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Mitchell resident competes for third racing title

(Photo courtesy of Brad Letcher/Chaos Photography) Corey Elward, of Mitchell, competes earlier this year at the Dakota State Fair Speedway in Huron.

Mitchell's Corey Elward is chasing his second consecutive and third overall title at the Dakota State Fair Speedway in Huron.

Elward has 213 points after a win Saturday in the Midwest Mod division and leads second-place Adam Brotherten, of Huron, by 15 points.

The Midwest Mod is one of five divisions at the track, all of which have specifications on how a car can be assembled.

Elward said his car is made up of very little stock parts -- or parts from the original vehicle.

Elward has been racing since 1996 and has been competing in the Midwest Mod division in Huron since its inception in 2008. He claimed the 2009 title as well as coming away a champion last year.

He said he got started by helping racers at Mitchell's Roll-N-Wheel Raceway.

"I had some friends that raced in Mitchell and I started helping them and I ended up buying a car to race and it was all downhill from there," Elward said.

Elward said he doesn't worry about the standings when he goes to race and he just goes to enjoy his time.

"I don't take it too serious," he said. "I'm just out to have fun. Some people go fishing or do other things, but I go racing."

This season, Elward's racing a different car than he has the last few years. After last year's championship he said he sold his car and bought a new one for a new challenge.

"You don't get attached to iron," he said when asked why he would sell a championship car.

Elward said he still enjoys going out to the track each weekend, but he's unsure of how long he will continue his racing career.

"I'm telling myself one more year," he said when asked how long he would continue with the sport.

"It's getting to the point where I've had my fun. It ties up your weekends and your week so much and you forget about other things, but sometimes it is all worth it."

The 36-year-old Elward said he spends a couple of hours every night doing maintenance on his car and uses any winnings from races on the car.

"You really don't win much," he said. "We put all the money back into the car. We don't do it for the money, we do it because we enjoy the cars."

Elward said his favorite part of racing is the friendships gained.

"The friendships that we've built up over the years almost turn into family," he said. "There are a lot of good friends that we've met and we've had a lot of fun."

Elward said he is very grateful for the support he is given by family, sponsors and fans.

"We have so many friends from the area that go up for the races," he said. "There are quite a few people from Mitchell who go up to see the locals. I appreciate all the support."