At age 14, Brodee Eckerdt becomes one of the youngest drivers to win a feature race at Red River Valley Speedway

Brodee Eckerdt celebrates with his family after winning the IMCA hobby stock feature last Friday at the Red River Valley Speedway in West Fargo. Photo/Mike Spieker

At age 14, Brodee Eckerdt may have figured this race season would be all about learning.

That’s mostly true.

With a racing background, however, he may have figured he’d have a shot at winning as well. That’s definitely true.

Eckerdt’s learning curve accelerated rapidly last Friday at the Red River Valley Speedway in West Fargo where the Grand Forks Red River freshman won the IMCA Hobby stock feature before a large turnout of fans hungry to watch the first race of the season amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

It’s believed that Eckerdt may be the youngest feature winner in RRVS history. And that’s quite an accomplishment considering this is the 50th season of racing at the track.


“I couldn’t believe it,” said Eckerdt, the son of long-time driver Bob Eckerdt. “It was like, ‘How did I do that?’ ”

He was spun out on the first lap of the feature, but that didn’t shake his confidence.

“A car rammed me inside and spun me out,” said Brodee. “I got my spot back.”

He rebounded from the spin and raced his way to the checkered flag.

It was a good week for the 14-year-old, who placed fourth in his hobby stock at the Norman County Raceway in Ada, Minn., a night earlier. Plans for now will have him race at both tracks this season.

His strong start to the season also put him in a position to think about an IMCA national junior all division points title for driver aged 14 to 18. “We have a long way to go, about 18 nights to keep but we'll see how the next month or so goes and make a plan from there,” said Bob, who won 97 features during his career.

In an ironic twist, Bob’s last feature win came at the track where Brodee captured his first career victory.

Brodee has had success in go-karts, winning more than 20 features and in slingshots, where he has claimed close to 20 wins.


The natural move up the racing ladder now has him racing in a division where drivers -- in a number of cases -- may be twice his age.

“There have been some really good runners in that division for a long time and they win a lot,” said Bob. “I told Brodee when we started this deal that he should watch the experienced drivers, pay attention to them and learn from them.”

With career win No. 1 out of the way, is there even more pressure to keep winning?

“No, not really,” said Brodee. “But winning that first one is cool, really cool.”

The win perhaps means more to Bob, who was one of the top Midwest modified drivers in the area during his long career.

Bob now has a new favorite career win. And it wasn’t one with him driving his familiar B1 race car.

“That win last Friday night was the best of them all for dad,” said Bob.


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
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