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KISS circuit ready to heat up Terre Haute

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The King of Indiana Sprint Series (KISS) gets underway Sunday (gates open at 3 p.m.) at the Terre Haute Action Track.

This will be the 14th running of the series that visits tracks all over the state. A factor in the series’ unique character is that when a race is rained out, it cannot be made up. However, the track missing its race remains responsible for its share of the series points fund.

This year’s other KISS Series stops are scheduled for Bloomington Speedway (Friday), Kokokmo Speedway (May 4), Gas City I-69 Speedway (May 9), Lawrenceburg Speedway (May 17), Tri-State Speedway at Haubstadt (May 25) and Paragon Speedway (May 31).

Jon Stanbrough is the winningest driver in the series with series point championships in 2003, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010 and 2012. The only other multiple championship winner is Brady Short, who took the title in 2009 and 2013.

En route to his 2013 series championship, Short won at Bloomington and Gas City. Robert Ballou prevailed at Kokomo; and Daron Clayton won at Tri-State Speedway. The other three events went to the weatherman.

The Action Track has hosted the KISS series seven times, with Stanbrough achieving three wins there, making him the only multiple winner. Other winners of races at Terre Haute are Tony Elliott, Shane Cottle, Levi Jones and Robert Ballou.

This year, the Terre Haute stop in the series also will   be sanctioned by the Midwest Sprint Car Series. This additional sanction should help to ensure a huge car count.

In addition to nonwinged sprint cars, UMP open-wheel modifieds will be in competition. This competition is likely to attract the best and fastest modifieds as the half-mile track offers them a rare opportunity to stretch their legs and take advantage of all of the horsepower under their hoods.

Welch to intern with USAC Dillon Welch of Carmel is a 20-year-old telecommunications major at Ball State University. However, he is a racer at heart. Under the watchful eye of his father and car owner, ESPN IndyCar/NASCAR commentator Vince Welch, the younger Welch raced quarter midgets and then midgets.

The younger Welch began his internship with the United States Auto Club at Tony Stewart’s Eldora Speedway on April 19 when he covered the Don Branson/Jud Larson Classic working alongside Eldora’s veteran announcer Dustin Jarrett.

About his new assignment, the younger Welch said, “I’m very grateful and excited for this opportunity to come on board with USAC. Being able to announce racing has long been a personal goal, and to make my announcing debut   at one of the world’s premier short track facilities, covering my favorite type of racing,    at a young age is a dream come true.”

About following his father into broadcasting, the younger Welch said, “My dad has played a big part in getting me interested in broadcasting. I have always wanted to be a driver and have had some great years behind the wheel of a midget and a quarter midget; but as I’ve gotten older, I’ve seen the value of broadcasting to the racing industry and the entertainment it provides. I’m looking forward to hopefully catching up to my dad one day; but I know that he will help me whenever he can along the way.

“Ultimately it comes down to wanting to make a living in motorsports. I’d prefer to be driving, something that I’ve been doing since I was 7; but if I can use my broadcasting skills to be involved in the sport, that is just great. My primary focus this year is the USAC internship; but if time permits and the opportunity is there, I’d never turn down the chance to jump back in the seat.”

Tim McKinney writes a weekly racing column for  The Republic. He can be reached at 379-5632.

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