Wissota 100 Returning to I-94 Speedway in 2019, Viking Speedway Announces Changes

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the Super Stocks compete during a heat race at the Wissota 100. (photo from Fergus Falls Journal)

Wissota announced on its Facebook page on Friday that the Wissota 100 will return to I-94 Speedway in Fergus Falls in 2019.

“I am excited for the return of this event at I-94 Speedway,” said Wissota executive director Carson Gramm on a Wissota Facebook post. “The whole community has been a pleasure to work with over the course of the past year, and the staff of I-94 is just as excited as we are striving to make this event bigger and better each year.”

That isn’t a surprise to most race fans and certainly isn’t to me. For hosting the event for the first time, I-94 Speedway did a very good job. The track was in very good shape all week, car counts stayed steady and the crowds were good. The city of Fergus Falls embraced the event as it brought a lot of people to town to eat at restaurants, stay at hotels, etc.

That doesn’t mean there aren’t areas to improve — naturally when you are hosting an event of that magnitude you will learn what works and what doesn’t. I am sure some of the bugs from 2018 will be worked out this year.

It is great for local racing to have an event of this caliber here, and I think it could be even better in 2019.

Viking Speedway Announces Changes for 2019
Viking Speedway in Alexandria has announced some changes for 2019 in hoping of attracting more fans to the stands.

Rich Snyder has taken over as the Viking Speedway president. He is a former racer and also was head flagman at I-94 Speedway.

According to an article in the Echo Press, Viking Speedway will switch to a 7 p.m. start time after starting at 6:30 for several years. This could be a challenge, considering the track’s 10:45 p.m. curfew that the city of Alexandria has put on the track. However, it could work another way — it could force the track to have more urgency when running its show. That means less time between heat races and a shorter intermission, that will be a 15-minute break, not one that lasts 30-45 minutes.

Viking Speedway also announced recently that it is dropping the Pure Stock class. The class struggled with numbers in 2018, with 5-7 cars usually competing. That means Wissota Street Stocks, Midwest Modifieds, Super Stocks, Modifieds and Limited Late Models will be on the weekly schedule in 2019.

“We need to think about what’s going to fill the stands, and what’s going to fill the stands is car counts strong in all five classes and supporting and paying more for those classes,” Snyder told the Echo Press. “It was just a numbers game. It’s unfortunate.”

Attendance has dropped at Viking in recent years, although many tracks face that issue. Viking has a very challenging racing surface to work with for starters — not to mention that a half-mile track can be a tough sell in today’s world. When the track is in good shape, the racing is phenomenal, as it was during the Wissota Late Model Challenge Series race in May 2018.

Dropping a class is never easy and some people won’t be happy. Sheyenne Speedway announced its was dropping the super stock class and I know there was some that were disappointed. In today’s world it is a numbers game — you can’t have classes with 5-7 cars every week. Tracks are looking for good car counts.

Several Local Drivers Compete at Wild West Shootout
Canadian driver Ricky Weiss won the $14,000 to win Wild West Shootout late model finale at 1/3-mile FK Rod Ends Arizona Speedway in San Tan Valley, Ariz. Weiss is planning on running for Rookie of the Year honors on the World of Outlaws Late Model Tour this summer.

Cole Schill and Don Shaw were among the drives who race in this area competing in the late models.

Dustin Strand of Grand Forks was third in the makeup modified feature on Jan. 12 after placing fourth in the regular event. He had a good week, finishing fourth in the modified point standings. Tyler Peterson of Hickson was eighth in the modified feature on Jan. 13 and finished sixth in the points.

Cody Skytland, Casey Arneson, Lance Schill and Dylan Goplen were among the local drivers racing in the modified.

Several area B-mod (X Mods) drivers competed in Arizona, including Lucas Rodin of Marion, ND, Lance Schill, Brock Gronwold of Fergus Falls and Scott Bintz of Jamestown. Bintz, who said he was retiring following this year’s shootout, was seventh in the points while Rodin was eighth.

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