Some Opinions on Racing; Updates on Rebel Midwest Mod Tour and Steffes Street Stock Tour
Updated: Jul 24
I have largely refrained from opinion pieces this summer, trying to steer clear of the politics and negativity. Lately, though, I’ve been frustrated by some things I’ve seen, whether in person at tracks or watching streams online of tracks in and out of the RaceChaser blog area. So it’s time to offer a few opinions before offering a notebook.
So many tracks tend to start 10-15 minutes late and it drives me nuts. If you advertise a certain start time, you should have cars on the track. There is a lack of urgency at many tracks it seems, and frankly, it’s the kind of stuff that turns away some fans. I have a three-year-oild boy for example; he’s not going to sit around for 15 minutes doing nothing on a hot evening at the track without fussing or trying to get into trouble. Imagine bringing 2-3 young kids to the track.
I’ve seen shows that could be done in 2 1/2-3 hours last four hours or more. An example: Miller Speedway ran the Rebel Midwest Mod Tour last night, it was about 11:45 p.m. when the mid mod feature took the track. That’s not acceptable. I don’t mean to single them out as they aren’t the only tracks with that issue. It was fine getting home at 2 am when I was single and 25; now that I’m older with two kids 6 and under, not at all.
I also can understand doing some farming to the track at intermission, that is kind of what that time is for. I don’t understanding sending the tractors out every 3-4 races. Fans don’t pay to watch tractors make countless laps; as one person put it, it’s like watching the Big Iron show sometimes. And guess what, maybe sometimes you are better off leaving the track be rather than farming it…
I’ve also seen some officiating calls lately that astound me. They are obvious calls where one car clearly causes the caution and doesn’t get sent to the back (I think of the Advantage RV Mod race at Granite City, as an example). Look, officiating in racing is hard, and I also have the benefit of seeing the replay. Officials are human and will miss calls, I get that. But these are blatantly obvious calls I’m referring to which don;’t need the benefit of replay. I think the trend is some flagmen, or whoever makes the calls, are afraid to offend some drivers by making a tough call. I look at it this way: would you rather have one driver upset about a call or 10 who were driven over by that driver upset.
There was a case in Aberdeen, I can’t remember if it was the midwest modified or street stock class, where a couple of cars spun. No one went to the rear. Don’t you think SOMEONE should go to the rear if the caution waves for a car spun or off the track?
I am a proponent of the one-spin and your are in rule for heat races. That means if you spin out all by yourself, and wait for the caution, you go pitside. That is not popular with a lot of drivers but I write as a fan :)
I still hate the Wissota/IMCA modified split in my area. It is not good for modified racing around here and hasn’t been for years.
OK, now to some positives…
I want to credit Benji Froemke for the incredible amount of work he’s done with the Rebel Midwest Modified Tour and Steffes Street Stock Tour. The car counts have been good generally on both tours and the racing has been good as well. Froemke does a TON of leg work for these tours which I would argue are both very good for those two classes. He’s an unsung hero in racing in our region. Mason Eisenzimmer and Kayla Koth have assisted with the tours this month as Froemke recovers from a broken foot.
I also want to give a shoutout to Rueben Meyer of Watertown, who runs the Advantage RV Mod Tour. The tour has been great for the Wissota Mods for several years and produced some terrific racing. Covid wiped out the 2020 RV tour but Meyer brought it back in 2021, and it had an expanded schedule this year. I rarely have been disappointed watching an RV Tour race. Aside from a small car count at Granite City, car counts have been pretty good and the quality of the fields excellent.
I have yet to see a bad IMCA Stock Car feature at Red River Valley Speedway.
INEX Legends numbers have made a big rebound, and what is good to see is the amount of young drivers in the class who have shown a lot of potential.
Rebel Midwest Mod Tour Coming to the Wire
The Rebel Midwest Mod Tour is turning into quite a battle. Cody the Cobra Lee of Starbuck has moved into the points lead with 866 points, leading defending tour champion Lucas Rodin of Marion is just six points back heading into tonight’s tour finale at Casino Speedway in Watertown.
Corey Storck of Morris is also within striking distance at 844 points.
Lee and Rodin each have three tour wins, while Storck, Justin Jone of Bemidji, Dawson Zabel of Selby, Jake Smith of St. Joseph, Lance Schill of Langdon and Wyatt Boyum of International Falls have one apiece. An interesting number about the Rebel Tour — 161 drivers have competed in a Rebel event this season. Car counts have been good all summer.
The Lee siblings (Haley and Cody), Rodin, Storck, Nate Reinke of Lisbon, Jason Grimes of Jamestown, Rusty Kollman of Carrington, Jarod Klein of Jamestown, Phil Christlieb of Fargo and Scott Bintz of Jamestown have followed the tour faithfully. Tanner Theis, Reise Stenberg, Matt Schow and Laine Schwehr have hit several events as well.
The top 10 in tour points after tonight’s final race get into the Rebel Finale (not a Tour points race) at Sheyenne Speedway in Lisbon in early September for free. Plus, those drivers would get a provisional to the feature that night, which pays $3,000 to win and $300 to start.
Street Stock Notes
Kyle Dykhoff of Starbuck is having some kind of season. He picked up his 14th win — more than any other Wissota Street Stock driver — Saturday with a dominating performance at Greenbush Race Park. Dykhoff has 26 top fives in 33 starts, and he’s in a fight with Braden Brauer and Justin Vogel of Brooten for the national points lead — which I think we can start paying attention to now. Dykhoff, in the latest points posted, is third.
Speaking of Vogel, he leads the Steffes Street Stock Tour points (he was my pick to win the tour from the get-go). He has a tour best four wins, including victories at KRA on Thursday and Fiesta City on Friday. Vogel has finished in the top five at every tour race which is remarkable consistency.
Kyle Anderson of Jamestown is having a great year as well. He is second in tour points and has a win at River Cities. 2020 tour champion Jonny Carter is third in points and has two wins.
Steffes Tour winners: Vogel (four), Carter (two), Ty Agen (two), Kasey Ussatis (one), Hunter Carter (one), Anderson (one), Daniel Aberle (one) and Ryan Satter (one).
Tonight’s race at Casino Speedway is wide open — Dykhoff and Vogel both run well there although reports are Vogel blew a motor at Miller last night. Don’t count out Maria Broksieck of Goodwin, she is fourth in national points and is terrific on the bullring at Casino. Jason Marko is another driver who is tough at Watertown. Never count out Jonny Carter, either.
Brody Troftgruben of Grand Forks leads the NLRA points as of July 2; he was 24 points ahead of Cole Schill prior to the shows at River Cities on Friday and Devils Lake on Saturday. Defending NLRA champion Mike Greseth of Harwood is also in the hunt, just 34 points back. Greseth won at Devils Lake on Saturday; Brad Seng won at River Cities on Friday. The NLRA moves to Norman County Raceway on Thursday.
1TPO Rolling Along
Defending Wissota Modified national champion Tyler Peterson of Horace is on fire. He has won all three Advantage RV Mod Tour stops held this week — at Norman County Raceway, River Cities Speedway and Greenbush Race Park — accumulating, by my math, more than $6,000. He has 14 wins.
There was some controversy on social media after the NCR event as Peterson got into a lapped car and sent that car off the track to bring out the yellow. He was not charged with the caution and would go on to win. Some fans are upset about the call and they have that right as people who care about the sport. After looking at the replay, which I have the benefit of, the 1TPO got a break on the call IMO, but you know, he’s been on the other side of a few of those, too (remember the Advantage finale at Watertown last year). It’s part of racing, and folks that get upset about calls should remember the drivers don’t make the calls. I don’t want the call to overshadow what was a great race — a dynamite battle between Zach Johnson and Blake Jegtvig for several laps, and a late duel between Johnson and Peterson. in any case time to move on.
Peterson’s car(s) are very, very fast right now, and when the top line on the track comes around, he’s an absolute rocket ship.