Thoughts on Racing Season and Some Notes from Weekend
RaceChaser doesn’t have the final official tally done — that will come after the Fall Classic in Ogilvie next week if the weather holds — but more than 50 shows were attended at 12 different tracks this season. The mileage is approaching 10,000.
By no means am I an expert but I am an educated fan, based on going to 51 different tracks over four decades. I’d like to think that experience going to races gives me a little bit of license to offer some views.
Some thoughts, or suggestions on tracks and RaceChaser area racing in 2020:
—Starting on time. River Cities Speedway in Grand Forks seems to be the best locally at this. I appreciate this more than you know. Starting at your advertised time goes a long way to retaining fans. I realize the Thursday/Friday night tracks face a challenge with this because people are getting off of work, etc., but it can be done. It irritates me to see tracks lollygag around so much at start time.
—Keep the show moving. Viking Speedway, I was told by a board member, had a pretty good year attendance wise, which is great to hear. One reason, in my opinion, is the fact that the shows keep moving there. Several nights I was there the show was done in three hours by 9:30 p.m., which hasn’t happened much there in years past. A good way to get fans to come back is to get shows done quickly! Justin Nieland, the flagman at Viking, does a good job of keeping the show going.
—One spin and in rule in heat races. These solo spins where a car sits and waits for the yellow and then magically restarts during heat races. Stuff like that only prolongs heat races. I’m not talking about if a car spins to avoid a wreck or if that car is spun by another. I’m talking about the ones who spin all by themselves and wait for the caution to restart.
—Affordable, good concessions. You’ll be amazed the amount of people who will eat at the track — and not afterwards at a fast food place — if you have quality food at affordable prices. Just an observation.
—Limit number of classes. We don’t need seven classes, or more running on a regular weekly show. I’d say five at absolute max for a weekly show, I’d even prefer four. When you get to six, seven or more, it makes it difficult to get through a show in 3 or even 3 1/2 hours. I saw one track that ran nine classes in one night this season which is ridiculous to me as a fan.
—Use the black flag for unsportsmanlike/rough driving. Rough driving needs to be punished, and not just by pointing the black flag at someone. Drivers spend too much time and money working on their cars during the week to see their equipment destroyed by the stupidity and rough driving of another. The black flag isn’t meant for decoration.
—Give each regular weekly class a bigger paying show during the year. Make it a decent amount to win but also make it a decent amount to start. Like the Steffes Street Stock tour, for example, which drew rave reviews not only for what it paid to win but for paying $100 to start most nights.
—I’d like to see a Saturday night track in the RaceChaser area run the Wissota late models regularly in 2021. I realize the major obstacle of this — money. Late model purses aren’t cheap weekly, and most tracks, unless there is a sponsor to help pay that purse, shy away from running late models every week. Right now, if there is no NLRA show around here, many late models sit idle on Saturdays. It’s a long shot I know but a fan can hope.
—Keep intermissions shorter. Unless you have to do a major farming of the track, which happens when there’s been a lot of rain, during the week, for example, intermission should not last more than 15-20 minutes. When you start getting to 30-minute intermissions plus, you lose some fans.
—Make sure rules apply to everyone. This includes post-race tech or anything on the track. You can’t have one set of rules for a lot of drivers and then ignore them for certain folks. I’ve seen a few cases were rules have been ignored because the driver is a local person, and frankly, that’s not right. Don't play favorites.
Congrats to Cole Schill of Horace on winning the second night of the Jamestown Stampede in his #44 Wissota Late Model on Saturday. He bested Friday’s winner, Ryan Mikkelson of Alexandria. Mikkelson had an excellent weekend in his #15* late model with a first and a second.
Schill has five wins in 2020.
Nick Thoreson of Valley City won both Bomber features. Dylan Steele of Jamestown was second on Friday. Billie Christ of Jamestown won his eighth Wissota Street Stock feature of 2020.
RaceChaser-area drivers claiming Stampede wins on Saturday were Brock Gronwold of Fergus Falls, who won for the 22nd time in 2020. Kyle Langland of Enderlin ran second while Jaren Wibstad of Jamestown was fourth.
Rich Pavlicek of Casselton won the IMCA Sport Mod feature on Friday. Brennon Weight of LaMoure had a terrific 2020 campaign in his #28 car and picked up his ninth Wissota Midwest Modified feature on Friday.
Jonny Carter of Lisbon won Friday’s Jamestown Stampede Wissota Street Stock feature.
Each class ran two complete shows at Jamestown.
—Aaron Blacklance of Thief River Falls won the Wissota Midwest Modified feature Saturday night at the Paul Bunyan Stampede at Bemidji Speedway.
—Kyle Dykhoff of Starbuck won the Wissota Street Stock feature during Day 2 of the Autumn Classic at Casino Speedway in Watertown on Saturday. Tyler Peterson of Hickson, N.D., won the Wissota Modified feature on Friday with Mike Stearns of Hecla taking third and Joe Thomas of Glyndon taking fourth.
Watertown driver Brent Dutenhofer won Saturday’s modified feature for his third win of 2020.
—Brady Gerdes of Villard qualified for both nights of the USMTS Fall Jamboree at Deer Creek Speedway. That’s a good accomplishment considering the quality of the field and there were 70 cars on hand.
If you've never seen a mod race at Deer Creek, you are missing something. It's a beautiful facility and the track was phenomenal for the features both nights. I think there were 3-4 lanes drivers were comfortable racing. Plus, only four cautions, and only one -- when Jake Timm hit the wall in turn two -- was a result of a crash.