ROCK RAPIDS, Iowa (KELO) — Rapid Speedway in Rock Rapids, Iowa opened its season April 24th. The track suffered its first rain out of the season last Friday, but owner Dereck Van Der Brink says it’s been a solid start to the season, and a rewarding seven years since he took over. He’ll spend this summer looking to build on last year’s success.
For Rapid Speedway Track Owner Dereck Van Der Brink, the 2020 season will be one to remember.
“Last summer we ran for the first time, I don’t know what the record is or what the dates are, but we ran our full schedule last year without a rain out. So we had 20 events and no rain,” Rapid Speedway Track Owner Dereck Van Der Brink said.
The pandemic even pushed the season back, and originally there were no fans allowed in.
“We ran two nights that way. It’s just not the same. We need fans in the stands. It worked but it’s way better when there’s people there. The driver’s get out of the car and you want to hear the cheers or even the boos,” Van Der Brink said.
Rock Rapids Speedway was drawing crowds, whether they were lifelong fans or new to the sport.
“We were open and going. People were checking out the races. I think I saw more new fans last year than ever before,” Van Der Brink said.
Van Der Brink is heading into his 7th season as the speedway’s owner.
“The original plan was to run it one year just to keep the place open and hand off the baton to somebody else and they could run with it,” Van Der Brink said.
But a memorable first season changed that initial plan.
“The third week we were under water, flooded. Seeing the support from family again and community was huge. Knowing that they had my back and were going to stick with me kind of made it easier to keep going obviously for that first year,” Van Der Brink said.
And it’s been a joyful ride ever since.
“It’s fun. There’s time that it’s a blast, it’s a fun job. We really like the drivers and the fans that we’ve gotten know now over the years and they like us. So we keep coming back,” Van Der Brink said.
Races are set to return to Rock Rapids this Friday with the races set to start at 7:30.