KRA Speedway: Fun over winning

·4 min read

Aug. 4—WILLMAR — As the KRA Speedway gears up for its final stretch of the season, Matthew Dittman, a racer from Willmar, is in the front seat in terms of clinching the WISSOTA Hornet Division.

Except, it's not about the points, nor is it about winning. So what is it about? Simple. Just racing and having fun.

"I go out there and just try to do the best I can every night of the week," Dittman said. "You're not going to win every night of the week. You're not going to be 100% successful, but you're going to try your best and do what you can do."

Following the most recent race at the KRA Speedway, Dittman has earned three straight wins, putting his overall totals at five. He leads in points with 959, 48 points ahead of second.

Dittman, 23, attempts to compete three times per week and has won 12 races this season. He leads WISSOTA racing in points with 2,173.

"I'm feeling pretty confident with the car," he said. "I have about 20 races this year and just feel confident overall with it and I'm just having fun. The main reason is to have fun. You got to have fun in life."

From an early age, the constant need for adrenaline and racing was within the elite racer.

"I grew up driving four-wheelers and dirt bikes and I always sort of just had the knack for going fast ... that's pretty much what got me into racing," he said.

After purchasing his first auto racing vehicle at the age of 18, Dittman's dreams were put in gear with no chance of slowing down, let alone stopping.

For some people, the best thing about being a successful race car driver is earning all the first-place credentials.

Not for Dittman. To him, it's all about bringing others together.

"What I mostly love about racing is the people you meet; you meet new friends, and they're all trying to do the same thing," he said. "They're all supporting each other. I've never met a nicer group of people than out there on the race track to tell you the truth ... You love going to the race and driving a car but you also love going there to see your friends. Just the people you meet honestly is probably one of the best things about it.

"You love going to the race and driving a car but you also love going there to see your friends. Just the people you meet honestly is probably one of the best things about it," Dittman added.

With success continuing to rack up this season, the young racer explained what makes him so mystique when on the track.

"I just take it one week at a time and hope for the best," he said. "Try to finish the race, try to get no [Did Not Finish] if I can. Just look over the car every night if I can. After every race for sure. Making sure everything is up to par on it pretty much.

"You try to win. If you don't, you don't. But if you do, that's a huge plus."

Aside from the KRA Speedway, Dittman has competed on eight race tracks, including Montevideo, St. Cloud, Superior, Wis., Watertown, S.D., and Fergus Falls.

Still, there's no place like the home track.

"Willmar is a really nice track to go to. The people there are really nice and great," he said. "I've lived in Willmar my whole life. It's good to put Willmar on the map a little bit. It's always good to go to your hometown."

As his success continues to rise at a fast pace, the young racer said he doesn't feel any pressure on the track when he's racing. In fact, he feels nothing.

"I think everybody races really smooth and clean in Willmar. I believe that when I put the helmet on and get on the track, really all your worries in life just go away," he said. "All you're focused on is trying to win the race. You don't think about anything else, it's crazy. Your visor can be 90% covered in mud and you won't even notice it until the end of the race."

Dittman will be going for his fourth consecutive win at the KRA Speedway at 7 p.m. Thursday.

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