Some Thoughts on 2021 Racing Season
I haven’t written a RaceChaser blog for a few months. I wanted to take a break, and combining that with my job getting busy (working in athletics, the school year is steadily busy), it’s led to some time away.
As I mentioned in a Facebook post, I’m still debating about whether to continue with the blog in 2022. It’s been five years, meeting a lot of great people and seeing some great racing. Last year I went to 59 shows, and about 50 of those I covered for the blog.
I got burned out and it has caused me to evaluate the future of the blog. I often wonder if it has any impact on local racing besides being an outlet for me.
Honestly going to the Fall Classic at Ogilvie in October was fun – I just watched, talked to a few people and relaxed. Sometimes, the blog keeps me chasing around the pits for an interview or two after a feature win, and having to pay attention to a lot of things on the race, not just the lead.
I’ll decide by the end of the month if I’m going to do the blog again in 2022.
2021 was an interesting year in racing. We saw some new faces in the late model class – Mike Greseth of Harwood winning the NLRA title as a rookie was impressive. He won some big feature races along the way and was really tough
Speaking of the NLRA, it was good to see if make stops at some different tracks like I-94 Sure Step Speedway and Grand Rapids Speedway.
The return of racing at Buffalo River Speedway near Glyndon was a positive for the region. The track is a long-time staple in the area and I know drivers and fans alike were happy to see racing back after the Covid-19 pandemic wiped out 2020. The track hosted the NLRA Late Models, won by Alexandria driver Ryan Mikkelson, and along with the NOSA Sprints, a Wissota Midwest Mod special that attracted a big-time field of cars, and a Lightning Sprint tour that brought in cars from different parts of the country.
Two RaceChaser-area driver, Lucas Rodin of Marion and Tyler Peterson of Hickson, won Wissota national titles in their classes. Rodin won the Wissota 100 title, the Dakota Dream at Sheyenne Speedway, the Golden Hammer at Devils Lake and two Rebel Midwest Mod Tour features. He finished with 25 wins on the season which was the best of his career. He was fast all summer in his SSR chassis.
Peterson went all over Wissota country in pursuit of the title, and it turned into a fantastic dual with Shane Sabraski of Rice. He raced 69 times at Wissota tracks, ranging from Bemidji to Madison to Ashland, Wis., to Red Cedar Speedway in Wisconsin with many stops in between. He won 20 Wissota features on the year and surpassed 100 career wins during the season. It was a lot of work and travel, but a lot of wins and dedication by the entire 1TPO team.
Congrats to Rodin and Peterson, two guys I consider friends and good, clean racers, on that feat.
Speaking of the Rebel Midwest Mod Tour, the series shined in its inaugural season. Credit to Benji Froemke, co-promoter of Sheyenne Speedway in Lisbon, for playing a huge hand in organizing this. The $5,000 to win grand finale at Sheyenne was won by Jamestown veteran Jason Grimes. The tour had good car counts everywhere and I only expect it to grow.
The Steffes Street Stock Tour continued to grow in Year 2 with Parker Anderson of Phillips, Wis., winning the tour title on his way to the Wissota national title. There was some great racing on the tour once again, capped off by a trip to historic Cedar Lake Speedway in Wisconsin.
The Seitz Memorial was a fun weekend at River Cities Speedway, with AJ Diemel winning his third Seitz crown. He dominated that race. Tyler Peterson, by the way, won both nights of the Wissota Modified races at a track where he shines.
The IMCA Stock Car class continued to grow at Red River Valley Speedway with some outstanding racing. In my opinion it’s IMCA’s best class in terms of quality of racing and even competition.
Grand Forks standout Mark Dobmeier made a return to the track in his familiar #13 Buffalo Wild Wings NOSA Sprint car, a year after suffering a serious neck injury that required extensive surgery. He won the feature on his first night back behind the wheel.
Speaking of the BWW NOSA Sprints, Brendan Mullen of Grand Forks topped Jade Hastings of Grand Forks for the series title.
The Wissota 100 was back at I-94 Sure Step Speedway, and it’s a great venue for the multi-day event. I-94 hosted a World of Outlaws Late Model Race, the Wissota 100, the Advantage RV Mod Tour, the Steffes Street Stock Tour and the Rebel Midwest Mod Tour in what was a busy summer at the 3/8-mile oval.
Brady Gerdes of Villard won his fifth Wissota Modified track title in six years at Viking Speedway in Alexandria. The last mod driver to win four mod titles in a row was Scot Danzeisen of Herman, who was inducted to the Viking Speedway Hall of Fame in 2021. Danzeisen won nine in a row, by the way.
Ryan Satter of Dent was the dominant Wissota Street Stock at Viking and I-94, winning track titles at both tracks. Satter also hopped into an IMCA Stock Car about midway through the season.
Heading into 2021, there are a few items of note. River Cities Speedway has announced it will host an IRA Sprint doubleheader on July 15-16.
Sheyenne Speedway in Lisbon plans to run several late model shows in 2022, stay tuned for that. Sheyenne, which added more seating in 2021, isn’t afraid to take one the challenges of hosting bigger events.
Outside the area, Chateau Speedway in Lansing, Minn., and Deer Creek Speedway near Spring Valley both announced they have dropped the Wissota Street Stock class and will replace them with the USRA Stock Car class.