RaceChaser Notes: Area Points Races/Champions, Don't Take Locals for Granted
One of the things I notice is how tracks, in general, treat local drivers. You know the ones who support the track. There are some cases where there is some favorable treatment — especially if those drivers are involved in sponsoring the track. Keep in mind this is a general comment about racing in the Midwest and not one track locally.
In some cases, some local, regular drivers are taken for granted. And sometimes, frankly they aren’t treated the best.
There are many, many drivers who show up at area tracks each week, and bring some people to the stands, who sometimes get taken for granted. They may not win a ton of features or be a big-name driver, but they are their supporting their local tracks every week.
I wonder if tracks forget about those people sometimes. I’m not talking about them getting preferential treatment, I’m talking about thanking them for coming each week. For bringing people to the stands. For being loyal and being there every week to put on a show. Sometimes a thank you goes a long, long way.
If track promoters just assume those folks are going to be there every week, they may be in for a rude awakening when they quit showing up.
Update on Points Races
There are a few tracks that will crown point champions this next weekend: River Cities Speedway in Grand Forks, I-94 Sure Step Speedway in Fergus Falls, Devils Lake Speedway and Sheyenne Speedway in Lisbon.
Dustin Strand leads Brad Seng by 10 points in the Wissota Late Model standings heading into the season championship at River Cities. That is the closest point race at RCS. Austin Pierce leads Jade Hastings by 17 points in the NOSA Sprints. Ryan Johnson of Karlstad leads Trey Hess by 48 points in the Wissota Street standings. Matt Schow of McIntosh has wrapped up the Wissota Midwest Modified title at River Cities (he has a 157-point lead over Jamie Dietzler).
Brock Gronwold of Fergus Falls is locked in a very close points race with Matt Baker of St. Joseph in the Wissota Midwest Modified class at I-94 Sure Step Speedway. Gronwold leads by five heading into Friday’s championship. If Gronwold prevails in the points at I-94, he will have three championships this season (Viking and NCR are already won). Dusty Bitzan is well on his way to the Wissota Mod title at I-94, leading Brian Haben by 80 points.
Ryan Satter of Dent will have two track titles this season. He won at Viking in the Wissota Street Stocks and has an insurmountable — by a lot — lead of 252 points at I-94. William Lund holds a 12-point lead over Jeff Crouse for the Wissota Super Stock lead with Matt Miller third, 15 points back. Ben Wolden has the Limited Late Model track title wrapped up for a third straight year. Cole Schill of Horace leads Dave Mass by 14 points in the Wissota Late Model race. Daniel Harstad has clinched his second straight Short Tracker title.
Nate Reynolds of Hoople is well on his way to the Wissota Midwest Modified title at Devils Lake; he leads by 107 points over Rugby driver Jarett Lovcik. Trey Hess of Lakota leads Seth Klostreich of Grand Forks by 39 in the Wissota Street Stock class. Joe Armstrong of Crary all has wrapped up the Pure Stock title at Devils Lake with two points nights remaining at the 1/4-mile oval. He has six wins at DLS and leads MiKara Johanson of Edmore by 152 points. Jason Berg of West Fargo leads the Minn-Kota Lightning Sprints by 26 over Kelsi Pederson. Myles Tomlinson leads Joel Larson by 14 in the Western Renegade Non-Winged sprints.
The closest race at Sheyenne is in the Wissota Midwest Modified, where Nate Reinke of Lisbon leads his brother Zach by only five points. Lucas Rodin of Marion is just nine back. Bo Gregor is looking for his second straight Hobby Stock title and leads Jayden Michaelsohn by in the standings. Justin Hainline leads Kelby Anderson by 34 points in the Mini Stock standings. Tye Wilke is up 46 points on Ryan Braseth in the INEX Legends class while Jonny Carter of Lisbon has wrapped up the title in the Wissota Street Stocks by taking the green on Sunday.
First Career Wins Club Grows
Adam Sobolik of Grand Forks became the latest RaceChaser-area driver to join the first wins club.
Brodee Eckerdt — June 5, IMCA Hobby Stock, Red River Valley Speedway
Bryce Haugeberg, June 19, Minn-Kota Lightning Sprint, River Cities Speedway
Justin Hainline - June 21, Mini Stock, Sheyenne Speedway
Seth Klostreich, - June 27, Wissota Street Stock, River Cities Speedway
Nick Ranten- July 3, NOSA Sprints, River Cities Speedway
Kalvin Kesselberg - July 9, IMCA Stock Car, Norman County Raceway
Ryan Gierke - July 9, Wissota Midwest Modified, KRA Speedway
Levi Lease - July 10, Short Trackers, I-94 Sure Step Speedway
Jack Koranda, July 17, Wissota Street Stock, I-94 Sure Step Speedway
Kevin Veralrud, July 24, IMCA Sport Mod, Red River Valley Speedway
Brody Troftgruben, Aug. 1, Wissota/NLRA Late Model, Devils Lake Speedway
MiKara Johanson, Aug. 22, Pure Stock, Devils Lake Speedway
Adam Sobolik, Aug. 29, Western Renegade Non-Winged Sprints, Devils Lake Speedway
—Detroit Lakes driver Tye Wilke is having a huge season in the INEX Legends. He shares the area lead, with Brock Gronwold, with 20 feature wins and has 33 top 10s in 42 starts. Wilke won track championships at Red River Valley Speedway, Norman County Raceway and Jamestown Speedway and is in first at Sheyenne Speedway by 46 points heading into Sunday’s Season Championship. Wilke is second in the INEX Legends Pro (Dirt) National Points behind Donavin Wiest of Wishek, trailing by 18 points.
—Austin Arneson of Fargo, who has 10 wins on the season and is the 2020 Red River Valley Speedway IMCA Modified champion, is tied for 24th in IMCA National Points. He is the highest area driver in those ranks.
—Todd Heinrich of West Fargo, the 2020 Red River Valley IMCA Stock Car champion, is 27th in national points.
—Jesse Skalicky’s IMCA Modified point title was his second in a row at Norman County Raceway. The Fargo driver had one win at NCR and was consistently a top five car. He joined Rob VanMil of Barnesville and Wilke as repeat track champions at Ada.
—Luke Johnson of Moorhead, who had won back-to-back point titles in the IMCA Sport Mods at Red River Valley Speedway, won the point title in the class at Norman County Raceway.
—There were no repeat track champions at Red River Valley Speedway from 2019.
—If you wonder why Brewster, Minn., driver Cory Probst made the nearly five-hour drive to Norman County Raceway in Ada, it’s because he leads the IMCA Hobby Stock National points. In the latest points, he leads Jeff Ware by two. Tim Gonska of Brainerd, who won the IMCA Hobby Stock track title at Norman County, is eighth.
—Brady Gerdes of Villard repeated as Wissota Mod track champion at Viking Speedway. In fact, Brock Gronwold of Fergus Falls (Wissota Midwest Modified) and Trevor Saurer of Dalton (Wissota Super Stock) also repeated in their divisions.
Dusty Bitzan of Brandon and Gerdes were locked in a close battle for the mod point title at Viking. Gerdes won the feature on Saturday while Bitzan finished eighth. Gerdes won the title by seven points.
—If Gronwold wins the track championship at I-94 this week, he will have three track championships won in 2020 (Viking and NCR are already clinched). Wilke is likely at four for the year.