FORT DODGE – As Bryce Sommerfeld embarks on his 14th season of racing, he took a moment to reflect on how it all got started, the challenges he’s faced, and the memories he’s made so far.
His love of racing started as a child, growing up and watching his father – Bruce Sommerfeld – race at Hamilton County Speedway in nearby Webster City. That’s where he got his start in 1997 when he turned 18 years old:
“My dad raced many years and he got me into it. One day he came home with a hobby stock that he bought from a guy in Eldora. It wasn’t the best car money could buy, but as a beginner, you don’t usually get the best of the best. That car was an iron tank though. I crashed it a few times.”
One particularly nasty crash occurred during his first couple of years racing:
“The worst accident I’ve been in was at Webster City back in the late ’90s. I was coming out of Turn 2 on the high side. The car below me came up and hit me in the left front tire. The car turned to the right and I went through the guard rail. The car diagonally came to a rest on a big piece of wood the guard rail was bolted to. I went from 50 mph to 0 in a second. I was a bit sore from that for a couple days.”
But some the happiest moments have happened in his hobby stock:
“Probably the happiest moment was winning my first race, which was at Hamilton County Speedway on July 4th, 2015. A very close second is wining my first track championship at Kossuth County Speedway in 2018.”
Built in 2005, Sports Park Raceway is now Bryce’s hometown track, but he also considers Hamilton County Speedway a home track. He also races at Kossuth County Speedway in Algona, but has plans to race at least a few times at Mason City Motor Speedway in 2021. Other stops in his racing career include:
- Marshalltown Speedway,
- Boone Speedway,
- Crawford County Speedway in Denison,
- Benton County Speedway in Vinton, and
- Fairmont (MN) Raceway.
Bryce moved to Minnesota to go to school in 2001. He returned to Iowa in 2010 and resumed his racing career in 2013. So what brought him back? He says it’s the excitement and the competition:
“The rush of going three-wide when the other car is a foot beside you. It’s addicting. I like good competition. Most guys race you clean, but there’s always that one guy.
But is there a change of division coming soon? Bryce says he doesn’t think so:
“I have only raced hobby stocks. If money was no issue, I think stock cars would be fun. Racing isn’t getting any cheaper, so I’m probably going to be in a hobby stock for a while. I’d rather be in a class I can afford and be competitive in than a class I can’t afford and struggle.”
Still, getting the car ready to race three nights a week all on his own is the biggest challenge:
“I believe track championships are won in the garage and I try to be as prepared as possible. Sometimes it’s exhausting and overwhelming but that’s racing. You have to love it, that’s for sure. I also have a very supportive family that’s always there for me.”
The goal for 2021 is the same as it was in 2020:
“Every year it’s to win a track championship. Long-term, it’s to win more track championships.”
Bryce says that he reminds racers who are new to the sport that it takes three things to be successful on the track:
“It’s time, work, and money. Be prepared. Racing has many highs and many lows. It’s all worth it in the end though. The experience…the memories.”
He also asked to thank his many sponsors:
- Flooring America,
- Gypsum Hollow Service,
- Fort Dodge Transmission,
- Arnold Motor Supply,
- Attig & Hobbs Weather Page,
- JB4 Motorsports,
- Demon Decals,
- Gary McNelly at Eliminator Chassis, and
- Clavin Painting.
Click HERE to continue to follow Bryce throughout the 2021 season of racing.
For more news and information that “covers the Iowa dirt track scene,” visit www.iowaracingnews.com.