Rain no trouble in dirt track's first practice day

Wednesday, March 20, 2002

Not even rain could turn away about 70 drivers who came from as far away as Springfield, Mo., for a day of practice at SEMO Motor Speedway.

The first practice day of the season Saturday was a tune-up for the official season opener. The one-fifth mile dirt oval track -- four miles north of Sikeston, Mo., just off Interstate 55 -- will host karts, micro sprints, bandoleros, legens and challenger series cars Saturday.

Racing starts at 1 p.m.

"We're ready to go," track owner Jerry Wolsey said. "The weather didn't cooperate very well with all the rain, and if you'd seen the track at 7 a.m. you'd swear we couldn't run. But the track got a lot better -- by about 2:45 that afternoon there was dust coming off it."

Wolsey said he expects many of those on hand for practice to return for the opener Saturday. It will be their first chance to begin compiling points toward the year-end points fund, where at least $10,000 will be shared among top finishers in the kart and micro sprint classes.

Among those who could be in the chase this week is 12-year-old Memphis, Tenn., racer Kevin Swindell, who said he will compete Saturday in the micro sprint class. Kevin is the son of Sammy Swindell, a longtime competitor and former champion on the traveling World of Outlaws series who will also attend Saturday to serve as his son's crew chief.

General admission Saturday is $10 for adults, free for children five and under when accompanied by an adult. Access to the pit area is included in the general admission cost.

Fast cars up close

Several race cars will be on display Thursday, Friday and Saturday in a show coordinated by former sprint car racer Rod Holshouser.

The show at Westfield Shoppingtown West Park in Cape Girardeau will include several cars that will compete this season at Auto Tire & Parts Racepark near Benton, Mo., including sprints, modifieds, pure street stocks and cruisers.

Most of those cars also will be at the track's practice day April 7. The track's season will begin April 13.

Here and there

  • Malden Speedway near Malden, Mo., will host practice from 1-4 p.m. the next two Saturdays. The track's season will begin Friday, April 5 with its regular schedule of late models, modifieds, pure streets, hobbys and cruisers.

    Late model racer Joey Mack of Benton, Mo., was among the racers who got an early jump on the season Saturday at Poinsett County Speedway near Harrisburg, Ark. Mack won a heat race in his class, but didn't get a chance to compete in the feature race after it was called off because of bad weather. It will be completed Saturday.

    Also in the field was modified racer Greg King of Sikeston. He finished third in his heat race and second to Jared Wagster of Portageville, Mo., in the feature race.

    Practice wlil be from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday at I-55 Raceway near Pevely, Mo. The track will host the World of Outlaws series March 30 with Ken Schrader scheduled to compete in the modified division that night.

    Fredericktown Raceway in Fredericktown, Mo., will hold practice March 29. A can of food (donated to the Madison County Food Pantry) serves as general admission. Gates open at 5 p.m. with racing at 7:30. Late models will continue to headline the weekly program when it begins April 5.

    St. Francois County Raceway near Farmington, Mo., will sponsor a car show from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. March 23 in the parking lot atWal-Mart in Farmington. Practice day at the track begins at noon March 30, and the opening night is April 6 with sprints leading the card.

    Jamie Hall is the sports editor of the Southeast Missourian. Call (573) 335-6611 or email jhall@semissourian.com to contribute motorsports news.

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