AUTO RACING: 7th annual John Seitz Memorial Late Model Invitational is ready to go at River Cities Speedway
If there is a time for a late model driver to go on a hot streak, this is the time to do it.
Wisconsin driver Brady Smith is well aware of that and the money that's up for grabs in region as the race season begins to wind down.
In late 2012, Smith went on a hot streak, highlighted by his win at the John Seitz Memorial Late Model Invitational at River Cities Speedway. The Solon Springs, Wis., driver won $9,200 by capturing the 92-lap race -- an event that has become one of the top late model races each season in the Upper Midwest.
The seventh annual Seitz Memorial opens Friday at RCS and the three-day event -- capped by Saturday's $9,200 feature -- should attract approximately 50 drivers from around the region.
A week before last season's Seitz Memorial, Smith took home $3,500 by winning a feature in Hibbing, Minn. A week after the 2012 Seitz, Smith won $5,000 in New Richmond Wis., taking the Legendary 100. In two weeks of September racing last season, Smith won approximately $18,000 at three tracks.
And Smith will come in on a bit of a roll again this season, after he again won at Hibbing last week.
"He seems to excel at the end of the year," said RCS late model season points champion Joey Pederson. "He seems to be on a similar path. He'll likely be one of the drivers who will be there at the end."
Smith also will bid to become the first repeat winner of the Seitz.
Only one RCS driver has won the Seitz, that being Brad Seng in 2011.
The event attracts most of the top drivers from the region, making the 92-lap race one of the more difficult races to win.
"Those who make the feature are standouts in the region," Pederson said. "They're expected to be there at the end. They come here not planning to finish in the back. They have the ability and the equipment.
"With that being said, a lot of things can happen in 92 laps."
Past winners of the Seitz race include Smith, Seng, Mitch Johnson, Pat Doar, Cody Skytland, Justin Fegers.
In last year's race, Smith took the lead from Doar on an early restart and was in control the rest of the way. He posted the fastest lap time, turning in a time of 12.183 seconds (88.648 mph) on Lap 11.
Smith has run well at RCS when he shows up. He also won a World of Outlaws Late Model Series race at the quarter-mile track in 2008.
Tonight, the Seitz Memorial kicks off with the finale of the NLRA season. Dustin Strand holds a narrow lead over Seng heading into the final night of the season.
The event may also attract some of region's top drivers, who will use the race as a tune-up for the Seitz.
Sprints and lightning sprints will also compete tonight.
On Friday night, the Seitz Memorial event officially begins with late model heat races. The night will be capped by a 20-lap dash, a race that will set the first few rows of Saturday night's A-Main.
Modifieds, Midwest modifieds and streets also will run complete shows Friday.
On Saturday, B-mains for the late models will be held, leading up to the 92-lap A-Main. Streets and Midwest mods also will race. And sprints will race once Saturday night, a 25-lap feature inverted from tonight's finish.
Nelson reports on sports. Call him at (701) 780-1268; (800) 477-6572, ext. 1268; or send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.