Sheyenne Speedway Firms Up Plans for 2019, and Remembering Racing Community is a Team

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Sheyenne Speedway in Lisbon has firmed up some plans for the 2019 season following a public meeting that was held last night.

Some things will stay the same for the regular weekly show — the Wissota Street Stocks and Midwest Modifieds return along with the Hobby Stock and Mini Stock divisions.

The IMCA modifieds will be back on a more frequent basis with six shows in 2019 after running at the 1/4-mile oval four times in 2018. A new class has been added for 2019 at Sheyenne – the INEX Legend cars. The division won’t run every week but will run several shows next year. They are a popular class that more tracks are adding.

One class won’t be returning in 2019— the super stocks, and the reason is simple — it’s a numbers game.

The super stock numbers have dwindled at Sheyenne in recent years, and several people have told me that multi- time track champion Brian Bernotas of Colfax is stepping away from racing for 2019 so that is one less driver for next season. Aside a special race on June 3 which attracted 14 cars the class had a hard time getting to 10 cars. There were nights with as few as seven cars and several in the eight or nine-car range. Guys like Erik and Kevin Robertson, Dave Shipley and Joe Pellman have switched divisions.

Truth is, you have to travel more than 100 miles to find the nearest track that runs Wissota Super Stocks — that is Brown County Speedway in Aberdeen. Sheyenne was on an island in that regard. Not to mention Bernotas won seven of the nine features at the track last year; when one guy dominates a class it can be tough to maintain numbers, frankly.

Sheyenne had a loyal group of supers in the area — there simply weren’t enough left to keep the class going weekly. I know some will be upset the class won’t return but the Sheyenne management did a lot of research — and got a lot of input — before making the decision. IN the end, if you can add a class that draws more cars than one that has struggled, you have to make the call.

Stay tuned for further updates on Sheyenne in the weeks ahead. And I will post blog updates when area tracks have announcements, too.

Social Media and the Racing Community…
I posted a poll on Facebook recently asking if the positives about social media on local racing outweigh the negatives. As of this writing the vote was 24-2 saying the positives outweigh the negatives.

One local driver who asked not to be named and who has raced for a while sent me a very thoughtful response with it comes to racing and social media. The driver reminded me that when it comes to racing — we as fans, officials, promoters, sponsors and drivers are a team.

“I think bashing will happen no matter what because tracks can’t please everyone all the time. People just have to take the good with the bad and understand if a couple people are bashing someone/something/track, it doesn’t make someone/something/track as a whole, bad. Tracks I do think need to take into account when people happen to bash certain topics, and maybe use it as constructive criticism? Make it into a teachable moment if you will? I don’t know if many people complain and bash certain topics constantly at your track, maybe find a way to fix it. If it’s a once in a blue moon type of bash, then reach out to that person and find a way to make amends.

“We can’t afford to lose tracks, drivers, fans right now. As a racing community we are a team. Maybe not so much when we’re racing against each other but, when we’re not racing we all gotta stick together and find ways to lift racing, not bring it down because of an awful night or experience.”

I could not have said it better. Constructive criticism can be a positive to improve a racing program…and tracks can’t be thin-skinned about that feedback from fans and drivers who pay admission.

Personal attacks and name calling on Facebook take things too far and aren’t productive. There is a difference.

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