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Mark Dobmeier will be in the TV booth this weekend, but his return to the track is set on the calendar

Midco Sports Network is set to broadcast this weekend's River Cities Speedway races on Friday and Sunday.

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NOSA sprint car driver Mark Dobmeier holds the checkered flag after winning Friday's feature race at the Bullring. Nick Nelson / Grand Forks Herald

This week, Mark Dobmeier filled out a job application for the first time in his life.

The sprint car driver sent it in to Midco Sports Network, which was looking to fill its broadcasting teams for this weekend's Greater Grand Forks Fair races at River Cities Speedway.

"I've been working since I was 14," said Dobmeier, the owner of Forx Radiator. "But I think this was the first time I've ever filled out an application."

It went well. Dobmeier landed the job as an analyst and will sit next to Midco's Jody Norstedt in the River Cities Speedway press box at 7 p.m. Friday.

That gig won't last for long, though. Soon, the 165-time NOSA winner will be back in his preferred spot at River Cities Speedway -- behind the steering wheel.

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After spending the last 12 months recovering from a terrifying racing accident, Dobmeier has been cleared to return July 8-9 for the Wayne Anderson Cup in Grand Forks. He plans to race both nights and resume a regular schedule the rest of the summer.

"It's been an excellent recovery," Dobmeier said. "I've steadily been getting better as the recovery has gone on."

The accident happened July 3, while racing at Cedar Lake Speedway near New Richmond, Wis. Dobmeier's car tumbled after contact with World of Outlaws regular Shane Stewart. The car landed upright and hard. Dobmeier suffered a burst fracture of his L4 vertebra and a fracture of his L3. Dobmeier had surgery the following day in Regions Hospital in St. Paul and spent a week there.

Dobmeier had a CT scan a week before this spring's season opener at River Cities Speedway to see if he could get back in the car for it. Doctors told Dobmeier the results were good, but they weren't ready to clear him to race again yet.

Now, they've set the one-year anniversary of his surgery, July 4, as his clearance date.

That won't be the first time Dobmeier has driven a sprint since the accident, though. He has done some hot laps this summer with his two-seat sprint car.

"We're going to get our feet wet with that two-day show," Dobmeier said of the Wayne Anderson Cup. "I feel very comfortable getting in the car. I don't foresee any problems."

Dobmeier and his crew have made some adjustments to his car because of his injury.

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They changed the way the seat mounts to get it lower, allowing for more impact foam -- and thicker foam -- to help with any potential hard crashes.

"I feel like I'll be back at the same risk as I was before the wreck," Dobmeier said.

During his year off, Dobmeier didn't stray too far from the race track.

"I've been to quite a few shows in Grand Forks here," Dobmeier said. "I've been keeping my eye on it. It's a different perspective. My whole life, once I got going (racing), that's all I've really done. I've never really sat back at races. This last year has been bittersweet. I've probably learned a few things looking at things from a different perspective and working with a few different guys like Dominic Scelzi, Sammy Swindell and Tim Kaeding. . . sitting back and being more of a crew guy, watching different car setups, different ways guys drive. . . it might be good for me."

But first, Dobmeier will have his night in the broadcasting booth, calling sprints, streets and Midwest Modifieds on Friday night. Norstedt and Chris Shirek will call Sunday's late models, lightning sprints and Midwest Modifieds.

"It will be fun," Dobmeier said. "I've done a lot of interviews before, but as far as doing broadcasting, I've never done anything like that. I'll assist where I can. I'll be able to give an interpretation of what I'm seeing, and try to give an understanding to some people. We'll see how it goes.

"They might have to keep that beep button ready for me, though."

This weekend's RCS races

When: 7 p.m. Friday, 6 p.m. Sunday.

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Where: River Cities Speedway.

Tickets: $7 fair tickets.

Friday's classes: Sprints, streets and Midwest Modifieds special.

Sunday's classes: Late models, lightning sprints and Midwest Modifieds special.

Of note: The races are part of the Greater Grand Forks Fair and will be televised by Midco Sports Network. Jody Norstedt will handle play-by-play duties. Mark Dobmeier will be the analyst Friday. Chris Shirek will be the analyst Sunday.

Related Topics: MOTORSPORTS
Schlossman has covered college hockey for the Grand Forks Herald since 2005. He has been recognized by the Associated Press Sports Editors as the top beat writer for the Herald's circulation division four times and the North Dakota sportswriter of the year once. He resides in Grand Forks. Reach him at bschlossman@gfherald.com.
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