New Owners Dale Earnhardt Jr., Ken Schrader and Bob Sargent Announce Exciting 2006 Paducah International Raceway Slate and Major Sponsors! 3/2/06-A massive overflow crowd of media members, local business and government leaders, racers and ...
New Owners Dale Earnhardt Jr., Ken Schrader and Bob Sargent Announce Exciting 2006 Paducah International Raceway Slate and Major Sponsors!
3/2/06-A massive overflow crowd of media members, local business and government leaders, racers and officials crowded the Amerihost Theatre in Metropolis, Illinois on Thursday, March 2 to witness a historic press conference featuring the new owners of the Paducah International Raceway and their announcement of major corporate sponsors of the facility, as well as an introduction to the 2006 PIR schedule.
NASCAR Nextel Cup Stars Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Ken Schrader joined veteran promoter Bob Sargent of Track Enterprises on the dais Thursday after the three of them joined forces this winter to purchase the 3/8 mile dirt track located just across the Ohio River in Paducah, Kentucky. Earnhardt Jr., Schrader and Sargent were on hand to answer questions about their involvement in the track and to introduce two major sponsors of the facility.
Harrah's Entertainment, Incorporated, owner and operator of casino complexes across the nation including one in Metropolis thrilled the overflow crowd when Casino Marketing Manager Chad Barnhill announced that the Metropolis Casino and Hotel would be the lead corporate sponsor of PIR for the next two years, with the good possibility of increased involvement after the initial two year run. In addition, Paducah's local newspaper The Paducah Sun made a major commitment when they announced they would sponsor the media center at the Paducah track.
Earnhardt Jr., in his first venture as a race track owner operator, told the capacity crowd that "any venture that I get into with Kenny Schrader is a lot of fun, I've known him since I was a teenager and he was a real good friend of my father." "I really am intrigued by dirt track racing, especially the crate late models that are catching on around the country." "I've enjoyed running at Kenny's other track and when he called me about this opportunity, it seemed like a good deal, not only to own a dirt track but to get to do a little racing as well." "I'm excited to be involved with Paducah International Raceway and glad to have Harrah's on board as a sponsor."
Schrader, the Fenton, Missouri native is well known and extremely popular with Midwest racing fans. He currently owns the I-55 Raceway in Pevely, Missouri and echoed many of the same sentiments voiced by Dale Jr. "I am a Midwest guy, born and bred in St. Louis and some day I may move back to the Midwest", said Schrader. "I first ran at Paducah back here in 1980, and I've liked the place ever since." It's only 3 hours from home (St. Louis) and I really like the place and the people." "We've hired Jeff Bruhn whom I've known for a while to manage the track, and Bob, Dale and I will be involved in the operation of the facility." Schrader further said that not only would he be involved as an owner, but as an occasional competitor as well. "Dale Jr., I and Kenny Wallace are going to be here for the first NASCAR Night on April 14, and again on May 17, we will have a third one in August which will feature about a half dozen NASCAR guys running at Paducah."
Sargent, the veteran promoter who currently runs both mile dirt tracks at the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield and the DuQuoin State Fairgrounds, voiced much optimism in taking over the Paducah facility. "We are working hard to make improvements to the physical facility, painting, redoing buildings and making more parking and we have more improvements planned to make the track more fan friendly", said Sargent. "We are really happy to have Harrah's and the Paducah Sun on board, and I am pleased to be able to do this with Kenny and Dale Jr." "We plan to be very involved in the local community as we grow Paducah International Raceway."
General manager Jeff Bruhn announced that the track had 33 weeks of racing planned in 2006, with events ranging from NASCAR Nights to special events for the United Midwestern Promoters Late Models to the weekly racing program. A number of fan friendly promotions are slated in 2006, including "Weiner Dog" races, kids events, spectator races and a series of motorcycle races.
Advance tickets for the first NASCAR Night April 14 go on sale at the track at 8 a.m. March 3 and can be obtained by calling 270-898-7469. PIR officially opens the 2006 racing season on Friday night, March 24 with it's first regular program.