A 'Legend' in the making
Six years ago, or so, Kasey Kurtz and family decided to head to a local race track for a good night's entertainment. One weekend of spectating turned into a whole season of spectating at local tracks. He and his family just thought it would be a fun investment to try. "I thought it was really cool," Kurtz said of his track experience that fateful night. And always being into anything with a motor and four wheels. "I decided right away I wanted to try it."
And so he did.
Kurtz, who's family moved to Marion Lake 10 years ago from Danube, MN, and into Perham about five years ago, emersed himself into the world of short track racing. After one year driving Thunder Cars at Fergus Falls Raceway, he ventured in to driving in the Legends division.
This year, the 21-year-old finished third in the semi-pro Legends season series at the Buffalo River Race Park (BRRP) in Glyndon and second in the season series at the I-94 Speedway in Sauk Centre.
His point total put him in first place overall in the Great North Legends Series, which is basically the Minnesota regional for dirt-track racing. He also ranks eighth nationally in semi-pro points.
"It's pretty cool," Kurtz said. "It's a blast driving a car like this around those dirt tracks. We get cruising pretty good."
The Legends series car is a 5/8 scale fiberglass body copy of an old car on top of a Inex spec chassis powered by a motorcycle engine. Kurtz drives a '34 Chevy Coupe with the hood and front fender from a '37 Chevy Sedan. He refers to it as his "Cadilac" Under the hood is a Yamaha FJ 1200.
All spare parts come from one dealer, 600 Racing. They are supplied from one of two dealers in Minnesota, Great Northern Legends out of the Twin Cities, and Central Minnesota Legends out of Sauk Center. It makes racing affordable and makes for a level playing field.
"It's nice, because it's all set-up and driving," Kurtz said of the Legends circuit. "There is no advantage to parts or supplies. Set-up is a big deal, but after that it all comes down to the driver."
The track at BRRP is 1/4 mile and I-94 Speedway, the track is 3/8 mile. Races are generally eight laps per heat, with a 15-lap feature to end the night.
Heat's combine Legends racers from different divisions from the young lions who are 16 and under, to semi-pro's (which Kurtz competes in), pros and masters (40+).
And they get flying around those dirt tracks. Kurtz said he gets around at about 17 seconds per lap.
"You don't pay a lot of attention to speed or overall time," Kurtz said. "It's all about finishing and where you place."
Finishing can be a problem at times. Some races can feature 8-10 cars per heat. Crashes do happen. Kurtz had the front left corner of his car ripped off at one of the final races of the season.
"With the one dealer it's nice," Kurtz said. "You just go down, give 'em a credit card, cash, or throw it on your tab and your back to your pit with the parts you need."
The body of the car is all fiberglass.
"When you hit something, it explodes," Kurtz said. "But a big crash doesn't always do much damage to the chassis. It's the fiberglass that always goes first."
Kurtz gets through the season, which was 32 shows this summer, thanks to the help of his fiance, family and friends and his local sponsors: Schmitz Motor Company, Schmitz Auto Body, Little Bear Towing, Perham Steel & Welding and O.K. Tire.
He's thought about moving to other divisions, and even racing other cars, but he likes what he's doing now.
"I love it," he said. "I don't think I can move up. I really like these guys I race with. It's real competitive on the track, but everyone's there to lend a hand after the race or have a beer together. They're a good group of guys."
Kurtz is currently going to school at Minnesota State Community and Technical College in Detroit Lakes. He is majoring in sales and marketing while working part-time at Menards.
In addition to driving, he has interest in getting into the dealer management, ownership side of Legends Cars. Looking back to his own start in racing, he's well aware of how easy it is to get future drivers hooked.
"Once you try it, you'll love it."
Along those lines, his friend Joe Kostreba, of Central Minnesota Legends in Sauk Center, is looking into renting cars to people looking to get into the sport. If there is any more interest on Legends Cars, Kurtz encourages you to visit Central Minnesota Legends at www.centralmnlegends.com or give him a call at (218)-280-3645.
"We'll see how things go," Kurtz said. "I know I love doing this, maybe someone else would too."