Herald JournalHerald Journal, Sept. 1, 2003

Ogle wins fifth time in a row; local racers crowd Arlington

By Lynda Jensen

Waverly's Ryan Ogle won his fifth feature race in a row recently for stock car racing at the Arlington Raceway in Sibley County ­ amidst a horde of other local drivers who also placed in several different categories.

Ogle easily outdistanced Clay Steele of Hopkins and Brad Braunworth from Glencoe in racing Aug. 23.

Todd Sterner of Winsted and Jeryl Motto from St. Peter were fourth and fifth.

Jason Helbrecht from Howard Lake held on for third ahead of Cleven's Rick Lloyd in the International Motor Contest Association (IMCA) Modifieds class.  

Out of the last nine races, Ogle has won seven of them, with the last five being consecutive.

His love of the sport is evident since during his third win, Ogle raced in his tuxedo for his best friend's wedding, Ogle said.

In order to make both the wedding and the race, he wore the tuxedo while he was racing to save time.

The friend was Don "Pug" Mengelkoch of Waverly, and the wedding took place Aug. 2, Ogle said. The race was number three in his five win streak.

Fellow racer Mark Weber remembers Ogle climbing out of his car, standing on the track in a full tuxedo, he said.

Ogle's pit crew is manned by friend Justin Gabbert and Ogle's son Blake, 9. Gabbert spends hours working on the car, Ogle said.

His consecutive wins are especially surprising since he's only raced for two years. He built his car from scratch last year.

His car can usually be found at Innovative Laser in the Howard Lake Industrial Park, where he works on it. Rod Fiecke, part owner of Innovative, also races in the Midwest Modified division.

There are about five races left of the season, and his friends have been kidding him that he is supposed to win the next five in a row, even though it is rare to get as far as he has, Ogle said.

Ogle is racking up points and could earn the championship this year for that class, which is decided by Sept. 27.

"Anything could happen," to prevent him winning the championship, since drivers lose points for the night if they crash, he said.

He is one of many local drivers who do stock car racing and pursue a love of the sport.

"There's quite a few locals," he commented about the Arlington crowds.

These drivers spent every Saturday during the summer racing.

There are about 23 races scheduled, Ogle said, with about 20 taking place due to rain or other circumstances.

If he wins the championship, it means the total points in his class will be added up and he will be awarded accordingly if he can gain enough wins.

Local drivers include the following in the "B" Hobby Stock class: Todd Sterner of Winsted Sam Weber of Howard Lake, and Scott Apitz of Waverly.

Jason and Nick Helmbrecht of Howard Lake race in the IMCA Modifieds, and driver Jerry Wren competes in both "B" Stock and IMCA Modified.

Drivers Mark Weber of Waverly and Josh Wren of Howard Lake compete in the Junior Sportsmen Go-Karts; and Cody Wren and Rebecca Lockwood of Howard Lake in Rookie Go-Karts.

The difference between "A" and "B" stock cars is that "B" is more of an entry level class, although the cars are physically the same, Weber said.

The Arlington Raceway is located on the Sibley County Fairgrounds in Arlington, where many local racers meet.

The racetrack is a half-mile dirt track operating in its 23rd year.

There are six classes of cars in competition every Saturday night beginning at 7 p.m.

They include Hobby A and B, IMCA Stock Cars, IMCA Modified, IMCA Sprint, Midwest Modified class and Go-Karts.

For racing schedules or ratings, go to www.arlingtonraceway.com.

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