Remember Racing is Fun, and Fallen Linemen Races Set for I-94 and Viking
As I’ve mentioned previously there have been a lot of challenges to get the racing season rolling this spring – weather being the biggest. It’s been cold and wet, and last week severe weather hit some parts of RaceChaser land.
Gas and diesel prices are sky high, and not to mention supply chain shortages for tires and parts (some drivers are waiting for engines to be finished).
I will be honest, I’ve had a hard time getting into the racing mood this spring. Some is the weather, some is the slump I’ve been in that’s affected me for a long time, but this isn’t about me.
All of the people around racing – drivers, promoters, fans – need to remember this is our hobby, and it’s supposed to be fun. Sometimes we forget that with all of the challenges going on that being at the track, hanging out and BSing with people and watching good, hard racing, is fun. It’s easy to let the negative stuff, a lot of times beyond our control, drag us down, and I’m plenty guilty of that.
I need to be reminded of that, and I think of people in racing need that reminder sometimes too.
Fallen Lineman Races Friday at I-94, Saturday at Viking
There are a pair of big modified races this weekend at I-94 Sure Step Speedway and Viking Speedway in Alexandria.
The Seventh Annual Race for Fallen Linemen will be held at both tracks this year, adding a night at I-94 to the docket. A great purse is set for each night -- $3,000 to win and $300 to start. There will also be $100 for winning a heat race and $50 for finishing second in a heat.
The event raises money for the Fallen Lineman Organization, which, according to its website, says its “mission is to memorialize fallen electrical line workers, and care for the families who have lost or are impacted by a severe injury of a loved one in the line of duty. We strive to consolidate accident and injury information to share openly for a safer work environment.”
Corey Svor of Alexandria, who owns the #6X modified driven by Zach Johnson, has been heavily involved with the event at Viking since its inception. His brother, Ryan, died as a result of high voltage electrocution in 2013.
Money is raised through T-shirt sales and a portion of the grandstand tickets sold at both tracks. There will also be a free-will donation bucket at the T-shirt table with those proceeds going to the Fallen Linemen Organization.
Big Start for Challenge Series
It was good and bad for the Structural Buildings Wissota Late Model Challenge Series this past weekend.
The good was a strong 37-car late model field at I-94 Sure Step Speedway in Fergus Falls on Friday, which included some top Wissota cars like Jimmy Mars, Pat Doar, Jake Redetzke, Darrell Nelson, John Kaanta, Brad Seng and Cole Searing, among others.
The bad was the second night of the weekend was cancelled at Viking Speedway. The wet spring conditions, plus a damaging storm that came through last Thursday, led to the decision, which I agreed with.
Pat Doar won his 37th challenge series race, the most of all-time, and made his move on leader Cole Schill of Hawley in lapped traffic to get the win. But the story of the night was how well Schill and Ryan Mikkelson of Alexandria ran against some of Wissota’s best.
Mikkelson led early and finished a strong third – just a week after blowing a motor. Schill, driving a new MB Customs car, finished second in what was a heck of a run. That shows the late models in this area can hold their own against the top tier Wissota cars.
--Veteran modified driver Chris Mensen of Carlos had back surgery this offseason and likely is out for the 2022 season as he recovers. He plans to return in 2023.
--Defending Wissota Mod national champion Tyler Peterson of Horace won the Wissota Modified feature Sunday night at Casino Speedway in Watertown. Peterson had been doing some UMP racing in Illinois and swung through Watertown on the way home and won the feature on the final lap.
The ¼-mile bullring in Watertown is rarely dull, as evidence by the wild last few laps of the street stock, modified and late model features. Maria Broksieck made a last lap pass of Andy Rossow to win the street stock feature, while Aberdeen driver Josh Skorczewski won a thrilling late model feature after a duel with Chad Becker.
--The Steffes Street Stock Tour kicks off May 27 at I-94 Sure Step Speedway, followed by a doubleheader at Viking Speedway on May 28-29. I expect great car counts that weekend, and I’m excited to see what the tour can do in its third year.
--The Rebel Midwest Modified Tour kicks off with a doubleheader at I-94 Sure Step Speedway on June 3-4.
--I’m hopeful for season openers at River Cities Speedway in Grand Forks, Red River Valley Speedway in West Fargo, Viking Speedway in Alexandria, Sheyenne Speedway in Lisbon and Buffalo River Speedway near Glyndon this week. I know a lot of drivers are anxious to get racing at those tracks.
--Kyle Dykhoff of Starbuck has raced three times this season – and has three top three finishes. That includes two wins at I-94 and a third-place finish Sunday night at Casino. The #11 machine looks fast from the get-go.