Oh baby, what a race on opening night at Jamestown!

Friends Chris Ritter and Scott Gartner went side-by-side in a special three-lap race Saturday at Jamestown Speedway, before Gartner edged ahead in his red Friesen Performance IMCA Modified and revealed to the world that track co-announcer Pelkey and her husband and assistant flagman Jessup Pelkey would be having a baby girl in September. (Photo by Jon Breckel)

JAMESTOWN, N.D. (May 25, 2024) – Jamestown Speedway is the track where Becca and Jessup Pelkey met, where they got engaged, and where they spend most of their Saturday nights during the race season.

So when it came time to hold the gender reveal to announce whether their first child, due in early fall, would be a boy or girl, Jamestown was the obvious location.

Close friends Scott Gartner, who drives a red Friesen Performance IMCA Modified, and Chris Ritter, driver of a blue WISSOTA Street Stock, agreed to help with the reveal, held during the May 25 opening night show.

The Pelkeys got a card, with the baby’s gender written on it, in a sealed envelope from their obstetrician. They gave that envelope to Gartner and Ritter, who had a day to script out the three-lap race they’d run during intermission Saturday at Jamestown.

Becca, a co-announcer and race writer for the Jamestown Speedway, took to the microphone to tell fans about the race before watching from victory lane. Jessup was perched in the flag stand and might have had the best seat in the house.

“When they were coming out on the track, I told them on the RaceCeiver to make it a fun race, make it exciting but make it clear and obvious so I don’t have to have a heart attack guessing who won,” he said. “They were going fast the first lap and I was thinking this is a legit deal. The second lap came by and they were neck and neck almost the whole way and I was thinking I didn’t have a clue what the baby was going to be.”

“Chris started pulling ahead and I was thinking is this going to be a boy? Then Scotty with the red car ended up pulling it out at the end.”

Due date for Baby Girl Pelkey is Sept. 8.

“The whole thing was very awesome. I’m overwhelmed and happy. I didn’t care if it was a boy, I didn’t care if it was a girl. I only want a happy, healthy kid and finding out it was a girl was amazing,” said Jessup. “It’s another little Becca to chase after. I was overwhelmed and extremely happy.”

The Pelkeys had gotten the idea for their gender reveal from Gartner’s two years ago, adding their own unique on-track approach.

“We thought, what if we did a race, with a red or pink car for a girl and blue car for a boy. We’re fortunate we have friends with cars with those colors,” Becca explained. “This could not have worked out more perfectly.”

Becca, a life-long North Dakotan, was working for John Gartner Sr. doing timing and scoring for the Dakota Classic Modified Tour while Jessup, a Minnesota native, was working a spur-of-the-moment job for IMCA.TV when they met at Jamestown in 2016.

They got engaged there during the July 3 Fireworks Spectacular in 2019 and have spent most of their Saturday nights during the season at Jamestown since.

“I really didn’t know how the race between our two close friends was going to turn out until they came out of turn four and you could see the red car of Scotty Gartner start to pull away coming to the checkered flag. Then I knew for sure it was a baby girl,” Becca said. “It was a great way to find out with our family and friends and the crowd really got into it as well. They were on their feet cheering. It was a super fun, and a cool way to incorporate something we love, which is racing, into finding out that we will have a baby girl.”

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