Bemidji Auto Value Car Show returns to kick off racing season

The 2021 Bemidji Speedway racing season officially kicked off with the 10th Annual Bemidji Auto Value Car Show.

Deryk Weleski, driver of the No. 39 car, poses at the Bemidji Auto Value Car Show. (Dennis Peterson / Special to the Pioneer)

BEMIDJI -- The 2021 Bemidji Speedway racing season officially kicked off with the 10th Annual Bemidji Auto Value Car Show.

Due to social distancing rules still in place, the event was held over two weekends with the first half on May 8 and the second on May 15.

Store manager and veteran racer Kevin Bahr commented, “for 10-plus years Auto Value in Bemidji has kicked off the racing season with the car show. It’s an opportunity for the drivers to show the fans what the 2021 race cars will look like.”

Drivers and fans are excited to see the new and improved track during the track's official Car Show, practice and 2020 awards held at the track on Saturday, May 22, with a rain date of Sunday, May 23, if necessary.

The car show on track will begin at 10 a.m. and run until 1 p.m., followed by practice for all interested from 1:30-5 p.m. The 2020 awards were delayed due to COVID-19 concerns and will be handed out at the track during an awards ceremony beginning at 6 p.m. to end the day’s events. The world famous Chicken Shack will be open throughout the day for all to enjoy.


In addition to the track work, a new flagman will be in the flag stand. Longtime racer and past champion Tim Jackson will take over the flagging duties in 2021.

The 2021 racing schedule at Bemidji Speedway kicks off Memorial Day Weekend with races on both Sunday, May 30, and Monday, May 31. The Jack Sparby Memorial and Chicken Shack Nationals will be held on May 30 with a 4 p.m. start. On May 31, the green flag will wave at 2 p.m.

Following the Memorial Day weekend races, the normal start time will return to 5 p.m. for the remainder of the summer.

The speedway will once again have seven classes of cars racing with Wissota Modifieds, Wissota Super Stocks, Wissota Midwest Modifieds, Wissota Mod Fours, Wissota Pure Stocks, Wissota Hornets and Mini Stocks.

Among the special events planned for 2021 are the Northern Renegade Sprints returning to the track on June 6, July 11 and for the Paul Bunyan Stampede in September.

The first of two Kids Nights will take place on June 24 and the AFCO Race of Champions qualifier on June 27.

The Advantage RV Mod Tour will be on track July 25.

The Dean Olafson Memorial will feature the Hornets and Pure Stocks on Aug. 8, with the second Rockstar Energy Kids Night on Aug. 15.


The popular kids boxcar races will be held on Aug. 22, followed by the season championships on Aug. 29.

The summer racing season will come to a close in September with the 42nd Annual Paul Bunyan Stampede, running from Sept. 24-26.

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