February 22, 2017 – Mark Dobmeier and the Jimco Racing/Polaris #13 team headed to Volusia Speedway Park in Florida to kick off their 2017 season last week. It may be tough to top 2016. The team notched thirteen victories and came home with around $80,000 for two Badlands Motor Speedway championships. This was the Grand Forks, North Dakota driver’s first time at Volusia and it was a good start to the season amongst the strong competition assembled. Qualifying went well, and Mark made four out of the five features contested. The team will next head to The Dirt Track at Las Vegas to compete with the World of Outlaws March 8 and 9.
The long winter of preparation paid off for the team. “We were happy with our runs,” says Mark. “We had speed right away, and we made the feature four out of the five nights. There were 35-40 cars, and there wasn’t anybody slow. It was the cream of the crop.”
A practice session was held before things kicked off with the All Stars and World of Outlaws. “The practice night on Tuesday helped a lot,” says Mark. “We haven’t had any laps on that track, and we tried all kinds of things. That allowed us to play around a little bit. In a normal situation, there’s no practice night, so that was to our advantage. We were able to fine tune some things.”
Mark timed in fifth quick in his group Wednesday and second quick in his group on Thursday with the All Stars. He topped at 15th and 16th quick with the Outlaws. “We know our racing is usually good, so it’s important to get qualified in well,” he says. “I compare (Volusia) to Knoxville, but it doesn’t have two stretches. There’s a stretch on the front, but it’s a D shape where the backstretch bends. That allows you to carry a lot of speed.”
The WoO opener saw Mark finish one spot out of the top ten on Friday. Saturday was a wash, and he checkered 19th in the finale. “We had a five-day stretch, so everything was fresh in our memory,” he says. “We were able to try things throughout the week. We were able to find out what worked and what didn’t.”
Amongst the tough competition, the team was pleased with their efforts. Many top teams were on the trailer come feature time. “We know our stuff is good, but it’s nice to prove it on race night,” says Mark. “All in all, it was a great week and we gained a lot of knowledge and got a good start to the season.”
The only show Mark missed was the day show on Sunday. “I’ll give the track prep people credit,” he says. “It was a day show, but for what it was, they made the best of it. I think it was a fair racing surface every night. They only had the one that rubbered up, which can be expected when you’re racing that many nights in a row.”
The team is now focused on Las Vegas. “The hauler is on its way to Vegas right now,” says Mark. “We’ll head there March 8 and 9 and run with the Outlaws. After that, we’ll focus on starting the season around the Midwest in April or so.”