Bloomington season opener preview

BLOOMINGTON, IN (April 4) - Have you had enough winter yet? Us too! It's time for nice weather and dirt track racing. And, the competitors are even more ready to go racing that we are. Mike Miles has been working on the speedway all winter;...

BLOOMINGTON, IN (April 4) - Have you had enough winter yet? Us too! It's time for nice weather and dirt track racing. And, the competitors are even more ready to go racing that we are.

Mike Miles has been working on the speedway all winter; and he and Judy are ready to welcome the race fans. Along with the normal maintenance that is required to keep Bloomington Speedway the great, fan friendly place that it is, Mike tries to make at least one big improvement each year. This year he put his extra effort in preparing the racing surface that has made Bloomington Speedway a favorite of competitors and fans alike. Mike bought extra red clay and spent weeks working it in with existing in an effort to insure that the track will last the season and will be as good at the end of the season as it is at the beginning of the season.

Bloomington Speedway is opening with the three classes that will form the basis for our competition all season. There will be shows over the course of the season where one of the classes won't be running; but they will certainly provide the base on which our racing programs will be built. The facility, as well as the program, will be ready for competition on April 16. The track will be smooth; and, with a little luck with the weather, stay heavy all night long. The rest rooms and concession stands will be clean; and the staff will do everything possible to see that the program keeps moving.

Last season, Derek Scheffel of Columbus came back to win an unprecedented fourth Bloomington Speedway championship. He'll be back at Bloomington Speedway this season with an opportunity to break his own record. Derek is the only driver with a shot at five championships any time soon. However, whether or not Scheffel elects to make an all-out effort at a fifth championship, it will be no easy feat. Justin Marvel has finished second to Derek the past couple of years; and he would very much like to add a Bloomington Speedway title to his resume. Kevin Briscoe is always a threat to win at Bloomington Speedway; and he will certainly be hard to beat should he decide to mount a challenge for the championship.

Kenny Carmichael is always a strong contender for the Bloomington Speedway sprint car title. His best finish until now is a second place; and he lost by only a few points. He tells us that he's going to make another run at the title. Again this season, he will be teamed with his son, Kenny Carmichael, Jr.

Bobby Stines, Kevin Chambers, Jon Sciscoe, Kent Christian, Jared Fox; and Rick Hayden made up the balance of the top ten last season; and most of them can be expected to compete for the championship again this season. To those tough competitors can be added Tim Spindler and any of a number of competitors that have been racing and gaining the equipment and talent necessary to compete for the championship.

Shelby Miles won his first O'Neal Wood Products modified championship last season. Since Shelby lives in Bloomington and has a day job, he'll almost certainly be competing on the red clay again this season. Ray Humphrey had four feature wins last season and never finished out of the top five. Had he not suffered a back injury that sidelined him for a good part of the season, he would certainly have been hard to beat. This season, he and his brother, Jay, will be sharing the car this season; but Ray is expected handle the driving at Bloomington Speedway.

Jeff Bland, Jr. will be a driver to watch this season. He was last season's Rookie of the Year; and he missed only two features all season. And, he was still in middle school. He is returning to the track as a veteran; but he still isn't old enough to drive himself to the track. However, Lee Hobbs and his teammate, Brady Short, plan to compete at Bloomington Speedway; and either of them is capable of winning the championship as are Matt Boknecht, John and Clint DeMoss, Jesse Cramer, and Rodney Harris, Jr. Matt Bex and last season's most improved driver, J.P. Karpowicz could also get the job done.

Jack Frye finally took his first Tire & Wheel Center super stock championship last season after trying for more than 20 years. He will almost certainly be trying to repeat as champion. Our 2002 champion, Greg Kendall might well have taken the championship a second time had he not had tire problems late in the season. Any of the rest of last season's top ten are certainly a threat to win this season. They include Danny Harris, Ben DuBois, Mel Bigham, Lee Hobbs, Anthony Walker, Ralph Groomer, Chris Deweese, and Mike Jones.

Don't miss the first lap on the race to the 2004 series championship. Plan to be with us on April 16 to see the best racing you'll see anywhere.

Pit gates will open at 4:30 PM, the grandstand gates will open at 5:30 PM, hot laps will start at 6:30 PM, and racing will begin at 7:30 PM. General admission is $10 for this event (children are admitted free to the grandstand when accompanied by a paying adult); and pit admission is $20. Coolers are permitted; but glass containers aren't. Overnight camping is also permitted.

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About this article
Series Sprint , Stock car
Drivers Kevin Chambers , Rick Hayden , Kenny Carmichael , Brady Short , Anthony Walker