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Odden Savors 1st Trip to Victory Lane

The last thing Jeff Odden wanted to see was a caution.

Aiming for his first career feature win, the veteran was leading the IMCA Modified feature Sunday night at Buffalo River Speedway near Glyndon – by a straightaway – as the laps waned.

Then the caution waved with four laps to go. And the lead was gone. Odden, who had been close to a win before, needed to hit his marks for four more laps.

He did so. And he had his first career feature win after two decades of racing.

“Crossing the line,” Odden said, “was really just a sigh of relief.”

The postrace celebration for the 49-year-old from Reiles Acres included burnouts on the frontstretch, jumping on the roof of his #0 machine, and getting congratulated by several in victory lane, and a lot of cheering from the crowd.

While getting his first win was a huge moment in his career, finding victory lane was never the primary thing that kept Odden in racing.

“The camaraderie between the guys is more important than the competitive level,” Odden said. “We’re all friends at some level.”

That does not mean he did not want to reach victory lane. Odden had several second and third-place finishes. But he did not let the close calls deter his ability to enjoy being at the racetrack.

“Many times,” Odden said. “You have to accept it. There are more losers than winners. If you are not willing to lose, you aren’t willing to win.”

The racing bug bit Odden as a kid when his father took him to the races in Minot. In 2003, he decided to jump into the Wissota Midwest Modified class. A jump to the A mods – at that time Red River Valley Speedway in West Fargo and Buffalo River Speedway were Wissota-sanctioned – soon followed. And he has been in the Wissota/IMCA Mods ever since.

“I started in the Midwest mods,” Odden said. “Then I realized Wissota Modifieds are where I wanted to be.”

While racing has its drawbacks – it takes a lot of time and money – Odden has found it as a source of enjoyment.

“It gets monotonous working on the car all the time and spending money,” Odden said. “If it wasn’t here, we’d be spending it on a fishing boat or a hunting shack.”

Odden, who owns Main Collision in West Fargo, also would likely win the award for the most unique-looking paint scheme on his race car.

“I’m known for doing patina painting on old trucks and cars,” Odden said. “I thought it’d be appropriate to put on a modified.”

Including Sunday’s win, Odden has two top fives in 12 starts this season. His aim is to be in the hunt.

“Just to be competitive,” Odden said. “If I can run in the top three, top five every night, I’m pretty happy.”

Odden says he is not far away from retiring from racing – he plans to step away in the next year or two. And that made Sunday’s win even a bit sweeter.

"Since I won’t be racing much longer, I can now end my career on a high note,” Odden said. “I have never put the importance of winning most racers do. I love to do it and be there more than a trophy. But it does feel damn good.”

Driver Profile

Jeff Odden

IMCA Modified #0

Residence: Relie’s Acres, N.D.

Age: 49

Sponsors: Main Collision, Randall’s, Pioneer Seed, Mountain Dew, Miller Lite, Ramblin’ 20 Tunes, T&E Racing Products

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