Track prep

JON LANGENBERG and Randy Matteo discuss where to dump water on the racing surface at Off Road Speedway.

Every year racetracks around the country get ready strive to have their tracks as close to perfection as possible to allow drivers to be at the peak of their ability and have a chance to succeed.

Off Road Speedway has three men who have been getting the racetrack ready ever since the track opened in 2015.

"I love doing it, trying to get it perfect every week is hard to do, but we try to do it every week," Jon Langenberg said.

Langenberg and Randy Matteo have been getting the track ready since they first turned on the lights at Off Road Speedway, and then Von Clausen joined the crew a year later.

They each have their own job, but they can take on each other's duties if needed.

"All three of us know what needs to be done," Langenberg said.

For Langenberg, this is something he can easily be part of since he lives about 200 yards south from the track.

He has allowed the track to use his equipment, making it easier for the track to keep up to speed during the season.

During the season, each person on the crew will spend anywhere between five to 10 hours per week getting the track ready for Saturday nights along with working on the track all day Saturday before the drivers enter the track. They also return on Sundays for cleanup and maintenance work on the track.

"It's really a full-time job, but I can't get seem to get myself to get away from doing it," Clausen said. "I enjoy doing it, and I love to watch racing."

They will go around the track, watering it down so they can touch up the track with a box scraper. Clausen usually is in charge of watering the track while Langenberg and Matteo pack down the dirt, and they will add more water if needed.

They need to be on the same page so one of them will be there if the others can't take care of the track.

"We talk on the phone every day to talk about what's going on and to talk about what needs to be done next," Clausen said.

This will need to be done for a couple of hours during the week along with about an extra 10 to 12 hours on Saturdays.

"When all three of us are there, we will see what needs to be done," Langenberg said.

It's difficult to keep the racetrack the same every week since the weather could change from day-to-day.

"Racetracks are finicky. People just think when you show up at the racetrack and the track is perfect. You never get the same track twice because the weather is different. Prepping a track is a lot of trial and error, plus it is hard to get it perfect every night," Langenberg said. "We try to narrow it down to a science, but then it might rain and it will screw it all up."

It never helps if Mother Nature gets involved.

"It's kind of tricky. We try to make the choice of how to attack the weather," Matteo said. "Mother Nature is what we are fighting with all the time."

Despite such challenges, all three see it as an enjoyable task.

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