From grazing to racingIf you’re going to be known for something, why not buffaloes and racing? Anyone who physically picks up this edition of the Jamestown Sun has heard of White Cloud, the most celebrated albino buffalo around, and Dakota Thunder, the towering concrete behemoth that’s visible along I-94 to passersby.
By: Michael Savaloja, The Jamestown Sun
If you’re going to be known for something, why not buffaloes and racing?
Anyone who physically picks up this edition of the Jamestown Sun has heard of White Cloud, the most celebrated albino buffalo around, and Dakota Thunder, the towering concrete behemoth that’s visible along I-94 to passersby.
These are the entities that make Jamestown — the Buffalo City — memorable to the rest of the outside world.
But there’s something else that’s been putting our fair city into the consciousness of others. More specifically, there are a lot of folks in the upper-Midwest who associate Jamestown with more than just all things bison.
These folks come from places such as Minnesota, South Dakota, and Manitoba, and when you ask them the first thing they think of when it comes to Jamestown they won’t say Dakota Legend, they’ll say Jamestown Speedway.
The two-time WISSOTA Track of The Year and the 2011 Jamestown Chamber of Commerce Business of the Year hosted a banner season in 2012, which concluded last Saturday with the speedway’s annual awards banquet.
Now, it’s really no secret what I think of Jamestown Speedway regarding the show it provides and the level of competition it brings. But my opinion, however, is of the educated variety, having been strapped in behind the wheel of a car myself in my younger years.
The beauty of that, quite frankly, is that people don’t have to believe me if they don’t want to. All they have to do is look at the stats and they’ll find out rather quickly just where Jamestown Speedway ranks in the grand scheme of WISSOTA.
Jamestown Speedway general manager Joanne Dieterle provided a synopsis of the track’s 2012 season at last Saturday’s banquet, bringing to light some very impressive numbers.
Dieterle, by the way, also serves as the treasurer on WISSOTA’s board of directors and she’s a no bull-type person, so you can pretty much take what she says to the bank.
Jamestown Speedway topped the national average in car count per night in all three of its WISSOTA classes in 2012.
Jamestown averaged 22 WISSOTA Modifieds per night, five cars better than the national average of 17. The track also averaged 20 WISSOTA Street Stocks per night, up over six cars of the national average of 13.7.
The real eye-opener was in the WISSOTA Midwest Modifieds, where Jamestown brought in an average of 32 cars per night, which is over a dozen better than the national average of 19.3.
To put those numbers into perspective, WISSOTA has approximately 55 tracks in six states and three Canadian provinces, and in 2011 it licensed nearly 3,000 drivers. It should be mentioned that not every track hosts all three classes mentioned, but a good majority do.
Jamestown Speedway also upped its average total car count from 103 cars in 2011 to 106 cars in 2012. But the highlight of the season was without a doubt the 41st annual Stock Car Stampede.
The Stampede brought in a record 317 cars and drivers this past fall, besting the old record of 294 set in 2007 by a whopping 23 cars.
Just how prestigious has this annual event become? It nearly topped the car count of WISSOTA’s crown jewel event, the WISSOTA 100.
The year’s four-day WISSOTA 100 in Huron, S.D. brought in just six more cars and drivers (323) than Jamestown’s Stock Car Stampede.
Jamestown is called the Buffalo City, and for good reason, but the word is out on its racing community.
In the words of the late, great Paul Harvey, “And now you know the rest of the story.”
Sun sports writer Michael Savaloja can be reached at (701) 952-8461 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org