2007 USAC NATIONAL SCHEDULES CONTAIN 76 RACES
ORLANDO, Fla. -- No less than 76 points-paying features are scheduled for USAC's three National series in 2007, as the Silver Crown Series presented by K&N Engineering, National Sprint and National Midget car season schedules were released Thursday morning at the Performance Racing Industry trade show.
Beginning in early February and ending in late November, at least one of the series will visit one of 15 states from coast to coast in three of USAC's most ambitious schedules in seasons.
"We're happy to be able to put out this group of three schedules for the 2007 National seasons," said USAC President/CEO Rollie Helmling. "This is the earliest we've released these schedules, and that's something we've been striving to do for several years."
Silver Crown Schedule Sees Traditional Events Return in 13-Race Schedule
The Silver Crown Series season will begin and end in the same place in 2007, as 13 events make up the calendar.
The series begins Feb. 9-10 in Phoenix, Ariz., the same city it normally begins the season, only this time the locale shifts to the dirt track of Manzanita Speedway. Manzanita will become the first track other than Phoenix International Raceway -- the season finale Nov. 8 during the NASCAR Nextel Cup weekend -- to host the season opener since a 2000 event a Walt Disney World Speedway in Florida.
Other than that and in between, the schedule follows a format similar to the 2006 season. Dates with the Indy Racing League at Homestead-Miami Speedway in March and Richmond International Raceway in June remain, while four of the five annual dirt races return to their respective weekends. The exception is the Terre Haute (Ind.) Action Track, which returns to the first weekend of June, as it did in 2004 and 2005.
The race at Iowa Speedway moves to the beginning of May, while the races run in conjunction with NASCAR weekends -- at Chicagoland and Kansas Speedways and O'Reilly Raceway Park -- will continue to follow suit with the NASCAR races.
"We're very excited about the 2007 Silver Crown Series schedule," Helmling said. "We'll continue to run several pavement races in conjunction with the Indy Racing League and NASCAR, and we're obviously excited that two of those will be during the Chase for the Nextel Cup. The addition of the Manzanita opener shows how important the dirt continues to be in this series."
East Coast Trip, Expanded "Indiana Sprint Week" Highlight National Sprint Schedule
A return to the East Coast and an expanded "Indiana Sprint Week" program highlight the 2007 National Sprint schedule, with 36 dates locked in at the time of release.
A four-race East Coast swing, with a date to be announced, is scheduled for the second weekend of June, giving the series its first presence in eastern Pennsylvania on dirt since a race at Williams Grove in 1996. The last of those four dates is at Hagerstown, Md. on Saturday, June 9. The last time USAC visited The "Old Line State" was 1986. The two Pennsylvania tracks scheduled are Grandview Speedway in Bechtelsville and Big Diamond Raceway in Minersville.
The "Indiana Sprint Week" schedule has also increased by two events from the 2006 season, jumping from seven to nine races over a period of nine days. All seven tracks from the 2006 season return, while Lincoln Park Speedway in Putnamville comes back after a year hiatus. In addition, Kamp Motor Speedway in Boswell will host its first "Indiana Sprint Week" race.
Several other annual dates return as well, including Eldora Speedway three times with the "Don Branson/Jud Larson" season opener (March 31), the Border Wars (April 28) and "4-Crown Nationals."
The annual "Buckeye Nationals" nearly slipped away when a Sprint/Midget doubleheader was scheduled at ORP the night before the U.S. Grand Prix Formula 1 race, but USAC officials deemed the Sprint/Midget doubleheaders at Toledo and Mansfield Motor Speedways the new "Buckeye Nationals." It will be the first time in its six-year history the mini series will be held on pavement.
The season also stops for the first time at the 5/8-mile West Virginia Motor Speedway in August and wraps up its West Coast swing with the annual "Budweiser Oval Nationals" at Perris (Calif.) Speedway and the Western World Championships at Manzanita Speedway in Phoenix.
Three TBA dates are scheduled for the middle of May, and National Sprint Car Series coordinator Greg Staab hopes to have these filled soon.
"This is an ambitious schedule but there could be additions," added Staab. "I'm particularly pleased with the new venues and with the trip East. We've had numerous inquiries in recent years about the Eastern events and hopefully race fans will be delighted with the results of our efforts."
Multiple Co-Sanctioned Races Add Depth to National Midget Program
Seven of the 27 scheduled National Midget Car Series will represent co-sanction status for the 2007 season, as nearly a quarter of the races will be on the schedule and paying points for multiple sanctions.
Annual races at O'Reilly, Belleville and Toledo return to their annual weekends, while the rest of the schedule has been shuffled. The series starts in conjunction with the Silver Crown Series at Manzanita, while Newton, Iowa's tripleheader heads up May.
The first of the co-sanctions comes June 1 at Dodge County Fairgrounds Speedway in Beaver Dam, Wis. That race is the first of four races co-sanctioned with the Badger Midget Auto Racing Association. The other three come the final weekend of Aug., with an Aug. 24 date at Plymouth (Wis.) Dirt Track and back-to-back "National Midget Auto Racing Hall of Fame" races at Angell Park Speedway the following two nights.
USAC will also partner with the POWRi Midget Series in late July, hooking up at two events at Junction Motor Speedway in McCool Junction, Neb. and a third night at 81 Speedway in Wichita, Kan. All three races lead up to the 31st "Belleville Midget Nationals."
"Indiana Midget Week" expands to three races, with Lincoln Park, Gas City I-69 and Kokomo Speedways taking part in mid-August.
The "Knoxville Midget Nationals" and Phoenix International features return but are scheduled on different weekends than in 2006. The other crown jewels -- the "Hut Hundred," "4-Crown Nationals" and "Turkey Night Grand Prix" return to traditional weekends. The "4-Crown Nationals" has been changed from two days to one.
The race at Thunder Hill Raceway in Kyle, Texas moves from October to April, and is the second race of the season. It will be held the week of the NASCAR race at Texas Motor Speedway, with the hopes of attracting additional NASCAR driver participation.
"We've obviously expanded our Midget program in our regional divisions and extended partnerships with several other National divisions for 2007," Helmling said. "This is a large increase in the amount of races we've had in the National division from the previous two seasons, so we're obviously looking forward to this expansion."