Saturday night May 9th will be opening night of the 50th race season at Elko Speedway.
The pit area was filled with vehicles and optimistic drivers on Practice Day May 2nd with 94 different cars taking to the track in preparation for the 2015 Season Opener.
2014 Super Late Model Champion Jacob Goede was practicing right along side of his brother Matt Goede. Jacob will be defending his first ever Championship at Elko Speedway. Paul Paine did not have his car at the warm up event, "we just got the motor last night and we just did not want to push it," said Paine "it seems to work better if we just show up on opening night!" Paine finished 2nd in points in 2014, he did not have a win but he did finish runner up 7 times during the season. "We were going to travel around last year," said Paine "we did so well at the beginning of the season we decided to stay and actually I think it was more fun staying at Elko, Saturday night racing, you can't beat it" said Paine. Nine different Super Late Model drivers won races last year with Jacob Goede winning 7 events and the Championship. Steve Anderson, Matt Goede, Dan Fredrickson, Bryan Syer-Keske, Mark Lamoreaux, Joey Miller, Chad Walen and Derek Lemke all won feature events in 2014.
Chris "cruiser" Marek won the Big 8 Championship in 2014, he was back at practice day with his new white colors on the #3 car. The field of Big 8 cars were very evenly matched, ten different Big 8 drivers won races at Elko Speedway last year. Marek had 5 wins, four time Champion Doug Brown had 3 wins, Cole Anderson, Nick Beaver and Jon Lemke all had two wins, with Michael Beamish, LB Berthiaume, Ryan Kamish, Joe Neisius and Michael Ostdiek all scored a trophy in victory lane as well. 2015 looks to be just as competitive in the Big 8 division, look for some new young faces as both Dylan Warner and Jared Duda will be moving up from the Great North Legends division.
The Power Stock division was hotly contested all year long in 2014, two drivers actually tied for the Championship with Nick Oxborough edging Grant Brown on the tie breaker. The Power Stock division was the fastest growing division last year with 20 or more cars racing every week. Nick Oxborough scored 3 wins last year, Tom Doten and Taylor Goldman each had two wins, Paul Hamilton, Dustin Mann, Cole Neisius, Paul Neisus, Brandon Peterson, Shawn Prins and Ryan Varner all took home one victory in 2014. Fans can look for an influx of even more new Power Stock cars in 2015. "Even at the end of last year I knew cars were ramping up and getting faster," said Oxborough "I am anticipating a lot more cars this year, I hope to defend my title on the 50th year at Elko Speedway."
Conrad Jorgenson became a three time Elko Speedway Thunder Car Champion in 2014, twenty years after his first title. Conrad had three wins and seemed to score a top 5 every race night. His main rival was Brent Kane who is also a three time Elko Speedway Thunder Car Champion, he scored 8 wins in 2014. Jeremy Wolff finished 2nd in points with two wins, Ted Reuvers had 3 victories and Michael Gilomen scored two wins in 2014. Jorgenson says he plans on racing a limited schedule in 2015 but don't be surprised if you see him back in victory lane.
The Great North Legends car counts just seem to continue to rise every year. Derek Lemke won the title in his number 5 car in 2014, he will be back but with a new car number, he will be number 71 this year with his father Jon in the 17. Tim Brockhouse will run a limited schedule again, he had 4 wins last year, Derek Lemke and Robby Carter both had 3 wins, Tyler Sjoman had two victories. Brady Fox-Rhode was named "most improved driver of the year" at the Elko Speedway awards banquet last fall, he only scored one win but he moved up to second in points and had some great battles with Lemke on a nightly basis. Michael Ostdiek, Shon Jacobson and Jon Lemke also scored wins in 2014. 2009 Champion Jaycen Brockhouse is planning on racing the full schedule and many new drivers appeared at the practice day.
The new Hornets division is sure to be the fastest growing division in 2015, twenty drivers showed up on practice day. This division was called the Mini-Stocks in 2014, Brain Adams won 6 races and the Championship, he will be back to defend his title. Ridge Oien, Justin Schelitzche and Michael Wachs Jr won two races each with TJ Christenson, Brandon Olson and Todd Tacheny all winning one race. The drivers in this division will also be legal to race in the new Figure 8 Division racing 7 different times in 2015. I will not be surprised if the fans are treated to as many as 30 Hornets drivers racing on a weekly basis at Elko Speedway, lets just say the flat turns 1 and 2 will be very interesting and the Figure 8 races will be something you don't want to miss.
The Bandolero's will also be back racing on most non Eve of Destruction nights, a great place for future Elko Speedway stars to get their start.
Judging by the number and quality of drivers in 2015, the future of Elko Speedway in its 50th season looks very bright.