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Karters now KRA starters

Former go-karters pause during the intermission Thursday at the KRA Speedway. From left, Adam Prieve, 16, of Litchfield; Paul Hartman, 21, of St. Cloud; Tom Silver, 18, of Glenwood; and Justin Bjorklund, 24, of Renville. Tribune photo by Rand Middleton

WILLMAR -- Several dozen stock car racers at KRA Speedway got their first taste of racing at area go-kart tracks.

The progression is natural.

Adam Prieve, 16, will be a junior at Litchfield High School in September. This is his 10th summer racing.

"My dad and I just went to the go-kart races once when I was six and thought it would be fun," said Prieve before his Super Stock heat on Thursday at the fairground's oval. "Two years ago we came here to a race and we decided to get into stock car racing."

Prieve raced Mod-4s that first season and started out in the open wheel four-bangers again this year. When given the chance to get a Super Stocker at a good price, he and his dad jumped at it.

"It's a lot more power," said Prieve of the Supers. "With a Mod-4, the trick is to keep up the momentum going 'round the track."

In other words, "Don't slow down."

Tom Silver, who will be a senior at Minnewaska Area in the fall, has been racing for 12 of his 18 years. After 10 years karting he hopped into a Mod-4 two years ago with his father, Randy, his main wrench.

Compared to karting, it's "a lot more work and money", said Tom.

The best part of racing, he was asked?

"Winning," he replied without pause.

Silver won Wissota Rookie of the Year in his class in 2008.

That honor in the Mod-4 division went to two other KRA regulars in recent years: Paul Hartman in 2007 and Justin Bjorklund in 2005.

Bjorklund, who is from Renville, leads the KRA point standings and is third nationally.

He's sponsored by former driver Terry Zieske, whom he also works for.

Bjorklund got his start at the karting track just outside Atwater and also raced on tracks in Arlington, Cedar Mills and Alexandria. He moved to stock cars seven years ago. He's had a lot of success but some nights things do go wrong.

"Last Wednesday (June 24) I rolled up at Ada in the 20-car feature," he said. "We didn't get home until 4:30 a.m. and then we went to work on the car that day and had to cut and weld in new roll bars. But we came up here that night (Thursday) and won."

Hartman, who grew up in Willmar racing karts at Atwater, recently moved to St. Cloud.

"I have a graphic design business, screen printing, mainly t-shirts," he said.

Besides racing, he has a passion for snowboarding. He spent two recent winters at Vail and Breckenridge.

Hartman, 21, has raced 13 years, three on asphalt in Legend cars. He's third in Mod-4 points going into last night, trailing only Bjorklund and Tyler Larson of Pennock.

The four racers featured here are among at least two dozen KRA drivers who have raced go-karts. They included Jason Hoffman of Villard, Danny Bayer of Elrosa, Ryan Canon of Clearwater and Brandon Nelson of New London.

Rand Middleton
Tribune photographer/videographer. Began working in radio and at weekly newspaper in Munising, Michigan, in 1972. Started parttime at West Central Daily Tribune Sept. 1974. Fulltime news/sports beginning Feb. 1979. Married to Tribune news clerk Donna (Miller) Middleton, formerly of Kerkhoven. 2 grown children. 
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