By Joe Buckles
With the cars and drivers of the Midwest Sprint Car Series prepared to tackle the Terre Haute Action Track this weekend, it’s a sure sign the 2009 Wabash Valley racing season is about to shift into high gear.
A campaign that is sure to be watched carefully by those close to the sport who fear racing might suffer from a troubled economy whether it be at the weekly short tracks or at the national level.
The adverse effects have already been felt at the local stage with the future of racing at the drag strip at the Wabash Valley Fairgrounds still in doubt.
The eighth-mile strip lost its promoter over the winter, leaving area racers scurrying to find tracks to compete at this summer. The fact the strip has yet to open nearly two months into the season has raised serious concerns by those hoping to see the facility remain open.
A potential local promoter and Fairground officials have agreed on a contract that would keep racing alive, but final details have yet to be ironed out.
On a much more positive note, officials at the Action Track have assembled what appears to be an attractive six-event slate that is sure to please open-wheel fans especially those favoring sprint-car racing.
While the name of the promotional group — it’s now called Action Promotions, LLC — may have changed, those who changed the future of racing at the local half-mile dirt oval a year ago remain at the helm, and are optimistic the track will remain a viable fixture on the racing scene.
Listed below is the annual list of events at tracks around the Wabash Valley:
• Terre Haute Action Track (812-236-7951) — May 2: Midwest Sprint Car Series sprints; May 21: USAC sprints Tony Hulman Classic; June 13: SCORA sprints-Indiana Late Model Series stocks; July 4: All-Star Circuit of Champions winged sprint cars; July 15: USAC sprints Indiana Sprint Weeks; Sept. 12: USAC midgets Hut Hundred.
• Bakersfield Raceway Park (812-847-7485) — Weekly Friday night card of 600 mini-sprints, 4 cylinder stocks, 600 non-wing open class mini sprints, Jr/Kids sprints.
• Bloomington Motor Speedway (812-824-7400) — May 8: USAC sprints, May 29: King of Indiana Sprints; June 12: USAC Indiana Midget Week midgets; June 26: Sheldon Kinser Memorial; Aug. 21: All-Star Sprints; Sept. 18: Midwest Sprint Car Series sprints.
• Coles County Dragway (217-345-7777) — May 30: King of Track; June 20: Thunder on the Prairie; July 5: Fuqus Firecracker 500; Sept. 12: NHRA National Dragster Challenge; Oct. 4: $1200-to-win Pro ET.
• Indianapolis Motor Speedway (800-822-INDY) — May 5: 500 Rookie Oreintation; May 6: Opening Day; May 9: Pole Day; May 17: Bump Day; May 22: Carb Day; May 24: Indianapolis 500; July 25: NASCAR Nextel Allstate at Brickyard 400 qualifying; July 26: Brickyard 400; Aug. 29-30: Red Bull Indy MotoGP.
• Kamp Motor Speedway (765-869-5212) — May 2: Ike Bowman UMP Modified Memorial; May 30: SCORA sprints; June 13: UMP Late Model Summer Nationals; July 16: USAC Sprints and 7th Annual Kamp 50 $5000-to-win Late Models.
• Lincoln Park Speedway (317-653-3485) — June 30: Super Stock Summer 30; July 4: LPS Annual Fireworks Spectacular; July 18: 5th Annual Bomber Bash; Aug. 1: 22nd Annual Putnamville Clash; Sept. 5: King of Non-Wing Sprints; Sept. 12: 6th Annual Patroit 100.
• O’Reilly Raceway Park (317-291-4090) — May 23: USAC midgets Nite Before the 500; June 13: ASA Late Models; July 23: USAC Silver Crown; July 24: NASCAR Camping World Trucks Series; July 25: 28th Annual NASCAR Nationwise Kroger 200; Aug. 8: UAW Nite; Sept. 2-7: 55th Annual Mac Tools NHRA US Nationals.
• Paragon Speedway (765- 537-2366) — June 6: Dave Peeden Memorial; June 20: KISS Sprints; June 27: Mid-Season Championship; July 11: All-Star Sprints; July 25: Mike Johnson Memorial; Sept. 13: 13th Annual Stock Dirt Nationals.
• Salem Speedway (812-883-6504) — June 6: USA Modifieds-ARA Stocks; July 5: Firecracker 200 Lucas Oil Super Stocks; Aug. 15: USAC sprints; Sept. 19: ARCA REMAX Series stocks; Oct. 25: 21st Annual Haloween 200 $5000-to-win Street Stock Classic.
• Tri-State Speedway (Haubstadt) 812-768-5995 — May 24: MSCS Sprints; June 6: KISS sprints; June 21: UMP Late Model Summer Nationals; July 18: USAC sprints; Aug 1: Hoosier MSCS Sprint Nationals; Sept. 19: Haubstadt Sprint Hustler 50 $10,000 to-win.
• Vermillion County Speedway (217-443-6588) — May 23-24: Dave Richardson Memorial $5000-to-win sprints; June 2: Illinois Sprint Week; June 27: MSCS Sprints; July 5: 21st UMP Summer Nationals Late Models; Aug 15: O’Reilly All-Star Late Models; Sept. 12: USA Freedom Classic for MSCS sprints.
• Winchester Speedway (765-584-9701) — June 5: USA Racing Pro Cup 200; July 2: USAC sprints; Aug 6-7: World Stock Car Festival; Oct 3-4: USAC sprints-midgets; Oct. 16: 38th Annual Winchester 400.
As always fans are cautioned to call ahead when threatening weather exist and remember track dates are subjected to change.
Joe Buckles can be reached at email@example.com