Brownstown Speedway located at the Jackson County Fairgrounds in Brownstown will kick off its 64th year of racing starting on March 14 with a complete racing program for late models, modifieds, super stocks, pure stocks and Hornets.
Jim Price of Salem will return for his second full year as the track promoter. Price took over late in the 2013 racing season from Tim Keithley and looks forward to the new season.
“We had a really good year last year,” he said. “It was my first full season. I am still learning a lot everytime we race. I have a good staff surrounding me and they do an excellent job. We have done a lot of work on the track in the last two years, and it has helped the racing tremendously.”
Price has put together a 32-night race schedule for this season and hopes to build on what he has done.
“We have worked extremely hard on the racing surface,” he said. “We have added dirt back on the track and banked the straightaways. The track has picked up speed and we have had some really good racing because of that.”
At last September’s Jackson 100, at least a dozen late model drivers broke the existing track record in that division.
The track first began racing stockcars on a half-mile horse track in 1952. Then three years later, in 1955, the track size was reduced to the current quarter-mile size in length inside the horse track.
The local area has a strong connection to the inaugural race held in 1952 when James Quillen from Hope won the main event in a car owned by Lou Ahlbrand from Brownstown. Also, Brownstown was the site of Tony Stewart’s first career dirt late model win back in 1998 when he was victorious in the Kenny Simpson Memorial Race.
Brownstown Speedway has long been the home of some of dirt late model racing’s best drivers. In fact, several drivers who participated at the track on a weekly basis have been enshrined into the National Dirt Late Model Hall of Fame, which is located at Florence Speedway in Union, Kentucky.
Those drivers include brothers Gene and Russ Petro of Columbus, Jim Curry of Norman, Ray Godsey of Bedford, Don Hobbs of Bloomington, and John Gill from Mitchell.
Brownstown’s first big event of the new season will be March 21 with the “Indiana Icebreaker,” a $10,000-to-win event for the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series. Another of the season highlights for late model fans will be the track’s signature event, the Jackson 100 on Sept. 18 to 19, paying $20,000 to win.
Open wheel fans can also enjoy three sprint car events at the track in 2015. The first big show in the Midwest will be the “No Way Out 40” paying $7,500 for non-wing sprints scheduled for March 28. Last year the event drew over 50 sprinters, and was won by Bryan Clausen.
The 2014 track champions at Brownstown were Jeremy Hines of Seymour (Late Models), Joe Godsey of Edinburgh (Modifieds), Tyler Cain of Seymour (Super Stocks), Jim Ruddick of Seymour (Pure Stocks), Greg Garrison of Bloomington (Hornets) and Brad Barrow of Bloomington (Bowman Pro Late Models)
Local Racers in Florida
Devin Gilpin of Columbus continued his early season trip to Florida by taking a fourth- and a fifth-place finish in feature events this past weekend at North Florida Speedway in Lake City, Florida. Gilpin will be participating in this week’s UMP Modified action at Volusia Speedway Park in Barberville, Florida.
Joe Janowski, a Columbus native now living in Carmel, and Adam Bowman of Seymour both participated in the East Bay Winternationals Crate Late Model action in Tampa, Florida, last weekend. Janowski’s best finish in the three nights of racing was a 22nd-place finish and Bowman brought home an 18th-place finish on Feb. 5.
James Essex covers motorsports for The Republic. He can be reached at [email protected].