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Stock Car Racing: Racing for the rush

Stock car racer Seth Kramer talks his life in racing

Pictures of racing at North Central Speedway.
Seth Kramer drives his modified race car Saturday July 23, 2022, in a 10-lap heat race at North Central Speedway in Barrows. Kramer runs a cow-calf beef operation south of Brainerd and builds his own motors on his farm. What started as a favor for a friend with hauling a race car to the track turned into a passion for the dirt track racer.
Steve Kohls / Brainerd Dispatch
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BARROWS — Seth Kramer loves the rush.

The self-diagnosed adrenaline junkie is in his 14th season of racing. A farmer by trade, Kramer picks his spots working on his car during the week, with the ultimate goal of maximum speed, something that he may not just focus on with his car.

“It’s hit or miss, whenever I get a moment,” Kramer said about his shop time. “It’s usually Saturday mornings that I do the most of my work. Rainy days and whenever I can get to the shop. I have lots of friends that help me out and without them I couldn’t do it.

“I just got done overhauling a motor this spring for my 7810 (tractor) so we turned that one up a little bit. You always have to give it a little bit more than what it had. That is just the way it goes.”

Kramer did not have a passion for the dirt track during his teenage years, but he did get seat time doing some drag racing from time to time. He did have one skill that is crucial for a dirt track racer, but needed to find a way to harness it inside a dirt oval.

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“I definitely had a lead foot ever since I started driving, but I really didn’t get to dirt track racing until later in life,” Kramer said. “I did do some drag racing out of high school for a little bit, just playing around a little bit, but never dirt track racing. But I was driving sideways on the dirt roads when I was younger.”

He caught the dirt track racing bug when asked to help transport Tim Johnson’s car to the race track. He was hooked.

“The next year I bought a car in pieces and we slammed it back together and went racing,” he said.

Pictures of racing at North Central Speedway.
Seth Kramer tunes his modified race car between heats Saturday, July 23, 2022, at North Central Speedway in Barrows. Kramer builds his own engines for his cars as well as operating a cow-calf beef operation south of Brainerd.
Steve Kohls / Brainerd Dispatch

He got his start in a Super Stock before switching to the Modified car. He also tried out a B-Mod and also got in Jerry Esler’s Mod 4 car once, along with an experience in a limited Late Model car at Cedar Lake.

He has not driven a full season in the last five seasons and his last win came in a Super Stock ride back in 2019. However, Kramer’s car can be seen in the middle to the front of the pack when he races.

In 2022, he ran in seven out of 10 features with two top-five finishes. He drove just five times in 2020 and 2021 combined.

Pictures of racing at North Central Speedway.
Seth Kramer works on his modified race car in the pits Saturday, July 23, 2021, at North Central Speedway in Barrows.
Steve Kohls / Brainerd Dispatch

“I am definitely hard on my motor,” Kramer said. “I try to build all my own stuff, especially later on now. I liked to ring every last ounce of horse power that I can out of the car.”

He also gives credit to his circle of friends who help him with the car.

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Pictures of racing at North Central Speedway.
Seth Kramer tunes his modified race car in the pits at North Central Speedway Saturday, July 23, 2022, in Barrows.
Steve Kohls / Brainerd Dispatch

“Without them I wouldn’t be able to do this,” he said.

While he doesn’t drive every week, Kramer knows that he needs the adrenaline rush of being in the car and it isn’t something he is willing to part with anytime soon.

“I kind of have to pick my battles now. I don’t think I can ever get rid of it. Cars are always for sale. I got another project in line tomorrow and I don’t think it will go away,” he said. “It’s too much fun and I am too much of an adrenaline junkie to quit. I don’t care if I win or not. That really doesn’t matter to me. It’s a blast out there.

“It keeps me out of trouble. You spend it all Saturday evening and you can’t get into a whole lot more trouble during the week.”

Pictures of racing at North Central Speedway.
Kristin Bobick uses a grinder to remove the glaze on Jared Hine's tires next door to Seth Kramer Saturday, July 23, 2022, at North Central Speedway in Barrows. Hines and Kramer are friends and many times share ideas on how to improve the performance of their cars.
Steve Kohls / Brainerd Dispatch

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