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Buffalo River Race Park's 64th season opens Sunday

Tyler Hall claimed his first Buffalo River Race Park track championship in the IMCA modified division in 2017. (Mike Spieker / Special to Forum News Service)1 / 3
The slingshot division is a way for young drivers to transition from go-karts to a division on the big dirt track. (Mike Spieker / Special to Forum News Service)2 / 3
Rob VanMil (4D) and Cody Peterson (4500) race side by side during IMCA modified action at the Buffalo River Race Park in 2017. (Mike Spieker / Special to Forum News Service)3 / 3

GLYNDON, Minn.—Since 1955, Buffalo River Race Park has been a staple in the local dirt track racing community. The facility was one of the first in the region offering weekly auto racing every Sunday night.

That tradition has continued over the course of six decades and has been passed down through several generations of drivers and race fans alike.

To open the 2018 season, Buffalo River Race Park is offering discounted tickets to all adults. General admission tickets will be $7, almost half of the usual $13 price.

General admission tickets are good for any spot in the grandstand, including the track's indoor, climate controlled seating.

"It's always fun to open on Mother's Day and get the season going," said Kevin Nathe, general manager of Buffalo River Race Park. "The track is in good shape after the long winter and it should be a good opener."

The Sunday, May 13, opener will kick off the first of 17 scheduled events at the semi-banked quarter-mile clay oval.

The track will bring back the same weekly program its had the last several years. Similar to other area tracks, the IMCA modifieds will highlight the night, along with IMCA sportmods, IMCA hobby stocks, sport compacts, INEX legends, NLSA lightning sprints and slingshots.

A division that is fairly new to the speedway is the slingshots. The slingshots are an entry-level class designed for the young drivers who are new to the sport.

"It's a good stepping stone for the young drivers to get out on the big track," Nathe said. "I hear a lot of positive things about the class. I think it's a good fit for our here."

A handful of years ago the modified division in the area was struggling to get decent car counts. The Buffalo River Race Park was the first track in the region to make the switch to IMCA in 2014, which has rejuvenated the class. More often than not nowadays, a full field of 24 modifieds are checked in at Buffalo River Race Park every week.

"It's crazy how that making that switch has worked out," said Nathe. "I never really saw it as a risk. I just knew that something needed to be done and I liked the rule package. The whole IMCA organization is great to work with."

Tyler Hall of Fertile, Minn., has been racing at Buffalo River Race Park for nearly the past decade. Hall picked up his first career track championship at Buffalo River Race Park last year in the track's premier division, the IMCA modifieds.

"It was pretty awesome to get the track championship, especially in the modified," said Hall, who also claimed the track title at the Norman County Raceway in Ada, Minn. "It meant a lot to my whole team and I. We didn't really expect to win a track championship, let alone two in the same year. To get it at a track like (Buffalo River) with all the tough competition that runs there every week, it was pretty cool."

Hall has competed in nearly every class over the years at Buffalo River Race Park, starting in the four-cylinders, mod-fours, Wissota Midwest Mods, before advancing to the IMCA modifieds.

"Out of all the tracks I've run, Buffalo River has to be my favorite," said Hall. "It's a really small track and the car counts are really strong so you're always racing against somebody. Whether you're running up front or in the back, your always in traffic. That teaches you to maneuver through traffic and makes for some good racing."

Sunday's racing begins at 6 p.m.

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