Jake Timm knows the Mississippi Thunder Speedway like the back of his hand.
His parents — Bob and Paula Timm — are in their 12th year of owning the Speedway, having put in thousands of hours and money to build one of the premier dirt track facilities in the Upper Midwest.
For Jake, the track has become a second home. The 23-year-old Winona native started racing dirt bikes when he was 4 before steadily climbing the ladder of dirt track racing. In fact, one can sense the pride in his voice when he talks about the Speedway, knowing full well the amount of work that was put into it. It’s something he tries to take in before every race at MTS.
“It’s been really cool for me to watch and be a part of,” Timm said. “I’ve watched my dad put in endless hours to try and make it the best he can. He’s just really put his heart into that place over the last 10 years.”
The growth of the Speedway will once again be on display Thursday, when the 12th annual Rivercity Rumble kicks off. It was originally scheduled for just Friday, but was expanded by a day to allow drivers more time to travel and also enjoy the holiday weekend. More than 200 cars are expected over the two days according to promoter Tyrone Lingenfelter and will once again be streamed at RacinDirt.tv. Each night will feature the Late Model class racing for a cash price of $5,000 in addition to the B-Mods and Modifieds features. Hobby Stocks will race only on Friday. Gates open at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday and 5 p.m. Friday. It’s an event that the Speedway — along with the drivers — enjoy every year.
“It’s one of those events that we look forward to every year,” Timm said. “Rivercity is a sponsor of our race program, so it’s a big night for them and for us. Like I said, it’s something we all look forward to for sure.”
For Timm, tasting victory at MTS has never been an issue, but he has yet to notch his first Rivercity Rumble feature win. He was close last year. He led from the start in the Modified Feature before he blew his back right tire on lap 20 and was knocked out of the race.
“It’s a race that I’ve wanted to win for a long time, and last year we got really close,” Timm said. “The luck just went South for us.”
For the most part that was the only bad luck Timm and his team had in 2019, as it truly was a season to remember. They added a Late Model car to his team, something Timm said was always the goal when he first started racing because it’s the top division in the dirt track circuit. In his first ever start in the Late Model class, Timm led from start to finish to win the Dirt Kings Late Model Tour Rumble by the River 40. They soon found themselves at legendary dirt tracks like the Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio, which is owned by former NASCAR driver Tony Stewart.
“It’s almost like being in a football stadium,” Timm said. “You feel like a superstar.”
He would add six wins in the Modified division highlighted by his win at the eighth annual Modified Nationals at Mississippi Thunder Speedway that made him $7,000 richer and helped his confidence soar.
“Last year was our best year by far and that was my biggest win by far at the end of the year there,” Timm said. “It was a big boost of confidence for me and I think it was just really good for everyone to just see all the hard work and everything turned into something great. It was like reaching the goal. I couldn’t do it with the everybody that helped me. All the hours in the shop and all my sponsors. I’m just a small part of the operation. I drive it and work on it, but it’s a team effort. So when it turns into an outcome like that, it’s really special.”
This year started out strong with Timm picking up a win in the Modified feature during the Mississippi Thunder Speedway’s ‘Race to be Essential’ and has won two Late Model features just two and three weeks later, including defending his title at the Dirt Kings Late Model Tour Rumble of the River 40 on May 23. But he ran into some bad luck at Cedar Creek before a trip to Wheatland, Missouri and has finished just two of his last 10 races. Yet, he’s hoping a little home cooking at his “second home” will cure his latest string of tough luck.
“I feel like we have two fast race cars and I know this track as good as anyone,” Timm said. “Hopefully, it goes well for us.”
Alex VandenHouten can be reached at email@example.com or via Twitter @AlexVandenhout1
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