GPS releases 2006 race schedule

GREENVILLE, SC (January 27, 2006)- Variety is the keyword at Greenville Pickens Speedway in 2006, as Upstate race fans have more selection and diversity on the 2006 race card than ever before. The fun begins as the historic half mile roars back to...

GREENVILLE, SC (January 27, 2006)- Variety is the keyword at Greenville Pickens Speedway in 2006, as Upstate race fans have more selection and diversity on the 2006 race card than ever before. The fun begins as the historic half mile roars back to life for an unprecedented 61st season of racing in Upstate South Carolina on Saturday, March 18. The speedway management and staff have worked overtime this year to deliver to fans a broad selection of racing styles, some never before showcased at GPS.

Hot Spot Stores opening night 2006, presented by your racin' station WESC and Fox Carolina gets the fun rolling on opening night. "We're never really concerned about the temperature on opening night," said GPS marketing director Keith Cochran. "We've had some mild and some fairly cool openers over the years, but no matter, that's the first chance for the Upstate racing community to reconvene at the historic half mile. The famous Dale Earnhardt Memorial backstretch will be packed with tailgaters and those famous GPS bonfires will usher in a brand new season of racing. There's really nothing like opening night at GPS," said Cochran.

All local divisions will be featured on opening night: Renegades, Charger, Sportsman and Late Model. Miss South Carolina, Erika Powell, a recent top 10 finalists in the Miss America Pageant, will serve as Grand Marshall. A huge opening night fireworks show courtesy of area Hot Spot Stores will light up the skies at the conclusion of the races.

The featured Late Model division will get a real test at the second event of the season, with Twin 50 lap features scheduled for Saturday, March 25. An added Twin 50 for the Late Models is scheduled for later in the season, on Saturday July 15.

The NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour will make a first ever appearance at the speedway on Saturday, April 8th for a 150 lap feature event. The open wheel racers promise plenty of excitement with a large field of competitors squaring off on the flat GPS oval, a course that's sure to showcase the exciting fender to fender and wheel to wheel action that the series has become known for. "This will really be something special for GPS race fans," said marketing director Keith Cochran. "Look for sparks to fly and a large field of competitors for this special event."

The NASCAR AUTOZONE Southeast Series returns to GPS for 2 shows in 2006, continuing a long tradition for Upstate race fans. GPS is the unofficial home to the series, as the historic half mile has hosted more of these events than any other track in the nation. First stop comes on Saturday, April 29 for a 150 lap feature. The final show falls on Saturday, August 12.

Drivers in all GPS divisions will have their first shot at those valuable 'Double Points' on Friday, May 5. Many points chases in previous seasons has turned on the events of these 'Double Points' nights, so strap in and hold on...anything is possible on Double Points nights. Drivers will have one more opportunity for double points, that being on Saturday, July 29.

The five year old United Auto Racing Association, Southern Touring Asphalt Racing Series (UARA - STARS) will make a first ever appearance at the speedway in 2006. "We have wanted to come to Greenville Pickens for some time," said Series director Kerry Bodenheimer, "and we're very excited to finally be coming to such a historic place as Greenville Pickens." The UARA -STARS will debut at GPS on Saturday, May 13.

The 2006 premier event on the schedule will be on Saturday, June 10, as the newly named BUSCH EAST SERIES visits Upstate South Carolina. Under a new identity, the NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch East Series (formerly known as the Busch North Series) kicks off its 2006 season June 10 at the historic half mile. "We are very honored to be a part of this NASCAR Grand National Division," said speedway owner Kevin Whitaker. According to a 2006 schedule preview, additional dates at Holland (N.Y.) International Speedway, New Hampshire International Speedway in Loudon, N.H., Waterford (Conn.) Speedbowl, Adirondack International Speedway in Beaver Falls, N.Y., Dover (Del.) International Speedway and Thompson (Conn.) International Speedway and South Boston Speedway fill the calendar. A special event honoring the first live broadcast of a NASCAR race to the nation (April, 1971) from Greenville Pickens Speedway will be a part of this live national broadcast event.

The fastest times of the season by any racing vehicle will come on Thursday, June 30th, as the United Sprit Car Series returns to GPS with the Outlaw Sprint cars. The winged sprints will be on center stage, but the Charger and Renegade ALL STAR events will get plenty of attention as the best of the best in these divisions will be determined in an ALL STAR non points event.

Those crazy bullet shaped, open wheel racers..the THUNDEROADSTERS...will return to GPS on Saturday, July 22 as part of a regular card of racing. The Indy style racers look like they just rolled out of an episode of Cannonball Run, with the driver wearing a racing scarf and goggles.

The top Pit Crews at GPS get a chance to strut their stuff on Saturday, August 5 in the Berea's Choice Express Lube & Automotive PIT CREW CHALLENGE. Top Late Model teams will once again compete for the title of top pit crew in a timed tire change event. It's a fan favorite as the spotlight goes to the pit crews on August 5.

Six time retired track champion Donnie Bishop will be honored at the Saturday, August 19 event. Bishop holds more track titles than any other driver to ever cut the corners of the historic half mile, and fans will honor that unbelievable accomplishment on August 19.

Who's the fastest clergy in the Upstate? The annual FASTER PASTOR event has become a favorite over the years, with church leaders from all over the Upstate settling that question with a one lap golf cart race around GPS. Don't miss this fun event on Friday, August 25.

Championships in all Greenville Pickens Speedway divisions will decided in the season ending Pete Blackwell Memorial Shrine Race, presented by Kevin Whitaker Chevrolet. Dates and times of the annual SHRINE RACE will be announced at a later date.

That's an overview of the big nights on the race card at Greenville Pickens Speedway for 2006. There's something for everyone on this year's race card with more special events than ever before scheduled. But don't discount just one of the 'regular' nights of racing featuring our local heroes in the Renegade, Charger, Sportsman, or Late Model divisions. Some of the best and most memorable moments of previous seasons has come on these regular nights of racing.

Whether you're brand new to the speedway, or a track old-timer, we look forward to seeing you again in 2006 at the historic half mile. Come out early and stake a claim on the famous Dale Earnhardt Memorial Backstretch, bring the entire family to enjoy a one of a kind backstretch race day tailgate party. Or, get the best seat in the house in the GPS grandstand. Either way, we hope you have a great time at the races in 2006!


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Drivers Dale Earnhardt