RaceChaser Notes: Viking Speedway and Steffes Tour Off to Solid Starts, Wilke and Peterson Rolling
Updated: Jun 1
We finally have some racing shows in the books in 2022, so I compiled some notes about the first few nights of racing.
Viking Speedway in Alexandria is off to a solid start in 2022 in my opinion. In large part because the track has been in nice shape with some good racing. Really smooth racetrack which considering how wet the spring is a good accomplishment. I’ll be blunt: Viking has taken some heat for its track conditions at times over the years, but it needs to be pointed out when the track is in good shape, too.
The Steffes Street Stock Tour features were fantastic on both nights, and it seemed like there were about 10-12 drivers who could win each night. Sunday’s battle between Justin Vogel, Ty Agen, Ryan Satter and Kolton Brauer was as good of racing as you will see. The late cautions probably cost Kolton Brauer the race, but the last three laps were nuts. Vogel’s experience at Viking really showed during the finish which I think clinched him the win.
If you add Saturday’s classic finish with Hunter Carter edging Kyle Dykhoff, and it was a great weekend. Kyle Anderson got a top five on Sunday as well and looked strong. So far, three Steffes Tour races, three different winners.
It’s funny those street stock guys race each other really hard, but it’s clean. You don’t see 5-6 destroyed race cars after feature races. Why? They respect each other. They shake hands and congratulate each other after the races, there is no lingering animosity. They race hard, there is some rubbing, but there aren't demolition derbies. There are a few late model drivers at River Cities Speedway who I’d like to show the weekend street stock feature videos to on how to race hard and clean.
The Midwest modified features were a runaway each night – Cody Lee of Starbuck and Brock Gronwold of Fergus Falls won handily – but there was great racing for position. Lee, Haley Lee and Brendan Blascyk had a great battle for spots 2-4 on Sunday.
Bailey Rosch impressed the heck out of me on Sunday night. He is a second-year super stock driver, and there are some long-time veterans in the class like Trevor Saurer, Jeff Crouse and Matt Miller, who know that place well. Rosch started third on Sunday, but did a nice job getting to the front and leading the rest of the way. Rosch, Karter Reents, Travis Scott and Jack Koranda are some of the young talent in the super stock class at Viking which his encouraging for the future of the class. So it’s been a solid start for Viking.
On the opposite end of the spectrum is Sheyenne Speedway in Lisbon, which cannot catch a break weather-wise this spring. The track is 0-of-7 on shows this year because of rain and wet weather. Let’s hope they get rolling this Sunday for their NLRA show.
Only one RaceChaser-area track has started on its originally scheduled opener and that is Norman County Raceway in Ada last Thursday.
Here are the number of shows cancelled (21 so far):
Viking Speedway (2 rainouts)
Sheyenne Speedway (7 rainouts)
River Cities Speedway (3 rainouts)
Red River Valley Speedway (3 rainouts)
I-94 Sure Step Speedway (3 rainouts if you include both nights of opening doubleheader)
Buffalo River Speedway (3 rainouts)
For those who think tracks are being overcautious about starting the season, remember no one wants to race on a hammer-down, plowed field of a track that wrecks motors and equipment. On a bigger scale, there were several unhappy drivers after a late model special at Eldora which is considered one of the top dirt tracks in the country because of how rough the track was.
--Cody Lee did not have a great 2021 season, at least by his standards, as he didn’t win a feature. On Saturday he was taking no prisoners as he blasted a good field of mid mods at Viking. The Lee family had to be encouraged on Sunday, too, as Cody finished third and Haley had a season-best fourth place finish.
--Street stock veteran Kyle Dykhoff hasn’t usually fared well at Viking, so him getting two second-place finishes during Saturday and Sunday during the Steffes races is a good boost for him.
--The Steffes Street Stock Tour averaged just over 25 cars per night for the first three nights, not a bad start at all.
--The Rebel Midwest Mod tour kicks off with a doubleheader on June 3 and 4 at I-94 Sure Step Speedway in Fergus Falls. The King of the Dirt is Saturday at I-94 and usually pulls in some good competition. The late model race is also an NLRA race which should pull down several Grand Forks-area cars.
--Madison Speedway in Madison, Minn., suffered storm damage earlier this month and cancelled its season opener, which is always on Memorial Day. Huset’s Speedway outside of Brandon, S.D., suffered extensive damage in a storm late Sunday night.
--Langdon driver Lance Schill picked up two wins on Friday at River Cities, winning the late model and Midwest modified features. Notable was the Buffalo Wild Wing NOSA Sprint feature winner Thomas Kennedy of Winnipeg – who was racing for the first time in 26 months. He was impressive in outlasting Mark Dobmeier for the win.
--The bounty word might come up for Tyler Peterson at Casino Speedway. He’s the defending Wissota Modified national champion and also the 2020 track champion at Casino, and he has won all three features in the class this season. Last week, he went up to the top and flew around for the win; this time in lapped traffic he surged into the lead.. The guy he beat both the last two weeks, Mike Stearns of Hecla, S.D., is a former national champion and a heck of a tough runner in his own right.
--A few years ago I had written about the decline, numbers-wise, in INEX Legends cars locally. That doesn’t seem to be an issue anymore. There were 14 at NCR on Thursday and 24 at Red River Valley Speedway on Friday. That’s a nice jump in just a couple of years. Tye Wilke, by the way, went from 21st to the win Friday at RRVS in an impressive run. He also won at NCR on Thursday.
--I really hope to see more cars at Norman County Raceway on Thursdays. Right now, with farming being behind, and several racers/crew members that are either farmers or work in agriculture, a few drivers will be missing. NCR pays a good purse, but Thursdays are tough as far as getting off of work and getting to the track so it’s a challenge to attract cars (KRA Speedway in Willmar is in the same boat). I am looking forward to some of the events at NCR this season – late model specials, Rebel Mid Mod Tour, Advantage RV Mod Tour being among them.
--Danny Vang of Deerwood won the Wissota Late Model feature Friday at I-94 Sure Step Speedway. A long-time modified driver, it was Vang’s first feature win in the late model class.
--The top three finishing order in the IMCA Sport Mods at Norman County Raceway was the following (in order): Scott Jacobson, Rich Pavlicek and Andy Wagner. On Friday at Red River Valley it was Andy Wagner, Rich Pavlicek and Scott Jacobson. I’m thinking those three will be battling for wins a lot in 2022.
--There have been three street stock features at Casino Speedway in Watertown and three winners: Maria Broksieck, Jason Marko and Andy Rossow. There have been three midwest modified features at Casino and three different winners: Adam Brotherton, Scott Hansen and Mike Nichols. Some good parity developing at the 1/4-mile bullring.