Brandon Beeter's return to Nodak Speedway has been near dominant and it comes as no surprise to the track's IMCA Hobby Stocks points leader and defending champion Dana Brandt.
"I knew Brandon took a couple years off here and when I heard he was gonna race again I knew he'd be a top competitor," Brandt said.
Brandt holds a one-point lead over Beeter after six races. Beeter, 30, took a two-year break following his 2009 title to focus on building a new house.
Minot driver Brandon Beeter is the only competitor to win four races at Nodak Speedway this season. Beeter returned to the track after a two-year break to build a new house.
The time away from the track hasn't slowed the Minot native's momentum. Beeter is the only driver in any class with four Nodak wins this year and has added four more wins in Williston. He's in second place in the state standings, according to IMCA's posting on June 17.
"Very gratifying, it feels good that all the hard work that we put in in the offseason, it makes it worth it that you win these races," Beeter said.
Beeter spends about 15 hours each week in the garage with the help of his pit man Andrew Sebastian. The duo is spending less time on the engine this season because Beeter, like Brandt and others, decided to use a crate motor. Instead of building the motor piece by piece, the crate is purchased ready to be placed in the vehicle.
"You can't open it up," Sebastian said. "They got the intake manifold riveted down and you got the oil pan riveted to it, so you can't open up the motor and tinker with it."
The decision has allowed the team to work closely on other parts of the car and focus on racing. The car, which is the same machine from the 2009 championship, has its share of bruises.
Beeter still managed to win a race this season after his No. 47 car sustained damage when it climbed the wall and fence on the front straightaway.
"I was ready to get out of the car because it scared the fun right out of me," he said. "Everybody (was) yelling at me to get back out there and go."
Beeter's poise has grown since he began racing in 1999. His interest in the sport was spurred by his father Bernie, who worked as a pit man for friends.
Brandt, 21, admires his top competitor's ease behind the wheel.
"He's definitely got a lot of talent," said Brandt, also of Minot. "He's been doing it for awhile and every time I'm racing against him I'm always learning new things.
"If I can't be in front of him, I especially like to be behind him because he's very good on the dry tracks. Ninety-nine percent of the time we race clean."
Both drivers are aware of their positions in the track and state standings, something Beeter is reluctant to acknowledge.
"I have a rule with everybody: We don't talk about points," Beeter said. "I don't like it being brought up. I try to ignore it as much as I can. ... I don't like points racing, which means you (can) take it easy to save points. I like to race to race."
Beeter's children - Peyton, 6, and Maxwell, 4 - tag along to the garage each night with their father and serve as his top motivators.
"I guess the best part is your kids, no matter what, look at you as a hero," he said, "but when you win they look up to you a lot more I guess."
Though Peyton acknowledged that her loyalty is split between dad and her other favorite hobby stocks driver Kadi Vondal.
"Do you want me or Kadi to win?" Beeter asked.
"Both of you!" Peyton chirped.