Jamestown Speedway in Jamestown, North Dakotra rejoined the Tour several years ago as the opening night track for the series. This year it will have opening night once again as Jamestown made the decision over the winter to switch to IMCA sanctioning. When this long standing event started 28 years ago, Jamestown was one of the three charter tracks to join the Tour. Jamestown itself is a city of 15,000 residents surrounded by an economy dominated by agriculture. The track is located on the Stutsman County Fairgrounds and has always been a driver and fan favorite as its ¼ mile high banked configuration produces multi groove action. The grandstand holds 3,000 fans and the pit area can service over 300 cars. IMCA.TV will provide flag-to-flag coverage.
TECHNICAL INFO: Gear selection for Jamestown will be a question for this first year with the Hoosier tire. The Wissota Modifieds run a quick change rear end with a taller tire so their info may be incorrect. Shawn Strand ran his IMCA car in Jamestown last spring for a test session and he said “a 6.00 gear will be good for most racers.” Veteran driver Marlyn Seidler agreed with Strand’s assessment, but he said “6.00 may be a bit short for some,” so it may be good to bring along a set of deeper gears.
Nodak Speedway is in Minot, ND (170 or so miles Northwest from Jamestown). In a very short time Minot has rebuilt itself after the devastating flood of 2011. Rebuilt and ready to go, Minot is a bustling city of 45,000 that has grown due to nearby oil activity. The track is a 3/8 mile high banked clay oval that is run by the Nodak Race Club—the oldest club-run racing organization in the US. Minot is one of the original Tour tracks that started in 1990. The state of the art $15 million grandstand on the North Dakota State Fairgrounds seats 6,500 and the pit area has room for over 300 cars. IMCA.TV will be showing this event on worldwide TV.
TECHNICAL INFO: MINOT, ND is a big, wide, high banked 3/8 mile clay oval that is typically “farmed” whenever the track becomes dry. For you racers who have not seen this practice, it’s basically a track preparation procedure in which they open up the track with farm type drills, water and then pack in rapid order with a larger amount of equipment. This allows for better racing and less “follow the leader” next to the guardrail type events. The gear ratio most racers will pick to come off the trailer with is 5.43. However, some racers with stout engine programs might opt for a 5.67 and I’ve seen 5.29’s a time or two.
Estevan Motor Speedway is in Estevan, Saskatchewan, Canada (120 or so miles Northwest from Minot). Estevan is another city on the Tour that has a heavy concentration in the energy industry with coal and oil fields nearby. The city itself is 15,000 race hungry citizens who have always supported their club run, high banked 3/8 mile facility located just east of the city. The grandstand seats 3,000 with a unique pit grandstand just north of the grandstand for racing fans. Ever heard of a smokey or a pirogue? These Canadian food items are found in the concession stand. IMCA.TV will broadcast this event live.
TECHNICAL INFO: Estevan has shorter straights than Minot, but is also considered to be a “short” 3/8 mile track. The corners are wide, sweeping and high banked. The club run track has a wide array of equipment that usually allows the track to start out tacky and turn somewhat dry, although they have the capability to “farm” their track as well. Typically they won’t so it could get dry slick by feature time. If you select a 5.67 you will be close for gears. Some will go with a 5.83 and some racers don’t change gears from Minot to Estevan by running .43’s for both.
Williston Basin Speedway is in Williston, ND (100 or so miles Southwest from Estevan). Williston has an unknown population as it has grown since the Bakken oil play took off several years ago. Rumored to be about 25,000, its economy is one of the most robust in the country as people from all over the world are moving to get a piece of the “black gold” in the area. That also means more hotel rooms, restaurants and shopping is now available after the initial boom hit. The rebuilt track itself is a ¼ mile semi banked oval on the Upper Missouri Fairgrounds. IMCA.TV will broadcast this event live.
TECHNICAL INFO: WILLISTON, ND is basically a big circle with shorter straights and wide corners. Some will call it a short 3/8 mile, but really it’s a long 1/4 mile. The tracks looks flat but in reality it’s high banked by most standards. History has proven the track starts out wet and gets dry by feature time. The club does not have “farming” capabilities so be ready for a dry track. Most everyone uses 5.83’s and some will switch to a .67 for the feature.
Southwest Speedway is 10 miles south of town in Dickinson, ND (140 or so miles slightly Southeast from Williston). South of Williston, but still in oil country, Dickinson is just another growing community that is very close to 20,000 in population, and projected to grow much larger, with oil companies from all over the continent making their headquarters here. The track is 10 miles south of town and is a tight paper clip like high banked oval that has produced some exciting races over the years. The track has a different kind of flag stand as the races finish on the back straight, right in front of the elevated pit area. The racing surface itself is clay native to the area that amazes drivers who say it sticks like glue to their cars. Watch IMCA.TV if you can’t make it to the track.
TECHNICAL INFO: The track itself is 1/4 mile, but its longer straights and high banks have many racers picking different gears. Putting the 5.67’s in will get you close, but some will keep that same set of .83’s they had from Williston. One thing is for sure, Dickinson has a very unique surface that I have never seen go dry, so be ready for some good ‘ole fashioned heavy track racing.
Dacotah Speedway is in Mandan, ND (90 miles East from Dickinson). Once again, Dacotah Speedway will host Championship Night of the Tour like it had so many times in the past. The Mandan-Bismarck area is growing as over 90,000 residents now make the area their home. The track is one of the original Tour tracks and its legendary 3/8 mile high banked surface is a driver’s delight as they average over 115 cars on a normal racing event. An elevated grandstand seats 4,000 and there are two pit areas. The grounds are more like a park with many amenities for fans of all ages. Need a hotel room? The Bis-Man area has over 2,600 with a wide variety of restaurants and shopping. IMCA.TV does a great job at this track.
TECHNICAL INFO: MANDAN, ND is very similar to Minot in size, but Dacotah Speedway is higher banked and the entire back straight is banked as well. Most racers use a 5.43 at Mandan and it’s a great gear if the track is heavy. Some will switch to a 5.29 if it starts to go dry and typically that is what happens by the feature. At this track you’ll see two and three grooves develop with room for four if need be. The track does not farm so be ready for changing conditions that may call for a gear change.