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Posts in 'Sabine Motor Speedway' Track

Highbanks hardware to Hughes

August 22nd, 2016

PRYOR CREEK, Okla.– Less than an hour from home, Jason Hughes found his way back to Widow Wax Victory Lane Saturday after an exciting main event at the Salina Highbanks Speedway. Still, the road to his 145th career USMTS win was less than easy for the current points leader in the Hunt for the USMTS Caseys Cup powered by S&S Fishing & Rental.

Polesitter Dereck Ramirez led the opening circuit with Hughes trailing, but veteran Terry Beckham Jr. shot by both of them on the outside to lead the second lap and then began to pull away. Beckham was in charge for the next 18 laps but Hughes was able to reel the leader in and grabbed the spot to lead lap 21.

Beckham kept the heat on, along with Zack VanderBeek and then Cade Dillard, but despite the pressure and three yellow flags in the last 12 laps Hughes cruised to his fifth career win at the track including both events this year. Dillard snuck into the runner-up spot to minimize the damage in the points battle, and Terry Phillips made a late-race charge to get third. Jesse Sobbing and VanderBeek rounded out the top five.

Rodney Sanders, Chris Henigan, Beckham, Daniel Hilsabeck and Austin Siebert completed the top 10 in a fantastic race that produced multiple ever-changing racing grooves. Earlier in the night, things got hairy with three roll-overs. Kenny Gaddis got on his lid during hot laps while Kevin Guinn and Mike Cook were both in the wrong place at the wrong time and tipped over during their heat races. None of the drivers were injured.

A whopping 64 cars and drivers were on hand. The USMTS returns to the popular 81 Speedway in Park City, Kan., on Sunday.

In the seven previous trips to C. Ray Halls facility, Jeremy Payne and Rodney Sanders each have two wins while Cade Dillard got his first here a little more than two months ago on June 9. Stormy Scott won the 2014 Hunt race here and current points leader Jason Hughes captured the inaugural event in 2008. The NCRA Mod Lites will join the traveling USMTS titans with gates opening at 5 p.m. and race time at 7. Fans can find $2 discount coupons at Bumper To Bumper Auto Parts in El Dorado and Newton, Garnett Auto locations in Wichita and Derby, plus Stephens Auto Parts in Hutchinson.

Joe Duvall and his AMP Energy-sponsored USMTS Modified will be on hand for a meet n greet with fans from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday at the Caseys located at 3520 N. Woodlawn Blvd. in Wichita. The 81 Speedway is located north of Wichita on I-135 to exit 16, then 0.7 miles west on 77th St. in Park City. For more race and ticket information contact the 81 Speedway office (316) 755-1781 or check out their website at

To learn more about the United States Modified Touring Series, visit online or call 515-832-7944. You can also like us on Facebook at, follow us on Twitter at and Instagram at or subscribe to our YouTube channel at

55th Bettenhausen 100 at Springfield Changed to Honor Family

August 10th, 2016

-Race fans attending the 55th Bettenhausen 100 USAC Silver Crown Series event at the Illinois State Fair on August 20 will notice a slight change to the name of the event. Instead of referring to the event as the “Tony Bettenhausen Memorial 100” the event will now be referred to as the “Bettenhausen 100” in honor of one of the first families of American automobile racing.

The long running (since 1934) championship car race held on the last Saturday of the Illinois State Fair received its memorial designation in the summer of 1961, not long after the May Indianapolis Motor Speedway
practice accident which claimed the life of Tony Bettenhausen. Bettenhausen, a Tinley Park, Illinois native, was one of the most popular racing drivers in the country and perhaps the best known driver from Illinois. His aggressive, bolt upright style won over a legion of fans including those in the capitol city who watched him become the first three-time championship race winner in Illinois State Fair history. Naming the championship race in his honor was the tribute bestowed upon the “Tinley Park Express” by the Illinois State Fair board in 1961.

Sons Gary, Merle and Tony Jr. followed their famous father into auto racing. Gary, like his father, gained numerous fans for his aggressive racing style winning two USAC Sprint Car titles in 1969 and 1970. He nearly won the 1972 Indianapolis 500 for Roger Penske, leading 138 laps before mechanical gremlins forced his car out of the event. He and Penske parted ways in 1974 when Gary flipped his championship dirt car out of the New York State Fairgrounds mile dirt oval seriously damaging an arm and putting his own career in jeopardy. He came back with a slightly different style with the use of only one good arm and won two USAC Silver Crown championships in the process as well as setting fast time in qualifying for the 1991 Indianapolis 500. Gary made 18 starts in his father’s race at Springfield winning twice. A very emotional win came in 1978 and an equally emotional and perhaps grittier win came in 1983 when he led all 100-miles in 100 degree heat. Gary passed away in 2014 at the age of 72.

Brother Merle was an aspiring racer in his own right running up front in USAC Midget races and joining Gary on the championship trail in 1970. In fact, his first national championship start was the 1970 Bettenhausen 100
at the Illinois State Fairgrounds. Merle’s budding career was cut short in an accident during his third championship race at Michigan International Speedway in June of 1972. Merle’s car hit the outside retaining wall and burst into flames, he sustained burns and the loss of his right arm. Merle did return to racing briefly and ran midgets with the aid of a prosthetic device. He later went into business and remained close to the sport.

Tony Jr. began his career in stock cars racing in both the USAC and NASCAR ranks. He eventually turned his attention to Indianapolis making the 1981 race and nearly winning the Michigan 500 that same year in an old McLaren that had previously been driven by Tom Sneva. Tony made 11 starts at Indy before turning his attention to ownership and becoming a successful owner in the Championship Auto Racing Teams ranks. Sadly, Tony and his wife were among the victims in a February 2000 plane crash.

“This is a family that is known all over the world and has given so much to our sport”, said Illinois State Fair race promoter Bob Sargent of Track Enterprises. “The fair board paid Tony Bettenhausen the ultimate tribute in 1961 when they named the champ car race in his honor.” “When USAC and I got together over the winter, we decided to take that tribute one step further and I know fans will agree this is a great way honor one of America’s great racing families.” From this point we will be calling our USAC Silver Crown event, the Bettenhausen 100 in honor of the whole Bettenhausen family.”

The Saturday event is part of a two day race on the last weekend of the Illinois State Fair that features USAC Silver Crown Saturday and the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards on Sunday.

Saturday, August 20 registration and pits will open at 7:00 AM, grandstands and ticket office at 9:00, Silver Crown practice at 10:00, qualifying at 11:30, Sportsman hotlaps at 12:00 noon, Silver Crown semi at 12:30, Sportsman heats at 1:00, and the Bettenhausen 100 at 2:00.

Sunday, August 21st times are 5:30 AM for registration and pit gates, 8:30 for grandstands and ticket office, 9:00 for practice, ARCA qualifying at 11:15, Sportsman feature at 12:00 noon, an ARCA autograph session at 12:30, and the 100 presented by Jive Communications take the green at 1:35.

Advance reserved adult tickets can be purchased for either of the days for $25, a discount of $5. Children 11 and under are $10. Tickets may be purchased by calling Track Enterprises at 217-764-3200 or by contacting either of the two fairgrounds ticket offices. Discount tickets for Sunday’s ARCA event can also be purchased at Central Illinois Menards stores.

The host hotel for the State Fair event is the Carpenter Street Hotel. While the hotel is now totally booked for Saturday night, there are still some rooms available for Friday, August 19th, for those wanting to come in early for Saturday morning’s festivities.

For more information, visit or call 217-764-3200.