Racing a Way of Life for Saurer Family
If you are a race fan in western Minnesota, there is a good chance you’ve seen a member of the Saurer family on the racetrack over the years.
Between the three drivers – 69-year-old Ron, and his sons Trevor (46) and Travis (44) – there is a over century of racing experience. Youngest son Justin is a crewman for all three drivers and a huge supporter of their racing teams.
“It’s holds everybody together,” said Trevor, who started his career in 1994. “Everybody is borrowing parts back and forth, and it keeps us together, talking racing and being together at the races. It’s a tight-knit deal.”
“We just got into it. They loved racing, and we kept them out of trouble,” Ron said. “It’s a family deal.”
It all started with a trip to the races five decades ago that got Ron Saurer hooked – and started the racing tradition in the family.
“I went to a race and fell in love with it,” Ron said. “I’ve been here ever since.”
Ron is the patriarch and is approaching 50 years behind the wheel. He’s raced everything from a street stock, sportsman, limited late model and Mod 4, before settling into the Wissota Midwest Modified class. Ron Saurer was the 2003 Wissota National Champion in the Mod 4s. Currently, he races the #42 Wissota Midwest Modified at I-94 Sure Step Speedway in Fergus Falls and Viking Speedway in Alexandria.
“You can pretty much go anywhere you want to race;,” Ron said of the midwest modifieds. “There’s always good car counts. That’s what I like about it the most.”
Trevor Saurer, who lives in Dalton, got his start as a high school junior in 1994 in the Mod 4s. He raced a Wissota Super Stock for a while before moving up to the Wissota Modified class. About nine years ago he returned to the super stock class and currently races the #21 Wissota super. He’s won three straight track championships in the class at Viking and currently leads the points in the division heading into Saturday’s season championship at the half-mile.
“It’s pretty affordable, and the rules have been the same for many years,” Trevor said of the super stocks. “you don’t need a new car. The car I’m driving is a 2012; the other is a 2010. They work fine and they’re competitive You don’t need brand new iron. I like the way they drive; they are a little mellower than a mod...it’s been a good run.”
Travis Saurer, who lives in Elizabeth, has compiled more than 510 career feature wins since starting in 1998. He also started in the Mod 4s, raced a super stock for a year before moving into the Wissota Midwest Modified class – where he really made a name for himself. He won four Wissota Midwest Modified national championships, joining Shane Sabraski as the only driver to win four Wissota national titles in that class. He has been in the modified class for more than a decade, driving the #21x, and also drives one of his dad’s #42 midwest modifieds.
“A lot of hard work,” Travis said of his success. “I’m just an average racer; you’ve got to want it worse than the next guy. I don’t think there’s anybody out here who couldn’t do what I did. You’ve got to really want to do it and have it in you to do whatever it takes to do it. Whether it’s not sleeping or endless hours in the shop, you just keep on.”
The three pit together on the backstretch at Viking – you’ll find them in pretty much the same pit spots every week. They don’t all three race in the same division, although for one years, they did race each other in the Mod 4s.
“That was too much. Christmas got interesting with all three in the same class,” Trevor said with a laugh.
As the season winds down, all three drivers will look to finish strong – especially with the Wissota 100 at I-94 in mid-September.
“Just trying to keep up to speed,” Travis said. “One night you have the fastest thing around, and the next you are fighting to get out of your own way. You’ve got to digging every week to keep the fastest car you can get.”
“I’m looking to stay consistent,” Trevor said. “That’s what I look for any night. Just finishing with all the sheet metal and tires on it is a good night for me.”
Ron Saurer is approaching 50 years behind the wheel, but remains competitive. He has six top five finishes this season in a highly competitive class.
“I say every year is going to be my last year,” Ron said. “Then I got a car around that I build...i don’t know. I do it to stay in shape and stay busy.”
For the Saurers, racing is more than just a pastime.
“It’s just in our blood,” Travis said. “I don’t know what we’d do if we didn’t race.”
Wissota Midwest Modified #42
Residence: Dalton, Minn.
Sponsor: Leroy Merz Antique Firearms
Wissota Super Stock #21
Residence: Dalton, Minn.
Sponsors: Donnelly Truck Service, Leroy Merz Antique Firearms, Wells Construction, Ditterich Family Farm, Dairy Queen of Battle Lake, Mn, Stalker Lake Golf Course, Bar and Grill, JC’s General Store, Chewy’s Coop, Spangler Real Estate Partners, Lien Family Farms, Rudy’s Bait, Team 21x Shocks and Silver Dollar Saloon.
Residence: Elizabeth, Minn.
Sponsors: RHR Swag, Tysdal, Chiropractic, Silver Dollar Saloon, Vigen Logistics, Arctic Anchor, Gorsuch Performance Solutions, Andy’s Electric, Green Concrete Construction, DTS Truck and Trailer Wash, Spangler Real Estate Partners Nancy Kjono Realtor, Real Racing Wheels, Wehrs Machine, Lights Out Taxidermy, Northland Freight Brokers, City Side Collision, Team 2 Buddyz, Ditterich Mercantile, Speedwerz, Leroy Merz Antique Firearms, QA1, Extreme Auto&Gas