With the Wissota 100 completed at I-94 Speedway we are now full speed ahead into year-end specials.
The 47th annual Jamestown Stampede kicked off on Friday at Jamestown Speedway with the qualifying heat races. A field of 294 cars signed in to compete in the eight classes. If you include the slingshot divisions (which I consider separate from full-fledged cars) the event surpassed 300 cars.
Some have wondered if the two-day shows — the ones where you qualify one night and run the B and A features the next night — have started to fade a little bit in terms of popularity compared to tracks running a doubleheader with two complete shows and purses (and national points).
I remember when Brown County Speedway used to run the Winternationals, which was usually the first weekend in October. It was a highly popular event, with the qualifying on Friday and racing on Saturday. I loved the racing because it was no holds barred trying to make the feature. I miss that event.
I would say the two-day show works at places like Jamestown, or the Punky Manor at Red Cedar Speedway or the Red Clay Classic at ABC Raceway in Ashland, Wis. But it doesn’t work everywhere. Jamestown being at nearly 300 cars to me is a success for a two-day show.
The Viking Fall Classic is a two-complete show format; when it used to host the FYE Fall Classic (which is now at Ogilvie) it was qualifying on Friday and racing on Saturday. Both fall classics are now doubleheaders with two complete shows.
Here are some other specials and their formats:
Casino Speedway in Watertown, S.D., is hosting a doubleheader with two complete shows tonight and Sunday. (A rainout Friday moved the show to Saturday and Sunday).
Bemidji Speedway is running the 39th annual Paul Bunyan Stampede this weekend (two compete shows), and next week will run the inaugural Chicken Shack Nationals on Sept. 29-30.
KRA Speedway in Willmar is running two full shows this weekend. The opening night was rained out and the two days were moved to Saturday and Sunday.
Deer Creek is running the annual USMTS Featherlite Fall Jamboree (which is my favorite modified event ever), which is three complete shows typically (although a rainout happened on Thursday).
This weekend’s Punky Manor Memorial at Red Cedar Speedway in Menomonie, Wis., is a two-day event, qualifying on Friday and features on Saturday. ABC Raceway’s Red Clay Classic in Ashland, Wis., follows a similar format on Sept. 28-29.
Madison Speedway runs a doubleheader on Sept. 28-29 with two complete shows each night.
Red River Co-op Speedway in Winnipeg is running two complete shows as part of the Prairie Classic on Sept. 28-29.
The Viking Speedway Fall Classic is running two complete shows on Oct. 5-6. Ogilvie Raceway will also host its Fall Classic that weekend with two complete shows.
Sheyenne Speedway’s Battle for the Boneyard — a one-day event — is set for Sept. 30, which could be a chance to draw some drivers aiming for Wissota national points. The event is a day after Madison’s doubleheader.
So I would say it is a mixed bag in terms of format, and maybe it just depends where you are at.
Here are some observations about the Jamestown Stampede:
I won’t get into the results — you can find that info at myracepass.com — but want to highlight some things.
—I was really surprised at the turnout of Wissota Super Stocks. I expected maybe 15 in large part because no track other than Sheyenne runs them locally and they ended with 25. Included in that group was a surprise to me — Wissota 100 champion Dave Mass of Isanti — plus 10 cars from the Aberdeen area plus many of the regulars who race at Sheyenne Speedway in Lisbon. There are even three cars from the Black Hills in South Dakota and a couple from southern South Dakota.
—Twenty-five late models is pretty good considering Jamestown doesn’t run them weekly. Several from the Grand Forks area, plus some I-94 regulars, made a pretty good field. Wissota 100 champion Ricky Weiss is in town. By my count, since winning the North-South 100 in August, Weiss has made $70,400 (that includes the Wissota 100, John Seitz Memorial, the prelude to the Johnny). That doesn’t include any other weekly events he’s won since. Curt Gelling, Brad Seng, Dustin Strand, Cole Schill and Mike Balcaen are among the prominent drivers there. The father-son tandems of Greg and Casey Meyer and Kevin and Erik Robertson are also competing.
—The car counts in the Wissota Midwest Modifieds (48), IMCA Modified (54) and Wissota Street Stocks (48) were all strong as I expected with high quality in all three classes. Not much needs to be said but I expect all three classes to be highly competitive this weekend.
—The Bombers also had a really good field of 33 cars; that class hasn’t been very populous at Jamestown this year, usually between 12-15 so track officials have to be pleased with that count.
—The INEX Legends had 28 cars which is also a good field. Keep in mind, Dacotah Speedway in Mandan runs the class weekly which is a good place for Jamestown to draw in addition to West Fargo and Glyndon. Jamestown likely will add the class weekly in 2019.
—The IMCA Sport Mods also drew well with 32 cars. Many from West Fargo/Glyndon were in attendance but also some from western North Dakota.
My picks for tonight’s features? Keep in mind this is purely for fun: Dylan Goplen (IMCA Modified), Jason Grimes (Wissota Midwest Modified), Ricky Weiss (Wissota Late Model), Dave Mass (Wissota Super Stock), Donavin Wiest (Legends), Kelly Jacobson (IMCA Sport Mod), Zach Frederick (Wissota Street Stock) and John Gartner Jr. (Bomber).