West Fargo's Red River Valley Speedway is the perfect experience for the whole family
Fargo-Moorhead is known for a lot of things, be it football national championships, fantastic restaurants and breweries, or a great art scene. But what you might not know is West Fargo is home to Red River Valley Speedway, which offers some of the best racing around and even attracts some of the biggest racing names in the world—more on that later! I sat down with competition director Nicky Skalicky to learn more about the speedway’s history, this year’s racing schedule, and some of the unique experiences families can look forward to this season.
Nick Skalicky and the history of the Speedway
They say that once racing is in your blood, it stays forever. And although Skalicky has been retired as a driver for some time, his involvement in motorsports is greater than ever. He started the Red River Kart Club in 2010 with the goal of keeping the cost of kart racing affordable for families and their youth. Since then, the club has grown significantly and races Monday nights throughout the summer, just down the road from Red River Valley Speedway.
The speedway, which sits on the Red River Valley Fairgrounds, was founded in 1967 and has hosted some notable names throughout its history, from NASCAR legends like Kenny Wallace, Tony Stewart, and most recently, 2021 Cup Series Champion Kyle Larson. Legendary World Of Outlaw Sprint Car drivers like Doug Wolfgang and Steve Kinser have also raced at the speedway, along with many other local stars throughout the years.
In 2010, the track was reconfigured from its original halfmile distance to three-eighths of a mile, along with other renovations to make it an even more exciting and immersive experience for the whole family. In 2016, the track reopened, once again welcoming back Friday night racing.
“We’re gaining fans,” Skalicky said. “If you look at now versus 20 years ago, there’s so much going on [in the FM area]. And that’s why we try to put the best product out there.”
Skalicky has a particular interest in investing in the youth and helping raise the next generation of race car drivers. Additionally, a lot of work has gone into making race days even more of a family-friendly experience. In the grandstands, there are multiple seating options to fit you and your family’s comfort level, including a non-alcoholic section. In addition to the exciting racing, Skalicky and the speedway are also working to bring food trucks and other enjoyment to the track to welcome more fans to race events.
One of the unique things racing provides is an immersive experience for fans, especially kids. In between races, sponsors and the speedway provide special activities for kids, whether it be meeting drivers in the pits and receiving a hero card and autograph, or getting to join the race winner on the track after the race. Some of the drivers also like to do giveaways and give bicycles to kids.
“The kids really like coming out onto the track,” Skalicky said. “They sit in the stands and watch [the racing] all night, but when they finally get to put their feet on the track, that’s pretty cool [for them].”
This year, World of Outlaws will return to the track for the first time in two years, which provides some of the best racing the track sees during the course of its season. Late models hit the RRVS track for a special race during their touring schedule on June 28, and the sprint cars will visit the speedway later this summer on August 26.
Meet 3 Local Drivers Who Are Racing at Red River Valley Speedway This Season
58-year-old racing veteran and Moorhead, MN native Tim Church began racing in 2016 and quickly became a regional sensation, having won National Rookie of the Year and Northern Region Rookie of the Year in the IMCA series. His favorite racing memory was his first win at RRVS his rookie year. With his wife Bonnie as the crew chief, the Church family is a team, both on and off the track. Bonnie has even won Crew Chief of the Year at Norman County Speedway in 2019.
“This is our eighth summer racing, and I could never have achieved this without my best supporter, my wife,” Church said. “[She’s] always there for me through the good races and the poor races.”
You can watch Church hit the track Friday nights at Red River Valley Speedway in the IMCA Hobby Stock class.
Felton, MN native Andy Pake has been racing since he was 11 years old. His inspiration for racing came when the ISOC snowmobile racing circuit came to town—he signed up to race and has been racing ever since
At Red River Valley Speedway, Pake races IMCA sprint cars. “My dad raced sprint cars and snowmobiles, so he helps me work on my car and snowmobiles, set them up, and also teaches me a lot about how to drive and race,” Pake said. “I like how [sprint cars] are responsive and fast when they are working right. With the wing on the top, they hook up really well and it feels like you’re on a rail around the corners.”
Pake’s favorite memory at Red River Valley Speedway was winning his first sprint cars feature in the summer of 2022. “I made a few passes and got to the front, and it was really fun,” he said.
You can watch Pake race Friday nights at Red River Valley Speedway in the IMCA Sprint Cars class.
Some people take an interest in racing later in life, and some people are born with racing in their blood. That’s been exactly the case for West Fargo native Torey Fischer, who grew up in a racing family and frequented Red River Valley Speedway.
Fischer’s career began at age 7, when she started racing gokarts. Through the years she and her dad have built and raced in various classes, from Hornets to Hobby Stock. Today, she races in the IMCA Northern Sport Mod class in her #9 teal and white scheme, the number being a tribute to her childhood favorite NASCAR Cup Series driver, Bill Elliott. She is vying for her first win in the series—and I have a feeling her time is coming. She’s already won in Hornet and Hobby Stock classes.
“The racing community has become family to me and that’s what I love about this sport,” Fischer said.
Off the track, Fischer is a business owner, having started Birdy’s Detail—an auto detailing shop in West Fargo—a year ago.
You can watch Fischer race Friday nights at Red River Valley Speedway in the IMCA Northern Sport Mod class.