The Sheyenne River Racing Association (SRRA) was formed in the spring of 1974. Prior to that, races had been held annually during the Ransom County Fair, Under the direction of race promoter, Jim Corcoran of Grand Forks. When Corcoran expressed interest in running the races on a full-time schedule, local racing enthusiasts, spearheaded by Jerry V. Thompson and Eldon Huether, decided it was time to form a local racing association.
The first races of SRRA were held in June of 1974. Racing was held on Sundays at 2:00 p.m. throughout the summer. The races track lies on the Ransom County Fairgrounds located on the west side of Lisbon ND. Initially the track ran north and south, with the old grandstand racing west. The track was a flat ½ mile oval constructed and designed for horse racing.
In the early years of SRRA, two classes of cars competed; Street Stocks and Hobby Stocks; the Hobby Stocks being a little faster and requiring a larger financial investment. The field of drivers included many from the Lisbon and Enderlin area as well as the outlying areas of southeastern North Dakota and western Minnesota. The SRRA was run by its members with the annual election of officers and board of directors, as it is today.
After running Sunday afternoons for a few seasons, SRRA changed to Saturday evening racing in hopes of drawing more fans and cars. Also, the evening racing required less track watering to control dust problems.
By the early 1980’s SRRA, along with the Ransom County Fair Board, decided to build a new grandstand and reconstruct the race track. Construction began in the spring of 1982 and by the first of August that year, races resumed on a much smaller ¼ mile racing surface running east and west with the grandstand racing south. The summer of 1983 saw SRRA back to racing a full schedule. Racing now was held on Sunday evenings.
The Bomber Class was added in the mid 1980’s, joining the street and hobby classes.
By the early 1990’s. with SRRA quite comfortable with its program, came the push west by Wissota, a Wisconsin based racing organization. With many area tracks joining Wissota, it became decision time once again. Wissota was fromed to make a uniform set of rules throughout the upper Midwest. Today Wissota has approximately 3,000 licensed drivers in six different classes, including Late Models, Modified, Midwest Modified, Super Stocks, Streets, and Mod Fours. It was a hard decision for SRRA to make the class changes. First came the Hobby Class, moving to the current Super Stock Class. This was particularly hard as most Hobby drivers preferred the power of the “ Big Block”. With the change to Super Stock, also came the change to small block engines.
A few seasons later came the change of Outlaw Streets to Wissota Streets. This also was a difficult change as many of our local drivers also raced at West Fargo, where the Outlaw Streets were still intact. After weathering a few tough years, both the Super Stocks and Streets appear healthy at SRRA.
In the late 1990’s the Mini Road Hogs joined the field. They were compact cars with a driver and co-pilot. They were replaced by Mini Trucks, becoming the newest addition to the four-class field.
In the 2000’s the Midwest Modified were added to the weekly show. Also tried in the 2000’s was the Mod Fours, but was latter dropped from the weekly show along with the Mini Trucks. Also tried in the 2000’s was moving the weekly show to a Tuesday night, but after a couple years the races returned back to Sundays nights. In 2012 the SRRA had Changed their name to Sheyenne River Speedway (SRS). In 2013 a new class, Mini Stock, was added to help the new racers who seeks experience in the preparation of a race car with minimal expense. Mini Stock are any front wheel drive or rear wheel drive car or truck with a four-cylinder, single cam engine.
Over the years SRS has produced many competitive drivers who have won track championships and special event races at several area tracks. They have won North Dakota state championships and have won or placed in the top ten of Wissota National points. Wissota is the Third largest racing organization in the United States.
Past Presidents of SRS include: Jerry V. Thompson, Mike Welton, Jim Radcliffe, Clint Devitt, Mike Hoaby, Bob Faber, Gary Geske, Allen Lambrecht, Charlie Faber, Jerry Lamb, Todd Carter, Lyn Lamb, Jason Lamb, Todd Gregor, Carl Kielb, Wade Urbach, Tom Lund, Tim Lesmeister, and now Larry Dickinson.
Over the years many changes have been made to keep the Association alive. Generating ample income to keep the track maintained and drivers paid has been a yearly struggle. The Support of local volunteers and business sponsorship has been very instrumental to SRS survival.
Information provided by Pokey Lukes.