New Faces In Late Model Class for 2021
There is some good news for area late model fans in 2021 in this area — some new faces will be moving into the class.
Let’s start with last fall, when Mitch Johnson of Hickson began his comeback and according to the Mitch Johnson Racing #00 Facebook page, plans to race late models in 2021.
Johnson is one of the most decorated late model drivers from the area — he’s a two-time Wissota Late Model national champion, a past winner of the Dacotah Rumble, the Silver 1000 and the John Seitz Memorial — and it will be fun to see his familiar #00 out there.
But some other recognizable names will be moving into the class this year.
Mike Greseth of Harwood, a long-time top modified driver in the valley, is moving into the late model class. Greseth bought a Rocket from Wisconsin driver Buzzy Adams. He plans to jump around at area events and race some NLRA shows in the region. He’s a good veteran addition to the class.
Jason Strand of Portland, N.D., is also moving into the late models in 2021. He’s raced in the modified and midwest modified divisions previously and has always been a strong runner.
Greg Friestad of Valley City, who’s raced in the IMCA Modifieds in recent years, also has bought a late model. He plans to run some of the NLRA tour and maybe run River Cities Speedway as his work schedule allows. He’s a busy guy during the week.
The Haugland brothers from Brocket, N.D., Eric and Cole, also have bought late models. They still plan to race midwest modifieds at Devils Lake each Saturday but will run the late models at River Cities and other events as their farming schedule allows.
Some other drivers have moved into the class in the past few years — Dan Dowling of Davenport and Ben Wolden of Fergus Falls come to mind. Dowling, by the way, bought a new 28 Special Chassis from Jeff Provinzino of Hibbing to run in 2021.
It’s encouraging to see new talent in this class locally, and will be fun to see how they fare against some pretty stout drivers in this region.
More Class Changes
Tye Wilke of Detroit Lakes will remain in his #72 INEX Legend machine in 2021; he won four track titles a year ago. He also will race a RaceSaver IMCA Sprint in 2021 as well at Red River Valley Speedway in West Fargo. It should be a great move for Wilke.
Brody Carlsrud is leaving the INEX Legend ranks and moving into the IMCA Stock Car class. He’s not the first legend driver to do this — Andrew Jochim of Glyndon did this prior to 2020 and ran well at area tracks.
Daniel Harstad of Fergus Falls, a multi-time Short Tracker champion at I-94 Sure Step Speedway in Fergus Falls, is moving into the street stock class in 2021. He bought a streeter from Mike Hart of Erhard.
Mike Bruns Passes Away
Mike Bruns of Fargo was a fixture in racing in the Red River Valley for many years behind the wheel of the #42, He raced in the late model class but was known for his work in the modifieds. Mike passed away earlier this week.
I used to see Mike Bruns bring his late model, along with some other Fargo-area drivers like Duane Wadeson, Bob Sagen and Mitch Johnson, to Viking Speedway back in the mid-1980s. I’ve seen him many times in the mod class. I never met him, but he was a hard-nosed competitor from what I am told by others.
It’s been a tough few years seeing some well-known racers in this region pass away — Troy Olson passed away a few years ago and Howie Schill passed away in December. Very tough deal for their families.
Thoughts to the Bruns family.