Michigan Sprint Car Scene 2004-01-27

11 More Very Long Weeks.... Yup, that's right, 11 more weeks until we go sprint car racing here in the Wolverine State. Hartford Speedway Park will open on April 9, with the Dave Tober Memorial. However, at the current moment, every track in ...

11 More Very Long Weeks....

Yup, that's right, 11 more weeks until we go sprint car racing here in the Wolverine State. Hartford Speedway Park will open on April 9, with the Dave Tober Memorial. However, at the current moment, every track in Michigan is covered by at least 10" of fresh snow. Just today, most of Michigan received 6-12". If you walk around my property, you can measure anywhere from 8" to 30" in some places. This is great news, if you really like winter, or you are a polar bear. My only complaint about winter is the lack of racing.

This week, we had a chance to talk with Mr. Fred Knight at Hartford Speedway Park. The Knight family, once again will have a very busy schedule, with more purse money being paid out, than I would guess any other short track in the state. I also think it is safe to say that they will be bringing in more sanctioning bodies than any other track as well. Their weekly show consist of open sprints, UMP modifieds, limited late models, and factory stocks. The highlight will be the World of Outlaws presented by SLS Promotions on June 11. This was a great show last year with Brian Paulus claiming his very first World of Outlaws feature win. Next up would be two All Star Circuit of Champions dates on May 21, and July 31. (Yes, July 31 is a Saturday date, and for a good reason) The All Stars always have a great show when they come to Michigan.

Also, Steve Sinclair's Interstate Racing Association (IRA) sprints will make a visit to Hartford as well on July 16. With any luck, the IRA will make a follow up visit on July 17 at Butler Motor Speedway. The Sprints On Dirt will make four visits to the high-banked 1/2 mile. The Fifth Annual, Briggs Composites King of Michigan will take place July 2. This event will pay $4000 to the winner of the 30 lap A-main, sanctioned by SOD. The United Racing Club out of New York will make a visit as well, while the teams are on their way to Knoxville Speedway for the Tournament of Champions. This event is a non-points race for URC, but it is run in conjunction with SOD, and will pay $2000 to the winner. One last schedule note will be a UMP Summer Nationals for late models on June 24. Once again, Hartford will open on April 9, with the Dave Tober Memorial.

Mr. Knight also noted some ongoing construction work at the speedplant. As per his yearly custom, new clay will be added again this winter. They also plan to add some more VIP suites above the existing suites. They plan to start the construction in the spring thaw, and will be a work in progress through the early summer. Over the last five years, the Knight family has worked hard to continually improve the speedway, and everything around it.

From work on the track, pit area, concession area, and even the plant life around the speedway, they continue to make Hartford Speedway Park an enjoyable place to spend Friday evenings.

Steve Sinclair from the IRA filled me in on his busy schedule for the 2004 season. I have worked with Mr. Sinclair a few times when we (SOD) would run as a support division for the IRA at Butler Motor Speedway. Everything about the IRA is a first class deal. I have said this before, and I will say it again, the IRA is the only self supporting winged 410 group in the country. The IRA can go to any track within their region, and run four heats, a full B-main, and an A-main with no local support. Along with the car counts, they also put on great shows. Mr. Sinclair is planning 30-35 IRA dates, as well as another 14-17 WoO dates with SLS promotions, anywhere from Michigan, out to Arizona. Not to mention spending 11 days in Tulsa, OK working at the Chili Bowl. Busy is not to word to describe his schedule. As well as promoting IRA, and WoO shows, he also sells the advanced tickets for the SLS promoted WoO shows. Thanks again to Mr. Sinclair for taking the time to answer some questions. We do look for Forward to the IRA shows when they come to town.

Last, we will have to get into some rumors. What fun is a column with no rumors? I heard just today that local favorite Brett Mann has a 360 in the works for 2004. From the sounds of it, nothing full time, but it will give him more options when there is no 410 racing at Hartford. Tim Norman may be in the same position. Norman ran a few SOD shows a couple of years ago, even scoring a few wins at Crystal Motor Speedway and Hartford. Sounds like he may once again drop in the little motor to run some of his favorite tracks like Crystal, Ionia, and Hartford. Monroe, MI standout, Jeremy Campbell is looking to step up his program this year. The team currently has one new 410 motor for sale. They plan on starting 2004 with all new equipment, and stronger motors. (for more information on the motor, feel free to e-mail me, and I will point you in the right direction) Rumor has it, they may make a run for the All Star Circuit of Champions Rookie of the Year title. Nothing official, but they do plan on heading south to Florida over the next couple weeks, and then will decide on a possible All Star run at that point.

If you are a Michigan Open Wheel fan, be sure to visit my new web site, www.drtmotorsports.com. This site will feature anything open wheel from the Wolverine State. With any luck, we will have a one stop place for anyone looking to find some good racing on any given weekend. Also, my good friends at Safety First Fire and Rescue have a new website at www.safetyfirstteam.com. Be sure to stop by. These guys work hard every weekend to keep the drivers safe. As always, feel free to e-mail me any news, questions, or even smart remarks at duane@drtmotorsports.com Only 11 more weeks everyone.

-mscs-

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Series Sprint
Drivers Brian Paulus