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Green flag set to drop

Eric Paul doesn't plan on winning an IMCA Modifieds title at the Southwest Speedway this season. He's just hoping to get the hang of his new ride. After winning three Street Stocks season championships, including last season's first-ever WISSOTA ...

Eric Paul doesn't plan on winning an IMCA Modifieds title at the Southwest Speedway this season.

He's just hoping to get the hang of his new ride.

After winning three Street Stocks season championships, including last season's first-ever WISSOTA Street Stocks title, the Dickinson racer has decided to move up a class.

"I just thought, I've been racing streets for five years, I thought I'd give it a try," Paul said. "If I didn't do it now, I probably never would."

Paul gets his first crack at racing in the Modifieds class when the Southwest Speedway season begins at 6 p.m. today. The race's start is dependant on weather conditions.

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Paul isn't expecting a breakout season though, and he showed why last Sunday, when he spun out on Turn 4.

He said getting used to the car is his primary goal this season. Winning, if it happens, would only be a consolation prize.

"We didn't plan on coming out here right away and smoking everybody," said Paul, who is still driving the No. 27 car. "We just came out to have fun and learn. This year, we're just trying different stuff, trying to get the hang of the car, the feel of the car."

Modifieds are also lighter and faster than Street Stocks and stand out because of the suspension, which generally lifts the front, driver-side wheel on turns.

"There's a lot to grasp," Paul said. "All the suspension set ups, the lift. The way different feel when you're driving. I'm not in a rush, I just want to have fun."

More races could force Seidler out of points competition

Marlyn Seidler would love to make a run for his fourth consecutive Modifieds points title at the Southwest Speedway this season.

However, he doesn't know if it will be possible because after track officials increased the number of races to be held at the Speedway.

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This season, instead of taking every other weekend off, track officials plan to hold races the first three weekends of each month.

Seidler said it brings about an unfortunate conflict with his allegiance to the Nodak Speedway in Minot, which he refers to has his home track.

"If that happens, running for the points becomes impossible because you can't miss many nights," Seidler said.

Seidler, who lives on a farm near Underwood, didn't miss a race at the Dickinson track last season and defeated Mandan driver Darrell Bauer by one point to claim the Season Championship.

Baker brothers try to break into Pure Stocks

Brian and Brandon Miller, brothers from Baker, Mont., are a two of the handful of new racers attempting to break into the Pure Stocks class this season.

Brandon Miller raced at the Southwest Speedway during the Season Championship races last season, but Brian Miller is new to the class.

"I've been into drag racing, so I thought I'd try circle track," Brian Miller said.

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Unfortunately Brian Miller broke the rear axle on his car while practicing during the Speedway's Test and Tune session last Sunday.

"It's not very good luck, but we'll get 'er," he said.

The 23-year-old driver said he hopes to catch on in the Pure Stocks so he can one day move up a class or two.

"We'll see where it takes me," Brian Miller said. "Maybe up to a Modified, you never know."

Burwick prepares for double duty

Dale Burwick has taken on a hefty responsibility.

After racing his first year of IMCA Modifieds at the Southwest Speedway, Burwick was elected president of the Roughrider Racing Association when the board elected new members over the winter. The new position effectively puts Burwick in charge of the race track.

"I've got to be a glutton for punishment, doing this," Burwick said with a laugh.

But while he knows pulling double duty will be difficult, Burwick expects things to calm down once the track's construction projects are complete and the season begins.

"Then it will ease up and then a guy's nerves can get back down to where they should be," Burwick said.

Praus to be wary of up-and-comers

Cal Praus said he's a little worried about defending the Pure Stocks points title he and his cousin, Jerry Praus, shared last season as the drivers of the No. 12 car.

And he's not intimidated by the wily veterans either. It's the young guns he's afraid may make waves in the class.

"There's going to be people after you, and you've got those young guns like Terin Gwryluk and Zach Frederick," Praus said. "Those are the ones I'm worried about this year."

The defending champion will also have a new look to the car. Praus has changed the paint scheme on his '77 Chevy Nova from black with blue accents to a charcoal gray with orange.

"We've got a little different look this year," Praus said.

Weather decision to come by noon today

Speedway promoter Ken Decker said Friday afternoon that track officials will decide by noon today whether or not forecasted conditions will force the track to bump its opening night to next Saturday.

For more information on the races, call (701) 483-8722 or visit the track's Web site at www.southwestspeedway.com .

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