RODDA: NorCal Notes

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LINCOLN, Calif. — Returning from the successful three-week racing trip required some time to address delayed tasks, and then a racing weekend in my home state meant more travel. The pace has slowed and I certainly do not mind that.

The third week included another strong thunderstorm and some venue shuffling, but it all worked for the better. It began with a first time visit to Nobles County Speedway in Worthington, Minn., for a regular Tuesday night IMCA program. This track has been closed and reopened more than once, finding it difficult to establish itself as a midweek track.

I knew the car count would not be great and a five division, 50-car field was topped by 14 hobby stocks. Their main was the best of the night with a group racing for the win.

Despite the yellow flag being waved too quickly several times, the show was still done at 9 p.m., an excellent finishing time for a midweek event. Just a short intermission and having the next race poised at the turn-four entrance were a big part of the early finish.

One of the more unusual sights from the stands is the Walmart that sits off of the backstretch. Built just a few years ago, the store parking lot is probably 100 feet from the pit gate. The only track with I have seen with even better shopping convenience is Petaluma Speedway here in NorCal, which has an entire shopping center across a four-lane street from the pits.

Wednesday we headed further north in Minnesota for better odds of no rain and went to Fiesta City Speedway in Montevideo for a WISSOTA modified tour race plus local divisions. With 24 modifieds and 21 Midwest modifieds creating a large part of the 76-car field, it was one of the small divisions that was the best.

With only six starters on the four-tenths oval, more like a half to me, the pure stock main did not figure to be stellar racing. Showing six is enough, the race started with four of them battling for the lead, then it became three hopeful winners, and finally Nicolas McCleary finished it off with a last-lap pass to win.

The headline modifieds looked less than stellar in their heat races, but the main made up for that with a Scott Ward win in the second of the six-race series. After having gone many years between visits, we have now enjoyed Fiesta City on consecutive years.

Thursday we returned to Algona, Iowa, because the next night was reserved for nearby Jackson Motorplex. This third visit in one trip is a first time occurence, but location and race night made it work well.

It was an excellent weeknight program and 83 cars plus a well run program saw everything complete in 2 hours and 10 minutes after the 7:15 p.m. start. This was the best of the three Algona shows we saw and the town became a second home during the trip.

In 2014, two visits to Jackson Speedway were made and two years later the newly named Jackson Motorplex offered an all new speedway. Only the concession stand remains from the previous version, replaced by a state of the art facility that reminded us of Irwindale Speedway, a paved track in Southern California.

Friday nights are sprint car nights while the following night has an IMCA show. Wanting to see sprint cars despite knowing the car count would be less than stellar, the 11, 11, and 16 for 305s, nonwing, and 360s left the infield pits uncrowded.

Probably the best main was in nonwing with a two car battle for the win ending with Alex Schriever getting the win. IMCA 305 sprints had Colin Smith posting the victory while the 360s run two mains to add to the evening. Scott Winters won the first one while only nine cars started the second main, which was won by Casey Heser.

Big, fast, and beautiful describes the Jackson Motorplex and spending an evening at such a nice facility adds to the experience. The idea of staying for Saturday and IMCA racing was considered, but heading westward for a Saturday night venue was more logical.