Merle Stone Chevrolet Thunderbowl Raceway season opens in a big way next weekend with World of Outlaws double-header March 14 & 15
By Gary Thomas
Tulare, CA – March 4, 2014…The euphoric sound of racing engines will return to the Merle Stone Chevrolet Thunderbowl Raceway next weekend, as the 2014 season kicks-off in style with the World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series on Friday & Saturday March 14 & 15. Along with the World of Outlaws, Friday night will also showcase the USAC West Coast Wingless 360 Sprint Cars, while Saturday finds the IMCA Modifieds taking to the one-third mile clay oval.
To purchase your tickets for the “Greatest Show on Dirt” at Steve Faria’s Thunderbowl Raceway on March 14 & 15 contact (559) 688-0909. The front gate will open at 4pm both nights with racing scheduled to fire off around 7pm. All seating is reserved during the double-header weekend with Bleacher tickets costing $40 and Grandstands seats $45 each night. A seating chart is available online at www.thunderbowlraceway.com
California fan favorite and driver of the locally based Roth Motorsports No. 83 entry, Tim Kaeding of San Jose will be looking to keep up his recent trend of success with the World of Outlaws at the track, having won two of the last three main events in Tulare. The two-time Golden State/ King of the West Series champion is always worth the price of admission at the Thunderbowl and goes into the two-night outing this year as a full-time competitor with the World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series.
“Tulare is just one of those tracks I always seem to excel at and we’re looking forward to the Outlaw weekend,” said Kaeding, who captured nine wins with the series last year. “For fans and drivers it doesn’t get much better than the Thunderbowl because there’s always a number of lines to use, but to win races there you typically have to go to the high-side and that’s how I like it. Racing in Dennis & Teresa Roth’s backyard always makes it more special and I really hope to give them a win next week.”
One of the more accomplished World of Outlaw drivers at the Thunderbowl Raceway happens to be Brownsburg, Indiana’s Joey Saldana, who will return to the track aboard his Motter Motorsports No. 71m Sprint Car. The veteran competitor has claimed four World of Outlaws features at the Tulare based facility, which ranks as the most of any driver. Over the final half of last season Saldana was one of the top point earners with the series and will be gunning for more success at the Thunderbowl next week.
With three races down in the World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series season California native Paul McMahan holds a share of the point lead along with defending champion Daryn Pittman. McMahan cut his teeth racing on the California bullrings, finishing runner up in the Northern Auto Racing Club standings in 1994 & '95, as well as runner up in the Golden State 410 Series points in '95, while driving for Clyde & Marion Lamar. McMahan is also fresh off one of the best season’s of his career, having finished third in the final 2013 WOO standings with four wins and 17 fast-time efforts.
More World of Outlaws competitors set to invade the Thunderbowl next weekend will include 20-time series champion Steve Kinser, five-time titlist Donny Schatz, three-time champ Sammy Swindell, Grass Valley, CA native Brad Sweet, Australian Kerry Madsen, Pennsylvanian Cody Darrah, Jason Sides, Kraig Kinser, Logan Schuchart, Jacob Allen and Bill Rose. Other traveling drivers expected include Grain Valley, Missouri’s Brian Brown; Watertown, Connecticut’s David Gravel; Altoona, Iowa’s Terry McCarl and more.
The California contingent looking to keep the money at home will include reigning King of the West 410 Sprint Car Series champion Kyle Hirst, three-time KWS champ Jonathan Allard, three-time USAC Silver Crown titlist Bud Kaeding, Rutherford’s Rico Abreu, Fresno’s Craig Stidham, Central Valley youngsters Dominic Scelzi, DJ Netto and Carson Macedo, Visalia’s Cory Eliason and more.
This coming season is the 12th overall year of the Merle Stone Chevrolet Thunderbowl Raceway hosting the World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series. The inaugural event occurred in September of 2003 when 20-time series champion Steve Kinser of Bloomington, Indiana scored the victory over Aliquippa, Pennsylvania's Tim Shaffer and local favorite Jason Meyers from Clovis, CA.
The Merle Stone Chevrolet Thunderbowl Raceway is located at the Tulare County Fairgrounds on the corner of Bardsley and K Streets in Tulare, California. From the junction of SR 99 and SR 137, go west on SR 137. At South K go south one-half mile to the Fairgrounds. Camping is also available at the fairgrounds located off turns three and four. Be sure & like the track on Facebook by searching Thunderbowl Raceway.
Past World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series main event winners at the Thunderbowl Raceway in Tulare, CA
2013- Tim Kaeding on March 15, Craig Dollansky on March 16
2012 - Tim Kaeding on March 16
2011 - Joey Saldana on March 19
2010 - Jason Meyers on March 5, Joey Saldana on March 6
2009 - Randy Hannagan on March 20, Joey Saldana on March 21
2008 - Jac Haudenschild on Oct. 18
2007 - Joey Saldana on Feb. 23, Tim Kaeding on Feb. 24, Donny Schatz on Oct. 13
2005 - Tim Shaffer on Feb. 25, Donny Schatz on October 14, Sammy Swindell on Oct. 15
2004 - Erin Crocker on October 29, Terry McCarl on October 30
2003 - Steve Kinser on September 3
Following the World of Outlaws weekend the Merle Stone Chevrolet Thunderbowl Raceway will be dark until Saturday April 12 when the King of the West 410 Sprint Car Series invades the track for the “Spring Thunder Nationals” presented by KRC Safety Company. The evening of competition marks the season-opener for California’s premier Winged 410 Sprint Car tour and a big night is expected. More information on the event can be found in the coming weeks at www.kwssprints.com
2014 Plans Revealed For Craig Dollansky
The 2014 season will commence next month for Craig Dollansky as he rejoins the Big Game Treestands #7 team for Big Game Motorsports. Aside from making the weekly Lucas Oil Championship Cup Series at Knoxville Raceway a top priority, the team plans to take full advantage of the benefits an open schedule provides.
“Our #7 team is looking forward to changing up our schedule to something completely different in 2014,” commented Tod Quiring, CEO of Big Game Treestands. “If I could pick only two tracks in the country to have our team’s race at it would be Knoxville Raceway and Eldora Speedway. This type of schedule is something I have wanted to do for a long time and a big part of our decision to focus on Knoxville was the MAVTV package Brian Stickel and his staff has brought to the weekly program. We feel this is a potential start to something big and we want to support their efforts.”
With deep roots in the automotive world and an extensive lineup of motorsports events, MAVTV is available in 65 million households across the nation.
Having competed nationally well over the past decade, the upcoming season will definitely be a change for ‘The Crowd Pleaser’, but the change is a favorable transition with many benefits like the opportunity to race weekly with his 20-year-old son Garrett.
“I’m looking forward to racing again with Tod Quiring for Big Game Motorsports and the schedule he has outlined is a new approach to racing for us,” commented Dollansky who has 30 plus victories since joining Big Game in late 2009. “Knoxville Raceway is the premier dirt track in the world and they are always working to expand and improve their facility. Television exposure is something that is lacking in sprint car racing so it is great to see that Knoxville is now working with MAVTV for 2014. The TV package provides great exposure for the teams and their sponsors.
“In the past, I was fortunate to work with my son Luke and now I will be able to be with my son Garrett as he continues to gain experience and develop as a driver. We are busy preparing the #7 team and are more motivated than ever to win races. We have great friends and fans that have supported me as a driver over the years and our family is very appreciative and grateful. I look forward to kicking off the upcoming season with Big Game Treestands along with the continued sponsorship from Aggressive Hydraulics, whose support has been vital over the past seven seasons.”
Craig Dollansky Racing is online at dollanskyracing.com and facebook.com/dollanskyracing.
JERSEY RUSH IV RETURNS TO NEW EGYPT SPEEDWAY WITH 410 SPRINTS & MODIFIEDS ON TUESDAY, AUGUST 19
One of the most anticipated auto racing events in the state of New Jersey will take place on Tuesday night, August 19 with the return of the JERSEY RUSH IV. A spectacular event that will bring together the 410 Sprint Cars and the Modifieds onto one racing program. Now in its’ fourth year, JJ Grasso was the winner of two of the previous Jersey Rush events with Daryn Pittman taking the win in 2012. Grasso is an expected entry to chase the $5,000 first place prize.
Presented by NAPA Auto Parts and Pioneer Pole Buildings, the JERSEY RUSH IV will get underway at 7:30 PM with gates opening at 5 PM. Always a highlight of this event is the pit side Meet & Greet where race fans may enter the pit area from 5 to 6 PM. That’s right, race fans may enter the 410 sprint pit area absolutely free! This is a great opportunity for the fans to meet the 410 sprint drivers prior to the start of the racing action. Race fans entering the New Egypt Speedway through the grandstands should go to the picnic area just off turn four. They may enter the pits behind the fourth turn grandstands.
The 410 sprints will chase an eye catching payoff offering $5,000 to win plus $1,000 for 10th and $400 just to take the green. In the modifieds, the feature winner will collect a $3,000 payday for 30 laps. In 2013, Billy Pauch won a barn-burner with Ryan Godown in the modified portion of the Jersey Rush. The top 410 sprint drivers in the country are expected challenge Grasso for the win and the list includes Greg Hodnett, Mark Smith, Lance Dewease, Danny Dietrich, Billy Dietrich, Davey Sammons, Ryan Bohlke, Neal Williams, Jacob Allan , Logan Schuchart, Brian Carber and Robbie Stillwaggon just to name a few.
This huge event is presented by NAPA Auto Parts and Pioneer Pole Buildings and an absolutely exciting racing program is expected. In the event of rain, Wednesday night, August 20 will be the rain date with a 7:30 PM starting time.
The Jersey Rush IV is a co-promotion between Lenny, Danny and Davey Sammons and special events organizer Bob Miller.
THE JERSEY RUSH 4 EVENT FACTS:
What: The Jersey Rush IV 410 Sprints & Modifieds Doubleheader
When: Tuesday, August 19 Gates Open 5 PM 7:30 PM Starting Time; Rain Date: Wednesday, August 20 7:30 PM
Where: New Egypt Speedway; 720 Pinehurst Road New Egypt, NJ 08422 (on Route 539)
Meet & Greet: Pit Gates Open at 3:30 PM, Meet & Greet for Sprint Drivers 5-6 PM Drivers Meeting 6:15 PM
Track Phone: 609-758-1900 (Race Day Information)
Information: Call Bob Miller 443 513 4456
ADVANCE TICKETS: CALL 443 513 4456 Leave your name, phone number and number of tickets you need. Tickets may be paid for and picked up o race night at the New Egypt Speedway Office after 4:30 PM.
Adults: $30, Children 6-11 $10, Children 5 & under Free. Pit Fee $35 no license required.
Jersey Rush Past Winners
2013 JJ Grasso
2012 Daryn Pittman
2011 JJ Grasso
Facility Amenities: The entire New Egypt Speedway facility features a daylight-quality lighting system and excellent sightlines from any seat in the house. The track is fully wheelchair-accessible with wide, clear and well groomed walkways. There are clean, heated rest rooms, a monitored playground area for the little fans. Whistle-clean concession facilities serve up everything from sausage sandwiches to ice cream treats at family style prices. Our dynamic-duo of track announcers keep fans informed and involved with a state of the art sound system.
The Track: The racy, 7/16-mile D-shaped clay oval plays host to some of the tightest all out wheel-to-wheel competition you’ll ever witness.
Knoxville Raceway Expansion Project Rapidly Gaining Traction
Tuesday, February 18, 2014
DES MOINES, Iowa - February 18, 2014 - Brian Stickel, Knoxville Raceway General Manager/Promoter announced this week that a major improvement/expansion project at the track that has been in the preliminary planning stages is rapidly moving toward reality. "There are still many, many decisions facing the Fair Board as the project progresses, but a big first step, the funding plan for the project, is beginning to take shape," Stickel said.
Marion County Fair Board President Jason Reed stated, "A critical component of our project, some help in the form of funding assistance from the state, is appearing likely, thanks to great support from our legislators, Representative Greg Heartsill and Senator Amy Sinclair."
According to Raceway General Manager Stickel, the expansion plans being considered are for a four-story building to be located on the southeast corner of the track where the Skate Pit is currently located. An entry plaza and skywalk to the existing stands, additional skyboxes, a rooftop terrace, raceway offices, and retail space are all options being considered as portions of the new structure. It has not been decided whether to place the roller skating facility in the new structure or move it to another location on the fair grounds.
The request for state help is receiving a favorable hearing from legislative leaders as well as from our local legislators according to Dave Schrader, a longtime employee of the track who has been hired to represent the Raceway at the Statehouse.
The vast majority of legislators, according to Schrader, prefer a sales tax rebate as the method of providing assistance to the track. Sales tax rebates have previously been used for the Iowa Speedway and for the Field of Dreams baseball facility in northeast Iowa. The sales tax rebate would be limited to 5 cents and would not include the local option penny or the penny dedicated to schools.
Fair Board President Jason Reed says early cost estimates for the project range from $4 to 6 million dollars. He said the track has had some good years of late and is saving money toward the project but there remains a need for an extra boost to fully fund the project. The legislation being drafted by Representative Heartsill would allow a sales tax rebate to run for ten years and would limit the amount of the rebate to $2 million and no more than 25% of the total cost of the project.
Track General Manager Stickel remarked, "The Marion County Fair Board has always looked ahead with an eye toward the future. Their vision over the years, more than anything else, is what caused the Knoxville Raceway to become the Sprint Car Capital of the World. This project is a continuation of that vision."
During the 2013 season, Knoxville Raceway had more than 211,000 visitors to the famous half-mile dirt track. The Knoxville Nationals and Knoxville 360 Nationals draw nearly 100,000 sprint car fans to witness the most prestigious and largest dirt track races in the world in early August. The Nationals combine racing with a cultural festival featuring parades, live music, camping, and expositions. More than 100 drivers compete for a million-dollar purse and the esteemed title of Knoxville Nationals Champion.