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Drivers anxious to race

Dirt-track racing at the Red River Valley Speedway is popular around here. Mud-track racing? Not nearly as popular. Rain washed out three of the first four weeks of the season at the West Fargo track. Drivers and track officials say are frustrate...

Dirt-track racing at the Red River Valley Speedway is popular around here. Mud-track racing? Not nearly as popular.

Rain washed out three of the first four weeks of the season at the West Fargo track. Drivers and track officials say are frustrated, but there's little they can do.

"Of course we want to race and the drivers want to race," Red River Valley Fair manager Wayne Venter said. "But we have to take it a week at a time. The one we had was successful and the next one we have will be successful, too."

Venter and the racers are hoping it's today. However, postponements in April and May are common.

A number of dates were washed out last year. The Speedway ran some make-up dates, but they wound up not being the most lucrative option.

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"It was good for the drivers because we got to race, but the problem was they lost so much money," said Harwood, N.D., driver Duane Miller.

"The spring is hit or miss because you don't know what's coming around here."

Venter has been focused on profit since taking over the position as fair manager in February, so losing money on make-up dates isn't an option this season.

"The racers love it and they'll show up, but not nearly as many fans are going to go if it's on a Wednesday," Venter said. "We can make a profit off of this and we need to in order to put some improvements into this place."

Miller used to race at several tracks in the area, but is just racing at RRVS this summer. Because it's his only track, the cancellations have been frustrating.

"It wasn't that big of a deal when it was canceled at one place when you were racing at two or three places per week," Miller said. "But when the only place you go gets rained out again and again, it's frustrating. But what can you do but get ready for the next week."

Venter wants to race and said he has no problem waiting until the last minute to cancel.

He called off last weekend's event less than two hours before the racing was scheduled to start.

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But the fair manager said he knows the cancellations won't happen every week. When dealing with the weather, patience is the key, he said.

"We know what we can make when we race and we know it's not costing us much to cancel it," Venter said. "But that investment in advertising money is going to waste.

"It's not going to be like that every week," he added. "It's just an act of God. There's not much we can do about it."

If you go

- What: Red River Valley Speedway racing.

- When: 7 tonight

- Where: West Fargo

- Today's forecast: Mostly sunny with a high of 87 in Fargo-Moorhead.

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Readers can reach Forum sports writer Kerry Collins at (701) 241-5548.

Collins' prep sports blog can be found at www.areavoices.com

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