Auto racing notes: Saturday's races at Deer Creek Speedway are free

Auto racing fans can walk right past the ticket booth at Deer Creek Speedway this weekend.

Auto racing fans can walk right past the ticket booth at Deer Creek Speedway this weekend.

Minnesota's corn farmers are paying your way into Saturday's points races at the track near Spring Valley.

It's part of the Minnesota Corn Growers Association's ethanol-fueled promotion they're calling "Tasseldega Nights."

The MCGA will have representatives at the track to provide information on the benefits of ethanol produced in Minnesota. In addition to free admission, all fans can register to win four tickets and pit passes to the NASCAR race at Bristol Motor Speedway on Aug. 23.

"As gas prices spike in the summer, it's important that corn farmers connect with consumers about the economic and environmental benefits of homegrown ethanol," said Chad Willis, a farmer in Willmar who serves on the Minnesota Corn Research and Promotion Council. "With 'Tasseldega Nights,' corn farmers get an opportunity to interact with dedicated and loyal racing fans. It's going to be a great time and I know the grandstand will be packed."


Gates open at 4 p.m. and a magician/face painting for the kids begins at 4:30 p.m. Racing is scheduled to start at 6 p.m.

There will also be pre-race music and several ethanol and farming-themed activities to enjoy:

• The Biofuels Mobile Education Center, a 45-foot trailer packed with interactive displays, videos and information about ethanol and other biofuels that tours throughout the entire country.

• A NASCAR racing simulator, where kids will feel like they're racing on a real NASCAR track.

• The Ag Cab-Lab simulator, a giant simulator where kids can take their turn at the wheel of a tractor or combine and harvest corn, plant soybeans, cultivate a field and play other interactive games.

• Jonathan Olmscheid fuels his race car with ethanol as he races at tracks throughout Minnesota. Kids can sit in Jonathan's car and take pictures before the race.

• Kids can play games and win prizes from the American Lung Association of Minnesota. American Lung will also have a flex-fuel vehicle on display.

• "Tasseldega Nights" T-shirts featuring Minnesota Corn Growers Association mascot Ted Tassel will be available to purchase.


• Deer Creek drivers using E15 (a blend of 15 percent homegrown ethanol and regular gasoline) or higher are racing for the inaugural "Ethanol Cup," sponsored by Minnesota's corn farmers.

WMDTC is on-deck

The fourth annual World Modified Dirt Track Championship is set for next week at Deer Creek, with racing scheduled for Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. The winner of Saturday's 100-lap A Main will go home with $15,000.

Drivers will compete in full shows on Thursday and/or Friday to qualify for one of a series of Main races on Saturday.

As of last weekend, 75 drivers, representing 13 states, have pre-registered for the three-day event.

Among the drivers already signed up to race are defending United States Modified Touring Series national champion Rodney Sanders, from Happy, Texas; defending WMDTC champion Jason Hughes of Watts, Okla.; USMTS Southern Region points leader Stormy Scott from Las Cruces, N.M., and USMTS Northern Region points leader Zack VanderBeek of New Sharon, Iowa.

Inaugural WMDTC champion Brad Waits and 2012 champ Ryan Gustin have not yet registered for the event.

An open practice night is scheduled for Wednesday, from 6-9 p.m.


Lanigan does it again

Darrell Lanigan is turning this World of Outlaws Late Models Series season into a race for second place.

After winning the Gopher 50 for the fourth time in his career last Sunday — his WoO LMS career-record 61st feature victory — Lanigan did it again two nights later at Brown County Speedway in Aberdeen, S.D.

The 44-year-old from Union, Ky., has won nine of the Outlaws' 20 races this season and has opened up a 208-point lead over second-place Rick Eckert in the season points standings.

Lanigan, who won comfortably at Deer Creek, had to hold off a hard-charging Tim McCreadie (the 2010 Gopher 50 champ) in the waning laps at Aberdeen on Tuesday. Lanigan's dominance has often left his competition shaking its head this season.

"It's tough," McCreadie said. "Sometimes it's like he's got eyes in the back of his head."

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