Local tracks rev up for a big holiday weekend

Friday, May 23, 2003

Southest Missourian

It's not so much a matter of who isn't having some kind of special racing event this weekend.

The real question: Who isn't?

A handful of Southeast Missouri special events combine with a big schedule of regional draws to set up what could be the busiest weekend of racing this season.

First, on the local stage: The first-ever National Championship Racing Association sprint series event at Auto Tire and Parts Racepark is set to start at 7 p.m. Saturday.

"The World of Outlaws series is on the West Coast, and the All Star series has the weekend off," ATPR manager Jerry Wolsey said. "We think that could lead to a big turnout of cars."

The sprint event is worth $4,000 to the winner. Street stocks and cruisers also will compete for extra money.

Area sprint racers get a chance to tune up tonight in Malden (Mo.) Speedway's first sprint event this season. The track hosts that division the fourth Friday each month, but last month's scheduled event was rained out. The modified, hobby, pure stock and cruisers classes also are on the schedule.

Up for a drive? Keep reading.

  • At Gateway Intl Raceway, a Midnight Madness all-night session for street cars will allow racers to run the quarter-mile from 11 p.m. today (after a regular night of racing) until 6 a.m. Limited to 275 entries. Info: 618-482-2400. It's the track's first try at an all-nighter, but manager Dale Sandage says the track will do it again if this one works.

  • At West Plains Speedway, the richest dirt-track event in the state holds its 11th running Saturday. The Show Me 100 is set to feature the nation's top late model racers competing for a $37,000 win. The event began Thursday with practice, and qualifying events are tonight.

  • Late models head from West Plains to Paducah, Ky., on Monday for a $10,000-to-win Xtreme Dirt Car Series event at Paducah Raceway. It's that series' first appearance in the region.

  • In West Tennessee, modified racers from several states -- including Missouri -- are expected to sign in for $1,000 to win Monday at Clayhill Motorsports near Atwood. Events start at 6 p.m. for modifieds and six stock-car classes.

    Noteworthy

  • Jimmy Kite, a familiar face in the sprint class at ATPR this season, will start on the back row of the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday. It's the fourth Indy 500 start for Kite, a 27-year-old from Stockbridge, Ga. Kite competes at ATPR in a No. 12 sprint owned by Joe Reddick of Jackson.

  • Poplar Bluff Speedway officials said this week that more rainy weather has kept city crews from making final hookups of water and utilities at the track. Work could be finished in the next few days -- weather permitting -- with an announcement about the track's opening date to follow.

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