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MailTribune.com
  • AUTO RACING

    Northern Exposure

    Local driver Braaten turning heads in IMCA Northern Sport Mod class
  • WHITE CITY — Quantifying Jorddon Braaten's success in racing may be done by counting his wins, tabulating his points or — less precisely but just as telling — tallying the number of T-shirts with the family name on them seen at Southern Oregon Speedway.
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    • JORDDON BRAATEN
      WHO: 21-year-old old Central Point resident who has won five IMCA Northern Sport Mod races and sits atop the points standings with 220. He won the street stock title at Southern Oregon Speedway las...
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      JORDDON BRAATEN
      WHO: 21-year-old old Central Point resident who has won five IMCA Northern Sport Mod races and sits atop the points standings with 220. He won the street stock title at Southern Oregon Speedway last year before taking on the new class.

      up next: Thursday, Fireworks Extravaganza, Southern Oregon Speedway, 6 p.m. Racing will include dwarf cars, Sport Mod, mini stocks, street stocks and Hornets.
  • WHITE CITY — Quantifying Jorddon Braaten's success in racing may be done by counting his wins, tabulating his points or — less precisely but just as telling — tallying the number of T-shirts with the family name on them seen at Southern Oregon Speedway.
    Increasingly, it seems, the attire with Braaten Racing on the front and No. 84 on the sleeve is appearing in the stands.
    And if the fans are wearing them, Braaten figures, he must be doing something right.
    Indeed he is.
    The 2010 Crater High graduate owns five wins in 10 starts and sits atop the local International Motor Contest Association Northern Sport Mod standings with 220 points.
    After spending four years racing in the street stock class and claiming the track title last season, the 21-year-old Braaten put his vehicle up for sale and committed to the new division. He says he had always wanted to graduate to the class and that, ultimately, he'd like to race in the modified division.
    Northern Sport Mod is one of the fastest growing IMCA classes because it allows drivers to experiment with modified racing in different states at the lowest possible cost. Southern Oregon became a sanctioned track this year after 'B' modified drivers expressed interest.
    Braaten — who is known for his clean racing and patience in White City — could have played it safe and returned to street stock after a season "that couldn't have gone any better," but he says he wanted to push himself. So he and a close group of family and friends invested countless hours during a five-month project to build a new car from scratch.
    One important step toward the mastery of the class was understanding his vehicle's suspension.
    "It's definitely a big learning curve," he says. "The cars are more complex. You've got to figure them out."
    Northern Sport Mod drivers can compete nationally. Braaten isn't in enough races to do that and is focused on the local track and Siskiyou Motor Speedway in Yreka, Calif., where he's usually in a group of about nine other cars.
    "Guys up there really high in points race three or four days a week and usually in the Midwest," Braaten says.
    Around here, his transition into Northern Sport Mod has been a smooth one.
    Braaten took second to Rob Fitzsimmons in the A main at Southern Oregon Speedway last Saturday and secured another second at Yreka on Sunday. He'll race in White City Thursday and possibly at Siskiyou Motor Speedway Friday.
    "I would love to race more if I could," says Braaten, who works for his father Don at Don Braaten Painting. "I would race all the time if I could."
    For Don, helping his son succeed has been a thrill.
    "We are absolutely having a ball," Don says. "We have definitely done our homework, but the kid pays attention to all the details on the car, what it's doing, and also what the track is doing."
    Unlike most of his racing cohorts, Jorddon is the first in his family to compete. He was around 7 when Don took him to one of their first races, in Yreka to see friend Jerry Severson.
    "We were hooked," Don recalls.
    Jorddon bypassed youth racing and didn't compete himself until 2010.
    His mother, Melissa, has also played an important role. She came up with his unique name — "she had the clever idea," he says — and she created T-shirts with the family name. Sometimes they sell for $10 or $12, Don says, but just as often they are given away.
    At this rate, they may be a collector's item.
    Reach reporter Dan Jones at 541-776-4499, or email djones@mailtribune.com. Find him online at twitter.com/danjonesmt
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