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Extra buck gives bragging rights to $10K winner Arneson

Austin Arneson won a $10,001 payout last weekend at Viking Speedway in Alexandria, Minn. David Samson / The Forum

FARGO - Austin Arneson was tired of hearing his younger brother, Casey, gloating about having the biggest check on the wall of his father’s garage at Dell Arneson Inc. Last season, Casey took home two $10,000 payouts in B-modified races.

The 22-year-old Fargo Oak Grove High School graduate didn’t mince words about the year of mocking from his

19-year-old brother.

“I was tired of him giving me crap that I didn’t have a check on the wall,” Austin said. “I won some big races last year, but nothing close to 10 grand.”

At Viking Speedway in Alexandria, Minn., Austin celebrated this Fourth of July weekend with some fireworks of his own. He took home the biggest payout the Arneson garage has seen.

His first-place finish in the largest-paying WISSOTA Modified feature ever got him $10,001, and he couldn’t be prouder of that extra dollar. It’s change that he is proud to keep.

“I got the extra dollar in quarters,” Austin said. “Now, I have the biggest payout in the garage.”

Austin wasn’t kidding. He received a check for $10,000 and past champion Jason Thoennes gave him four quarters.

It still counts, especially considering Austin never trailed in his heat or qualifying races and led for more than 60 of the 70-lap feature race.

“I knew my car was going to be pretty good,” Austin said. “It was a long race. The last day I pushed it. Pressure was on.”

Racing has been nothing new to the Arneson family. Memories of all three Arneson brothers racing at Norman County Raceway in Ada, Minn., come with the last name. Also what comes with the last name is a father, Dell Arneson, who also raced.

What is new to the Arnesons is the car they put together this winter. It’s had quite the ride with the Arneson family.

“We put together a new car this year, and we’ve won six of the seven races in it, with the other one being a second-place finish,” Austin said. “It’s been good for us.”

Mike Bruns, who raced for more than 40 years, including against Dell, has been mentoring the Arneson boys. He says the car doesn’t make the race. The family does.

“A lot of guys say it takes money to go racing, but it takes a man to drive a car and these boys don’t put their cars in a position to get wrecked,” Bruns said. “You can’t find a harder working group of guys. They put their blood, heart and soul into these cars.”

Thanks to Austin, they can put more money into their cars as well.

“It’s unreal in a way,” Austin said. “I’ve won a lot of races, but I didn’t think about it until I was driving home and looking out the window.”

Austin has the word “Gone” painted on the back of his car to let cars behind him know where he’s going.

One place he’ll never leave is the list of champions at Viking Speedway or the wall of his father’s garage.

“I was looking at the list of champions and saw guys my dad raced against and really good racers,” Austin said. “To have my name on that list is a pretty good accomplishment in my career. It will definitely go down as one of the best or my best win ever.”

Chris Murphy

Chris Murphy is a sports reporter for the Forum. He's covered high school and college sports in Chicago, North Dakota and Minnesota since 2009 and, for some reason, has been given awards for doing so.

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