…Highland Speedway Hosts Wednesday Night Feature Event
Highland, IL (June 21) The heat of the summer months brings some red hot stock car action into the St. Louis region during the next few weeks with several high-profile nationally sanctioned short-track events. Wednesday night Highland Speedway plays host to the DirtCar SummerNational Series as high speed racers battle for the prestigious annual championship during a month long campaign that weaves its way across the heartland of America. The DirtCar SummerNationals, known by racers and short-track fans as ‘The Hell Tour’, provides some of the most intense excitement of each season as drivers go at it in their ultra fast super late model dirt cars. This year’s chase for the title on the series should prove to be as exciting as all of the prior runs across the midwest have been since the series’ inception in 1988.
Wednesday night’s stop at Highland Speedway will play a key role in the overall championship standings as the fourth stop of the 2011 Hell Tour. Highland Speedway is in the midst of celebrating its Golden Anniversary season of racing at the Madison County Fairgrounds and always provides race fans with some of the most intense short-track battles witnessed in dirt late model action. Among the added excitement to the racing action on Wednesday will be appearances on the track by two of the St. Louis area’s favorite racing heroes, Ken Schrader and Kenny Wallace. Schrader continues to use his diverse racing talents to compete on a limited basis on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series while also racing his dirt cars on a full-time basis. NASCAR star and SPEED TV personality Kenny Wallace, also a St. Louis native, will race in DirtCar Modified portion of the events and will be on-hand to meet fans in the Pits following the event. Schrader will also be gunning for the win in Wednesday night’s racing at Highland Speedway. Schrader, fresh off of another win at nearby I-55 Raceway in Pevely, Missouri is one of the pillars of American grass roots racing. Along with partner Ray Marler, Schrader owns the I-55 Raceway located just south of St. Louis alongside Interstate 55. The big week of racing in the St. Louis area has special meaning to both Schrader and Wallace and they continue their ongoing efforts, not just on the race track, but in the motorsports industry and community to promote the sport to families and businesses. Following Wednesday night’s racing at Highland Speedway the tour heads to Tir-City Speedway for a Friday night appearance. Next weekend the SummerNationals series heads back into St. Louis with a special Saturday night main event at I-55 Raceway.
‘We all have a vested interest in the continuing growth of our industry,’ points out Kenny Wallace who is currently in the top-ten of the NASCAR Nationwide Series championship chase. ‘Schrader and myself are diehard racers, and we also have ownership interests in these tracks, so we certainly encourage all of the general public to come out and enjoy some of the most exciting racing the sport has to offer. This is fun stuff and for the family that has never had a chance to come out to the local tracks and see what it is all about, now is the best time of the year to do it,’ Wallace added. ‘But be careful, you might like it so much that you just keep coming back week in and week out.’
Highland Speedway and I-55 Raceway each offer a great family friendly environment to enjoy the sport and it’s a weekly gathering for many of the people in the greater St. Louis region. These two weeks of SummerNationals’ racing in the metro have created quite a following and the action on the track is known to get quite intense.
‘Sparks will most certainly fly here at Highland Speedway on Wednesday,’ says Highland Speedway promoter Scott Kuhn. ‘There be a lot of beating and banging going on for sure, so the fans will definitely get their monies worth. When you bring the level of racing talent that comes with this SummerNationals tour into town, the crowd just loves it and it’s a great way to spend a fun Wednesday night with the family.’
Highland Speedway is known for providing a surface that allows the drivers to battle for position on the track, but the makeup of the tight quarter-mile bullring tests the temperament of the racers. The traveling hot shoes will have their hands full with a compliment of local talent trying to keep the prize money and trophy in their own back yard.
‘I love coming over here and battling nose to nose with the drivers from this area,’ says defending SummerNationals champion Jason Feger of Bloomington, Illinois. ‘During these hell tour races we encounter many different types of race tracks, but Highland really puts you to the test and no matter how good the drivers on the traveling series are, you’ve got to respect the guys that race here at Highland week in and week out. We’re gonna just go out there and let it all hang out and hopefully we’ll wind up on top when the checkered flag waves.’
On top is just where Feger makes it happen in American short-track action. Known as the ‘Highside Hustler’ Feger is partial to running the top-side of the racetrack, where often his car scrapes the outside wall showering the field of competitors with sparks in his wake. But Feger is just one of a group of extremely talented racers that will roar into Highland Speedway for the Wednesday night main event and have the challenge of facing the tough corps of local talent, which includes the likes of Highland veteran Randy Korte and a new crop of young guns including Michael Kloos of Trenton, Illinois along with Mike Schulte, Chad Zobrist, Paul Bailey and numerous other talented aces from the local area. Past champions of the SummerNationals include national stars Billy Moyer, Scott Bloomquist, Rick Aukland, Bob Pierce, Kevin Weaver, Don O’Neal, Dennis Erb Jr. and Shannon Babb, some of which will be in the thick of the battle Wednesday night at Highland Speedway. Throwing those locals and champions in the mix with twenty or more other very talented racers from the region only adds fuel to the fire of this highly anticipated two weeks of short-track battles in St. Louis. The midweek classic at Highland Speedway has become an annual summer gathering of the racing fraternity in the St. Louis area. Tickets are available at the gates for the Wednesday night action. Adult grandstand admission is $25.00 with Kids 11 and under admitted Free when accompanied by a paying adult. Grandstand Gates open at 5:00 pm with racing taking the green flag at 7:00. Additional information is available online at www.highlandspeedway.com and the physical address for the track is 2020 Park Street, Highland, Illinois 62249.
Ticket and event information for next Saturday’s night’s DirtCar SummerNationals event at I-55 Raceway in Pevely is available on the I-55 Raceway website, www.i55raceway.com. This Saturday night (June 25) I-55 Raceway hosts the Mid-Season Championship event with action in all divisions. I-55 Raceway will also hosts the World of Outlaws Sprint Cars and World of Outlaws Late Model Series in the coming months at the high-banked track near the Mississippi River. One thing is for sure, the consensus of race fans across the nation is that the St. Louis area continues to provide some of the most exciting race tracks and highest quality racing talent of any region in the country.