Mansfield Motorsports Park Announces 2008 Schedule
The 2008 schedule at Mansfield Motorsports Park includes five major racing events set for the half-mile banked oval. The season kicks off with the annual NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series "Ohio 250" on May 23 and 24, with two USAR Hooters Pro Cup Series 250 lappers set for June 14 and August 30, an open wheel doubleheader with ISMA Supermodifieds and HOSS winged sprints on August 9, and a NASCAR Camping World Series and Whelen Modified doubleheader on August 23.
The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series returns for the fifth-annual Ohio 250, an event that has become popular with fans and drivers alike.
"It is a huge honor for us to have the only national level NASCAR event in the state of Ohio," said MMP public relations manager Charles Krall. "We see fans come from all over the state and it has all the atmosphere you would expect from a major league race. The support this event has in the community is something the drivers, teams, and officials all notice and enjoy. I had a chance to talk to series champion Ron Hornaday and his wife Lindy during the 2007 finale at Homestead and they both said one of the events they both look forward to the most was here in Mansfield. Hornaday likes to beat and bang a little out on the track, and he sure does get a chance to do that here."
The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour and NASCAR Camping World Series -- formerly known as the NASCAR Busch East Series -- both make their second visit to MMP with a doubleheader slated for August 23.
"That was one of the most highly anticipated events we've ever held here, but then race week saw 10 inches of rain throughout the area," said MMP general manager Bill Conn. "Mansfield was on the news because of flooding, not because of racing. On top of that we had some rain on raceday too. But through all of that, we heard a lot of positive feedback from our fans about this event. The Modifieds are something that we don't get to see around here, and we had people from all around the Midwest out to see them. The Camping World Series has a ton of young development drivers in it. Last year it was Joey Lagano that really made his mark. This year it's guys like Trevor Bayne and Jeffrey Earnhardt that people are talking about. It's a great chance to see NASCAR's oldest series and some of NASCAR's youngest drivers all race on the same day."
The USAR Hooters Pro Cup Series Northern Division makes its annual stop at MMP on June 14, and the Championship Series event, with the top 30 drivers from both the Northern Division and Southern Division eligible to compete, is slated for August 30.
"We have a great relationship with the Hooters Pro Cup Series and we're excited to have them back this year for two races," Conn said. "There are always a lot of bent fenders, and the races almost always come down to a shootout at the end. We don't expect anything less than that this season. With guys like Gary St. Amant and Benny Gordon, we think our Northern guys will give the Southern guys a real run for the money once we kick off the Championship Series on August 30."
The ISMA Supermodifieds return along with the HOSS 410 Winged Sprints for an open wheel doubleheader on August 9. As with many other short tracks in the region, the open wheel cars always draw a strong turnout for what is always the fastest night of competition throughout the year.
"There are many open wheel fans here in the Midwest, and they always come out whenever we have a big show at Mansfield," Krall said. "The ISMA Supermodifieds are probably the most unique and just downright awesome racecars in the country. They have big block engines hanging out the left side of the chassis, a huge wing that moves up and down over the driver's head, and these wide tires. The speed is just incredible. We expect to see laps in the 13 second bracket, if not quicker, and top speeds going into the corner at about 140 to 150 miles per hour. We're also happy to have HOSS back with us. The winged sprint car is pretty common at the dirt tracks around the state but we don't see them too often on the paved tracks. The speeds there should be just as quick, and the competition is extremely intense. It's going to be a white-knuckle doubleheader, and everyone is usually right on the edge of their seats all night long."
The 2008 schedule at Mansfield Motorsports Park may also include another racing event and several non-racing community events. Updates to the racing schedule, if any, will be released within the coming weeks.
"We are close to finalizing one other date, but we're still a short time away from announcing that event," Conn said. "But we know race fans like to plan ahead so we wanted to let people know the dates we have finalized now. We are also going to announce some more non-racing community events in the very near future."
One of those non-racing events is the annual Freedom Festival and Fireworks Show on July 4. More information on the activities at the track during the Freedom Festival will be released as plans are finalized and details are available.
Tickets for the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Ohio 250 are now on sale, and can be purchased via the track website, www.mansfieldmotorsportsonline.com. Fans can also call the track ticket office at (419) 525-RACE (7223), or visit the speedway office at 100 Crall Road. Ticket information for the remaining events at MMP will be released in the coming weeks.