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Archive for January, 2016

Heartland Park to host Sunday shows, four IMCA divisions

Sunday, January 31st, 2016

TOPEKA, Kan.– The green flag flies again this season at Heartland Park, with four IMCA sanc­tioned divisions running Sunday nights on the 3/8-mile dirt oval located on the south side of To­peka.

Now owned by Chris Payne, the facility will be promoted by brothers Larry and John Lowrey. Weekly race programs will feature Xtreme Motor Sports IMCA Modifieds, IMCA Sunoco Stock Cars, Karl Chevrolet Northern SportMods and IMCA Sunoco Hobby Stocks.

“We have a lot of drivers in all these divisions in the area,” Larry Lowrey said. “Our decision to sanction the Modifieds speaks for itself. They’re the class everyone wants to see and we’ve got a lot of the best Modified drivers around this area.”

Track officials are putting the finishing touches on the 2016 schedule at Heartland Park, which also includes events on the ¼-mile asphalt drag strip and 2.5-mile asphalt road course.

Tentative opening night on the dirt track is April 24. The IMCA Speedway Motors Weekly Racing point season would continue into September.

The Lowreys had promoted Heartland Park in 2006.

“We had a lot of success operating this track. I’ve worked at Thunder Hill Speedway in Mayetta as an­nouncer and run the website In The Pits. My brother and I have taken notes from all the tracks we’ve been to over the years,” said Lowrey. “We’ve been carrying that notebook around since 2001 and we’ve learned a lot from other promoters. We’ve compared IMCA’s rule package and affordability to outlaw tracks and we like their philosophy.”

A single event was held at the Heartland Park oval last season. Work to get the surface race-ready will start as soon as weather allows this spring.

“We will get the track into race shape. The surface is good now, but we’ll assess it again before deciding how much we have to do,” Lowrey explained. “We’re going to work at getting more driv­ers back into racing IMCA or coming back into the sport.”

“We have a goal to bring in the hard core fan and new race fans. You can go to other tracks that charge $12 for admission and a family of four has spent almost $50 just to get into the stands. Our adult admission is going to be $8,” he continued. “We want to bring in a whole new genera­tion of race fan.”

Lowrey anticipates sharing drivers with another new northeast Kansas venue, Atchison County Raceway, as well as Thunder Hill.

Atchison County sanctions its Modifieds and Stock Cars with IMCA beginning this season. The Modifieds, Stocks, Hobbies and Northern SportMods return to Saturday shows at Mayetta.

Local points earned at all three tracks will apply in IMCA’s Jet Racing Central Region for Modi­fieds and in the EQ Cylinder Heads Northern Region for Stock Cars. ThunderHill and Heartland Park are both part of the Big Daddy Race Cars Northern Region for Hobby Stocks.

Fire still burns for Lucas Oil MLRA champ Phillips

Sunday, January 31st, 2016

Wheatland, MO – The hair is thinning, his 50th birthday arrives later this year and he answers to “Grandpa.” But don’t dare suggest to Terry Phillips that it’s time to slow down and head for the early-bird buffet at the local dinner.

“Oh yeah, I’m as fired up as I’ve ever been,” the long-time Springfield Late Model driver said earlier this week. This on the heels of a 2015 that found Phillips in Late Model victory lane only two times, both unsanctioned events. Certainly, it was far from the lofty standards he’s set in nearly three decades on the dirt.

But consider Phillips’ “off” season resulted in a Lucas Oil Midwest Late Model Racing Association championship. It was his third series title, but first since 1996. Wins were rare, but Phillips peppered opponents with consistency. He posted nine top-five MLRA feature finishes. “It means a lot,” Phillips said of the championship. “We didn’t have the year we wanted as far as wins. But winning a championship kind of helps morale. It wasn’t bad at all.

“We ran consistent. We weren’t winning all the time, but found ourselves leading the points and we thought we ought to finish it off.” Phillips noted that he hadn’t chased a series points title “in quite a while.” He’s
been picking and choosing his spots in recent years, targeting good-paying events in both the Late Model and Modified divisions.

Plans have not been poured into a concrete mold for this season, but Phillips said he plans to frequent the MLRA schedule again. Whether that translates into points racing and pursuit of a repeat title will depend on how the early portion of the season goes. Either way, he’s optimistic that victory-lane celebrations will be more frequent. A recent venture to the Wild West Shootout in Arizona gave Phillips a chance to shake down his still near-new Black Diamond car that he began racing late last season. The results in Tucson were not what he wanted with an eighth on the final night his best finish. He was running second early in the feature before popping the wall and compromising the front end.

“We learned some stuff out there,” Phillips said. “Hopefully we’ll take that and get better. I just started running these cars at the end of last year and just ran the basic set-up. When you travel, you have to try some different things and learn what works. It’s just a different deal.” Technology continues to evolve quickly in the Late Model world. Phillips said for a guy like him, that barely knows how to operate a computer, it’s a new world. Shocks are a key issue in dialing the car in, Phillips said, and he discovered some helpful hints about that while in Tucson.

“It used to be you could figure it out on your own, but it’s a little different now,” Phillips added, noting the need to lean on chassis manufacturers for direction at times. Phillips sounded a bit like his dad, the late short-track Hall of Famer Larry Phillips, when assessing his internal fire as he ages.

Asked how long he wants to race, Phillips laughed and said, “I’m kind of like my Old Man. If I’m competitive, I’ll race. If I feel like I can’t go out and win, then I’ll quit. “Right now, I’m feeling like I have plenty of years in me. Hell, I might race 20 more years. We’ll see.”

The 2016 season begins April 1-2, at I-80 Speedway in Greenwood, Nebraska. Two complete shows make the weekend. Friday’s feature will pay  the winner $2,000 and Saturday’s winner will net $5,000.  For all of the latest news and information fans are encouraged to visit the series website at www.MLRARacing.com.

Fans may also “like” the Lucas Oil MLRA Facebook page by clicking www.Facebook.com/lucasoilmlra or follow us on Twitter at www.Twitter.com/MLRA .

Title chase? Opening weeks will chart Jason Russell’s course in 2016 USRA Modified season

Thursday, January 28th, 2016

Wheatland, MO – It was the kind of season most drivers would have celebrated. But for Jason Russell, his 2015 accomplishments hardly seemed worth raising an eyebrow. Russell, a former Lucas Oil Speedway champion in two divisions, wound up second to Jeff Cutshaw in the Pitts Homes USRA Modified points chase. He won two races
and was a contender more nights than not.

“It was OK,” Russell said this week, in reflecting upon the 2015 season. “It wasn’t really a great year.” For Russell, a 17-year racing veteran from Eugene in south central Missouri, the standard is set high. He won the 2012 Pitts Homes USRA Modified title at Lucas and followed it up with a 2013 Alps Food Store ULMA Late Model crown.

He pulled double duty in both divisions those years. In 2012 Russell nearly claimed a double championship, finishing second in the Late Model chase. “He’s always a good, strong competitor, always contending and up in the top five,” said Eric Turner, another who’s driven both Late Models and USRA Modifieds at Lucas Oil Speedway.

“There always are 6-7 cars that are always capable of competing for a win and you never know who is going to hit on it and make it happen that night,” Turner added. “Jason is always one of them.” Russell, 36, is open to getting into a Late Model again in 2016 if the right situation presents itself. That’s a division in which his younger brother, Justin Russell, won the 2015 Lucas Oil Speedway championship.

“He’s worked for it for a long time and that was nice to see for him,” Jason Russell said. Jason Russell’s priority for this year seems to be the modified program, with sponsors Eldon Drive-In and Schaeffer Racing Oil, and crew members Brian Basham and Greg Thornsbury providing support.”I really enjoy the competition,” Russell said of the USRA Modified division. “You won’t find a more competitive class in this area.”

So is breaking Cutshaw’s two-year championship reign a goal for the upcoming season? Russell said to stay tuned. Even he doesn’t know what’s ahead. “We really don’t have our plans set in stone yet,” he said. “I’ll race the A Mod, for sure. I might get in a Late Model a few times. We’ll see. I’m still working on that.” As for making a championship run, Russell said it’ll depend how the early portion of the season goes.

“If it starts out good, we might go after the points,” he said. “I don’t want to get locked into anything yet.”
Jason Russell was runner-up to Jeff Cutshaw in the Lucas Oil Speedway Pitts Homes USRA Modified division in 2015.

Please visit [www.LucasOilSpeedway.com]
for the most up to date information about “America’s New Motorsports Destination”, Lucas Oil Speedway.

Lucas Oil Speedway is located at Highways 83 and 54 in Wheatland, MO. A campground with shower and bathroom facilities is also available. With it’s entrance located just outside the pit gate this sprawling scenic camping facility will continue to enhance the racing experience at the Diamond of Dirt Tracks.

Click [www.LucasOilSpeedway.com] for more information and detailed directions to the speedway or call the Track Hotline at (417) 282-5984.

In addition, fans can get social with Lucas Oil Speedway by following [@LucasSpeedway] on Twitter, clicking “Like” at [www.facebook.com/LucasOilSpeedway]and on [www.youtube.com/LucasOilSpeedway].

Winter Challenge Resumes Friday; Clauson & Hodges Earn Top Honors at Canyon

Wednesday, January 27th, 2016

This Friday, January 29th, the “5th Annual Winter Challenge” will continue at Canyon Speedway in Peoria, Arizona. Featuring the USAC SouthWest and West Coast Sprint Cars, Friday’s main event will pay $2,000-to-win and Saturday’s winner will take home $4,000. Promoted by Kevin Montgomery, racing will start at 7:00pm on Friday and 5:00pm on Saturday. The IMCA Modifieds, IMCA Stock Cars vs Pure Stocks, IMCA Hobby Stocks vs Renegades, and Dwarf Cars will share the action packed cards. USAC SouthWest Sprint Car Series rules apply and for more event, and ticket information, visit www.canyonspeedwaypark.com or call (602) 258-7223 (RACE).

Entering the fourth round of the “Winter Challenge,” Bryan Clauson (Noblesville, Indiana) holds an 18-point advantage. Piloting Mike Martin’s #16B Cancer Treatment Centers of America Maxim, Clauson won the first two nights of the popular mini-series from fourth. In addition, the Indianapolis 500 veteran has one top qualifier award, three heat race victories, and 32 feature laps led. Entering Friday’s event, Bryan has the most wins in “Winter Challenge” history with five triumphs.

While Clauson dominated the first two shows, Josh Hodges (Tijeras, New Mexico) stormed from eleventh to claim Sunday’s $4,000 victory. Racing the family owned #74X Mesilla Valley Transportation Maxim, Hodges sits fourth in the standings with one heat race victory, one hard charger award, and 9 feature laps led to his credit.

3-Time USAC SouthWest Champion R.J. Johnson (Laveen, Arizona) ranks second in the Winter Challenge. “Chargin” Charles Davis Jr., Dennis Gile, Brian Hosford, Kenny Perkins, “The Magic Man” Mike Martin, Tanner Grau, and Bob Strait round out the top-10 in the point chase.

Canyon Speedway is located at 9777 West Carefree Highway in Peoria, Arizona. To get to the track, take Lake Pleasant Parkway, then 1.3 miles west on Carefree Highway. Discounted passes for VIP Suite, Reserved, and General Seats are available. Advance tickets are on sale now and more event information can be found at
www.canyonspeedwaypark.com or calling (602) 258-7223 (RACE).

The USAC SouthWest Sprint Car Series thanks Sunoco Race Fuels, Hoosier Tire, Racers Advantage Store, and the Hose Advantage Store for their support. For more information on the group, visit www.southwestsprintcars.com, www.usacracing.com, or follow the series on Facebook (www.facebook.com/SouthwestSprintCars).

Central Missouri Speedway Remains Active through the Off-Season!

Wednesday, January 27th, 2016

(Warrensburg, MO) Opening night of the 2016 season at CMS is still over 80 days away; however, the staff remains busy and active even during the off-season. As reported earlier, 2016 marks the twenty-second year of operations at the track for owners and promoters Earl and Susan Walls.

Although it’s January and temperatures are near freezing, CMS already has two pre-season events under its belt for the year. In early January, several drivers participated in the annual registration and rules review meeting and just last weekend, CMS once again had a successful outing at the annual Bodee’s Racers Auction and Trade Show in Sedalia. To date, over 40 drivers have registered their name and number among the track’s four weekly racing divisions.

In the Pure Stock division, Don Johnson, Darrin Christy, Scott Martin, Amanda Sammons, Jason Ryun, Gary Akers, Rob Gard, Jason Cochran, and defending champion Jeremiah Wilson have completed their pre-season registration. Veteran driver Herb Dannar recently threw his name into the mix of Pure Stock drivers for the coming season.

Over the last couple seasons, Pure Stocks quickly became a fan favorite for close competition among drivers. This year is expected to be a breakout season for the division as the Walls recently announced a significant bump in the Pure Stock purse for 2016. The weekly event winner will now take home $250 for their efforts, which
is double that of last year’s winner’s share. The start-money also sees an increase to $30.

B-Mods remained strong in 2015 averaging twenty-plus cars per week and 2016 is shaping up to be even stronger as the Walls have also increased the purse for B-Mod participants. The winner will now take away $500 for their efforts, up from $350 last year. Without question, B-Mods are the fastest growing class in dirt-track
racing throughout the Midwest. CMS was one of the first tracks in the region to add the division to its weekly program.

Pre-registered B-Mod drivers for 2016 include Rick Anderson, Chad Staus, Buddy Thompson, Olen Stephens, Bill Small, last year’s runner-up Troy Carlyle, Dean Truelove, Terry Wilburn, Dallas White, Bradly Moore, 78-year old Ernie Walker, Cody Brill, and defending champion Jacob Ebert.

The Street Stock division ended 2015 with a bit of uncertainty; however, by December things quickly turned around for this fan-favorite division as several area tracks’ rules became more aligned, setting up what is sure to be one of the most competitive seasons in recent memory for the division. The winning Street Stock driver each week will take home $400 for the win, a $100 increase from last season.

This year’s stellar group of pre-registered Street Stock drivers includes last year’s champion Brett Wood and championship runner-up driver, Troy Turley. In addition to veteran driver Chad Eickleberry and up-and-comer Zack Smith, Derek Henson, Ted Welschmeyer, Brian Eckhoff, Jay Prevete, Clayton Campbell, Brian Inlow,
Jeremiah Wilson, and past champion Brian Ziegler also pre-registered for racing at CMS. B-Mod standout Jacob Ebert also entered his name in the mix of pre-registered Street Stock drivers.

Defending Modified Track Champion Terry Schultz of Sedalia, who finished second in the national USRA Modified Standings last season, leads the group of pre-registered Modified drivers for the coming year, Justin Plumb, veteran driver Richard Kimberling, Jason Bodenhamer, Dean Wille, Danny Scrogham, and former B-Mod driver
Richard Brainard have all completed early season registration for the USRA Modified division.

Off-season projects continue at the track with a new pit-side concessions stand and officials’ work area under construction; work recently began on the new front stretch fencing and work will soon begin on the new lighting system for the speedway as weather permits. These are the active projects that are going on at the speedway for 2016.

Opening night at CMS is Saturday, April 16th for Warrensburg Chamber of Commerce Night at the Races. After week one, 23 additional nights of racing remain with events running through early September. ULMA Late Models, Midwest Mod Lites, Allstar Midget Series, and Lightning Sprints are all set for guest class appearances
throughout the year.

The first special event of the season takes place on Memorial Day weekend for two nights of racing beginning Saturday, May 28th when Pure Stocks compete for their $500-to-win special event. Then, on Sunday, the 29th, Modified drivers have $3,000 on the line during a 35-lap main event. Joining in on the night two action is the
Allstar Midget Series, USRA B-Mods, and ULMA Late Models.

The track’s biggest race of the year takes place over the Independence Day Weekend when the Eleventh Annual Tom Wilson Memorial begins on Saturday, July 2nd with Street Stock drivers gunning for a $1,500-to-win 25-lap special event along with night one qualifying for the following night’s $5,000-to-Win, $1,000-to-Start, Modified main event. Racing resumes the next night on Sunday, July 3rd with night two qualifying and the 50-lap big money Modified finale. Additionally, ULMA Late Models compete in their ‘Triple Crown Shootout’ for $1,000-to-win, USRA B-Mods join in on the action, and a full fireworks show caps the evening.

The final special event of the year takes place during the Labor Day weekend with B-Mods highlighting the program on Saturday, September 3rd with a $1,500-to-win 25-lap special event. On Sunday, September 4th Modified drivers compete for a cool $3,000-to-win during a 35-lap main event along with USRA B-Mods, ULMA Late Models, and the Allstar Midget Series. Bonuses await any Modified driver winning at least 2 of the three big-money specials; a bigger bonus awaits any one driver sweeping all three of the track’s major events.

CMS is seeking a track maintenance person for the 2016 race season. Serious applicants must be experienced and possess proper credentials for operating heavy equipment used for weekly track preparation. Track equipment includes heavy-duty tractors, box blade, grader, sheep’s foot roller, standard water truck, and terragator water truck. CMS is also in search of a parts and tires service retailer. Prospective companies or independent dealers will be expected to be present during race nights. Prospective applicants should call Earl or Susan Walls at the CMS business line at (816) 229-1338. No calls after 8 p.m. please.

Keep up with CMS on Twitter @CMSgoing_green. Like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/pages/Central-Missouri-Speedway. Join our email group by emailing . Keep up with CMS news and information by pointing your browser to
().

Contact Susan Walls at 816-229-1338 to join the CMS team of business partners, no calls after 8 p.m. There are several opportunities for your business to become involved in the exciting sport of dirt-track racing. No other sport has as many dedicated and loyal fans as weekly dirt racing. Car class sponsorship, event sponsorship, race night sponsorship, and special-event sponsorship are just a few of the ways to put your marketing and branding logo in front of the loyal race family!