Monday, October 25, 2010

I-94 Speedway OBIT

Jason D Searcy

*update 8-10-11
I am told that the power company has rented space for the next 18 months or so at the old I-94 Speedway site for storage of the power polls that are in construction along the freeway all the way from Monticello to Fargo.  No new racing is planned at I-94 Speedway.

After talking with people on all sides of the situation, I believe that I-94 Speedway (Sauk Centre, MN) will never again be open as a racetrack.

The back concessions stand has been torn down and some gravel and fill have been moved around, but this recent activity has nothing to do with racing.  The sound system has been removed and any modification of the property is in an effort to increase the efficiency of storage space for the current owner of the land.

The south parking lot is now a storage area for wood logs and the "pits" area is filled with semi-tractors and trailers.

The track has been vacant for only a year but, the wooden seats on the backstretch stands are already warped and separating.

The racetrack itself looks like a super sized chia-pet gone bad.  Waist high weeds are growing through the dirt surface all the way around this 3/8th mile track.

19 seasons of racing at this amazing facility 1991-2009.   4 years of dirt racing and 15 years as an asphalt track.

I-94 Speedway was built by Dick Johanneck and opened in 1991 as a dirt track.

Notable events:

In 1993 Scott Bloomquist won the UMP Summer Nationals event, he set a fast time of 15.44 seconds and held off Billy Moyer.

1993 Craig Dollansky and Tim Monson won the "Outlaw" Sprint double feature races.  Doug Wolfgang finished second in both races.  Donny Schatz finished third in the second feature.

April 21 of 1994: Dick Johanneck announced he was switching the track surface to asphalt because it was "the future of racing."

Sep 11 1994: was the inaugural "MN Governors Cup," won by Steve Carlson.  Michael Waltrip (back row, 4th from left) and Matt Kenseth (back row, far right) also raced in that event.

Aug 4 1996: was the "Missing Kids" American Indy car 200.  Patty Wetterling was the honorary starter.  Greg Gordon won the race and local star Travis Whitney finished third and Jacques Lazier fourth.

Sep 2000: Dick Johanneck transferred operation of the facility to the Mike Giles/Les Ferris group.

Sep 2001: Tim Olson and his family took over track operations and changed the name to I-94 Raceway.

Jan 2002: I-94 Raceway became one of the original three "ASA Member tracks" in the nation.

July 5 2003:  NASCAR Elite division July Spectacular won by Eddie Hoffman.  Jon Lemke won "fast time" with 16.89 seconds.  Clint Bowyer also raced in this event.

Sep 19 2004:  Fall Nationals event, 166 cars competed. Jeff Van Oudenhoven won the race and Dick Trickle raced in this event.

July 3 2005:  ASL 150 won by Ryan Matthews.  Landon Cassil, Jarit Johnson and Kevin Cywinski also raced in this event.

July 7 2007:  ASA Midwest tour won by Jacob Goede, he also set "fast time" with a 16.97.  Ron Hornaday finished third.

July 5 2008:  ASA Midwest tour won by Dan Fredrickson.  Chris Wimmer "fast time" with 16.76

March 2009:  Dick Johanneck regains operations of track and changes name back to I-94 Speedway.  Removes asphalt and adds new clay surface.

Sep 4 2009:  Final race at I-94 Speedway.  Jamie Lemke won Wissota Mod feature, Zach Johnson in the Late Models and 4 cyl driver Ben Godbee is the final race winner ever.

2010:  Ron Somers and MN Sawdust and shavings takes over operations of the property and discontinue racing.

I raced at this place from 1996-1999 and was the announcer from 2000-2008.  Lots of memories, awesome racing and great people.  Loved every minute of it, hope you did too.

Please check back for more articles on the history of I-94 in the next month on

I-94 Speedway/I-94 Raceway 1991-2009


  1. Definatly the best track for passing. Period. Hard to race on and I loved every lap of it. Thanks to the Olson family and there friends for the time and money they spent so we could play. Too bad it was so far from the twin cities.

  2. I raced there from 91-94 and enjoyed it.