BEMIDJI -- Drivers, crews and fans have waited a long time to hear the news that Bemidji Speedway will finally open for the 2020 season. The opener is set for July 12 when the gates will open at 2 p.m. with racing starting at 5 p.m.

The show will include Wissota Modifieds, Wissota Super Stocks, Wissota Midwest Modifieds, Wissota Mod Fours, Wissota Pure Stocks, Wissota Hornets and Bemidji Mini Stocks.

Track promoter/owner Tonja Stranger also announced that the Northern Renegade Sprints will be on track July 19.

Prior to the race dates, the Bemidji Speedway Car Show will take place on Saturday, July 11, and will be held on the track for the first time. Admission is free for fans. All classes of cars are invited for the show.

The “World Famous Chicken Shack” will also be open for business. The Chicken Shack will once again be open this weekend on Friday from 4-8 p.m., Saturday from 12-8 p.m., and Sunday from 12-7 p.m.

Races will continue each Sunday through the summer starting at 5 p.m.

Cars turn out for fourth practice session

The speedway held its fourth practice day Sunday, June 28, with a great turnout of cars to put a few laps on before the opener on July 12.

The following drivers were among those turning laps on Sunday.

Fran Hauber, driver of the No. 2H car, has been racing for 21 years. The Park Rapids racer competes in the Wissota Mod Four class and plans on racing at Bemidji and Brainerd. “I’m not happy about it but we just have to deal with it,” he said about the delay.

Brainerd driver Patrick Specht is in his first year of racing and drives the No. 17s Wissota Mod Four. He plans on racing at Bemidji, Brainerd, Princeton and Ogilvie.

Bemidji racer Alex Johnson is in his ninth year of racing. He races the No. 18 car in the Wissota Midwest Modified class. His plans are to race at Bemidji, Grand Rapids and Hibbing.

Joey ”Scooter” LaValley is from Bemidji and is in his first year of racing along with his dad, Jason. He has raced three times so far in 2020 and plans on racing his No. 11 Wissota Pure Stock at Bemidji, Grand Rapids and Devils Lake, N.D.

Jason LaValley is also in his first year of racing and races his No. 17 in the Wissota Midwest Modified class. He has raced five times so far in 2020 and plans on racing in Bemidji, Grand Forks, N.D., and Devils Lake.

Littlefork driver Dane Olson moved up from the Outlaw Mini Mod class to the Wissota Midwest Modified class this year. He has been racing for three years and plans on racing his No. 4AL at Bemidji; Emo, Ontario; Superior, Wis.; Proctor; Greenbush; and Devils Lake in 2020.

Bemidji racer Josh Berg is in his eighth year of racing and races in the Wissota Pure Stock class. He has not raced yet in 2020 and plans on racing his No. 35 at Bemidji, Grand Rapids and Hibbing.