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  • tombergie01

Remember When...

a 1967 Chevelle.

This will be a COVID-19 and political free blog. Last mention of either of those things I promise. I see the historic pictures on the 20/20 racing and history pages and it brings back a lot of memories. The cars have changed for sure but some other things have too. I thought about how racing has changed from the 1980s when I was a kid. For the fun of it, here’s some memories of things we used to see at the track but don’t see anymore. —Before the days of transponders and Raceceivers, remember the guy who used to go out on the track and lineup the cars with the chalkboard, or later a dry-erase board? It was entertaining watching that person trying to get the cars lined up and sometimes even having to run backwards to get a driver’s attention. It often meant a few (or sometimes ALOT of) extra laps around the track…usually because some drivers just wouldn’t listen. I think the guy who did it at Madison Speedway back in the day was named Dennis and the guy who did it at Viking Speedway in Alexandria, was named Harry. The heat races the job wasn’t so bad, but if you got 20-car features you did a lot of backpedalling…then again I’m not sure transponders have sped up the show all that much. Some would argue it’s the opposite. —Remember vendors going up and down the stands ( and I especially remember this at Viking Speedway, going up the stands selling popcorn and pop? I think it probably still happens but I don’t see it much anymore. During the days when it was packed at Viking, this was a major convenience not to have to run to the concessions during the racing, especially if you sat in the middle of the aisle :) —Remember when tracks ran 3-4 classes weekly? River Cities Speedway in Grand Forks runs four weekly (although adds the Lightning Sprints and A mods on a few nights) but most are at five, six, or seven. Some have eight. Which is too many. I’m with long-time late model driver Tom Corcoran on that. —Remember when a track official couldn’t touch a car on the track unless it was a safety issue (fire, etc.). Now, officials pull fenders, rip off sheet metal and bumpers and do everything but change the tire. I’m not sure how I feel about this my theory is this practice trickled down from the national tours like the World of Outlaws. —Remember when tracks had a tire change time limit during weekly shows? Some still do although I’m not so sure it’s strictly enforced — most of the time they wait for a tire to get changed now. Madison was three minutes and ran the actually time on its timer on its crow’s nest (once in a while there was some debate as to win they started the clock for a local favorite). I think the crow’s nest is still in Madison, I need to get there this year. Murray County Speedway in Slayton, Minn., was the last track I recall actually keeping track of the time. —Remember when flagmen actually used the black flag to disqualify someone for rough driving? That’s another blog. —Remember good old-fashioned rivalries the pitted one half the grandstand against the other? Sure don’t see that enough anymore. Would pack the stands at most places like Redwood Speedway, Madison Speedway and Casino Speedway in Watertown, SD to mention a few.

--Remember the days there were NO Delaware-style restarts? —Remember when the street stock/sportsman/hobby stock (whatever it was called at your track) class had such a good variety of makes of cars — Cameros, Chevelles, Novas, Monte Carlos, Mustangs, Thunderbirds, Cutlass Supremes, Dodge Darts (Torey Fischer ran one in the hobby stocks for a while) , Plymouth Duster (Tim Compson had this bottle style on his stock car the past few years) to name a few? —Remember when trophy dashes for every class as part of nightly program? Where they’d put six cars and they’d run only for a trophy? My dad won one in Canby one night, and I'm not sure we saved the trophy after we cleaned the farm out to get ready to sell after this passing. This eventually evolved into a dash for cash at some tracks and now are mostly gone although Norman County Raceway and Buffalo River Race Park have run some trophy classes in the last few years. —Remember when tracks had their announcers in the infield and not in a press box by the fans? Still happens at KRA Speedway in Willmar where the legendary Ron Krog has announced for years. Used to be that way at Viking Speedway, Dakota State Fair Speedway in Huron off the top of my head. That’s just a few. If you read this blog feel free to comment on Facebook on some of your memories.

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