Sunday, March 2, 2014

NASCAR Drive for Diversity Now and Then

By Jason D Searcy

It was recently announced that Paige Decker from Eagle River (WI) was chosen for a ride in the NASCAR Drive for Diversity program for 2014. 

She will get the opportunity to race in top quality equipment in the NASCAR Whelen All American series Late Model division down South this summer against some real tough competition.  She will race a total of 15 nights for REV Racing at three different tracks: Langley, Hickory and the Motor Mile.

At just 20 years old Paige caught the eye of the right people last year by winning a 60 lap TUNDRA series Super Late Model race at Golden Sands Speedway.  "I am sure being the first female and first rookie to win a Tundra Super Late Model feature helped me" said Decker.

She said the application process was very easy, she put together race highlight from 2013 and filled out the paperwork online.  When it came time for the on-track audition at Langley Speedway in October, she did well.  "I think the way I jumped into the car and gave it all I got was a big selling point," said Decker.  "I went out on cold tires and got the car up to speed right away, no one else did that."
Paige is the only female driver to make the cut this year, she will join 5 guys in the program with four of them racing in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series including Daytona Battle at the Beach winner Daniel Suarez. Decker hopes to drive some Super Late Model races in the Midwest for her family team this summer, but it depends on funding. 

Paige has a lot of respect for the drivers in Minnesota and Wisconsin, when she talks about role models in her career she stays local.  "I definitely look up to the Sauters and Danny Fredrickson" said Decker.  "They run the Midwest up here and when those Southern boys come up, and even the NASCAR guys at the Milwaukee mile. They show them who's boss."

The NASCAR "Drive for Diversity" has helped showcase some talented drivers since its inception in 2004.  Some notable alumni have risen to the top of our sport, including Chip Ganassi Sprint Cup driver Kyle Larson and KB Motorsports Truck series driver Bubba Wallace.

One other local racer has spent her time in the program as well, Molly Rhoads from Hastings (MN).  She was part of the program in both 2006 and 2007, she was chosen from over 300 applicants to be one of 19 drivers to audition at South Boston Speedway driving K&N series cars.

Even though Molly was never offered a racing contract it was a unique experience, she was even interviewed on ESPN.  "The media portion included some training and being interviewed by some of the big TV networks," said Rhoads.  "We didn't know the interviews were going anywhere but to the teams until that night when we were all out for dinner and there I was on ESPN!  That was incredibly cool!"

"I wish I was younger and could have the chance to participate in the program now" said Rhoads.  "The program now seems to be more about promoting the drivers and less about NASCAR being diversified and just a marketing program.  They have come a long way over the years and are offering an awesome program for the lucky few who get to be a part of REV Racing."

Molly is a car owner and has continued her racing career here in Minnesota with the exception of 2013 when some health problems kept her off the track.  She expects to resume racing a Super Late Model at Elko Speedway and the TUNDRA series this summer upon approval from her doctors.

Both these ladies are thankful for their opportunities and have represented racing in the Midwest with class.
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*Top photo courtesy of Dean Reller 

Friday, January 31, 2014

Martin Goes Out On Top, 2013 MN Asphalt Driver of the Year

By Dean Reller

The 2013 Speed Talk on 1360 Minnesota Asphalt Driver of the Year took a new direction so to speak as Raceway Park Figure 8 driver Ricky Martin takes the honors after a remarkable year capping off the final season of racing at Raceway Park in Shakopee.

Although many drivers look at an upcoming season with Championship hopes, it wasn’t quite the case with Martin as he headed into the 2013 season.  “I wasn’t planning on racing the full year”, said Martin. “I’ve got kids in sports and I was really planning on helping coach them.  I found out it might be the last year at Raceway Park and if it was going to be the last year, I wanted to be part of it.”  Martin has a lot of experience at Raceway Park, winning multiple championships in recent years so, he has been very apt at turning left and right on the quarter mile track.  Running a Figure 8 car takes a different skill set than most drivers are accustomed to. “You start out the year hoping to just stay out of trouble, especially in the Figure 8’s.  You know, Figure 8’s, trouble is just around the corner.”  That’s something that Martin seemed to do a good job of avoiding, since in many races he was safely or at least slightly safer in the lead.

“The car was unbelievable, just jump in and drive,” said Martin.  “The crew really worked hard on it and we ended up winning 15 features on Sunday nights.  It was by far my best year in racing.”  Martin was especially thankful for his crew consisting of his dad, Rick Martin, Scott Emmes, Scott Westphal, Johnny Mosher and Mark Mosher.  Besides winning the Figure 8 Championship, Martin was also the NASCAR Home Tracks Division II National Champion.

Of course with all the feature wins and Championships over the years, the question comes up of why didn’t Martin ever move up to another class?  “A number of reasons could answer that, but I realized the last couple of years that it’s the group of guys and gals that I race with in the Figure 8’s,” said Martin.  “They are an unbelievable group, they’re family.  You race with them door to door on the track.  Sure you might have issues here and there, that’s part of racing.  Afterwards in the pits, no matter what happened on the track, we are always smiling, joking around, having a good time and that’s the reason why I’ve stuck with the Figure 8’s, the group of guys.”

Now that Raceway Park is gone, Martin doesn’t have any racing planned, at least in the near future.  The 2013 season was a memorable one and for Martin the final chapter couldn’t have been a better memory of what truly was a storybook season with a happy ending.

Previous winners of the Speed Talk on 1360 MN Asphalt Driver of the Year:

2004  Dan Fredrickson

2009  Adam Royle

2010  Brent Kane

2011  Chad Walen

2012  Jonathan Eilen

Sunday, December 22, 2013

2013 Season in Review

2013 was the 5th year of Speed Talk on 1360 radio on KRWC, we interviewed 88 different drivers this year while covering a great race season in Minnesota. 

Here is a review of the Top 10 stories covered in 2013.

#1 Raceway Park closes after 57 years of racing.  Benny Van Cleve was the final race winner in the history of the track on September 1st.

#2 Frank Kimmel wins at Elko Speedway for his 78th ARCA victory.

#3 Danny Fredrickson wins his 2nd ARCA Midwest tour Championship.

#4 Tim Kaeding wins $10,000 World of Outlaws race on dirt at Elko Speedway.

#5 Andrew Morrissey wins Thunderstruck93 at Elko, 150 cars participate in on-track autograph session and $20,000 raised for Charity.

#6 Michael Self wins second straight NASCAR K&N series race at Brainerd International Raceway.

#7 Doug Peterson wins Trans-Am race at BIR in largest field since the return of the series.

#8 James Buescher wins NASCAR Camping World truck race at Iowa Speedway in wild finish.

#9 Numbers prove just how fast a World of Outlaws Spring car is compared to an ARCA car at Elko Speedway.

#10 Levi Schwanz memorial car show a big success at Hutchinson Mall.

Jason Searcy was named announcer at Elko Speedway in 2013 and we got to hear interviews with drivers every week (Brent Kane below).

Jason had many fun video's posted on the web including the crazy story of who really is the mascot named Victor E. Lane (below).

Dean Reller spent a lot of time at Raceway Park covering their final season of racing, he also traveled to Oktoberfest, Iowa Speedway and BIR (with Michael Self below)

Dean also put together many videos of the action (below).

We really want to thank our group of very loyal sponsors that make the 5th year of this radio show possible.  Please support them: 

Performance Driving School at BIR
Moon Motorsport in Monticello
Cenex in Buffalo
Norms Wayside in Buffalo
Lou Fegers Racing Equipment in Delano
Hwy 55 Trailer Sales in Buffalo
Stockholm Motorsports Park in Cokato
Superior Masonry Products in New Prague
David Wray Automotive in Buffalo

We also want to thank Jordan Bianchi from
and Dan Plan from

It was a great season in 2013 and we hope to do it again in 2014, keep checking back to for more details or follow us on Facebook or Twitter or

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Midwest Racing Expo 2013

The Midwest Racing Expo presented by WISSOTA was held at the Rivers Edge Convention Center in St Cloud (MN) November 8-9th, 2013.
The WISSOTA National Champion dirt cars were in attendance, many exhibitors had displays, and the annual awards banquet was held.

2013 WISSOTA Champions:
Late Models: #73 Zach Johnson
Modifieds: #24 Mike Stearns
Super Stocks: #7a Shane Sabraski
Midwest Modifieds: #21 Travis Saurer
Street Stocks: #21 Dave Reed
Mod 4's:  #00 Kyle Thell

*photos by Dean Reller

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Champions crowned at Elko Speedway

The 2013 race season at Elko Speedway came to an end with the Champions banquet on Saturday night October 12th.

2013 Elko Speedway Champions were crowned:
Super Late Models - Adam Royle
BIG 8 - Chris Marek
Thunder Cars - Brent Kane
Power Stocks - John Lebens
Great North Legends - Michael Ostdiek
Mini stocks - Jack Purcell
Bandolero's - Jared Duda

Adam Royle was also named the NASCAR Whelen All American series Minnesota state Champion 

2013 Brother's Jorgenson  Rookie's of the Year were recognized:
Super Late Models - Ryan Wolke
BIG 8 - Kyle Kirberger
Thunder Cars - Matt Weibusch
Power Stocks - Norm Grabinger
Great North Legends - Brady Fox-Rhode
Mini Stocks - Ashley Bell

The drivers with the Most Feature Wins were recognized:
Super Late Models - Adam Royle 7
BIG 8 - Chris Marek 5
Thunder Cars - Brent Kane 8
Power Stocks - John Lebens 4
Great North Legends - Michael Ostdiek 9
Mini Stocks - Jack Purcell 4

Flag Pole Champions:
Power Stocks - Todd Tacheny
Mini Stocks - Justin Schelitzche

Special Awards were presented:
Young Gun - Taylor Goldman (Power Stocks)
Most Improved Driver - Devin Schmidt (Thunder Cars)
Sportsman of the year - Tom Doten (Power Stocks)
Mechanic of the year - Jarry Royle (Super Late Models)
Driver of the year - Michael Ostdiek (Great North Legends)

The preliminary 2014 Elko Speedway race schedule has been released with opening night set for May 17th, 2014.  Mini Stocks have been added to the weekly race program to join the Super Late Models, Big 8, Thunder Car, Power Stock, Great North Legends and Bandolero divisions.  Seven "Eve of Destruction" events are planned for next summer.  Get more information by calling (952) 461-7223 or go to

Monday, October 7, 2013

Dan Fredrickson 2013 ARCA Midwest tour Champion

Dan Fredrickson from Lakeville (MN) won his second ARCA Midwest tour Championship with a runner up finish in La Crosse (WI) Sunday afternoon.  Fredrickson won two races in 2013 at Wisconsin Dells and State Park Speedway.  He only finished out of the "top 10" once during the entire 12 race schedule.  Fredrickson won the title by 50 points over Chris Wimmer, Nathan Haseleu finished 3d and Carver (MN) native Jacob Goede got 4th.  The 2012 Champion Jonathan Eilen from Hampton (MN) won one race and finished 6th in the standings.

The 44th annual Oktoberfest race weekend was highlighted by a wild finish in the ARCA Midwest tour finale.  Travis Sauter was spun by his uncle Johnny Sauter during caution just after a white flag on-track incident between the two that sent Johnny spinning into the infield.  Both racers were credited with a DNF in the race.  Here is video ABOVE .. Johnny Sauter is in the white and blue #5.

Nathan Haseleu won the race and putting his name in the record books.  Fredrickson finished 2nd and Wimmer third.   Here is an audio recap of the race with Speed Talk on 1360 co-host Dean Reller interviewing the top 3 finishers, Click on this LINK BELOW

Minnesota racers were also well represented in the other divisions of racing at the famed La Crosse Fairgrounds Speedway in West Salem WI.  Chris Marek from Lakeville (MN) won both the BIG 8 main event and was the overall winner in the the JMcK race as well named after famed promoter John McKarns.

Devin Schmidt from Belle Plaine (MN) won the Great Northern Sportsmen race at Oktoberfest and Dave Auringer from Prior Lake (MN) won the Midwestern Dash.

Chad Walen from Prior Lake (MN) went home with a trophy as well winning the Super Late Model futures race on Thursday night.

*Photos by Dean Reller