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Finally, the green flag will drop at River Cities Speedway

Austin Pierce will be shooting for his eighth-straight feature win in the sprints

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GRAND FORKS —

071319 S GFH RACING AustinPierce01.jpg
Grand Forks NOSA sprints driver Austin Pierce screams past a grandstand at River Cities Speedway during Friday's feature race. Pierce nabbed first place in the race at the Bullring. Nick Nelson / Grand Forks Herald

After a miserable spring, Friday’s weather forecast for Grand Forks looks good.

And that’s great news for River Cities Speedway, where the Bullring’s season opener looks to be a go.

RCS lost the first three weeks of the season due to the cold, wet, spring that has hindered all area race tracks.

But everything is set to go Friday night with temperatures approaching 80 degrees and a small chance for rains.

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The highlight for the RCS season opener centers on the sprints.

Austin Pierce will be out to win his eighth-straight feature win dating back to last July

If he captures No. 8, he’ll tie Mark Dobmeier – the winningest driver in RCS history – for the most wins in a row at RCS.

Pierce, who enters the season with 45 career wins, is ready to shoot for the record.

“Everything ran well at the test-and-tune,” said Pierce. “The car felt good. We have the same car and everything is fresh.”

Only a few drivers have raced this season. Dobmeier, Brendan Mullen and Jade Hastings have raced at events in Knoxville, Iowa, and Sioux Falls, S.D. But the bulk of the RCS regulars will be competing for the first time Friday night.

A big concern this season for all drivers will be the rising cost of fuel. It likely will affect the decisions race teams will make regarding how much traveling they’ll do.

Other expenses are up as well. And availability of parts, tires, etc., also is a concern for drivers in all four of the RCS classes.

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For instance, Pierce said a right rear tire for a sprint car likely will cost $320 this season, compared to roughly $220 last season. The cost of a front tire also is up roughly $70 from last season as well.

The availability of tires also is concerning since race teams likely will be able to buy only one rear tire a week since supplies are limited in the region.

Some race teams go through at least one right rear per week.

Car counts in the four regular RCS classes should be stable to start the season. The question is how many race teams will race regularly in light of rising fuel prices, along with tire availability.

After Friday night’s opener, RCS quickly will turn its attention to the following week. The World of Outlaws will make its first of two scheduled stops at RCS this season on June 3rd.

The Outlaws traditionally have attracted the largest crowds of the season, with attendance ranging between 4,000 and 6,000 fans who watch the country’s top sprint car drivers compete on the high-banked quarter-mile track. The Outlaws began competing at RCS in 2007.

This season, attendance at RCS should improve now that the U.S.-Canadian border has reopened. The pandemic didn’t help RCS attendance the past two seasons as the border was closed. The track has had a strong Canadian following for a number of years.

Related Topics: AUTO RACING
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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