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WEEKLY LEGENDS: Jamestown Speedway adds new class in 2019

Bismarck's Ivan Sailer (foreground) presented his INEX Legend race car (No. 55) to the local public during a legend racing seminar held at Central Auto Repair and Services in Jamestown on Jan. 19, 2019. Jamestown Speedway has added the class to its regular racing program beginning this summer. John M. Steiner / The Sun

Jamestown's Terry Sahr is planning on receiving more bang for his buck this summer at Jamestown Speedway.

The veteran race car driver stepped out of his IMCA modified toward the end of the 2018 season, and into the more affordable INEX legend class. Jamestown Speedway has opted to add legend car racing to its regular program beginning this summer.

The new season is right around the corner. Opening night in Jamestown is scheduled for May 4, with the annual test and tune earmarked for April 27.

"It's a really competitive class," said Sahr, who won the 1991 Jamestown Stock Car Stampede in the bomber division. "The rules are really tied down, which keeps the cost down and the cars competitive.

"It puts it in the drivers' hands. Anybody can win."

Inexpensive (INEX) is in the name. Sahr said many race-ready legend cars can be found ballparked between $5,500 to $7,500. The much lower initial investment—compared to, for instance, modified racing—is further supplemented by a uniform set of rules.

For example, legend cars run the same shock absorber on all four corners of the vehicle, which Sahr said runs about $100 per shock. Shock packages for A-modifieds can range between $1,500 to $2,500 and up.

The legend cars, also known locally as Dakota Legends, have visited Jamestown Speedway the past handful of years, which has included the annual Dakota Legends Tour. This summer's four-night tour is scheduled for June 13-16, stopping in Jamestown the evening of June 15.

Jamestown Speedway co-owner Tim Baldwin said he believes just over a dozen local drivers have already committed to running a legend this season. The class also operates on Fridays at Dacotah Speedway in Mandan and Red River Valley Speedway in West Fargo, which should help Saturday car counts in Jamestown.

Baldwin and his wife, Allison, are beginning their second season as owners of the Jamestown track. Tracks in Dickinson and Glyndon, Minn., have also added legend racing to their respective Saturday night schedules.

"So far the response (locally) has been really positive, and we've had a lot of support from the Bismarck and Fargo areas as far as drivers saying they're going to come here and race," Baldwin said. "We think it's going to bring some new blood and maybe keep some drivers in cars who might otherwise retire."

The addition bumps Jamestown's every-week classes to six, along with IMCA modifieds, WISSOTA midwest modifieds, WISSOTA street stocks, bombers and slingshots. But Baldwin said running a tight program remains a priority.

Weekly racing begins at 7 p.m. Also new this season, kids 12 and under will be admitted into the grandstand free of charge. Adults are $12.

"We've been working on some things time-wise to make sure we are running a little bit quicker-paced show than we did last year, as far as being a little more organized in areas that we can," said Baldwin. "And, knock on wood, legends don't typically add a lot of time."

Legend cars may be small in stature, but that doesn't mean they're slow. Behind the wheel last season in Mandan and at Wishek's Tri-County Speedway, Sahr explained the legends rivaled lap times put down by the A-mods.

The legends utilize a 73-inch wheelbase, are 46 inches in height and must weigh no more less 1,250 pounds with the driver in the seat. According to Sahr, the cars are allowed three types of power plants: a 1,200 cubic centimeters (cc) open motor, a 1,250 cc sealed motor and a new water-cooled, fuel injected motor.

"They're fast. Don't let them fool you," Sahr said. "In Mandan, for example, the A-mods were turning 74 mph (laps) and the legends were running 72 mph. In Wishek they had the same lap times."

Bismarck verteran legend driver Ivan Sailer helped introduce the class locally to interested parties during a seminar at Central Auto Repair and Services in Jamestown on Jan. 19. Sahr said approximately 55 people attended the seminar, which stirred plenty of interest.

Locals committed to run the class include up-and-comers Jaidyn Edinger and Jacoby Traut, and veteran father-and-son drivers Chuck Christ and Billie Christ.

"It's fun," Sahr said. "I think you are going to see a pretty good count."

Jamestown Speedway

2019 schedule

April 27: Test & Tune (All classes).

May 4: Frost Buster (All classes).

May 11: Meet the Drivers Night No. 1 (All classes).

May 18: Meet the Drivers Night No. 2 (All classes).

May 25: Armed Forces Night / Tri City Mod Series (All classes, current and former service members admitted free with military ID).

June 1: Faster Pastor Revival (No Modifieds)

June 8: NOSA Sprint Cars (No Streets or Bombers).

June 15: N.D. Legends Tour (All classes).

June 22: Kids' Night (All classes).

June 29: Stutsman County Fair / Tri City Mod Series (No Streets).

July 4: TBD.

July 6: 30th Annual Dakota Classic Modified Tour (IMCA Mods and IMCA Stock Cars only).

July 13: Lightning Sprint Cars (All classes).

July 20: NLRA Late Models (No Legends).

July 31: Monster trucks (No racing).

Aug. 10: Ladies' Night (All classes).

Aug. 17: Guns & Hoses Night / 2 Strong SportMod Tour (No B-mods, all law enforcement / firefighters admitted free).

Aug. 24: Back to School Night (All classes).

Aug. 31: Season Championship / Kuchen Custard Invitational (All classes).

Sept. 20-21: 48th Annual Stock Car Stampede.

Oct. 11-12: Stampede rain out weekend.

Michael Savaloja

Hometown: Churchs Ferry, N.D.; College: North Dakota

A recipient of the NDHSCA Award of Merit, Savaloja has been reporting sports for The Sun since 2008.

Follow on Twitter: @MichaelSavaloja

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