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A Noble return

Mark Noble, race car
Johnnie Phillips, Sports Editor

A familiar face has been patrolling the pits and climbing up the leaderboards at Chateau Speedway this summer.

Blooming Prairie’s Mark Noble, 68, has officially made his return to racing after initially announcing his retirement three years ago – and he hasn’t slowed down a bit.

“I intended to retire. I sold my car and a couple of engines that I had, but my friend Bob Sagen from Arthur, North Dakota, had built this car, called me up, and asked if I wanted to drive it,” said Noble.

The opportunity to get back on the track was too good to pass up.

Noble initially competed in the USRA A-Modified category, but with Sagen’s vehicle being a USRA B-Modified car, a change in categories was in order.

According to Noble, the change in category made no difference in his game plan – and the results back up that theory.

Noble has competed in four features and placed in the top five three times, currently sitting in fifth place out of 40 in the USRA B-Modified standings with 434 points.

“It feels good. It’s all racing. It doesn’t matter if you’re in a pure stock or hobby stock, modified or late model… Nowadays, I have more fun if my kids or grandkids get out and love it. I’ve got a lot of loyal fans and a good following. It’s fun to come out and see everyone. I love racing at Chateau. It’s always been my home track,” said Noble.

The Noble name goes back a long way in the southern Minnesota racing annals, with Chateau Speedway being at the center of it all.

Noble’s father, David, graduated from Blooming Prairie High School in 1952 and was a successful racer at the speedway in his famed No. 75 car.

Fast forward to 1973, and it was Mark who began his career in racing as a junior in high school.

“He had a lot of success, and I was fortunate to learn a lot from him early on. My first car was actually No. 75 as well, but we used to go into Morristown every now and then, and there they don’t allow duplicate numbers, so I switched to No. 74. It’s one below my dad, and it’s also the year I graduated high school, so it just kind of fit,” said Noble.

According to Noble, appearances on the track won’t come every week this summer, but he does intend to race a few more times in August, depending on when he and Sagen can coordinate weekend racing.

However, fans can expect to see No. 74 flying around the track with some pretty special mementos decorating the side panels of his new car.

“Bob raced in the No. 99, but even though he owns the car, he said he’d put the No. 74 on there for me, which was really nice. If you look real close on the upper lefthand corner, I have my dad’s No. 75 on there, and in the lower right corner is Bob’s No. 99. So, we’re all on there,” said Noble with a laugh.

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