Uniqueness of Cars Remains Part of Appeal of Dirt-Track Racing

cummingsThe old-school race fans sometimes lament that they miss the old days — when there were many different style of cars racing on the track against each other?

Do you older race fans remember the old Chevy Monte Carlos that raced? Cameros? Ford Mustangs and Thunderbirds? Chevelles? Novas? Dodge Challengers?

I remember Redwood Speedway had a Sportsman/B Late Model class in the 1980s. One car I remember in particular was Wayne Oftedahl of Hanley Falls, which was about 15 minutes from where I grew up — he raced a red-and-white Ford Mustang for many years in that class. There were a few Cameros, some Monte Carlos, some Chevelles, some Dodges in that class — some distinct looking cars. Same with the old street stock classes.

I hear the old school race fans say this from time to time, and the more I think about it, the more truth there is: the cars today, in several classes, generally look all the same in design (there are a few exceptions) — late models, A/B mods and super stocks come to mind.

That doesn’t mean there isn’t some variety out there in today’s racing world – especially in the street stock/IMCA Stock Car, hobby stock and mini stock/hornet divisions. To me that is part of what I enjoy about those divisions is there are drivers who dare to be a little different in terms of cars/design so I thought it’d be fun to take a look at a few of those.

First, we will start with the one modified who dares to be different, and that is Tom Cummings, who races at Red River Valley Speedway and Buffalo River Race Park. His 57 IMCA Modified (pictured at the top of this page) is in the body of a 1957 Chevy Bel Air. It is by FAR the most unique modified body I’ve seen in a while.


Terry Blacklance of Thief River Falls, Minn., had a cool looking Wissota Street Stock for several years. His 105 machine, pictured above, had a station wagon body — and actually looked like a Monte Carlo nose.  He was pretty competitive in that car. Out of this area a little bit, Dustin Follett of Cloquet ran a station-wagon body on his Pure Stock and was pretty fast as well.


Torey Fischer of West Fargo had one of the sharpest looking hobby stocks around in recent years. Her No. 9 machine, pictured above, with a sharp purple scheme was a 1973 Dodge Dart built by her father, Darren. Prior to that, she had a 1973 Plymouth Satellite — fans who have attended Buffalo River Race Park near Glyndon will remember her yellow No. 9 hobby stock. She also had a Richard Petty paint scheme on one of her cars. I confess in terms of hobby/pure stocks it is one of my favorite cars.

By the way, since Fischer has moved up to the IMCA Sport Mods, her Dodge Dart hobby stock is for sale — it is a quality car with several feature wins and would be a good car for someone looking to break into the hobby/pure stock class locally.

Several hobby stocks at Sheyenne Speedway in Lisbon have cool looking machines — one is John Heacox, whose No. 87 was a Plymouth (I believe) from the 1970s.

Mike Spieker/Speedway Shots

Tim Compson of Valley City is a Mopar man, and his No. 49 IMCA Stock Car reflects that. The body shape is of a Plymouth Duster, and it might be the most popular IMCA Stock Car locally in terms of looks.

The Mini Stock/Short Tracker/Sport Compact also has some different-looking machines. You see anything from Chevy Cavaliers to Dodge Neons to Chevy Berettas among many other cars. But, the last few years, I’ve also seen some pickups in the class at Lisbon and I-94. Danielle Stevens of Elizabeth raced the No. 45 Short Tracker at I-94 the last few years; that was a pickup, looking like a Chevy S-10 type.


Sheyenne had a pair of pickups racing in the Mini Stock class on Sept. 29. Dale Mittleider (14) and Landon Baygor (21B) both raced pickups during that show. The 21B car is pictured above in the staging area at Sheyenne.

So even though there is a lot of uniformity in classes like the modifieds, late models and super stocks, it is good to see different looking machines, too.

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