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AUTO RACING: It’s time to start the buses

A few years ago, River Cities Speedway officials decided to have a few drivers race school buses. They didn't know how fans would receive the novelty. The fans, however, like it. And they still like it. School bus racing again will be a part of F...

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A few years ago, River Cities Speedway officials decided to have a few drivers race school buses.

They didn’t know how fans would receive the novelty.

The fans, however, like it. And they still like it.

School bus racing again will be a part of Friday’s racing at RCS. In the past few years, The Bullring has had some of its biggest regular-season crowds on school bus night.

The buses are painted and gutted, with safety equipment installed for the drivers. Track officials say there could be 12 buses ready to race Friday. There likely will be two heats along with a feature.

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Some of the drivers expected to race buses Friday include Jody Pederson, Zach Naastad and Nick Omdahl, a sprint driver who has raced buses the past two seasons.

It’s quite a difference between racing a sprint car and bus. Omdahl’s sprint car can hit a speed of roughly 100 mph on the RCS straight-away while the bus he’ll drive Friday will probably have a top speed of 50 mph.

“I had a smile on my face the whole time I was driving it,” said Omdahl of last season’s bus races. “It’s fun bumping into people. I don’t get to do that in my sprint car.”

With 12 bulky buses on the track, there is bound to be some bumping going on.

The bus races have a special connection to the young race fans as well.

“It’s the kids who want to bring their parents to the races,” said Omdahl.

Omdahl is having a solid season running his sprint car.

Last Saturday at a NOSA show at the Devils Lake Speedway, Omdahl ran second to winner Casey Mack.

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The East Grand Forks driver is ninth in season points this season.

Wade Nygaard and Austin Pierce are tied for the RCS season points lead heading into Friday’s racing.

All four classes -- sprints, Midwest modifieds, streets and late models -- will race Friday.

The local late models will have a busy weekend as the NLRA has its first tour event of the season at the Jamestown Speedway on Saturday night.

In RCS points, Brad Seng has the lead after four nights of competition. Shane Edginton is seven points behind Seng while Dustin Strand, Mike Balcaen and Mike Mooney round out the top five.

Related Topics: LOCAL SPORTS
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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