Street Stock Tour Off to Great Start, IMCA Stock Cars Flourishing Locally
Three nights are in the books for the Steffes Wissota Street Stock Tour, and I’d say the early returns are positive.
There were 36 street stocks at Dacotah Speedway in Mandan on Friday and 34 in Jamestown on Saturday. On Sunday, the numbers dropped a little to 19 at Sheyenne — I think there are a few other factors working in that particular case — but the quality was still excellent. So if you average the three nights it is just under 30 cars per night. It’s off to a good start.
Three different drivers have visited victory lane on the three nights — Jonny Carter of Lisbon (Dacotah), Eric Riley of Morris (Jamestown) and Justin Vogel of Brooten (Sheyenne). That is a great start. Carter was the 2019 Wissota Street Stock national champion while Vogel is the 2018 champion. Vogel also has won the past two Wissota 100s.
Vogel’s win at Sheyenne was significant for one big reason — he has never finished well there. In fact he told me after his win on Sunday he’s only made the tech (top four) once and called Sheyenne his “kryptonite.” So getting a win and making $700 is a big deal. Riley led several laps and finished second, with Jake Froemke of International Falls — who finished in the top 10 all three nights — taking third. Carter was fourth by the way. Vogel’s pass came in turns one and two on the bottom where he seemed to get the perfect run at the perfect time.
Riley picked up his biggest career win at Jamestown at the Don Gumke Memorial, capturing the win which was worth $1,222. He also finished in the top 10 all three nights, as did Carter.
The tour continues this week with stops at River Cities Speedway in Grand Forks on Friday and Devils Lake Speedway on Saturday. Should be good car counts at both tracks.
IMCA Stock Cars On the Rise Locally
I briefly mentioned the IMCA Stock Cars and their growth at West Fargo and Ada. I will admit when the tracks made the decision a few years ago to switch to that class I had my doubts, mainly because the stock cars are not a cheap class.
Well, I am the first to admit I was wrong. Red River Valley has averaged 19 cars for the first two nights of 2020, and Norman County has been in double digits both nights with excellent feature racing.
The quality of the drivers in this class is what is making the racing so darn good. Rick Schulz of Horace and Travis Robertson of Moorhead were strong Wissota Street Stock drivers; Rob VanMil of Barnesville is a long-time mod drivers who has won plenty of races locally; Todd Heinrich of Fargo was a long-time super stock driver in the valley; and Mike Anderson of Walcott is another good local veteran.
Brennan Borg of Harwood won Friday at Red River Valley. He is a long-time competitor locally but had never won a feature in West Fargo. So that was good to see. He is another contender in his #52 car.
Add to that up-and-coming younger drivers like Kalvin Kesselberg of Ada and Andrew Jochim of Glyndon and you have quite a group in that division.
VanMil dominated the class locally for the first few years. But the competition has gotten better and so has the racing. It’s turning into a highly popular class for the fans to watch at the two tracks.
—There will be some changes in the blog coverage wise in the weeks ahead. For the last few years the primary tracks on Saturday have been Viking Speedway in Alexandria, Buffalo River Race Park and Jamestown. Obviously BRRP is closed for 2020 till the Corn Cob Nationals. Once Viking opens on July 11, especially since they are a sponsor of the RaceChaser blog, I will hit them hard with feature stories, race reports etc. However much thought and analyzing the numbers Devils Lake Speedway will now be a primary track in the coverage area. This is good news because there is a lot of overlap of street stock and B mod drivers who race both at Devils Lake and River Cities. I've gotten good response on the nights I've been there from both the track and drivers.
That means the tough decision to reduce coverage of Jamestown and no longer include it as a primary coverage track. There may be some features on drivers from the immediate Jamestown area who race at Sheyenne, for example but there will no longer be race reports/previews on Jamestown. I may highlight some drivers from the primary coverage area who do well there too (as I do for drivers who do well in Mandan or Aberdeen or Watertown, for example) . Much thought went into the process and there are various factors for this decision, among them being website traffic/views from that area. Some I won’t get into. I wish the folks at Jamestown well.
—Good news in Minnesota, where it Viking Speedway in Alexandria has set July 11 as an opening date. Greenbush Race Park, a bit outside my area but where several area drivers compete, is scheduled to open on July 4 with the NLRA Late Models in towns. I’ve seen several other Minnesota tracks slated to open in early July, too, including Elko Speedway which is south of the Twin Cities.
I’m guessing the state has given the Minnesota tracks some guidance as to when the further restrictions may be eased. Let’s hope for the first weekend in July.
—There is a report on keloland.com — which is the top-rated TV station in Sioux Falls — that Huset’s Speedway might actually get sold. KELO reported that Tod Quiring of Windom, Minn., who owns the Jackson Motorplex in Minnesota, is finalizing a deal to purchase the track from Chuck Brennan. Now, we have been down this road before with other buyers with Brennan with things falling through. Let’s hope the deal is finalized and Huset’s can re-open.