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Brownsdale speedway attracts go-kart drivers for competition, fun

Mike Schubert's No. 1 rule is "we're here to have fun."

56 speedway
Two go kart drivers during a hot lap at 56 Speedway on Friday, June 24, 2022, in Brownsdale, Minn.
Abby Sharpe / Post Bulletin
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BROWNSDALE, Minn. — Tucked back off of Minnesota State Highway 56 sits a high-banked dirt track. It’s the type of thing drivers would miss, unless they’re looking for it.

And Friday night, like many nights in the summer, people from southeast Minnesota to Denver, Iowa, and everywhere in between, were on Highway 56, looking for the go-kart track that is the product of a family’s love for racing.

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Mike Schubert opened 56 Speedway in his backyard in 2007, after years of working and promoting at tracks like the speedways in Dodge County, Steele County and Winona County, Chateau Speedway and Deer Creek Speedway. His love for racing goes back farther than that, though.

Since Schubert was five years old, his family had a race car at the house. He spent many weekends at tracks, watching drivers compete on dirt tracks.

Kart racing is now a three generation family affair for Schubert’s family – while Mike prepares the track and mans the flags during races, his three kids and other family members take care of the front entrance and get their own karts ready for the grandkids. Four of Schubert’s nine grandkids race karts.

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There are only two rules at the track: “Rule one is we’re here to have fun,” Schubert said. “Rule two is if I’m not having fun because you’re here, you’re out.”

Rule one has resonated with many families and keeps them coming back to the track. It’s one of the reasons why people from Wisconsin, Iowa, and around Minnesota continue to make the drive to 56 Speedway.


56 Speedway
25707 State Highway 56
Brownsdale, MN 55918
(507) 440-3824

56 Speedway Facebook page


About 25 trailers pulled into the grass next to the dirt track. Most of the trailers hauled more than one kart or slingshot.

One of those carts belonged to Sully Buck, who said 56 Speedway is his favorite track. The 13-year-old from Iowa won 14 races in the Junior 1 class and finished first in the point total at 56 Speedway last year. He moved up to Junior 2 this year, which brought new competition. Buck wasn’t too worried Saturday about winning, but said it hinged on “dad getting the gear right.”

Buck started karting when he was 8 years old and, maybe surprisingly, it wasn’t his dad’s idea.

“It was actually my wife’s idea to start racing,” Dustin Buck, Sully’s dad, said. “When Sully was a kid, he liked anything with a motor.”

sully buck.jpg
Sully Buck stands in front of his kart at 56 Speedway on Friday, June 24, 2022, in Brownsdale, Minn.
Abby Sharpe / Post Bulletin

Now, karting is the only sport Sully participates in. His younger brother, 9-year-old Leo, is the same. The Bucks take their love of karting seriously, too — they’ve traveled up to nine hours from their home in Forest City, Iowa, to compete.

“The first thing we work on is having fun,” Dustin said.

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That certainly fits with Schubert’s motto.

Buck wasn’t the only top racer from Iowa who was back at 56 Speedway to secure a win. Bentley Annis finished third in the point standings at the track last year. The 11-year-old said his favorite part of karting is going fast, which prompted a Talladega Nights reference from his pit crew (or fan club): his dad, Justin; grandpa, Steve Gill, who is the de facto crew chief; Phil Powers; Garrett Sager; and J.P. Sager.

bentley annis.jpg
Bentley Annis (center) stands with his kart with his pit crew: dad Justin Annis (left), J.P. Sager, Phil Powers, Garrett Sager and Steve Gill.
Abby Sharpe / Post Bulletin

The very modest racer said he’d “try to win.” But karting is more about having fun.

The raceway technician and inspections guy, Ron Johnson, has experienced years of fun at the track. Though those aren’t official titles for Johnson, he’s been going to 56 Speedway since the beginning. Johnson’s kids all karted growing up, which created a family of kart winners.

On Saturday, Johnson’s six-year-old grandson raced for the first time.

“We’re here to have fun,” he said. “(Mike) does it for the love of the sport.”

“Some days it probably doesn’t pay to do this,” Schubert said. “But we’ve got a bunch of good people here, and it’s all about the family.”

Abby Sharpe joined the Post Bulletin in February 2022 after graduating from Arizona State University with a sports journalism degree. While at ASU, she created short- and long-form stories for audio and digital. Readers can reach Abby at 507-285-7723 or asharpe@postbulletin.com.
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