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Auto Racing: Competing for and because of dad

Brooten's Justin Vogel races four nights a week with help from his father, Scott.

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Brooten's Justin Vogel, left, pulls ahead of Big Lake's Kurt Becken during Heat 2 of the WISSOTA Street Stocks on Thursday, June 30, 2022 at KRA Speedway in Willmar.
Joe Brown / West Central Tribune
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BROOTEN — Justin Vogel grew up around motorsports. It was something he always enjoyed, watching with his family at Viking Speedway in Alexandria.

Now 33 years old, Vogel is racing in competitions four nights a week — Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday — across west central Minnesota.

A racer since 2006, Vogel works as a mechanic, following in his father's footsteps. His father, Scott, also happens to be his boss and biggest fan, alongside his grandma, Lynn.

Justin, originally from Brooten, normally works 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. However, Scott allows him to leave work around 4 p.m. on Thursday and Friday nights, so he can make it to his races on time.

"That's a big deal. That helps a lot," Justin said of his father's flexibility. "[Scott] almost always goes to Willmar and Montevideo [to watch me race]. Those two are local tracks that I run weekly when I'm not racing at the Street Stock Tour."

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When asked why he continues to return to the racetrack and compete, Justin said the adrenaline rush is part of it, but what keeps him hooked are the friendships and memories that he makes every year.

On top of friendships and memories, Justin also has had opportunities to travel and race around the country.

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Justin Vogel of Brooten throws his hands up in excitement as he poses in front of Bristol Motor Speedway, in March 2022, in Bristol, Tenn.
Contributed / Justin Vogel

Earlier this year in March, Justin raced at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee, where he met people from all over the country along the way.

Currently racing at KRA Speedway in Willmar this summer, Justin ranks first of all racers in the WISSOTA Street Stock Division with 961 points, 84 points ahead of second-place racer Braden Brauer of Eyota (877).

Driving a black and yellow car with the number 10, Justin has finished in first place in five of nine "A Feature 1" races at KRA Speedway.

Of his other four "A Feature 1" races, Justin has two second-place finishes, one third-place finish and a sixth-place finish.

"Willmar is a very uniquely shaped racetrack," Justin said. "I think that's one of my biggest advantages there. I'm just very familiar with the racetrack ... We got the car working pretty good right now."

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Justin Vogel of Brooten celebrates a victory at KRA Speedway with two of his fans at KRA Speedway on Thursday, July 14, 2022, in Willmar.
Contributed / Justin Vogel

KRA speedway's racetrack is egg-shaped. Turns one and two are wider, whereas turns three and four are narrow.

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Justin said turns one and two allow for racers to make their maneuvers and pass their competitors, noting that consistently good racers can also make up ground on turns three and four because racers tend to mess up more.

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When it comes to a racing crew, Justin doesn't have one. Although Scott comes and helps him out when he can.

Justin enjoys racing at KRA Speedways weekly, where races are underway at 7 p.m. every Thursday.

"The crowd gets fired up," Justin said. "I have a good fan base at KRA, so that's always fun. It's usually pretty good racing."

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Related Topics: BROOTENAUTO RACINGWILLMAR
Michael Lyne joined the West Central Tribune as a sports reporter in May 2022, following his graduation from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, where he graduated with a bachelors degree in journalism and a minor degree in Spanish studies.

You may reach Michael at mlyne@wctrib.com, or by calling (320) 214-4345.
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