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Changes at the track

By Staff | Mar 20, 2009

The 22nd season of racing at Rugby’s Geographical Center Speedway (GCS) is over a month away, but already there is a buzz over the decision to replace the long-standing IMCA Modifieds series with Wissota Midwest Modifieds.

It’s one of a few changes to be ushered in this year at the GCS.

“We’re looking at what can be done to get more cars competing,” said Tyler Dosch, a local driver and one of the speedway coordinators this year. “That’s what fans want, and most drivers want more competition as well.”

Car counts have been declining in the IMCA Modified class over the past few years. While there were a few local drivers who competed regularly, including Todd Lysne and Derek Bush, the other three or four drivers came from Minot.

News of discontinuing the IMCA Modifieds on the race program was disappointing to some racers and fans. The series began racing in Rugby in the late 1990s, and will continue to be featured in Minot’s and Williston’s tracks.

There are similarities, yet differences between IMCA Mods and Wissota Midwest Mods, Dosch explains.

“The cars look identical. The difference is the Wissota has a slightly smaller motor and the type of tires is different,” he said.

There has been interest by some local residents to race in the Wissota Mod class this season, as well as some drivers from Devils Lake and Bottineau, he said.

That series was raced in Bottineau last year and has been offered for several years in Grand Forks, Fargo and Jamestown.

Other changes

In addition to the IMCA Mods being discontinued, the IMCA Hobbies class won’t be featured, also as a result of low car counts.

IMCA Stocks will continue to race, though, and car counts could increase with some IMCA Hobbies drivers moving up. Last summer the IMCA Stocks averaged between eight and 10 cars each program, and it was the largest class to race at the GCS. The entry-level stock (Bomber) class will continue as well.

The season opener is set, weather permitting, for Friday, May 8, and there is a total of six racing dates.

Races will be held Friday evenings, with the exception of Saturday, July 11. That night will mark the start of the annual IMCA Stock Tour. Tracks in Minot, Estevan, Sask., and Williston will also participate.

And Championship Night will be held on Thursday, July 24.That’s because the first night of the N.D. State Fair is July 25 with a concert, and racing officials wanted to avoid scheduling on that day.

The Rugby Racing Association was disappointed it could not have a racing program during the Pierce County Fair, July 3-4. However, races had already been planned at other area tracks at that time.

As in past years, there will be several promotional nights planned throughout the season, Dosch said.

“Hopefully, weather will be kind to us this year, and the changes will bring more cars to the track,” he said.

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