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Buffalo River Race Park gears up for two-night season finale

GLYNDON, Minn.-Buffalo River Race Park's 63rd consecutive season of weekly auto racing will come to a close this weekend with the annual running of the Corn Cob Nationals.The event will host eight different divisions this year. Racing kicks off S...

2017 modified champion Tyler Hall is looking for his first career Corn Cob Nationals win this weekend at Buffalo River Race Park near Glyndon, Minn. Photo by Mike Spieker / Special to The Forum
2017 modified champion Tyler Hall is looking for his first career Corn Cob Nationals win this weekend at Buffalo River Race Park near Glyndon, Minn. Photo by Mike Spieker / Special to The Forum

GLYNDON, Minn.-Buffalo River Race Park's 63rd consecutive season of weekly auto racing will come to a close this weekend with the annual running of the Corn Cob Nationals.

The event will host eight different divisions this year. Racing kicks off Saturday and continues on Sunday, starting at 6 p.m. each night.

The unique name of the event derives from the free corn-on-the-cob feed fans enjoy during the two days of racing. Track organizers will go through about 5,000 to 6,000 ears of corn.

"The corn comes in the back of a long box pickup, heaped over the cab of the truck," said Kevin Nathe, general manager of Buffalo River Race Park. "And usually we'll run out right away on Sunday, too. It's pretty crazy."

Included in the stout lineup of racing classes will be the IMCA stock cars, which will be making their Corn Cob Nationals debut. The IMCA stock cars were implemented into the weekly schedules at two neighboring tracks in 2017 and have displayed some of the best racing seen all year.

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Despite being a new division to the area, the stock cars bring in some of the biggest names in racing including multi-time track champion Rob VanMil and veteran street stock driver Rick Schulz, who made the transition to the stock cars at the beginning of the year.

"Now that we are sanctioned by IMCA and the neighboring tracks have began to build up the class, we thought it was the perfect opportunity to have them come in and showcase what they are and how cool they are to our fans," Nathe said.

Over the years, the Corn Cob Nationals have become the most prestigious event at one of the most historic dirt tracks in the area.

"I've never won a Corn Cob Nationals, but if we could pull it off this year that would be pretty special," said Tyler Hall, who began his racing career at Buffalo River Race Park. "There's always a good crowd during the Corn Cob Nationals with great racing. There's a lot of family activities going on before and after the races. It's pretty awesome."

Hall has climbed the ranks at Buffalo River Race Park over the last several years. The driver from Fertile, Minn., started out in a four-cylinder car before moving up to a mod four, then a midwest modified. In 2015, Hall made the jump to a full-fledged modified.

Hall capped off the regular season at Buffalo River Race Park by capturing the championship in the track's top division, the IMCA modifieds. The title was Hall's second track championship of the season and he looks to continue that momentum into this weekend's double header.

"For my first Corn Cob Nationals win to be in a modified, that would be cool," he said. "I've gotten second a bunch in the midwest modified. We've had a really good year and we are excited for this weekend. We went over the car completely and found a few minor things that were tweaked from all the racing we've done this year. Hopefully we can go out there and get a win."

The Corn Cob Nationals will also serve as the season championship for the NLSA lightning sprints. The 2017 season marked the first year the lightning sprints were a part of the weekly schedule at Buffalo River and the division has seen tremendous growth. The division, which mirrors a smaller version of a winged sprint car and acts as a stepping stone to the 410 cubic inch sprint cars, has seen a total of 25 drivers compete at Buffalo River Race Park this season.

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With the lighting sprints' season wrapping up this weekend, all the top drivers that are thinking about championship points will be at Buffalo River Race Park fighting for each position in hopes of grabbing the title.

"The atmosphere is unmatched at the Corn Cob Nationals. The season points are done and the drivers are excited about just going out and racing for the win," continued Nathe. "They don't have to worry about racing for points and the lineups are set off a draw/redraw format (instead of off track points). There is a great atmosphere in the pit area. This is our big finale and everybody just looks forward to it."

Other classes running include the IMCA sportmods, hobby stocks, sport compacts, INEX legends and slingshots.

Related Topics: GLYNDON
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