Weiss Doing Wissota and Region Proud, Street Stock Tour Continues to Prosper
Canadian driver Ricky Weiss is one of the most accomplished drivers in Wissota Late Model history. The Headingley, Manitoba driver has won five Wissota national titles — most of any late model driver — and piled up many big wins in his #7 machine.
Weiss was competing in the World of Outlaw Late Models at Red River Valley on Saturday and River Cities on Sunday, and placed third both nights.
It was a win at the North-South 100 at Florence Raceway in Kentucky in Aug. 2018 that showed he could compete on a national level full-time with dirt late models.
“That’s probably the reason I’m here,” Weiss said from the pits on Sunday. “We were trying out different series and seeing if we could compete. When we won that race, that was what confirmed us running a national tour.”
Weiss was the World of Outlaws Rookie of the Year in 2019, and this season, he’s second in WOO points this season and has two wins and 14 top five finishes. He picked up his first career WOO earlier this year.
“The year’s pretty good — really consistent,” Weiss said. “Top fives — now we’re getting into the top threes.”
Before he became a full-time racer on tour, Weiss was a force to be reckoned with in Wissota Late Model racing.
In addition to the five national titles (2010, 2011, 2014, 2015 and 2018), Weiss won many of Wissota’s highest-paying races. That included the $10,000 to win Wissota 100 and the $9,200 to win John Seitz Memorial in 2018, the same year he won the North-South 100, in what was his best season behind the wheel of the familiar #7 car.
He also is a past NLRA Late Model winner and was the 2014 winner of the Wissota Late Model Challenge Series.
“Back then we raced a lot and tried to get all over the country, and get a lot of experience under us and try a lot of things,” Weiss said. “The more you race the more you’re going to learn and the more you’re going to get used to your car.”
The Seitz Memorial in 2018 stands out in his many wins, in large part because it was within 2 1/2 hours of his hometown of Headingley, Manitoba.
“The Seitz was definitely one to remember, being so close to home,” Weiss said.
The jump from Wissota to a touring series took some adjusting. The open motors are a big change, but Weiss said the tire rules and the qualifying were an adjustment.
“If we can stay where we’re at in the points or better ourselves, that’s our goal right now,” Weiss said.
Strand, Seng Shine at WOO Late Model Show
As I’ve mentioned when a national tour comes to the area, I like to see how the top local cars measure up. That would include the World of Outlaw Late Models and Sprints or Lucas Oil Late Models, for example.
The performance by Dustin Strand of East Grand Forks on Sunday at River Cities Speedway in Grand Forks was noteworthy to me. He started 14th in the 24-car feature and by the time the checkered flag waved, he had edged Donny Schatz — perhaps the best sprint car driver in the nation the past 15 years —for fifth. Strand passed Scott Bloomquist (one of the most accomplished late model racers in history), Darrell Lanigan (who won at Red River Valley Speedway on Saturday), Schatz and Chase Junghans, who is fifth in the WOO points this season. To me that is one heck of a finish. And he didn’t have a lot of cautions to make up positions on restarts, either. He ran the bottom so effectively it was fun to watch.
The one race that has eluded Strand and been kind of a curse for him is the John Seitz Memorial. If he runs like he did on Sunday he will be a prime contender for that race in September.
Brad Seng of Grand Forks also ran well. He started 16th on the field and finished ninth, putting two RCS regulars in the top 10. Seng is a two-time winner of the Seitz Memorial
The truth is, for events like the WOO Late Models you need your local drivers to come out and support it, and a good night of area late models did.
One note about the race: imagine the crowd that would have showed up if the non-essential travel ban between Canada and the the United States. Not to mention a few more late models, too. It is the closest Weiss will race to his hometown of Headingley, Manitoba this season and you know a good contingent of fans would have come down to see him race. The travel ban has hurt River Cities and Greenbush Race Park, in my opinion, the worst.
Potter Gets Win
You have to be happy for a guy like Joe Potter of Euclid, Minn. (which is by Crookston, I asked). He’s raced here and there including a couple of nights on the Steffes Street Stock Tour. The 56-year-old picked up a hard-fought win at Devils Lake over Trey Hess in the street stock feature. Potter also had a top five at River Cities Speedway the next night.
It's nice to see the 50 and 60 somethings reach victory lane and there have been several. Keep in mind, 67-year-old Ron Saurer won the Wissota Midwest Modified feature on July 11 at Viking Speedway.
Broksieck Posts Big Win, Steffes Street Stock Tour A Big Hit
Maria Broksieck’s win at the Steffes Street Stock Tour stop at Casino Speedway in Watertown shouldn’t surprise anyone. Broksieck, who lives in Goodwin, S.D. (located about 15 miles east of Watertown), has been one of the top street stock drivers in that area for the past several years. She has 16 wins, by my count, since 2017 and has won several track championships.
I interviewed Maria, pictured above after Sunday's win, at the Wissota 100 in 2018, and came away impressed — one of the many nice people I’ve met in racing.
Consider who she beat in Sunday — the past two Wissota National Champions (2019, Jonny Carter and 2018, Justin Vogel), along with some top runners like Todd Carter, who won the big money at Brown County Speedway on Friday.
The tour continues to flourish. The three stops this past weekend averaged 32 cars, including a track-record 30 at Miller Central Speedway on Saturday. Jonny Carter leads Eric Riley in the points with Justin Vogel, who won at Miller on Saturday, moving into third. Jake Froemke of International Falls is fourth and Kyle Anderson of Jamestown fifth. Plus, they get to run for some real good money (plus $100 to start). The top eight finishes are counted towards the points.
I like the way the tour is working and I like the camaraderie and sportsmanship being displayed. Many drivers and crews hang out together and help each other when one driver needs a part or has a wreck. Not only that, but the racing has been excellent almost every night. Credit Benji Froemke, the co-promoter at Sheyenne Speedway, for all of the work he's done to make this happen and succeed, particularly during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Riley (three wins), Jonny Carter (two wins), Justin Vogel (two wins), Todd Carter, Ryan Satter and Broksieck are the tour winners so far. It moves to Ogilvie on Tuesday.
More Local Options Needed for IMCA Sport Mods and Stock Cars
I wish there were more options for the IMCA Sport Mods and Stock Cars locally. Right now, only Norman County Raceway and Red River Valley Speedway run the classes weekly. And if one takes the week off or if one rains out — that is one less night you can race. The next closest option for the sport mods is Brainerd, which is a nice place but 150 miles away (trust me it's not a short trip) from Fargo. Stock cars, you’d have to go further south or way out west to Dickinson or Minot and neither one of those trips is short.
There are a lot of good drivers in those divisions locally and I’d like to see them have a few more options. Maybe an area track can add one of those classes for a night or two to help fill the gaps with Buffalo River Race Park not running in 2020.
By the way I saw a picture of the grass growing on the track at BRRP this past week. What a waste to see that nice facility sit idle...