By Dean Reller
The Snow is gone, racing season is almost here. If that isn’t enough to get anyone’s motor running, I don’t know what will. This year brings a new racing opportunity for me as I will be taking on the announcing duties at the Princeton Speedway on Fridays this summer. Though announcing is something I’ve done in the past, this new opportunity comes as a part of many changes at the ¼ mile track located just off Highway 169 in Princeton.
The biggest change is the switch in sanctioning bodies from WISSOTA to IMCA. Previously, IMCA has been a fixture in Iowa and southern Minnesota along with other parts of the country. The addition of Princeton and North Central Speedway in Brainerd marks some new territory for the sanctioning body. What’s that mean for race fans? It’s nothing noticeably different for the casual race fan. All the classes that ran previously will return albeit with some slightly different names and a few rule changes. That being said, one thing that will probably be noticed is the competition level will be much more even. The IMCA rules, specifically the tires, allow for more consistency in the cars and should produce a greater number of winners, rather than seeing just a few cars dominate week in and week out.
Another change at the Princeton Speedway is the new Promoter will be Mary Beth Cripe. I’ve had the opportunity to work with Mary Beth in the past at I-94 in Sauk Centre and so I look forward to working with her again. Also coming on board will be Buzz Cripe, a former Track Champion at the Princeton Speedway. Buzz will be handling the flagging duties. I like to refer to members of the racing community as family and Mary Beth and Buzz are two family members that are highly dedicated and very committed to putting on a great running show. Race fans will enjoy their contributions to the track.
The Princeton Speedway has a long history and part of that involves Sprint Cars. If Sprints are your thing, then this season will be really special as the IMCA Winged Sprints are scheduled for 4 events, plus the UMSS Sprints will visit twice this season as well. The ¼ mile high banks produce some great Sprint Car racing and if past shows indicate, this year’s Sprint Car shows should be as exciting as ever.
As I anxiously await the start of the season, I realize it will be a big learning curve for me as I jump back into the announcer’s seat. There are a lot of names I need to learn how to pronounce and I apologize in advance for the names that I will botch, especially in the first few weeks. I look forward to working the pits beforehand and getting to know the drivers and to share their stories with everyone. So, let’s get this season started, I’m ready to roll.