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AUTO RACING: Racing season opens with car show

Race cars line Bemidji Auto Value as part of the season-opening car show on Saturday, May 19. The car show also raised $1,614.86 for the American Cancer Society Relay for Life. (Submitted photo)

BEMIDJI -- The 2019 racing season in Bemidji officially started its engines Saturday, May 19, at the Bemidji Auto Value Car Show at Bemidji Auto Value.

Despite the cold and drizzly weather, attendees got their first look at the shiny, new 2019 race cars. The show was also a chance to give back to the community: All donations went to the American Cancer Society Relay for Life, and Auto Value matched the first $500 donated by the attendees.

Twenty-five cars lined up in the parking lot with jars for donations, with the car in each class raising the most funds declared the “People’s Choice.” A grand total of $1,624.86 was raised.

Individual class People’s Choice winners were Brandon Puschinsky, Mini Stocks; Peyton Edelman, Wissota Hornets; Josh Berg, Wissota Pure Stocks; Garrett Masurka, Wissota Mod Fours; Brandon Bahr, Wissota Midwest Modifieds and Wissota Super Stocks; Alan Olafson, Wissota Modifieds; Kevin Bahr, Wissota Late Models. Berg raised the most funds of all classes.

Bemidji Speedway has been a work in progress all spring. The track has had extensive work with the high banks carved down considerably, creating a wider and safer surface. New fencing, guardrails and fresh paint were added.

Nine classes of cars will be on hand for opening weekend on Sunday-Monday, May 26-27. Practice is also scheduled for 1 p.m. Saturday, May 25. Sunday’s races will begin at 4 p.m. with Monday’s to follow at 2 p.m.

Cole Isensee will be flagging this year, with assistance by Chris Isensee. Dave Christoferson will be the back straight flagman, and Mike McAdams will serve as the track tech inspector.

The final Sunday of races will be August 25, and the season ends on September 21-22 with the annual Paul Bunyan Stampede.