Notes: Thoughts on Steffes Tour, Rebel MW Mod Tour, Area Drivers
I took a few days off to be a fan last weekend, so I decided to compile a notebook of some of the noteworthy things I found from the results last weekend.
I’ll talk more about the tracks I attended on my trip below, but let’s start with the Steffes Street Stock Tour.
The Steffes Street Stock Tour is off to an excellent start in its second year, averaging nearly 37 cars per night through six nights. Sheyenne had 25, but keep in mind last year there were only 18 at that race.
Parker Anderson of Phillips, Wis., is having a monster year. He has four of the six tour wins and 15 wins overall, and leads the national points over Justin Vogel of Brooten, who won the tour stop Friday at Brown County Speedway in Aberdeen. Anderson has finished second in the other two Steffes races, pretty incredible mark of consistency.
Don’t discount Vogel, Jonny Carter or others in the national points race; it’s early yet. But Anderson is off to a great start national points wise.
Kyle Anderson’s Steffes Tour win at Jamestown, in my opinion, was the biggest of his career. He enjoyed a breakout season in 2020 with five wins — his first ones in a street stock — and looks like a contender this year as well. He has improved every year, and Jonny Carter has served as a mentor to him in some ways, helping him learn the class.
One thing to keep in mind about the Steffes Street Stock Tour: you don’t have to race every show to be eligible for the points title. The top 12 shows out of 20 are counted towards the point. Which means there is a lot of times to make a run at the points. Parker Anderson told me on Sunday he won’t be at the stops at River Cities and Devils Lake this upcoming weekend and that his goal is to run about 16 of the shows.
It was good to see guys like James Meagher and Dan McNamee, regulars at River Cities in Grand Forks, hit a couple tour stops this week. Andy Rossow of Florence, S.D., also has been a regular on tour but had bad luck and pulled in during Sunday's show at Sheyenne.
Rebel Midwest Mod Tour
There is one stop at the Rebel Midwest Mod Tour this week, and that’s Sunday at Sheyenne Speedway. It’s at least $1,000 to win every night. Brock Gronwold won the first two nights of the tour at I-94 Sure Step Speedway; last Saturday, Devils Lake and Viking each hosted a stop, with Matt Schow of McIntosh and Shawn Olson of Alexandria, respectively, winning at those tracks.
In my opinion, that might be Olson’s biggest career win. He was the 2017 Viking track champion and has been a steady performer over the years at the 1/2-mile. The victory was his 10th at Viking.
Olson is the only Wissota midwest modified driver I know of who is racing a Razor Chassis, and he is also one of the handful of drivers running a Crate engine. Saturday was a nice win against a pretty stout field. Olson also leads the points, thanks to five top five finishes in six starts.
NLRA Late Models
Shane Edginton of Winnipeg leads the NLRA Late Model point standings as of June 12. He has yet to win a feature on the tour this season but has consistently been a top five car.
Mike Greseth of Harwood is a late model rookie but is not driving like one. He has two NLRA feature wins already, including Saturday at Greenbush, and is second in the NLRA point standings. Greseth has three feature wins overall and seven top five finishes in 11 starts this season.
Dave Mass of East Bethel and Dustin Strand of East Grand Forks are the other drivers to win an NLRA feature this season.
—Two drivers who lead their respective national points were in attendance at Sheyenne Speedway on Sunday — Parker Anderson in the Wissota Streets and Scott “Rebel” Bintz in the Wissota Midwest Modifieds. Bintz has been a busy driver this year and seems to have raced all over Wissota. In second is 14-year-old Kennedy Swan of Chippewa Falls, Wis., who made an appearance at I-94 earlier this month.
---Tyler Peterson of Hickson and Joseph Thomas of Glyndon are in the top five in points after three races of the Advantage RV Modified Tour. The tour averaged a solid 25.3 cars for the weekend, pretty good considering Wissota Mod numbers are down all over the place. Peterson had a good battle with points leader Shane Sabraski of Rice at Grand Rapids on Friday. Thomas had a solid top five finish at ABC Raceway in Ashland on Saturday.
Young Ryan Gierke of Villard, who won his first A mod feature earlier this year at I-94 Sure Step Speedway, led the first 20 laps at Grand Rapids and has made remarkable strides over the past two seasons.
—Congrats to the veteran Brad Orvedal for picking up his first IMCA Hobby Stock win of the season last Thursday at Norman County Raceway.
—Ryan Restad of West Fargo lost his father, Jerry a few weeks ago. Since coming back he’s won two IMCA Sport Mod features at Red River Valley Speedway — a nice way to pay tribute to him.
—Brody Troftgruben of Grand Forks picked up the second feature win of his career in the Wissota Late Models on Friday at River Cities Speedway.
—Nick Omdahl of East Grand Forks has yet to win a NOSA Sprint feature at River Cities Speedway, but leads the points at the 3/10-mile bullring. He has finished in the top five all four nights. Austin Pierce of Grand Forks (Two wins), Jade Hastings of Grand Forks (one) and Brendan Mullen of Grand Forks (one win) have the feature wins at River Cities. Hastings leads the overall NOSA sprint standings by six over Wade Nygaard of Grand Forks.
—Veteran Rich Pavlicek of Casselton won his first feature of the season — after a stretch of rotten luck — in the IMCA Sport Mods at Norman County Raceway on Thursday. Another veteran, Todd Heinrich of Fargo, also got his first win of the year in the IMCA Stock Cars.
—Only eight points separate the top four modified drivers in the points at Viking Speedway. Travis Saurer leads Brett Hoium of Villard by five; Dusty Bitzan of Brandon is two behind Hoium, and defending champion Brady Gerdes of Villard is one behind Bitzan.
—One IMCA Modified driver who is quietly having a good summer is Allen Kent of West Fargo. He picked up his first win of the year on Sunday at Buffalo River Speedway, and has seven top five finishes in 11 starts. Kent is second to Tyler Hall of Fertile in the points at Red River Valley Speedway.
—Kevin Youngquist of Barney has one feature win at I-94 Sure Step Speedway this season in his #00 Short Tracker, but has a nice 56-point lead over Curtis Huseth of Underwood. That is because of consistency — he has finished in the top five in seven of eight nights at I-94 Sure Step.
—I heard one comment about Hunter Carter, who is co-promoter at Sheyenne, racing during Sunday’s show at the track. First, it’s a one-time deal — he was running the Steffes Tour Race — and secondly, he’s not the only promoter/co-owner to race at his track locally without any issues. General manager Jason Berg races the POWRI Minn-Kota Lightning Sprints at Buffalo River Speedway; Brad Seng is co-owner of River Cities Speedway and races his late model weekly there; and Don Shaw has raced his late model on occasion at I-94 Sure Step Speedway. It is not unprecedented and honestly, to me it isn’t a big deal.
Thoughts on Grand Rapids Speedway
I like to offer thoughts on new tracks I visit, or tracks out of the area, especially when I am a paying customer. I got to visit Grand Rapids Speedway in Grand Rapids, Minn., for the first time on Thursday.
Grand Rapids is 3/8-mile long and is described as semi-banked. The track is literally in the woods — the fairgrounds are on the north end of town in the pines -- and there are trees not that far off of turns one and two.
I thought it was a nice facility and I thought it was a pretty good mod feature. I didn’t know much about the other drivers in the other classes.
The track ran an intermission of about 30 minutes which I think is too long for a Thursday track. They were doing some watering and working on the track but it shouldn’t have taken 30 minutes, in my opinion.
One area that alarmed me a little was the slow response of safety personnel after one of the Wissota hornets crashed hard off of turn four. No urgency at all and it was to the point where fans were yelling at track officials to get out there and assist. Fortunately the driver was unhurt, but that doesn’t excuse the slow response. I bet it took 2-3 minutes to get over to her.
Overall I think it’s a pretty solid place.
Thoughts on ABC Raceway
I made it to my 53rd track on Saturday at ABC Raceway, which is just south of Ashland, Wis.
One thing I was not aware of is that this is a private, and not a fairgrounds, facility. It has a lot of pit area and seating capabilities, which come in hand during the Red Clay Classic each September.
I liked the shape of the track and the facility itself. Having 31 mods on hand was a good boost for me as a first-time fan.
The 6-cylinder super stocks, well, did not impress me. Not just the fact that it was a 27-minute caution fest for a 12-lap, 11-car race -- but the fact that the racing isn't all that good. I've seen them before at Proctor and they didn't impress me then. The cars barely sound like they are going at all.
The track rubbered up and led to a one-laner at the bottom for the remaining half of the mod feature. For a while Shane Sabraski and Cole Spacek put on a good show up front, and there was some racing in traffic. I was hoping the top line would come around but it never did.
It's a nice facility, and I think if multiple lanes come in, it could be a really fun track to see a race at.