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AUTO RACING: Preparing for another big show

With River Cities Speedway's fourth major night of racing in the rear-view mirror, the track looks ahead to the season's final big show -- the fifth annual John Seitz Memorial Late Model Invitational.

With River Cities Speedway's fourth major night of racing in the rear-view mirror, the track looks ahead to the season's final big show -- the fifth annual John Seitz Memorial Late Model Invitational.

The Seitz invitational is scheduled for Sept. 9-10 at RCS, where the winner of the 92-lap feature will take home $9,200.

The event is becoming one of the top late model races in the Upper Midwest.

Approximately 50 late model drivers from North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota and Wisconsin are expected to compete in a race dedicated to the memory of the late John Seitz, who was one of the top racers in the Upper Midwest.

There will be a different twist to this year's Seitz race.


Instead of the traditional Thursday night practice before the event, Seitz organizers have put together a night of racing for the late models.

From 7 to 9 p.m. on Sept. 8, there will be a late-model only racing program. The feature winner will pocket $1,100. The race will also serve as the 2011 NLRA Championship and will be the final points night for the organization.

After the races, the Johnny Holm Band will play from 9 p.m. to midnight at the track. Racing for the Seitz begins on Sept. 9, with heat races and the dash, which will set the lineup for the Sept. 10 feature.

Past winners of the Seitz invitational include Mitch Johnson, Justin Fegers, Pat Doar and Cody Skytland, who staged a dramatic win at RCS last season.

Skytland, who started his racing career in Edmore, N.D., passed Wisconsin driver Steve Laursen with two laps to go to capture the feature.

"These events have been so good the last couple of years," said Chris Stepan, who helps promote the Seitz race. "How do you top them?"

The Seitz race is expected to be another high-end show at RCS. So far this season, RCS has hosted three World of Outlaw sprint cars shows and one WoO Late Model Series event. The features in all four events went down to the wire. In the July WoO Late Model Series feature, Tim McCreadie nipped Jimmy Mars by 0.649 seconds for the win. At last week's WoO sprint feature, Steve Kinser edged Donny Schatz by 0.138 seconds.

A regular night of racing is on tap for tonight. Vintage cars will also race tonight, which is also Fan Appreciation Night at the track.


Helping Minot

At last week's World of Outlaws show at RCS, WoO and local drivers took up a collection for Minot.

Fans donated more than $4,200 for Minot to help the city recover from this summer's devastating flood. Rydell GM Auto Center of Grand Forks matched the amount raised at RCS.

The Outlaws were scheduled to race in Minot last week, but the event was moved to RCS because of the flood.

WoO records

Last week's World of Outlaws feature at RCS created a buzz across the country. Steve Kinser passed Donny Schatz for the lead on the last lap to win the 40-lap feature.

There were nine lead changes in the feature, which is believed to be a WoO record.

If true, that would be two records the Outlaws have set at RCS since they started racing in Grand Forks in 2007.


In August of 2009, Jason Meyer's qualifying time of 9.269 seconds (116.517 mph) set a RCS track record. That time is believed to the fastest ever recorded by the Outlaws.

In a recent internet article by racing writer Lew Boyd, Meyers was interviewed about setting the RCS speed record in 2009.

"It was lightning quick," Meyers recalled. "The air was perfect, the track, those banks. So fast it was dizzying. The car just never lost speed. I remember looking up at that scoreboard at the 9.2. Wow. Believe me, I felt every inch of it."

Because of the fast track conditions, the WoO feature in 2009 was cut from 40 laps 30 for safety reasons. Meyers, however, crashed in the feature, a wreck that perhaps cost him the 2009 WoO title.

Tonight's races

When: 7:30, hot laps 6:30.

Where: River Cities Speedway.

Tickets: Adults $18 ($15 in advance); children (7-12) $5; 6-and-under free.

Classes: Streets, Midwest modifieds, late models, sprints.

Of note: Vintage cars will race tonight.

Nelson reports on sports. Reach him at (701) 780-1268; (800) 477-6572, ext. 268; or send e-mail to wnelson@gfherald.com .

Related Topics: MOTORSPORTS
Wayne Nelson is the sports editor at the Herald.

He has been with the Grand Forks Herald since 1995, serving as the UND football and basketball beat writer as well as serving as the sports editor.

He is a UND graduate and has been writing sports since the late 1970s.

Follow him on Twitter @waynenelsongf. You can reach him at (701) 780-1268 or wnelson@gfherald.com.
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