The Ottumwa Courier

May 18, 2013

The Pit Stop returns for 2013

By SCOTT WATSON
The Pit Stop

---- — Hello race fans and welcome to the first edition of The Pit Stop for 2013. It has been a very long winter and I, along with just about everyone I speak to, are ready to get out and head to the race track for some races.

Three of the five local race tracks have had races scheduled but all three of those tracks have had to cancel those races. The Southern Iowa Speedway in Oskaloosa, The Knoxville Raceway and The Bloomfield Speedway have yet to get their races under way for the season while Eddyville Raceway Park and The Eldon Raceway have their season openers in the weeks to come.

The Southern Iowa Speedway in Oskaloosa once again has Mike Van Genderen promoting the races at the half-mile facility. They are scheduled to race on Wednesday nights on a regular basis with some special events on the schedule on other nights of the week.

New to the schedule in 2013 are five dates that the International Motor Contest Association Late Models will be in competition. Those five dates are May 1, May 22, June 19, July 16 and August 21. The July 16 date is a Tuesday night during the Southern Iowa Fair and they will be paired with the Hawkeye Dirt Tour for IMCA Modifieds on the special night of racing.

Their weekly classes of competition include the IMCA Modifieds, IMCA Stock Cars, IMCA Hobby Stocks, IMCA Sport Modifieds and IMCA Sport Compacts. A couple of other dates to mark on your calendar are July 3 where it will be the 18th Annual Budweiser Stock Car Shootout and Oct.4 and 5, which will be the 27th Annual Musco Lighting Fall Challenge. The weekly points schedule goes a couple Wednesday nights into September which is the first time they have done this.

They are also planning a free admission night but it has not been decided when that night will be and they are pleased to have a pace truck for each night of action. They have had a couple rainouts already this year so they are looking to have their season opener tomorrow night if mother nature cooperates.

The Bloomfield Speedway has had two rainouts already this year and are looking to kick off their season this Saturday night. Chris and Cindy Eggers who are TTM Marketing, ran the races at Bloomfield last year and after the season was complete, they signed a three-year agreement to promote the races at Bloomfield. The weekly classes on the racing card include Sport Modifieds, Stock Cars, Hobby Stocks and Sport Compacts with IMCA rules but are not IMCA sanctioned.

Other classes of cars that will be racing this year include the 305 Sprint Cars, 360 Sprint Invaders, Modifieds, Mod Lites, Vintage Sprints and Vintage Stock Cars. A couple of special dates on the schedule include July 13 during the Davis County Fair where the weekly classes will be racing along with the Vintage Stock Cars and Modifieds and August 16 with the Open Wheel Friday where the 360 Sprint Invaders join the weekly classes in competition.

The Knoxville Raceway tried to have their opening night this past Saturday night but that night of action was scrapped and they will try to open up the season this Saturday night. More than 270,000 Sprint Car fans will pack the track in 2013 with the 410, 360 and 305 Sprint Cars racing for track championships. Several other types of race cars and motorcycles will be in competition throughout the season. Brian Stickel takes over the reins as the General Manager for the Sprint Car Capitol of the World and their schedule is loaded with special events.

The World of Outlaws will visit May 11 and June 15. Some of the highlights of special events this year are the Arnold Motor Supply 360 Nationals August 1 through the 3, the 53rd Annual Knoxville Nationals August 7 through the 10 and the Lucas Oil Late Model Nationals presented by Casey’s General Stores September 26 through the 28.

Eddyville Raceway Park has their first racing action scheduled for the first weekend of May with a Fun Night on Friday, May 3 and a test and tune day on Saturday, May 4. The following Saturday, May 11, is the first points race of the season. They have five Friday Midnight Madness races scattered throughout the six-month race season.

They have several big events at Eddyville and arguably the highlight of the year will once again be the Musco Lighting Night of Fire July 6. Drag racing legend, "Big Daddy" Don Garlits, will be at the track for the Night of Fire and he will have one of his Top Fuel cars on display.

“We are very fortunate to have "Big Daddy" Don Garlits coming to Eddyville for the first time ever,” said ERP General Manager, Gerald Kramer. “He will have one of his Top Fuelers here and he will fire it up a time or two to get the nitro cackling and he will be signing autographs.”

Former Ottumwan, Tommy Johnson Jr. will have his Nostalgia Funny Car in action and legendary National Hot Rod Association announcer, Bob Frey, will be calling the pro action.

May 25 is the Doorslammer Shootout with the first of two dates the Pro Mods will be in action at the eighth-mile drag strip. The Pro Mod Challenge will take place September 20th and 21.

Motorcycle Mania and the Vintage Drag Bike Nationals are July 20 and 21 while the World Fuel Altered Nationals are August 17. ERP will also host the NHRA Division 5 Super Series races on the Pro Mod weekends with several drivers from the Midwest coming in to compete at these two events. The Eldon Raceway has four nights of racing action for 2013. The season opener for Eldon is June 13 during the Wapello County Fair. The other three dates on the schedule are July 6, September 7 and September 21.

There will be five classes of cars in competition each race which include the A-Modifieds, B-Modifieds, Stock Cars, Hobby Stocks and 4-Cylinders. The Late Models will be in competition at the June 13th race with the other five classes. The first race is on a Thursday night and hot laps get underway at 6:30 p.m. and racing at 7 pm while the other three races get things going with hot laps at 7 p.m. and the green flag drops at 7:30 p.m. Several area racers compete at the Figure 8 races that are held at Sigourney and What Cheer among several other tracks in Iowa. The Sigourney Figure 8 race dates are May 4, June 15, July 20, August 30 and 31. The Figure 8 race dates at What Cheer are May 11, June 1, July 4, July 13 and Aug. 10.

We have had enough rain for awhile and the natives are getting restless to hit the track and race or to sit in the stands and view some races. Good luck to all of the racers this year. Well I better go for this week. Thanks for reading. I’ll see you at the track. Gone racin'.