Nelson emerges as youngest track champion in Cedar Lake Speedway history

The Cedar Lake Speedway was founded in 1957, and today the state-of-the-art 3/8-mile high-banked clay oval is one of the nation's leading short track facilities.

Sixty-six years after opening the gates for the first time, a new record-holder emerged on Aug. 26 when Cade Nelson of Hermantown, Minn., captured his first USRA Late Model feature win at the track and secured the 2023 track championship.

At the age of 13, Nelson is the youngest track champion in Cedar Lake Speedway history.

Having good genes doesn't hurt. He is the son of five-time track champion Darrell Nelson, who is tied with Dave Can for the second-most Modified wins at the track with 46. Craig Thatcher leads the category with 60 career wins.

In nailing down the track championship, Cade Nelson held off Justin Sass of Elgin, Minn., by 28 points, with two-time USRA Late Model national champ Lucas Peterson of Grand Meadow, Minn., winding up third in the final standings.

But wait, there's more...

As of Sept. 12, Cade Nelson also finds himself atop the USRA Late Model national points battle and is the runaway leader for national Swift Springs USRA Rookie of the Year honors.

Behind Nelson, the rest of the top five nationally are Chad Prissel of Rock Falls, Wis., Michael Hucovski of Corcoran, Minn., and Matt McEathron of Wausau, Wis.

Meanwhile, two-time defending USRA Late Model National Champion Dylan Kromschroeder of Cambridge, Minn.,  is sixth in national points with several races to go before he reaches the 20-race threshold.

The Cedar Lake Speedway has one more event remaining on the 2023 calendar when officials host the Legendary 100 on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, Sept. 14-16. All three nights feature USRA Late Models competing for national points in the Summit USRA Weekly Racing Series.

Summit USRA Nationals nears: The 10th Annual Summit USRA Nationals powered by Chevrolet Performance returns to the "Diamond of Dirt Tracks" on October 2-7. This year's event will feature USRA Modifieds, Medieval USRA Stock Cars, USRA B-Mods, USRA Hobby Stocks and USRA Tuners.

Racers are encouraged to register online now at or you can download the entry form here and then mail or fax your completed form. You can also call the USRA office at (515) 832-6000 to sign up. Fans can purchase tickets online here.

USRA moving fast forward: For more than two decades, the USRA has attracted more and more racetracks and dirt track racers each year through fair, logical and cost-effective rules accompanied by an organization that puts the racers, racetracks and their fans first. During the 2023 Summit USRA Weekly Racing Series, more than 60 of America's finest dirt ovals will host more than 1,000 nights of racing.

USRA competitors can register online here or call (515) 832-6000 to register by phone. You can also download the application here and then submit your completed form by email at or fax at (515) 832-7958.

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