Upper Iowa Speedway ready to roll despite weather setbacks
Thursday, May 09, 2013 6:19 PM
Racing fans will soon be able to enjoy dirt track action at Decorah's Upper Iowa Speedway (UIS), promoter Chuck Ihde said last week.
"I drove a couple of these little mods a few times, and I thought they were just a blast."
Located at the Winneshiek County Fairgrounds in Decorah, Iowa, the UIS features weekly Saturday night racing with five classes competing.
In addition, several special events are scheduled that will bring some different types of cars and drivers from locations as far away as Texas.
"I'm expecting a lot more cars this year," Ihde said. The most popular classes at UIS have been stock cars and b-mods. They'll probably be as strong as ever this season as will the hobby stock and four cylinder hornets.
The big difference in 2013 is the number of 600 mod lites that area racing enthusiasts have been purchasing.
"I know of nine new ones just in Iowa," Ihde said. In addition, more Minnesotans have been getting into the class, since they're quick and fun to drive.
"Time-wise they're probably the fastest around the track," he added.
"I drove a couple of these little mods a few times, and I thought they were just a blast," Ihde said. So much so that he partnered with a Houston driver to purchase one during the off-season.
"Between him and I, we're going to take turns racing every other weekend," Chuck noted.
The agile little 600cc mod lites are powered by a motorcycle engine. They look something like a pint-sized b-mod.
"I'm expecting the mod lite class to double in size. We'll probably have 18-20 cars a night this year," Ihde said.
Another news item from Decorah is that fans can expect the return of popular Waterville, Iowa, driver Dan Jones to the track.
Last year, Jones was injured in a logging accident just four days prior to the start of the UIS racing season. Since then, he's been working on a stock car with hand controls.
"He was very successful," Ihde said. "Dan won four or five championships. After a tree fell on him and broke his back, he lost the use of his legs. I'd just like to see him come back down and win a race or two."
Probably the best news of all is that while Jones was seriously injured, his spinal cord was not damaged, according to friends. Over time, it's possible that he could regain the use of his legs, Ihde stated.
Some special dates announced
On June 1, the Outlaw Mini-Mods/North Iowa vintage cars are scheduled to compete at UIS, so 600 mod lites will not race that night.
On June 8, the United States Modified Touring Series will bring a large field of "A-Mods" from several states to the track. "They are really good drivers," Ihde said.
On the Fourth of July, the United States Racing Association's Iron Man Series will bring in drivers from all over the Midwest. The field of B-Mods and Stock cars will likely double on that evening. One of the local weekly classes will also run that night.
The Winneshiek County Fair race will be held July 11. In addition, weekly classes and points races will occur.
Like so many activities this spring, racing has been delayed due to weather. Ihde said the track received 130 loads of clay last fall, which he's been using to re-bank and re-shape the quarter-mile oval.
It's not a unique circumstance. Wet conditions delayed last year's opening for three straight weekends, but fans were rewarded with a large field of competitors when the track opened on May 12.
Ihde said he's hoping the speedway will be firm and dry on May 11 this year. If so, hot laps will begin at 6 p.m. followed by races at 6:30.