RaceChaser's Best Memories of 2020
Updated: Oct 26
These are my personal memories on 2020 — not going to delve much into specific events, just some favorite memories of mine from the season.
Here we go:
Watching Steven “Stevenator” Olson get the gift of new camera equipment in June at Red River Valley Speedway. Easily the best non-racing moment of 2020 for me. A shoutout to Maci Hall and Mike Spieker for their excellent work in organizing this and for all the drivers and fans who donated and were a part of it.
The Featherlite Fall Jamboree at Deer Creek Speedway which is my favorite racetrack. Seeing a 30-car feature with only two cautions last about 17 minutes with three-wide racing is my kind of show.
Seeing www.racechaser.net on four area race cars as a small sponsorship. It was cool to see the address there and it was with four quality drivers and people — Larry Samuelson, Kasey Ussatis, Torey Fischer and Jordan Adams — who carried this in 2020. Proud to call each a friend.
Talking to 66-year-old Tom Corcoran for a video chat after his late model feature win at River Cities Speedway in Grand Forks in June. One of the truly good guys in racing, and I think several others were as happy for him as he was getting that win. He got offered about three beers from other drivers when I was getting set for the interview. Proud of the friendship he and I have developed — a lot of talk on Facebook about racing, politics, music…
Any conversation with Jonny Carter of Lisbon. What I like about Jonny is he’s the same guy after a race, win or lose. Humble
Any conversation with announcer Ron Krog. I don’t get to talk to the guy nearly enough. He’s a font of racing knowledge locally and has done so much for the sport that we’ll never measure.
Getting to know people like Nick Ranten of East Grand Forks. A good young driver and a good guy. Had a good visit with him in August at River Cities. He got his first career NOSA win earlier this summer but unfortunately totaled his #55 machine a few weeks later.
My interview with the Mehrwerth siblings at I-94. A really nice racing family and all three are good drivers. I give Ashley a rough time about being a celebrity since she has 5,000 friends on Facebook, but she’s a nice person, too.
Any conversation with modified driver Corky Thomas of Glyndon. It’s never dull. One of the great characters locally and is a veteran driver who is respected by many — and helps a lot of drivers locally.
Talking racing with promoter Benjie Froemke. He’s an incredible mind and is always trying to make things better at Sheyenne and in racing. He’s never satisfied and he’s always thinking of the next thing to help that track grow. Smart guy who did a wonderful job organizing the Steffes Street Stock tour.
Speaking of the Steffes Street Stock tour, it was the best thing to happen to street stock racing in this region in many years.
Any conversation with my street stock crew, as I call them, of Kyle Dykhoff, Ryan Satter, Justin Vogel, Eric Riley, Ryan Pommerer and others. Probably my favorite spot of the night when I see those folks. Guess what, they are buddies who race each other plenty hard on the track — and are clean. Great examples for other drivers.
Interviewing Jade Hastings of Grand Forks after his wins. He had the best season of his career — after totaling his primary car early in the year. Glad I wasn’t a curse.
Any conversation with Barry Robertson. What a refreshing attitude in the pit area and a guy who is still talked about, years after stepping away, as one of the respected drivers in the region. HIs son Travis is a good guy and driver too.
Watching IMCA Stock Car features at Norman County Raceway and Red River Valley Speedway. They rarely disappoint. It has become the best class to watch at both tracks, in my opinion.
Talking to younger drivers like Cole Schill, Landon Atkinson and Myles Tomlinson who are wise beyond their years. Those folks get what racing is about.
Getting positive feedback from several folks at Viking Speedway. So nice to hear.
Watching Dan Ebert methodically drive the #60 modified to the front. He's bad fast.
Confirming that Dusty Bitzan of Brandon is a cousin to long-time Viking great Dennis Bitzan, and not a son, brother or nephew. I had a little fun with him during my interview earlier this season. I’m just happy I got that cleared up. Dusty, by the way, won the track title at I-94 which is a big deal considering the level of competition there.
Talking to Jimmy “Nitro” Williams of De Graff for the first time at I-94. I’d watched Nitro race for more than 20 years in his 22W street stock, but had never met him. It was a great talk. At age 61 he’s still a formidable foe and won the Steffes Street Stock stop at KRA Speedway.
Getting to visit with Clarence Washburn, 77, of Hector who still pilots a late model, during the King of the Dirt. Clarence and my dad were long time racing buddies. What’s really close is Clarence bought a new motorhome and trailer for 2020. I hope he can race a few more years he loves being at the track.
Any conversation with Neil Walton. He’s been such a tremendous supporter of RaceChaser blog but has done a ton for Mini Stock racing in the Lisbon area.
The finish to the John Seitz Memorial at River Cities. Another classic. Aaron Turnbull is a damn good late model driver.
Any conversation with Brad Seng.
Any conversations with Josh Johnson and Tom Cummings.
Watching Kalvin Kesselberg’s first win at Norman County Raceway and his family’s reaction in the pit area. I bet his brother jumped 3 feet in the air. I interviewed Kalvin for a feature this summer and he's a good, young driver.
Any video work/promotion done by Mason Eisenzimmer. It’s outstanding and such a benefit for racing around our region.
Watching fans go crazy during and after a thrilling race. It’s what racing is all about.
Driver interviews for feature stories and the video interviews afterwards. Been fun to get to know so many different people as a result of these.
Seeing people walk away from some scary crashes. Yikes there were a few.