Owen Thompson, owner of Salem Speedway, recently announced that a repaving project is planned to be completed before the ARCA Series returns to the track this fall.
He said, “We want to keep the character of the track. It’s a great place for racing; and we’re going to keep it that way.”
Thompson indicated that the plans are to pave a lane in turns three and four beginning right after the July 4 holiday. This will be the first paving done at the track since 1977.
Repaving a racetrack always is a tricky proposition, and repaving a highly-banked track like Salem Speedway is even more problematic. Veteran race fans will recall the pain that Winchester Speedway went through when it repaved its high-banked half mile. Of course, they repaved the entire track rather than a single lane.
Thompson is unique among track owners. He first became involved with the track as a budget stockcar racer. In fact, he still races there. When the track became available, Thompson purchased it.
Although he continues to run a successful business in Louisville, he and his family are in evidence everywhere at the track on race days.
Not only do they do whatever is necessary to insure that the racing goes smoothly, they talk to race fans as well as the competitors to gather information to improve both the facility and their racing program.
ARCA Racing Series president Ron Drager said, “We have a a racetrack that has a great tradition. This is just the beginning of a long-term plan to improve the surface of the track. We all want to preserve the character of this place.”
Kenny Schrader regularly races at Salem, and he said, “I love the pavement the way it is, but it is getting to the point where they have to do something. The way they have it planned, it will probably make for even better racing than we have now.”
Vintage Brickyard racing
The Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s efforts to increase the utilization of the track didn’t end with the Grand Prix of Indianapolis. In addition, they are hosting the Brickyard Vintage Racing Invitational. The three-day event (June 6 to June 8) will feature more than 500 vintage racecars competing on the newly reconfigured road course.
In addition, some exhibition events will be contested on the famed 2.5 mile oval.
Two-time Indianapolis 500 champion Al Unser Jr., is scheduled to compete in the “Indy Legends Pro-Am.”
This is a special feature of the Sportscar Vintage Racing Association’s June 6 to June 8 Brickyard Invitational. Indianapolis 500 veterans will run a 40-minute race on the newly reconfigured road course driving American-made muscle cars.
In addition to Unser, Lyn St. James, Willy T. Ribbs and Mark Dismore are scheduled to compete.
Unser said, “I can’t tell you how much I am looking forward to really racing again at Indy. Vintage racing is emerging on a whole new level as a wonderful sport and it’s the real deal when your are going up against the likes of Lyn, Willy T, and Diz. I can’t wait to see the fans — they’re the greatest in the world.”
The cars used for the Pro-Am will be 1967 to 1972 Corvettes, Camaros, and Mustangs of “Group 6” with a displacement limit of 355 cubic inches.
The Invitational is said to represent the largest collection of racecars ever assembled for competition in America. The cars will be divided into 11 groups spanning a period of 100 years.
General Admission prices are: $15 (Friday, June 6), $20 (Saturday, June 7), $25 (Sunday, June 8) and $40 (three-day pass).
Existing ticketholders for any Indianapolis Motor Speedway event will receive a $10 discount on the price of a three day pass.
For the first time camping in the infield will be permitted beginning Thursday for $30.
Only tent camping is permitted in the infield in turn three. RV camping is permitted in the gravel outside the track in turn four. Additional information is available by calling 800-822-INDY.