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Published May 27 2010

New-look Red River Valley Speedway fuels fan interest

Don’t think people were excited to see the changes made to the Red River Valley Speedway?

One man came all the way from the heart of NASCAR country to see the new look of the West Fargo track.

Aaron Zentgraf made the 1,300 mile trip up to West Fargo from Mooresville, N.C. – which is also known as Race City, USA – on vacation.

One of the reasons he came back was to check out RRVS.

“I have a strong passion for this race track, and I couldn’t wait to see it,” Zentgraf said. “This might be the best thing that has ever happened at this race track.”

There was a party atmosphere right from when fans walked through the gate.

The Front Fenders greeted fans as they entered the complex with a pre-race concert. There were vendors selling everything from pretzels to massages to models of race cars.

Fans were buzzing about the track before the show, including some that were making a return after a hiatus, mainly because of the move to shorten the track from a half mile to a three-eighths mile.

“My husband didn’t race here, because he didn’t really like the track,” said Shannon Bintz, wife of Jamestown, N.D., driver Scott Bintz. “And we’ve been looking forward to it this year, too.”

Zentgraf originally hails from Breckenridge, Minn., but now works for Safety Solutions – which makes safety gear for auto racers.

Like many fans of the RRVS, he was worried that the West Fargo track’s days were over.

“I was here at the end of last year because I thought it might be the last time I’d watch a race here – I really did,” Zentgraf said. “Just the atmosphere around here with the people shows you that everybody is excited.”

The pits were packed with an opening night car count of 120.

Curiosity about the changes brought the bulk of the fans to the track much earlier than the scheduled 7:30 p.m. start.

“We were surprised to see how many cars there were in the pits, but we were also surprised to see how many cars were out there,” Shannon Bintz said, pointing to the spectators’ parking lot. “We were here last year to watch, and to see how they got all of this done is impressive.”

Oh, and there was racing, too.

The huge car count was reason for excitement, but about the only drawback from the opener was the show ran longer than the management would’ve hoped.

Heats got started a little late, around 8 p.m., but the first feature didn’t get green flagged until around 10:15 p.m.

Jason Babcock of Horace, N.D., won the first feature at the new track, taking the checkered flag in the Street Stocks.

Street Stocks

Heat one: 1, Jim Geringer, Harwood, N.D. 2, Trent Grager, Sykeston, N.D. 3, Kelly Hagel, Carrington, N.D.

Heat two: 1, Jason Babcock, Horace, N.D. 2, Billy Christ, Jamestown, N.D. 3, Chris Ritter, Barnesville, Minn.

Feature: 1, Babcock. 2, Ritter. 3, Luke Nelson, Valley City, N.D. 4, Rusty Kollman, Carrington, N.D. 5, Grager.

Midwest Modifieds

Heat one: 1, Lance Schill, Langdon, N.D. 2, Travis Saurer, Elizabeth, Minn. 3, Charlie Jensen, Glyndon, Minn.

Heat two: 1, Cale Arneson, Fargo. 2, Scott Bintz, Jamestown, N.D. 3, Ryan Mikkelson, Jamestown, N.D.

Heat three: 1, Austin Arneson, Fargo. 2, Zach Haastad, Hatton, N.D. 3, Levi Arneson, Fargo.

B-main: 1, Bryce Borgen, Perley, Minn. 2, Cole Haugland, Lakota, N.D. 3, Landon Becker, Jamestown, N.D.

Feature: 1, Mikkelson. 2, Saurer. 3, A. Arneson. 4, Bintz. 5, Rich Pavlicek, Casselton, N.D.

Super Stocks

Heat one: 1, Dave Shipley, West Fargo. 2, Bill Wadeson, Alice, N.D. 3, Scott Jacobson, Fargo.

Heat two: 1, Todd Carter, Lisbon, N.D. 2, Brian Bernotas, West Fargo. 3, Cory Tammen, Clara City, Minn.

Heat three: 1, Jeff Hapala, Fargo. 2, Jeff Flaten, Hancock, Minn. 3, Jamie Schulz, Harwood, N.D.

Feature: 1, Bernotas. 2, Tammen. 3, Shipley. 4, Hapala. 5, Ty Hanten, West Fargo.


Heat one: 1, Jason Grimes, Jamestown, N.D. 2, Michael Greseth, Harwood, N.D. 3, Dano Ostrander, Elk River, Minn.,

Heat two: 1, Bryce Bjerke, Garnder, N.D. 2, Jerry Lamb, Lisbon, N.D. 3, Alex Engelstad, Beltrami, Minn.

Heat three: 1, Blake Jegtvig, Hawley, Minn. 2, Randy Klein, Fargo. 3, John Corell, Jamestown, N.D.

B-main: 1, Corey Seckerson, Jamestown, N.D. 2, Bob Sagen, Arthur, N.D. 3, Travis Saurer, Elizabeth, Minn.

Feature: Results not available at press time.

Late Models

Heat one: 1, Jeremy Keller, Bismarck, N.D. 2, Brad Seng, Grand Forks, N.D. 3, Shawn Kirwin, Morris, Minn.

Heat two: 1, Ricky Weiss, Winnipeg, Man. 2, Mike Balcaen, Winnipeg, Man. 3, Mike Johnson, Moorhead.

Feature: Results not available at press time.

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