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Chris Murphy, Published September 11 2013

Oak Grove grad strikes it big twice on track this season

Fargo - Casey Arneson, 19, stood outside his dad’s garage at Dell Arneson Inc. on Tuesday in Fargo and talked about having roughly $100 to his name before the auto racing season started.

The Fargo Oak Grove High School graduate may have found a way to pay the bills.

Arneson won two

B-modified races for $10,000 each this season, with his latest coming Saturday at Mississippi Thunder Speedway in Fountain City, Wis. At the end of Saturday’s race, he stuck his left leg out the window and shook it. He has no idea why.

“I have no idea what was going on when I won,” Arneson said. “I was just so happy. I never thought I could win $20,000 with a race car. Usually I’m racing for $300, so it’s pretty unbelievable. I’ve never seen anything like this before, and I never thought I’d see it for racing. Thought I’d see it working.”

Although the money will all go to his No. 2 B-mod, it beats the alternative. Arneson’s first racing memory is racing with all three of his older brothers at Norman County Raceway in Ada, Minn.

“They all lapped me,” Arneson said. “It was fun to be out there with all of them. I never imagined that this would happen.”

Austin Arneson, Casey’s

21-year-old brother who races with the A-mods, was more than happy to explain where Casey’s success came from.

“I work on his cars,” Ausin said, while Casey yelled to not let him fool anyone. “All he does is drive them.”

Austin won the Fergus Falls (Minn.) King of the Dirt this season, a year after Casey won it. Austin has “Gone” painted on the back of his car to let cars behind him know where he’s going. Casey has “kinda Gone” painted on the back of his.

Austin would be more than happy to change that after this week’s season finale at the Wissota 100 in Huron, S.D.

“Whenever someone is out in front, they are gone on the race track, so I had the gone on my car and people at the track always poke fun,” Austin said. “Casey has been getting better and better, but he isn’t fully gone yet, so that’s why it’s kinda gone. We’ll move him to gone this weekend. Everyone puts a saying on the back, and ours is just ‘gone.’ ”

Casey’s grandmother apparently thought he was gone a long time ago.

“My mom used to say he could back up faster than some people drove forward,” Casey’s dad, Dell, said. “He used to drive around in a golf cart when he was a kid down by the lakes, and he always flew. He didn’t really get into racing until car racing just three years ago. It’s incredible how quickly he’s learned.”

Dell has some experience to back it up, having been a racer himself.

“I saw the first race at the West Fargo speedway and the last race at the West Fargo speedway and a lot in between,” Dell said. “I’ve seen a lot of talent come out of the Midwest and all over the country – the Schatzs, the Don Macks, the Rick Auklands, the Mitch Johnsons. I think Casey and his brother Austin both have that type of talent.”

He isn’t the only one who thinks that. Mike Bruns, who has been racing for 42 years, including races against Dell, thinks Casey is the real deal.

“He’s going to go somewhere,” said Bruns, who is an assistant crew chief for the Arnesons. “I’ve been racing for 42 years and I’ve won big races, but nothing like that. He’s up against the best in the business. If all things go right, he’s going to be one of our next NASCAR stars.”

“The $20,000 man” nickname was being thrown around the garage Tuesday. Casey is still trying to wrap his head around that nickname. He couldn’t contemplate NASCAR.

“It would be awesome to get a chance to do it, but not many people, especially from Fargo, get many chances to go to NASCAR or somewhere big,” Casey said. “You got to be good, and you got be able to drive the wheels off everything.”

At least if the wheels fall off, Casey can pay for them.

“Luckily, I have a brother winning $10,000 races,” Austin said as he was siping the tires on his A-mod. “These things are $140 each.”

Readers can reach Forum reporter Chris Murphy at (701) 241-5548