Racing Notebook: Initial Sheyenne Speedway Schedule Thoughts -- and Why Communication Remains Vital
There are not a lot of schedules out for the area’s tracks; one track that did announce its 2020 schedule was Sheyenne Speedway in Lisbon.
I’ll do a longer season preview when we get closer, but a couple of quick thoughts. First, the 1/4-mile track has added the INEX Legends to their weekly show, joining Wissota Street Stocks and Midwest Modified, Mini Stocks and Hobby Stocks. The track ran a few shows with legends last year and crowned a track champion, and hopefully the class will grow there this year.
The IMCA modifieds will not return to the track this year and that is a decision that stirred up some controversy on Facebook. The track will bring in the Wissota Modifieds three times this year. The track posted an explanation on its Facebook page and I would defer to that, but promoter Benji Froemke informed me they don’t plan to the run the Wissota Mods weekly but want to see if they are viable financially for a handful of shows. I won’t venture into the debate at this point — but the modified sanctioning issue is bigger than Sheyenne. It is the IMCA vs. Wissota debate and I know one thing -- there are strong, passionate people on both sides. That is another blog I might write this spring however that would dig a little deeper.
Lucas Oil Lightning Sprints and NLRA Late Models also return for Sheyenne, which has 14 shows scheduled.
I’ll do a season preview on each track and on the series (NLRA, NOSA) as schedules come out. Which I expect will be very soon.
I want to say one thing about communication — it is important for tracks to use the various avenues — websites, social media in particular — to communicate to drivers and fans about what’s ahead when that information is available. I’m NOT SAYING every schedule should be out now and finalized at this point. — I realize there are a ton of things for tracks to finalize sponsor-wise/sanction-wise, etc. — but if drivers/fans have questions, they should be able to get an least an initial answer. Most tracks in the MN/ND region are good at responding but one or two sorely lack at this and the rumor mill chugs along as a result.
You see, a lot of drivers and fans are making plans as to where to race and when in 2020, and would like to have an idea of schedules — and what classes tracks are running, especially. Otherwise, speculation begins and that’s how rumors fly around. And the rumor mill, when it comes to racing, seems to go crazy on social media.
I don’t take a rumor and just throw it in a blog without confirming it. If I hear something and think it’s credible, I will contact that track/driver to confirm either way. I’ve been told a few things in the past that simply weren’t true after speaking to the actual source, and they never found a line in this blog. It is the old newspaper guy in me, I’d rather talk to the source directly and get the facts.
Facebook, remember, is a FREE AVENUE to communicate and can be very effective when doing so.
No USMTS Show Locally
If you are a fan of the United States Modified Touring Series, you won’t find the series very close to Fargo-Moorhead this year.
There is no stop at I-94 Speedway this summer after the track hosted an event for several years. In fact the closest trip for me would be Casino Speedway in Watertown, S.D., about 145 miles away. There are a couple of shows at Deer Creek Speedway in southeast Minnesota, along with shows at Chateau Speedway in Lansing, Minn., and Ogilvie.
There is a three-night Mod Wars special at Ogilvie Raceway on Aug. 13-15, which is followed by a trip to Casino Speedway on Aug. 16. By the way I’ve been to a couple of USMTS shows at Casino and they’ve been FANASTIC.
The bottom line is numbers have dropped for the USMTS shows, and they aren’t cheap to host in terms of purse. There are more options for modified across the region.
I used to love the USMTS, but a lot of the drivers I followed closely on the series — drivers like Mark Noble, Tim Donlinger, Jason Krohn, Tommy Myer, Jon Tesch — have either retired or have long since stepped away from the tour. There are still some big-time drivers who follow the tour like Rodney Sanders, Ryan Gustin, Dereck Ramirez, Terry Phillips — and some younger drivers who have raced semi-regularly. But If you don’t know many of the drivers on the tour, you tend to lose interest as a fan. And almost all of the touring drivers are from outside the MN/SD/ND region.
I’d like to see the tour get back to where it was a decade ago when there were 40-50 mods a night. The racing was almost always outstanding.