ELKO! 2017 Season Opener Preview

May 20th, 2017 - ELKO, MN

BY JASON D SEARCY

Saturday night (May 20th) is scheduled to be the 52nd season opener at Elko Speedway, Minnesota's only NASCAR sanctioned track.

The "Test and Tune" event held on May 13th was a big success as over 80 different drivers knocked off the rust and took to the 3/8th mile banked oval called the "Midwest Center for Speed."

The newly formed Hiway Federal Credit Union Late Model division is sure to produce some of the highest car counts and the most competitive racing in the entire Nation. These Late Models will be the NASCAR Whelen All American Series Premiere Division for ELKO, meaning the drivers in this division will have an opportunity to win the overall NASCAR Home Tracks National Championship and all the glory that comes along with it.

An All-Star lineup of Championship teams who have had success at ELKO in the past will be competing for the Late Model Championship in 2017. Here are some of the drivers to watch:

#72 Jacob Goede from Carver (MN) who won the Super Late Model division the previous three years in a row.

#54 Dylan Moore from Northfield (MN) who won the Big 8 Championship in 2016.

#17 Jon Lemke from Shakopee (MN) who is a two-time Champion at ELKO and was one point short of the Big 8 title in 2016.

#3 Chris Marek from Lakeville (MN) a 3 time Big 8 Champion at Elko Speedway.

#26 Mark Lamoreaux from Bloomington (MN) 1976 Champion.

#52 Chad Walen from Prior Lake (MN) two-time Raceway Park Champion.

#14 Doug Brown from Prior Lake (MN) four time ELKO Champion.

#71 Derek Lemke from Shakopee (MN) 3 time defending Legends Champion.

#4 Grant Brown from Prior Lake (MN) who won the NASCAR Division IV National Championship in 2015.

#02 Joey Garofalo from Lakeville (MN) 2006 Thunder Car Champion.

Two former Bando Champions will be looking to make some noise in the Premiere Division at Elko Speedway in 2017. #6 Owin Giles from New Market and #53 Jared Duda from St Michael (MN).

Many other drivers could score wins and possibly even the Championship in this division including: #40 Michael Beamish from Eagan (MN) who scored more points than any other driver the second half of 2016. Tony Brewer #7 from Shakopee (MN) won two races last year, as did #5 Todd Kamish from Farmington (MN). #75 Joe Neisius from Rosemount (MN) won 3 races, Bryan Wrolstad #13 from Northfield (MN) had a win as did #10 Nick Beaver from Rosemount (MN) and Ryan Kamish #42 from Farmington (MN).

Many other big names plan on racing Elko Speedway on a semi-regular basis including former Legends Champion #18 Michael Ostdiek from Lakeville (MN), he is once again a part of the Kulwicki Driver Development Program and will be racing all across the Region hoping to win the $54,439 first place prize. Nine-time Elko Speedway Champion #41 Donny Reuvers from Dundas (MN) always is a threat to win anytime he races at his home track.

Three-Wide racing will be allowed at Elko Speedway this year and with the large field of Late Models expected, plan on seeing a lot of action in 2017 in the Premiere Late Model Division.

The Genz-Ryan Thunder Cars will now be in NASCAR Division II. Fans are already pumped up to see the rivalry continue between defending Champion #32 Jeremy Wolff from Chaska (MN) and four-time Champion #99 Brent Kane from Lonsdale (MN). 2016 "Top 5" drivers Eric Campbell #25 from Lonsdale (MN) and #07 Dillon Sellner from Farmington (MN) plan on staying at the top of the standings in 2017.

A couple big name drivers will be moving up from the Power Stock division.

#37 Bryce Blohm from Elko (MN) shocked the world last year when he won 5 features and almost won the Power Stock Championship in his rookie year. #7 Brandon Petersen from Faribault (MN) won 4 features and was in the hunt for the points title until the final night of racing. He now will have the opportunity to compete in the race named after his step-father, the Scott Kingery memorial slated for August 19th.

Expect to see 2016 five-time winner #8 Ted Reuvers from Dundas (MN) and six-time winner and 3 time Champion #3 Conrad Jorgenson from Lakeville (MN) up near the front in the Thunder Car division.

A couple former Power Stock Champions looked good at the ELKO Test and Tune day, 2005 Champion #48 Jeff Partington from Farmington (MN) and 2007 Champion #09 Matt Wiebusch from Belle Plain (MN).

Photo Credit: Jason D Searcy

The Pepsi Power Stocks have provided the ELKO fans more than their fair-share of entertainment the last couple of seasons. 2016 saw nearly 20 cars every week and incredible points battle that went down to the final race. The Power Stocks are now NASCAR Division III at ELKO. Tom Doten #62 from St Paul (MN) will be back to defend his title, he will have to hold back #8 Taylor Goldman from Minnetonka (MN) who has a new car and is hungry for her first points Championship after scoring two wins last year. 2014 Champion Nick Oxborough #88 from Savage (MN) is also back as a top contender in the Power Stock division at Elko Speedway.

Michael Stoer #8 from Prior Lake (MN) got a win and was really fast at the end of last year, #56 Paul Hamilton from Hastings (MN) had three wins last year, #93 Matt Ryan from New Market (MN) had two wins and Joey Prusak from Minnetonka (MN) had three wins, either he or his dad Joe will race the #66 this year. Also keep an eye out for 2016 winner #3 Ryan Varner from Minnetonka (MN).

A few new faces emerged at the ELKO "Test and Tune" session including #23 Justyna Schmidt from Lake Elmo (MN) but she is originally from Poland, this will be her first time ever racing. Ted Paro #40 from Crystal (MN) is back at Elko Speedway after taking about 15 years off and #26 Michael Beebe from Dennison (MN) is coming over to the asphalt after racing on the dirt tracks.

The Hornets will be in NASCAR Division IV this year at Elko Speedway. The "Top 5" from last year are all slated to return including #14 Justin Schelitzche from Lester Prairie (MN) who is the defending two-time Champion, he and the Blue #36 Brandon Olson from Minneapolis (MN) both scored 4 wins in 2016. Olson is not racing the Power Stock this year, he plans on focusing solely on the Hornets division.

The Black #36 Alex Vincent from Owatonna (MN) scored 3 wins last year, #55 Brandon Plekkenpol from Shakopee (MN) had two wins as did #41 Ashley Bell from Farmington (MN) and #89 Michael Weiss from Bloomington (MN) had one win.

Don't be surprised to see former Hornets Champions #0 Brian Adams from Shakopee (MN) also racing this year at ELKO, he is always a contender to win anywhere he goes.

The Eternity Homes Great North Legends division seems to be growing every year. Seven-time winner in 2016 and three-time defending Champion #71 Derek Lemke from Shakopee (MN) will be back, as will his father #17 Jon Lemke. Second place finisher and three-time winner in 2016 #16 Matt Allen from Chanhassen (MN) will now not only be racing against his father #33 Bruce Allen but also his kid brother #3 Luke Allen who was the 2016 Bandolero's Champion at ELKO.

Brady Fox-Rhode #4 from Loretto (MN) travels the United States during the cold winter months in MN and seems to win wherever he goes, he won 3 features at Elko Speedway last year. Tim Brockhouse #13 from Prior Lake (MN) was the INEX Masters National Champion on both the Dirt and Asphalt in 2016, he won 3 features at ELKO last year, plan on seeing him behind the wheel occasionally.

Jackson Lewis #7 from Lakeville (MN) finished third in points and won his first ever feature race at ELKO last year, #3 Dirk Henry from Sauk Centre (MN) also won a trophy last year while driving on a part-time schedule, he was a four-time Champion at I-94 Raceway.

Cole Klein from Rogers (MN) #8 was very close to scoring his first win at ELKO last season, as was #26 Wil McCully from Rochester (MN), they both finished 'Top 5" in points.

A couple "Little Elko" Quarter Midget Champions will be moving up into the Legends cars, #91 Tristan Swanson from Elko (MN) and #41 Austin Jahr from Lakeville (MN).

Devyn Stocker from Farmington (MN) will now be #75 and his father Troy Stocker will race the #14 car. #22 Shon Jacobsen from Oak Grove (MN) is back to his "old faithful" car he had so much success with in the past and it was looking good at the ELKO "Test and Tune."

Opening Night in the NASCAR Whelen All American Series will be Saturday May 20th at Elko Speedway. Spectator Gates open at 5pm with action beginning at 6pm. ELKO is located 30 minutes South of Minneapolis just off of I-35 and County Road 2 in Elko (MN).

Get more information by downloading our Free Mobile App below, Following Elko Speedway on all forms of Social Media or by calling (952) 461-7223.

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Credits:

ELKO! Speedway; Jason D Searcy

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