Driver takes on new ride
Brock Gronwold is always looking for a new challenge. After winning a national points title in Midwest Modifieds last season, the Fergus Falls, Minn., driver will add another car to the mix this summer. In addition to his Midwest Mod, Gronwold wi...
Brock Gronwold is always looking for a new challenge.
After winning a national points title in Midwest Modifieds last season, the Fergus Falls, Minn., driver will add another car to the mix this summer.
In addition to his Midwest Mod, Gronwold will be running an A-Modified for Specialty Fabricators.
"Locally, I wanted to move on to something bigger, and I got a chance to run a house car with them in the A-Mods," Gronwold said. "I didn't want to say no."
Weather had put the brakes on the start of the area racing season, but things should get rolling this weekend.
After just missing a national points crown two years ago, Gronwold won the national points title in the Midwest Modifieds class last season.
Gronwold's 1,703 points edged Shane Halopka of Medford, Wis., by just four points.
Gronwold was pushed to go after the title by John Seitz, a friend and fellow auto racer, who passed away last February during a snowmobiling trip.
"He was a great guy and had a huge influence on an up-and-coming racer," Gronwold said. "He made it my mission to go after that points title."
Now Gronwold will take a shot in another class. Specialty Fabricating already runs seven Late Models, but owner Mitch Johnson wanted to add the A-Modified to the mix. He said he thought Gronwold was a logical choice to drive it.
"We needed someone to drive it, and we wanted to learn something about our car," Johnson said. "We wanted a guy that was not afraid to try some new things."
Gronwold definitely has logged enough races to know what's going on in a race car.
From the end of April through the beginning of September, Gronwold logged a whopping 85 nights of racing. He won 23 features, and had 18 clean sweeps - where he won his heat and the feature.
"He's got a good feel for the car, and he knows how our changes are going to affect the car," Johnson said. "We're going to do some different things, and he's a guy that's not going to get mad if he runs bad because of something we tried.
"And it's good for us to have a car like that out there, so that people know we're trying different things. It's important to show that our business up here is a priority."
Gronwold said his schedule probably won't be as aggressive this year, because of the demands of racing two cars.
"It was a lot of work, and there were quite a few weeks running five nights in a week," Gronwold said. "There was even a month where we ran 19 straight nights.
"I don't know if we'll do all that again this year. I think a lot is going to depend on how the cars are working - and how we're doing."
Johnson said Gronwold's schedule in the A-Mod will be limited to Friday nights at Red River Valley Speedway, and a few special events.
Gronwold said he's just excited for the racing season to get rolling again. The rush is back.
"After a season like last year, you don't get back into your normal life schedule for a few weeks," Gronwold said. "Then I sat around for a few days and didn't do anything (with the car). I started to go crazy.
"Sure, it's a lot of work. But if you're dumb enough to do it, it's worth it."
Here are the starting dates at area tracks: Norman County Raceway: 7 p.m. tonight, Ada, Minn.
Red River Valley Speedway: 7 p.m. Friday, West Fargo
Jamestown Speedway: 7 p.m. Saturday, Jamestown, N.D.
Buffalo River Race Park: 6 p.m. Sunday, Glyndon, Minn.
Readers can reach Forum sports writer Kerry Collins at (701) 241-5548.
Collins' prep sports blog can be found at www.areavoices.com