Veteran Potter a Solid Competitor in Wissota Streets
Joe Potter remembers his first time behind the wheel of a race car in 2004. He had purchased a street stock from a driver in the Rochester, Minn., area, and got a chance to take some laps at Bemidji Speedway.
“My very first time in the car — Tom Corcoran and John Seitz rented the track for a day,” Potter said. “I made laps on Bemidji…I remember Johnny and Tommy standing on the concrete wall watching me just smiling.”
Nearly two decades later, Potter, from Euclid, Minn., is still racing in the street stock class and enjoying it. He is having solid season, with one win and three top fives overall in nine starts. He won at Devils Lake on June 4 and races weekly at River Cities Speedway in Grand Forks.
The 58-year-old, who works as an engineer for Crystal Sugar developed an interest in racing as a child as his dad raced in the late 1960s and early 1970s at tracks at International Falls, Emo, Hibbing and Bemidji.
When he moved to East Grand Forks in the mid-1990s, it turns out his neighbor would be late model veteran Tom Corcoran, who is in his 53rd year behind the wheel in 2022. He pitted for Corcoran for several years.
“I moved over here back in 1995, and met Tommy and the first guy I met was my neighbor,” Potter said. “We hit it off…I helped Tommy for quite a while.”
In 2004 he hopped into his own street stock and has been a mainstay in the class ever since.
“It’s affordable to a point. For the average racer you can get in this car for $15,000 or less, and in a good car and be competitive out of the box,” Potter said.
Potter ran the Steffes Street Stock Tour in 2021 and traveled around, but has scaled back his schedule this year to mainly race at Devils Lake and River Cities, in part because of high gas prices.
“I have other interests now and I want to enjoy those,” Potter added.
He had one feature win in 2021 and also won the Non-Qualifier feature at the Little Dream in 2021 at Rice Lake Speedway in Wisconsin.
“That was my biggest win of that stature,” Potter said. “That’s a big stage.”
One of his sponsors is Studio 99, his sister’s store in Arizona. His sister’s son, Alex Verdugo, is an outfielder for the Boston Red Sox.
“My nephew plays for the Red Sox. It’s fun watching my nephew play,” Potter said.
Even though he got a later start on his driving career, Potter has no regrets. He’s developed friendships with two other street stock veterans, Dan McNamee and James Meagher.
“I had kids and concentrated on them, and wasn’t going to take away from them,” Potter said. “I started racing pretty late, which I’m fine with. Dan and James are fun to do stuff with, we’re in the same age group.”
Wissota Street Stock #610
Residence: Euclid, Minn.
Sponsors: Chubbs Performance, Allied Valve, Inc., Lou Fegers Racing, Sanders Farms, Norminn Industrial, Big Al’s Construction, Erdahl Heating, Studio 99, Erhard Heating and Air Conditioning,