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Published May 21 2010

New-look Red River Valley Speedway gets good reviews

There’s less of the Red River Valley Speedway to love, but the West Fargo track might be more popular than ever.

Area drivers and fans got to see the first laps at the revamped Red River Valley Speedway since Danny Schatz took over running the track.

The new-look track in West Fargo looked ready to roll with the May 26 opener less than a week away, and the shortened three-eighths mile oval got rave reviews.

“I love it,” said West Fargo Super Stocks driver Dave Shipley. “There are

lots of grooves and it looks like it’s going to be really good.”

And things got started early. Ty Hanten’s Super Stock hit the track 10 minutes before the scheduled 7:30 p.m. start.

“The way this place looked at 5 o’clock, I didn’t think we were going to get hot laps in,” Schatz said. “There are a lot of things we can do yet, but we’ve got stuff we can get by with.

“We’re happy to have enough done to be where we are.”

The test and tune wasn’t just for the cars.

The track ran past sundown so Schatz could get a look at the new configuration of lights, the bar and concessions were both open, and the sound system was loud and clear for the whole session.

“The track was pretty racy, and that’s good for us, but you have to look at all the changes in the facility,” said Rich Pavlicek, a Midwest Modifieds driver from Casselton, N.D. “Everything is top notch here now.”

Schatz was even getting some insight from his son, Donny. That’s no small help, considering the younger Schatz is the four-time defending World of Outlaws Sprint car champ, and is scheduled to be racing tonight in Attica, Ohio.

Schatz said there was still work to do, but the early returns were positive.

“I think this could become the premiere facility in all of WISSOTA,” Shipley said. “With all the money he’s put into it, and his dedication to it, I think it’s going to be great.

“I’m excited about it.”

Another test and tune is scheduled for Saturday from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Kerry Collins at (701) 241-5548