by Kevin Ramsell
Elko, MN – Two-time ASA Midwest Tour champion Dan Fredrickson is pulling overtime in his race shop getting ready for this weekend’s (Saturday, September 23, 2023) Thunderstruck 93 event at Elko Speedway in Elko, Minnesota.
Fredrickson, a five-time winner of the Thunderstruck 93, is busy preparing not only his Super Late Model, but also one for his 14-year-old son Ty Fredrickson, who made his ASA Midwest Tour debut at the Jim Sauter Classic 200 at Dells Raceway Park and finished 11th. The younger Fredrickson has many podium finishes already in the last couple of months including a second place finish this past weekend at Marshfield Motor Speedway.
“I think he has surprised everybody,” Fredrickson said when asked if his son surprised him with his great start. “I have to tell you, we took him to Elko when he was 12 and like his fourth or fifth lap would have been the fastest in practice and possible ninth or 10th in qualifying. Right away, we were like holy smokes. We didn’t race a full-size car at 12 or 13 because we wanted him to have a little more maturity and make sure we can do this without knocking fenders off when we did start.”
“In the few races, we have raced, he has passed over 100 cars in green flag conditions, not freebies you know, and I like that,” Fredrickson exclaimed. “Racing in Wisconsin is so good for development of a young driver because of the huge inverts and the quality of racing. I’m happy with that because it’s not a stats padding situation. You could finish fifth in Wisconsin and have a huge day because you passed 15 cars after qualifying second or third. You don’t learn racing by setting fast time and starting on the pole, what do you learn? You don’t learn racing, race craft or passing.”
The Thunderstruck 93 race will be special for the Fredrickson family for multiple reasons. Not only will it be the first time that father and son will be racing together, but it also honors former Elko Speedway Hall of Famer Dan Ryan, who succumbed ALS to (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) in 2009 after a three-year battle.
It wasn’t long after his passing that Ty Fredrickson was born, and Dan asked the Ryan family for permission to have Ty’s middle name be the same as Dan Ryan’s, which is Patrick.
“Ty was born shortly after Dan Ryan passed away. We talked to the family if we could put Patrick as his middle name and they were all for it,” Fredrickson recalled. “Never did I think back then that here we sit here thinking about Ty racing in the memorial race for Dan. It’s pretty cool, and I hope the race goes well.”
For the five-time Thunderstruck 93 champion, this race still has a special meaning for himself.
“He was my best friend,” Fredrickson said. “I worked on his race team, was the crew chief for his son Jake, I spent a lot of time with him. He was a pretty special guy. It’s kind of funny to think he was a big, strong, bullheaded person mentally and physically, then to get ALS. It was really hard to watch, I mean really hard.”
That friendship gave this race more meaning to Fredrickson.
“The first how many Thunderstruck races I went too, I went in there with a huge chip on my shoulder. I must win, no matter what,” Fredrickson recalled. “Now I am trying to go there with the mindset that I would like to win it if I could, but I want it to be a special moment for my son Ty. I have one guitar for each of my five kids, so I don’t need anymore for myself, but I want my own son to get one cause my shelf is full.”
Oh yeah, when asked if the scenario came down to Ty Fredrickson leading with his father in second…
“Well, I will probably be a little more gentle than to anybody else,” Fredrickson said with a chuckle. “We are both still going to go for the win. I would expect the same thing out of him.”
Not only is he a father, but also a mentor and coach to his son and gives this assessment.
“He really has not ran into anybody to pass them. He is so smooth and keeps the tires good, he really hasn’t had to get rough with anybody yet. I’m proud of that fact too because the people that have raced against him have given him the respect because he is not your typical kid out there crashing the hell out of everybody.”
Fredrickson said that he doesn’t plan on hanging up his helmet anytime soon, but will focus more on Ty’s racing program.
After Elko, they will get ready for the 54th Annual Oktoberfest Race Weekend at the La Crosse Fairgrounds Speedway in West Salem, Wisconsin.
“It’s definitely going to be fun, but we are shifting the focus to him,” Fredrickson said. “I would like to race against him a couple of times before I quit completely. Elko will be the first one and Oktoberfest will be the second. It should be a lot of fun, but I fear I won’t serve him well if I am dividing my focus. But in the back of my mind, that is the only negative, but I think it will be a lot of good times and I some of my old crew guys coming to help at both races, so we should be well geared up.”
The Thunderstruck 93 is the 11th race of the 2023 season for the ASA Midwest Tour. The 125-lap race will have a 10-minute break at lap 93 in honor of Dan Ryan.
Along with the ASA Midwest Tour, the Elko Speedway Late Models, Power Stocks, Thunder Cars, Legends and Bandoleros will also be in action.
Front gate opens at 4:30pm with racing and qualifying underway at 6pm.
For more information, visit Midwesttour.racing.