Tietz shakes off rust at Redwood for first IMCA Stock Car win since 2016

Ken Tietz was an IMCA Sunoco Stock Car feature winner for the first time since 2016, taking the Sunday night checkers at Redwood Speedway. (Photo by Bill Keech)

REDWOOD FALLS, Minn. (June 16, 2024) – Eight years after his last IMCA Sunoco Stock Car feature win, Ken Tietz raced his way back to victory lane.

Tietz reeled in and then outran Jesse Rogotzke for the Sunday night checkers at Redwood Speedway. His career 61st win in The Class Too Tough To Tame was also his first since July of 2016, after a heat race crash left him with a multitude of broken bones along with a destroyed car.

“I’m not going to lie, it feels good to win. I kept saying I’d be back next year and next year never came,” said Tietz, from Belle Plaine. “I had Paul (Burger) over at B & B build me a new car, so I had a brand new 2017 car sitting in the garage that I could never seem to get done.”

“Priorities and just life got in the way. I was really focusing on my business. My towing business was expanding and really took off,” he added, noting the car in his garage is still not finished. “I tripped over a deal on a car, a 2022 B & B, and I hopped in that and drove it for a few nights late last year.”

He’d helped friends work on their cars and also mentored several younger drivers over the years, so Tietz wasn’t entirely unfamiliar with new technology, combining that with what he was familiar with in his new ride.

“We’ve struggled this year but I’ve gotten more comfortable and the car has gotten better every night out. I’m not going to lie, I was pretty rusty,” he said. “One of the first tracks I went to last year was North Central Speedway and between the nervousness and the excitement, I wasn’t sure if I was going down the front straightaway or the back straightaway. If it wasn’t for the cautions, I wouldn’t have known what straightaway I was on.”

His first five starts this season came at Arlington Raceway. Tietz was one of two drivers accepting the back row challenge in the June 8 show and came up just short in his bid for the $500 hard charger bonus.

After finishing 13th in his previous Redwood outing, he led a top five consisting of Rogotzke,  Dan Mackenthun, Matt Speckman and Ryan Bjerkeset across the stripe on Sunday.

“I was pretty excited. I was like, “Wow, I can’t believe I did it, I got this monkey off my back.’ It felt good to beat up on some of the young guys. There’s a lot of talent out there. There are a lot of good drivers with good equipment up here,” said Tietz, congratulated afterwards by much of that modern-day talent as well as Bill Lund, a competitor from his early days in the division.

He’ll continue racing Arlington and Redwood, trying to get in as many laps as he can and keep knocking off any remaining rust.

“Hopefully the win Sunday night will carry through. I know I’m not going to win every night but it would be nice to be a top four competitor on a weekly basis,” Tietz said. “We’ve got really stiff competition around here. I’ve always felt if you could finish in the top four and drive it in the trailer, it was almost as good as winning.”

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