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Glenn Pursley, Published July 08 2013

Cousins develop an on-track friendly rivalry

Glyndon, Minn.

Racing runs deep at Buffalo River Race Park, and so do family ties.

Jesse Skalicky and his cousin Kaitlyn Skalicky are competitors on the race track, but are more importantly family and friends in the pits.

“I definitely like all the speed and competition of racing,” Kaitlyn said. “But it’s fun to be around all the people. We’re a family.”

Both Kaitlyn and Jesse race in the Legends class at the BRRP and other tracks around the area.

A Legends car is a five-eighths scale version of a modified NASCAR car with a 1930’s body style and a 1250cc sealed motorcycle engine.

“It’s a lot of fun,” said Jesse, a North Dakota State College of Science graduate. “We bounce ideas off each other, go back and forth when we get in the pits, and see if we can make each other faster.”

The cousins started out like many ambitious, young drivers do, behind the wheel of a

go-kart.

After six years of kart racing for Jesse, he was hooked and decided to take the next step into Pure Stocks before trying his luck in a Legends car.

As an established Pure Stocks driver, Jesse has won one points title apiece in Glyndon, Ada, Minn., and West Fargo and also won the coveted Corn Cob Nationals title last year at BRRP.

This year behind the wheel of his black and orange 1937 Ford Sedan with D1RT slapped across the side, Jesse is the Legends class points leader with 384. He won the Legends race Sunday at BRRP.

“It’s pretty cool to know it’s there,” Jesse said. “But I always just try to focus on the race week to week and however the points settle at the end of year that’s how they are.”

Growing up watching her father, Nick Skalicky, race out at the Red River Valley Speedway, Kaitlyn has always been interested in the sport. And after witnessing the success of her cousin, she knew it was something she wanted to pursue.

“I raced go-karts for a long time, but I got sick of that,” Kaitlyn said. “I wanted something bigger, and Jesse was interested in this and I was, too, so we both got into it.”

Making her Legends debut this year, Kaitlyn has accumulated 279 points. That’s 105 points shy of her cousin, and enough for eighth place.

Although she has yet to beat Jesse in a race this year, it hasn’t stopped her from coming back week after week.

“Oh boy,” Kaitlyn said at the idea of beating her cousin. “It would be really cool to do that, but it’s not a big deal to me. He’s pretty good.”

Nick is well aware of the risks and safety issue his daughter faces out on the track, having raced for six years. But instead of trying to keep Kaitlyn from entering the Legends scene, Nick has accepted it and does everything he can to lend a hand.

“I support her,” Nick said. “She picked it up and understood it from watching the other kids. I’ve taken the approach that she’s going to do what she wants to do, and I just try to help with what I’ve learned over the years.”


Forum reporter Glenn Pursley can be reached at (701) 241-5549