Mod Tour can be difficult, tiring for racersThe Dakota Classic Modified Tour is unforgiving. That’s the sentiment shared by two of the local IMCA Modified drivers who are competing in the 22nd annual six-stop racing tour around western North Dakota and Saskatchewan.
By: Dustin Monke, The Dickinson Press
The Dakota Classic Modified Tour is unforgiving.
That’s the sentiment shared by two of the local IMCA Modified drivers who are competing in the 22nd annual six-stop racing tour around western North Dakota and Saskatchewan.
Eric Paul, the two-time defending IMCA Modified season champion at the Southwest Speedway, knows just how tough the Tour can be — and he has dark circles around his eyes to prove it.
The opening night of the Tour, at Mandan’s Dacotah Speedway on Sunday, lasted until 1:30 a.m. Monday because of rain delays.
The late finish, combined with car issues that had to be fixed before Paul and his two-person crew departed Mandan led to a 5:30 a.m. bedtime in Minot and a 10 a.m. wake-up call.
He made it to Estevan, Saskatchewan, on Monday but missed the feature. He raced again Tuesday night at Williston’s Basin Speedway.
“We just do what we can. It’s fun,” Paul said. “We just like going on it because it’s a good time. If we don’t make it, it’s still fun. If we do make it, it’s that much better.”
The Tour makes a two-night stop at the Southwest Speedway, located about 10 miles south of Dickinson, today and Thursday.
Races are scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. each night with an estimated 80 Modifieds competing in one class and 25 IMCA Stock Cars and Wissota Street Stocks racing in another.
Dickinson Modified racer Jeff Decker missed both Estevan and Williston after wrecking his car when he slid off the track at Mandan.
“It was an error on my part,” said Decker, who intended to race all six nights of the Tour. “I got off the edge of the corner and hit that wet grass. It was like an ice skating rink.”
Decker, who has raced on the Tour for several years, said the tough competition is what makes the Tour entertaining and difficult at the same time.
The Tour typically draws racers from across North Dakota and as far away as Colorado and Iowa.
“It’s real tough,” Decker said. “These guys who come up here, they don’t come here to take last, that’s for sure. They come up here to do well. That’s everybody’s intention. It’s tough racing.”
Wissota Street Stocks can race against IMCA Stocks tonight
On the surface, they appear to be nearly identical types of race cars.
Under the hood, however, IMCA Stock Cars and Wissota Street Stocks are extremely dissimilar.
Different engines, carburetors, suspensions, a hefty gap between horsepower limitations and a variety of subtle nuances are among the differences between two types of Stock cars.
“They’re pretty much a Modified in a Street car,” said Dickinson native Travis Ulmer.
Nonetheless, that didn’t stop Ulmer from testing his Street Stock against the IMCA versions on Sunday at Mandan.
“I thought it was pretty equal. They have more power when it gets tacky out,” Ulmer said. “But at feature time, it wasn’t too bad. They weren’t running away from the show. We’re definitely competitive.”
Wissota Street Stocks are required to switch to IMCA Stock Car tires in order to race during the Tour, drivers must purchase a full IMCA Stock Car license and Wissota cars must follow Wissota rules.
Ulmer said he had been waiting years to have the opportunity to race against the IMCA Stock Cars. He finished 12th in the feature the first night and didn’t race in either Esteven, Saskatchewan, on Monday or Williston on Tuesday because of work commitments.
He will be in Dickinson tonight and Thursday though and said he’s anxious to get back on his home track and once again test his ride against the IMCA Stocks.
“If a guy can get up front, I think a person would have a good shot at winning,” Ulmer said. “They’re tough.”