By Joe Buckles
Special to the Tribune-Star
TERRE HAUTE —
With the sounds of race engines roaring to life at Wabash Valley racing facilities, it’s a sure sign the 2010 racing season is about to shift into high gear.
Competitors have already taken to Crossroads Dragway and Lincoln Park Speedway over the past couple weekends, with more track openings slated in the days ahead. Despite a troubling economy, the prospects for Valley tracks appear bright as racers and fans continue to follow their passion for racing.
Whether their travels take them to events on the national stage or to weekly local events, their support and numbers are expected to be as strong as ever.
In a tradition that started 40 years ago, it’s time to offer the annual Trackside Racing race state.
We’ll look at key events for area tracks with dates and contacts, making it easier for fans to plan ahead for their day or night out at the races.
Listed below are phone numbers and schedules made available by Valley tracks and sanctioning bodies:
Terre Haute Action Track — (812) 239-4078. While the 2010 Action Track slate might offer fewer events than in the past, those listed will offer the best sprint-car racing in the Valley.
Preseason U.S. Auto Club schedules listed a return of the Silver Crown Sumar Classic in July, but the date is not officially listed as an event offered by Action Promotions LLC, the promoter for the Action Track.
Action Track events include the Union Hospital/ Don Smith Classic for Midwest Sprint Car Series sprints May 15, First Financial Tony Hulman Classic for USAC sprints May 27, First Financial Bank USAC Indiana Sprint Week on July 14 and Jim Hurtubise Classic for USAC sprints Sept. 11.
Crossroads Dragway — (812) 229-2167. Offering the best in weekly NHRA-sanctioned ET Bracket racing, the 1/8-mile dragstrip operates throughout the summer late into fall.
Key events: ET Bracket-Fast 33 on May 1, Bernie Mann Memorial on May 22, Matt Agresta Memorial on May 29, Holzhauer Midwest Jr. series June 18-20, Quick 32 on June 26, Fast 33 on July 10, National Dragster on July 17, Slammin 16 on July 31, Jr. Dragster Challenge-Fast 33 on Aug. 21-22, Scheid Diesel Extravaganza on Aug. 29, King of Track on Sept. 11, Fast 33 on Oct. 2 and Fast 33 on Oct. 23.
Bakersfield Raceway Park — (812) 847-2642. Located just west of Linton, this 1/5-mile dirt oval is a beehive of activity every Friday night, offering a weekly card of 600 upright Mini-Sprint (non-wing), 600s, 4-cylinder stocks, 600 (non-wing open) and Junior Sprints and 600 Restrictor Class (10-16-year-olds).
Bloomington Motor Speedway — (812) 824-7400. Short-track racing doesn’t get much better than what is offered at this quarter-mile dirt oval every Friday night.
Top attractions in 2010 include USAC sprints Larry Rice Classic on May 7, King of Indiana Sprints on May 21, 22nd annual Sheldon Kinser Classic on June 4, USAC midgets June 18, USAC Indiana Sprints Week on July 16, O’Reilly All Star Sprints on Aug. 20 and Midwest Sprint Car Series sprints Sept. 17.
Coles County Dragstrip — (217) 345-7777. Located near Charleston, Ill., this NHRA-sanction dragstrip presents a weekly card of ET Bracket racing and a host of specials throughout the summer.
Key events include Holzhauer Midwest Jr. Super Series on May 21-23, Hopper Family Memorial on May 30, Illinois State Championship ET, Bikes, Jrs. on June 12, Firecracker 500 on July 3, July Extravganza $2000-to-win Super Pro on July 24, NHRA Jegs Quick 32 on Aug. 21 and National Dragster Challenge Quick 8 on Sept. 12.
Lyons Raceway Park — (812) 659-2951. Located near Lyons, this dragstrip is a popular draw for area ET bracket racers. Key shows on tap include VP Racing Fuels Quick 32-Bracket Bash on May 8-9, Whites Performance.Com Final For 50 on June 19, Nostalgia Pro Com Association Bracket Racing on July 23-24, National Dragster Challenge on July 31, VP Racing Fuels Quick 32 on Aug. 7-8, Quick 16 on Sept. 3-5, VP Racing Fuels Quick 32 on Sept. 25-26, King of Track on Oct. 2 and Big Buck Blowout on Oct. 15-17.
Gateway International Raceway — (866) 35-SPEED. Located just west of St. Louis near Madison, Ill., this super speedway gives Valley fans an easy drive to see the best in NASCAR and NHRA racing.
Top attractions are NHRA AAA Insurance-Midwest Nationals on April 30-May 2, NASCAR Camping World Truck Series on July 16, NASCAR Nationwide Missouri-Illinois Dodge Dealers 250 on July 17 and NASCAR Nationwide on Oct. 23.
Lincoln Park Speedway — (765) 653-3485. In its first full season under the leadership of Greencastle promoter Joe Spiker, LPS is the track area competitors trek to on Saturday nights for racers and fans.
Headline events include USAC sprints May 1 and June 17, UMP Late Model Summer Nationals on June 28, 23rd annual Putnamville Clash on July 31, King of the Non-Wing Sprints on Sept. 4, USAC sprints Sept. 10 and seventh annual Patriot 50 for modifieds Sept. 11.
Michigan International Speedway — 1-800-354-1010. A longtime favorite of Valley fans, this 2-mile superspeedway is noted for its high speed and close racing. Key events include ARCA Racing For Wildlife 200 on June 11, NASCAR Camping World Truck Series VFW 200 on June 12, NASCAR Sprint Cup series Sour Cream Dips 400 on June 13, NASCAR Nationwide Car Fax 250 on Aug. 14 and NASCAR Sprint Cup series Aug. 15.
O’Reilly Raceway Park — (317) 291-4090. Offering the best in NHRA drag racing and specials on its 5/8-mile oval, this Clermont facility is a beehive of action throughout the summer.
Headliners include USAC midgets May 29, USAC Silver Crown midgets July 22, NASCAR Camping World Trucks on July 23, NASCAR Nationwide stocks July 24, UAW Night on Aug 14 and 56th annual NHRA Mac Tools US Nationals on Sept. 1-6.
Paragon Speedway (765) 537-2366. Always the fan favorite, this 3/8-mile clay oval remains one of short-track racing’s most successful venues. Key events include Mike Johnson Memorial on May 8, ILMS Late Models on May 29, Chuck Amati Classic for Midwest Sprint Car Series sprints June 19, 10th annual King of Indiana Sprints on June 26, ILMS stocks July 24 and 14th annual Stock Car Dirt Nationals on Aug. 21.
Pierces’s Vermillion County Speedway — (217) 443-6588. Just west of Danville, Ill., this popular dirt-track oval is under new leadership this season, with veteran driver Bob Pierce taking over the helm.
Top attractions include American Modified Series on May 1, Late Models on May 23, Pierce Party Modified Special on June 5-6. UMP Late Model Summer Nationals on June 21, Midwest Modified Madness on July 24, Late Models on Aug. 14 and Modified Season Championship on Sept. 18.
Salem Speedway — (812) 883-6504. The high banks of Salem are always a top draw. Key events include Winged Sprints on May 8, Firecracker 200 for stocks July 4 and USAC sprints Joe James-Pat O’Connor on Aug. 14.
Tri-State Speedway — (812) 768-6025. Located at Haubstadt, this quarter-mile track ranks as one of the nation’s finest.
Top attractions include World of Outlaw sprints April 24, Hut Hundred for USAC Midgets on May 8, Midwest Sprint Car Series on May 30, UMP Late Model Summer Nationals on June 27, USAC Indiana Sprint Week on July 17 and Haubstadt Hustler for MSCS sprints Sept. 18.
Winchester Speedway — (765) 584-9701. Racing doesn’t get any better or scarier than at these high banks. Scheduled highlights include CRA Super Series 100 on May 2, King of Wings Sprint Car Challenge on May 23, USA modifieds July 18, Old Timers Weekend on Aug. 21, USAC sprints Rich Vogler Classic on Aug. 22, World Stock Car Festival on Sept. 5 and 39th annual Winchester 400 weekend Oct 15-17.
As always, fans are cautioned to call ahead when threatening weather exists and remember schedules are subject to change.
Joe Buckles can be reached at email@example.com.