Jamestown Speedway preparing for busy 2024 season

May 22—JAMESTOWN — The Jamestown Speedway is preparing for race cars to speed around the dirt track all summer long in the 2024 racing season.

The track held the annual Test and Tune races on May 18. Jamestown Speedway owner Tim Baldwin estimates that the event had 60 race cars participate, which is what the track averages for the Test and Tune event.

"It actually went really well," Baldwin said. "It rained Friday night and then the crazy wind yesterday (May 18), we delayed the start by a couple hours, let the wind go down and things dry out a little bit. It was incredibly well attended, we were really surprised at how many people showed up and saw lots of new racecars and people that changed classes or bought cars for the first time. It was pretty exciting for our first night out, so to speak, at the races."

Despite the lead up to the race having to be delayed because of inclement weather, Baldwin said the rain actually helped the track.

"One of our jokes with track prep and getting ready, a thunderstorm on Friday night usually makes for good racing on Saturday just because you get all that good natural rainwater into the track," Baldwin said. "There's no way to do that with the water truck and water from the well. Usually after a thunderstorm, we've got good conditions and we had that yesterday for Test and Tune."

Baldwin said some of the standouts from the preseason races were Tanner Jacobson and Reed Ketterling.

Baldwin said they haven't found many issues with the racetrack or the equipment after sitting for the winter. This season, Baldwin said the biggest challenge is the unpredictability of the weather.

"We're gonna hopefully have a good plan to get some clay added onto the race track this year," Baldwin said. "That's always a little bit stressful, a little bit challenging when you do that, hoping everything works out well and you don't have any unintended consequences of that."

The racing season will officially get underway at 7 p.m. Friday, May 24. The Jamestown Speedway will once again see hobby stocks, bombers, INEX legends, Wissota Midwest Mods and Street Stocks, IMCA modifieds and slingshots run this year. Baldwin said that the track is seeing new people racing and changing classes.

"I think there's some guys and gals who have been racing for a couple, three years now and I think they're getting to set to have some real good years in the classes that they're in," Baldwin said. "Aside from that, the response so far from sponsors and from the community has been really good for the Speedway as we get started. So that's usually a good sign and then just feel good about the schedule this year."

As far as breakout racers, Baldwin said he thinks Willie Siebert, Skylar and Talon and Cory Seckerson and Shawn and Josh Wiest are all primed for big seasons.

"The legends have a ton of young guns in there," Baldwin said. "Alex Kukowski is always a force to be reckoned with, there's some younger kids like there's Ty Olson, there's Gus Jensen, some of those guys, it's gonna be an interesting year. I think things are wide open this year."

Baldwin said this year the race track will be hosting a late model show and they will be hosting racing during the Stutsman County Fair this summer. They will also have two sprint car shows on the track.

"We're pretty excited about that," Baldwin said. "We haven't done that for five, six years. So, we're excited to be a part of the fair again this year, the Stutsman County Fair. (We are) putting on a Wednesday night show on that week. We got the MOD tour coming back, we've kind of got a new group running along with the old group, so that's an interesting dynamic with the experience mixed with some fresh ideas and fresh energy. So we're excited for that week."

Baldwin said he expects this summer to be busier for the track than last year.

"They always feel busy to us," Baldwin jokingly said. "... Last year our schedule was a little bit light, not necessarily on purpose, sometimes with the racing schedule, it depends on how the calendar falls and where the holidays are at. Last year, I think we only had 11 or 12 nights that were on the schedule. This year, we're back to a full schedule in August ... things are a little bit different with the fair race being on a Wednesday, being earlier in the week. June looks a little bit different for us this summer."