With several “test and tunes” sessions and season openers having already taken the green flag, it’s a sure sign the Wabash Valley racing campaign is shifting into high gear.
Despite the concerns of a troubled economy, signs point to a promising and exciting 2012 season for fans and racers alike.
To help make their visits to area tracks more convient, listed below is the 42nd annual Trackside tracks and schedules preview:
• Terre Haute Action Track — Following an abbrevated schedule a year ago, the future looks brighter for supporters of the half-mile clay oval this season.
With a new promotional group in 2012, the track will offer an attractive seven-event slate that features some of the best in open-wheel and stock-car racing.
Whether your choice is sprint cars, late models or UMP Modifieds, promoters Bob Sargent and Reece O’Connor have lined up a schedule that is sure to please even the most avid or casual race fan.
Terre Haute Action Track schedule
April 22 — Spring Fling-Midwest Sprint Car-King of Indiana Sprint Series sprints and UMP Modifieds
May 24 — Tony Hulman Classic USAC sprints-UMP Modifieds
June 19 — NASCAR Nite-MSCS sprints-UMP Modifieds
July 12 — UMP Late Model Summer Nationals-UMP Modifieds
July 18 — USAC Indiana Sprint Week-Don Smith Classic
Sept. 1 — Jim Hurtubise Classic USAC sprints-UMP Modifieds
Oct. 13 — Sumar Classic USAC Silver Crown cars-UMP Modifieds
• Crossroads Dragway — Offering the best in NHRA weekly ET Bracket racing, the local1⁄8-mile strip will serve up specials with the Fast 33 April 28, Fast 33 May 19, the Bernie Mann Memorial May 26, Matt Agresta Memorial June 2, Jegs S/Quick-Fast 33 June 23-24, Fast 33 July 7, Slammin’ 16 July 28, Scheid Diessel Extravaganza Drags Aug 24-26, Fast 33 Sept. 22 and Fast 33 Oct. 13. Information: (812) 229-2167
• Lincoln Park Speedway — The popular 5⁄16-mile dirt oval will offer a weekly Saturday night card of sprint, modified and stock cars with a host of specials, including the season opener Saturday, USAC sprints April 28, National Armed Forces Day May 19, USAC Indiana Midget Week June 4, USAC Indiana Sprint Week July 19, Putnamville Clash July 28, Midwest Sprint Car Series sprints Aug. 18, King of Non-Wing Sprints” Sept. 1 and ninth annual Patroit 100 Sept. 8. Information: (765) 653-3485
• Bakersfield Raceway Park — Located east of Linton on State Road 54, the Marlin Baker Family will a weekly Friday night card of 600 opens, 600 Upright Mini Sprints, 4 Cylinder stocks, Junior sprints and 600 Non-wing Class (open) racing. Information: (812) 847-2642
• Coles County Dragway USA — Popular to Wabash Valley drag racers, the Charleston, Ill., strip will offer specials with the Saturday TNT Grudge Gamblers, Quick 32 May 19, Nostalgia Blown Altreds Match Race May 26, Hopper Family Memorial Day Classic May 27, Thunder On Prairie Hot Blue Jet Dragster June 23, Terry Luechtefeld Memorial July 21 and Jegs Quick 32 Aug. 18. Information: (217) 345-7777
• Lyons Raceway Park — NHRA-sanctioned drag racing with a full slate of specials with VP Racing Fuels Quick 32 April 20-21, Fastenal.com Fast 8 April 27-28, Midwest-Junior Super Series May 18-19-20 NHRA Jegs Quick series June 1-2, Ohio Crankshaft No Box Nationals June 15-16-17, VP Fuels Quick 32 June 29-30, National Dragster Challenge July 28, NHRA Indiana Drag Racing State Championships Aug 3-4 and NHRA King of Track Oct 6.
• Bloomington Motor Speedway — Under new leadership, the popular quarter-mile clay oval will continue to offer a weekly Friday program of sprint stock and modified racing.
There’s a schedule loaded with special events that include King of Indiana Sprints May 4, USAC sprints Larry Rice Memorial May 8, Spring Clash June 1, USAC Indiana Midget Week June 15, Sheldon Kinser Memorial July 6, USAC Indiana Sprint Week July 20 and World of Outlaws Aug. 3. Information: (812) 824-7400
• Lucas Oil Raceway — Home of the sports biggest drag racing event of the year — the 58th MacTools U.S. Nationals, slated for the weekend of Aug. 29-Sept. 3 — the Clermont multi-facility will host its annual SpeedFest featuring USAC midgets and Silver Crown cars and ARCA stock cars on the July 26-27 weekend.
Other key oval events include the Hall of Fame Classic May 19, the Nite Before the 500 for USAC midgets May 26 and Monster Mopar Weekend Sept. 21-23. Information: (317) 291-4090
• Indianapolis Motor Speedway — Adding to its already lofty international status, the Speedway will offer a pair of new events in 2012 including a second NASCAR show and sports cars on its road course.
Of course, the 500 remains the premier event with its timetable calling for Opening Day May 12, Pole Day qualifications May 19, Bump Day May 20, Carb Day May 25 and 500 May 27.
Brickyard 400 weekend offers NASCAR Nationwide practice July 26, Grand Am sport cars July 27, Nationwide race July 28 and Crown Royal Brickyard 400 July 29.
Red Bull Grand Prix Moto GP slate lists practice Aug. 17, qualifications Aug. 18 and the 2012 Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix Aug. 19. Information: (317) 492-8500
• Paragon Speedway — Weekly Saturday night racing at the true grass-roots stage, the3⁄8-mile dirt oval also will host specials with the AMVETS Post 200 May 19, King of Indiana Sprint series June 2, third annual Chuck Amati Classic June 23 and Mike Johnson Memorial Aug. 11. Information: (765) 537-9326
• Kokomo Motor Speedway — One of the nation’s longest-running short tracks, the quarter-mile oval will host the King of Indiana Sprints April 29, Kokomo Klassic May 27, World of Outlaws June 5, USAC Midget Week June 17, USAC Indiana Sprint Week July 17, USAC sprints Aug. 23-25 and Kokomo Klash V1 Oct. 19-20. Information: (765) 459-3877
• Tri-State Speedway — One of the country’s most highly regarded short track operations will present World of Outlaws April 21, MSCS/USAC sprints May 12, Hut Hundred USAC midgets June 2, UMP Late model Summer Nationals July 8, USAC Indiana Sprint Week July 21, MSCS Hoosier sprints Aug. 4, Haubstadt Hustler Sept. 15 and the MSCS Harvest Cup Oct. 6. Information: (812) 768-5995
• Winchester Speedway — The notorious high banks will present the Jegs CRA stocks All-Star Race May 6, Must See Xtreme sprints May 20, ARCA stocks June 23-24, Old Timers weekend Aug. 18-19 and 41st annual Winchester 400 Oct. 12-14. Information: (765) 584-9701
• Greater Salem Speedway — The historic half-mile oval will stage the Kentuckiana Ford Dealers ARCA 200 April 28, Casey General Stores Spring Fest May 19, Touchstone Energy Midwest 200 June 16, Firecracker 200 Lucas Oil Great American Stock race July 4, Summer Short Track Showdown July 15, Short-Track Sun-Fun Festival Aug. 4, 53rd annual Joey James/Pat O’Connor Memorial Aug. 11 and ARCA stocks Fall Classic Sept. 15.
Fans are reminded that all dates are subject to change and to call ahead when threatening weather conditions exist. Information: (812) 883-6504
Joe Buckles can be reached at email@example.com.