HURON — Despite having plans derailed a bit in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, longtime Dakota State Fair Speedway promoter Orville Chenoweth was able to successfully hold one event at the 1/2-mile oval. Building on the success that racing program, Chenoweth has announced plans to host four racing events during the 2021 season.
“We need some activity in Huron,” said Chenoweth, who promoted the summer racing program at DSFS for 22 years. “I’m trying to work with all these guys (other promoters and racing officials) in case one of them decides not to race and then we could get our Saturdays back in Huron.”
The first two events slated this season will be held in conjunction with the 2021 Wheel Jam event on the South Dakota State Fairgrounds and will be part of the Structural Buildings WISSOTA Late Model Challenge Series.
The first night of racing will be June 3 sponsored by Tschetter-Hohm Clinic, while the second night will be June 5 with the $10,000-to-win event sponsored by Prostrollo Motors.
“It certainly ends up to be a pretty great weekend for all the racers and the promoters too,” said Kent Arment of Aberdeen, who is the all-time winningest driver at the Huron track with 193 feature wins and has recently joined the promoter group at his hometown track — Brown County Speedway.
“We have Wheel Jam scheduled in Huron and it certainly ends up to be a fun weekend for everybody and we have a lot o enthusiasm, a lot of cars and payout some money for sure.”
In between the two Huron events the Challenge Series will run Friday night at Brown County Speedway and then cap a four-night swing with an event on June 6 at Casino Speedway in Watertown.
“It is actually really big. It is always good of Orville to have these deals,” Arment said of the Challenge Series events, which he won in 2012 at DSFS, and which attracts the top WISSOTA late model drivers. “We’ll do the Friday deal in between to keep the guys there and have a complete weekend with Sunday in Watertown.”
Another driver looking forward to the return of racing at Dakota State Fair Speedway is Chad Becker of Aberdeen, who is the 2019 WISSOTA late model national champion and has 23 career feature wins at the Huron track.
“I love racing in Huron and I love racing for Orville, too. He’s a great promoter and I enjoy the race track there,” said Becker. “He always has good money shows too, which is definitely nice for our area, so I’m pretty excited.”
Joining the late models for the event on June 3 will be the WISSOTA street stocks and Midwest modifieds. The Midwest modifieds will return to run with the late models on June 5.
Rounding out the schedule of events planned this season at Huron oval will be racing programs on July 1 and Aug. 21, which will include all five classes — WISSOTA street stocks, Midwest modifieds, modifieds, super stocks and late models. The event on July 1 will be sponsored by Dakotaland Federal Credit Union, while the Bauman Agency will serve as the sponsor on Aug. 21.
“I plan to attend all of them,” said Dave Brooker of Tulare, who has been a fan favorite at the Huron track for more than 20 years. “That’s where I first started racing in 1996, when Orville first started promoting. That was the first time I ever raced.
“I think it’s great that we’re getting another chance to race there,” he said. “I hope everybody comes out and supports it and maybe we can build on this in 2021 and hopefully in the future have regular races there.”
Many drivers, including Arment and Becker, share the same sentiment as Brooker when it comes to the future of racing in Huron.
“I love the big track and we always have a good time there,” Arment said. “It’s fun to get on the 1/2-mile again for sure. The speed is always fun and we have a good time.
“I hope either Orville continues for sure. He’s got a hell of a nice facility there, so hopefully someone steps up to take it over if he doesn’t want to or he gets back into and does it some more,” he said. “Orville’s certainly a friend of mine and I’ve raced there what seems like 100 years or a lot of years so it would be great to see that place keep going for sure.”
Becker also relishes the opportunity to get back on the bigger track at DSFS.
“You usually don’t race on tracks that big so you kind of get a little bit of your need for speed out of the way,” Becker said. “You get a lot of room to race there and it’s a nice facility so that is kind of cool too.
“I’m kind of disappointed that it has been closed up as long as it has, because I miss racing there,” he said. “It will be nice to get it back going a little bit.”