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Kerry Collins, Published November 20 2009

Collins: Schatz making changes at RRVS

Danny Schatz has gotten control of the Red River Valley Speedway for the next three years, and one big question still hangs out there.

Did Schatz save the RRVS from being closed down? Or did he just fall on the sword the Red River Valley Fair board has been trying to dodge the last few years?

Give Schatz credit, since he’s already taking steps to make sure this deal doesn’t bleed him dry.

He’s already said he’s moving the races to Wednesday, which is a great idea.

There won’t be the competition of racing on the same night as a number of other tracks in the area – mainly Grand Forks, N.D., and Sauk Centre, Minn.

Also, top classes like the Late Models and Modifieds will see an increase in cars.

Besides, if the track wasn’t making money for the fair board running on Fridays, why not switch it around?

The bulk of the racing community won’t care whether there are races on Wednesday or Friday, as long as they have a night to run at the half-mile track.

But Schatz has invested his own money into the track now, and he needs more than drivers to get a return on that investment.

Will the fans come on Wednesday? Probably. Race fans are die-hards. The key for Schatz will be putting together a consistent show while keeping the fans and the car counts up.

That’s easier said than done, if the fair board’s bottom line from the last few years is any indication. However, switching days is a good place to start.

There are risks to moving it to Wednesday, though, as some racers prefer to just race on weekends.

But if drivers want to continue racing at RRVS, Wednesdays are better than the alternative without Schatz: Not racing there on any night.

Even though Schatz is doing some things to try and make it more successful, he’s still taking a risk.

At the end an interview on Tuesday night, I congratulated Schatz on his proposal being accepted.

“I don’t know if congratulations or sympathy is in order,” he said with a laugh.

But maybe he wasn’t joking at all.

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Kerry Collins at (701) 241-5548