Products, Performance Auto, Jake and Sharnel Bitker, Brainerd Farms, Anderson Farms, Teal Trucking, EnviroTech, Alpha Learning and Childcare Center