The Brownstown Speedway will kick off the local racing season March 19 with the 19th annual Indiana Icebreaker. On the race program will be the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series, the Indiana Pro Late Models and the UMP Modifieds.
For the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series, there will be a complete show with a $12,000-to-win and $1,000-to-start 60-lap main event. Earl Pearson Jr., a four-time Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series national champion, was last year’s Icebreaker winner.
Defending Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series champion Jonathan Davenport leads the series standings heading into Brownstown. Davenport won 12 series events and 23 overall in 2015 on his way to a record-setting year in dirt late model racing. Davenport earned nearly $700,000 in winnings, which was a single-season record.
Last year’s Lucas Oil Rookie of the Year, Brandon Sheppard, currently is second in points behind Davenport, with Tim McCreadie, two-time series champion Scott Bloomquist and Jared Landers rounding out the top five.
The rest of the top 10 looking to move up in the standings at Brownstown include Darrell Lanigan, Eddie Carrier Jr., Dennis Erb Jr., Don O’Neal and Jimmy Owens.
McCreadie and Lanigan are driving on the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series for the first time in their careers. Both drivers come over from the rival World of Outlaws Late Model Series, where they are both previous champions. Lanigan is the all-time winningest driver in WoO Late Model history with 72 victories.
Bloomquist is the winningest driver in the Lucas Oil Late Model history with 63 wins. He is followed by Owens (53 victories), O’Neal (41), Earl Pearson Jr. (30) and Billy Moyer (23).
Last year’s Late Model track champion, Chad Stapleton of Edinburgh, is expected to be back to defend his title. Stapleton captured his first career Brownstown track title in 2015 over Steve Barnett, Matt Bex, Alan Magner of North Vernon and Jeremy Hines.
Salem Speedway set for busy season
The Salem Speedway in Salem will conduct its season opener April 10 with five divisions of racing. The Lucas Oil Great American Stocks and Midwest Thunder Roadsters will race on the high banks, with the O’Reilly Auto Parts Pure Stocks, Front Wheel Drive Stocks and Legends Cars on the infield oval.
On April 23 and 24 will be the Kentuckiana Ford Dealers ARCA 200. It will be the first of two visits this year to Salem for the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards. The event in April will be the third race of the season for the ARCA Series after February events at Daytona and an April 9 visit to Nashville Motor Speedway in Tennessee.
Open wheel fans will witness the longest open wheel race at Salem in nearly 50 years with the 57th annual Joe James/Pat O’Connor Memorial 75 on Aug. 13, featuring the USAC Silver Crown Champ Car Series.
Sept. 9 and 10 brings the second appearance of the season for the ARCA Series, which will mark a historic visit to the famed high banks. It will be the 100th appearance in Salem Speedway’s long and storied history for the ARCA series.
Frank Kimmel is the all-time winningest driver in ARCA history, and he leads all drivers with his nine victories at Salem. Kimmel has 80 career series wins, just one ahead of Iggy Katona, who had 79 wins in his career. Jack Bowsher (52 wins) is third all-time, followed by Tim Steele with 41 triumphs and Nelson Stacy with 37 victories.
The Salem Speedway was built in 1947. This .555-mile oval features imposing 33-degree banks and was made for speed. Salem is a track that is steeped in history, with many of the giants in auto racing having competed on the treacherous “hills” at one point in their career.
Among those who have raced at the track are A.J. Foyt, Pat O’Connor and Al Unser Sr.
With a racing history as storied as this, it is not surprising that Salem has developed a strong racing heritage and tradition that continues today. Even the legendary Foyt once said, “If a driver can go fast on the high banks, he can go fast anywhere.” And this is still true today, as many famous racers still come to Salem’s demanding track to test their skills.
For further information on Salem Speedway and its 2016 racing schedule, go to salemspeedway.com.
Columbus Racers Reunion set
The 18th Annual Columbus Racers Reunion will be conducted from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. March 26 at the Bartholomew County Fairgrounds Community Building.
There will be bench racing, memorabilia, racing videos, vintage and modern race car display, vendor tables, awards and trophies, door prizes, food and drinks.
Admission is free. For more information, call (812) 378-2060 or email email@example.com.