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Some Questions I Think of, and RaceChaser Notes


A Delaware style restart at Red River Valley.

I’ve had a lot of windshield time this month and also talked to several people, and some general racing questions pop into my head.

So, here are some questions with my thoughts underneath.

Why don’t feature winners go to the scale before getting their trophy? What if they get the trophy and are light?

I’ve asked this before, and some tracks, like Viking, scale their cars before giving out the trophy. Many don’t. Seems odd to me to go and ask for the trophy back after it has been presented.

Are Delaware restarts good or bad for racing?

Depends on who you talk to. From a fan’s standpoint I see the value in them as they definitely add intrigue on restarts. However, several drivers I’ve talked to say that when a track rubbers up to one lane, it’s a disadvantage. One driver told me what about the car that works for 10-12 laps and passes 3-4 cars but gets caught on the wrong lane on the restart and goes backwards? Fair point.

Are there too many classes?

Simple answer here: yes. Way too many. And seems to be more added every year.

Are there too many tracks?

This is a bit more complicated; my initial thought is yes. Car counts are down at several, but not all tracks. In some areas car counts go in cycles. Huset’s re-opening, from the people I talk to, has some positive reviews. I do know there are some tracks that were open 15-20 years ago that aren’t regularly now — Canby Speedway, Grove Creek Raceway (dirt oval), St. Croix Speedway in Wis. and Dakota State Fair Speedway in Huron (which runs a few special events). It’s a hard question because I don’t like to see tracks close anywhere. But when car counts are down, it’s a fair question to be asked.

Have transponders sped up racing program?

Not really in my view It still seems to take a while to line up cars at most tracks. I don’t know exactly why this is, but I don’t feel it has sped up shows.

Which leads to a follow up — why can’t shows get done in three hours or less?

For one thing, too many parade laps under caution to get cars lined up. Some tracks take longer intermissions (30 minutes) when it’s not necessary. A little urgency goes a long way into speeding up shows. People understand delays for red flags, etc., but lose patience when it takes 5 minutes to line up cars.

Should there be time limits on features?

Yes. The only thing I will mention on that is that if there is a red flag for a major crash that takes time for safety personnel to do their work, or clean up. That shouldn’t count against the overall time.

Should tracks wait for a car to change a tire in the feature?

I find this to be an interesting question as most tracks do this. Some give them a matter of laps, some two minutes. Back in the day Madison would give three minutes. In the heats, no way. Feature race, well, you could make the case for me. As long as there aren’t 20 minutes worth of waiting for tires to be changed.

Is the black flag used enough for rough driving?

Not a chance. Which is unfortunate. Leads to flaring tempers and bent up race cars.

What good things are happening in racing?

We have a nice crop of talented young drivers — Tye Wilke, Cole Greseth, Brendan Mullen, Jack Koranda, Gavin Walton, Keaton Froemke, Brody Carlsrud to name a few — that have promising futures. The additions of drivers like Mike Greseth and Jason Strand to the late model class have been a positive. There are also several young drivers in the lightning sprints worth watching. The street stock tour has had excellent car counts, and the Rebel Mid Mod Tour, when it hasn’t been plagued with rain, has done well.

What are concerns?

A mod counts are down pretty much at pretty much every RaceChaser track but West Fargo. If you go outside the area, there are tracks in single digits in the IMCA, Wissota and USRA Mods in Minnesota. Might just be a transition year. Crowds seem to be down at most tracks, too, although I’ve seen an uptick in recent weeks. Tire shortages, fuel prices parts shortages are among other things concerning.

RaceChaser Notes

—I talked with Matt and Cole Greseth of Harwood a bit at Greenbush. Cole was coming off his first career Wissota Street Stock win at Sheyenne Speedway last week, and they were pretty happy about that. He’s made great strides as he adjusted to a new class. You should check out the new hauler the Greseth team has, by the way — it’s an old ambulance, following in the footsteps of Kasey Ussatis and Tom Cummings.

—Aaron Blacklance plans to sell one of his SSR Midwest modifieds — he will keep the other — and is eyeing a move to the Wissota Mods next year. He is having a good year in both the midwest modifieds and street stocks with eight wins and 15 top fives in 23 events.

—Hats off to 14-year-old Ashton Spieker of Sabin for picking up his first career win in the INEX Legends last Thursday at Norman County Raceway. The win means a little more since Ashton’s father, Chad, has been battling colon cancer. I know that was one happy family on Thursday night and deservedly so.

—Zach Johnson of Lowry had to be the happiest second-place finisher at I-94 Sure Step Speedway on Friday. He was edged by Dusty Bitzan of Brandon for the Wissota Modified win. Johnson, who drives Corey Svor’s #6X machine, has had two blown motors already this season. He sure looked fast on Friday.

—Six different drivers have won IMCA Stock Car features at Red River Valley Speedway this summer, showing the parity in what I think is the best division at the track. Travis Robertson, Brandon Schmidt and Brendan Borg have finished in the top five eight of nine times.

—Trent Grager of Sykeston, N.D. is fourth in points at RRVS in the stock cars. He also has the most wins with three at the 3/8-mile oval. I talked to him at Norman County Raceway in Ada, and he has a motorhome he brings each weekend to NCR; he stays over and races on Fridays at Red River Valley. He’s having a phenomenal rookie year in the class with five feature wins in 15 starts. Grager has raced a bit of everything — Wissota Street Stocks, IMCA Modifieds and Limited Late Models (which he later ran as a Wissota Late).

—The Advantage RV Mod Tour is in the area this weekend — Friday at I-94 Sure Step Speedway in Fergus Falls and Saturday at Viking Speedway in Alexandria. In addition to strong local runners, some strong runners like Shane Sabraski, Johnny Broking, Don Eischens, Dave Cain and Jeremy Nelson should be in town. Sabraski leads Eischens and Broking by six points in the standings. Tyler Peterson of Hickson is fourth at 290.

—A pair 60-somethings have found victory lane so far this season. 68-year-old Ron Saurer of Dalton has Wissota Midwest Modified wins at I-94 and Viking Speedway in June; Pokey Lukes of Lisbon got a Mini Stock win at Sheyenne Speedway earlier this season as well.

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