2011 Midwest Hall of Fame Inductees

January 26, 2011 by  
Filed under Miscellaneous

There are many names in the auto racing industry that are worth remembering as having been instrumental in the development of the sport. In the Midwest there is also a proud history in regard to racing, which is documented and displayed in the Midwest Motorsports Museum and Hall of Fame. The main focus of this establishment is to preserve the passion and heritage of the sport and pay tribute to those who have assisted in bringing auto racing to where it is today through their innovative ideas, racing skills and dedication to their sport.

Many stories line the walls of the Midwest Motorsports Museum and Hall of Fame, such as the history of the first midget car that was constructed in 1934 by Alexander Pabst that led to the first St Louis Midget Race in 1936 and the founding of the St Louis Auto Racing Association in 1938. The latter was however disbanded in 1976, but made a huge impact on racing in this state. This year a few more names were added to the Midwest Hall of Fame in a reunion and induction ceremony that was held on 22 January 2011 at the Springfield Ozark Empire Fairgrounds. Having the induction at the fairgrounds was extremely symbolic; as it was here that many memorable moments were created on its legendary speedways.

One of the inductees receiving the Pioneers award is Johnny Morris, who is a racing fan and team sponsor. Joining him in the Pioneers inductees section is Mark Perry, Gerald Wilson and Steve Long. Under the Legend inductees category was Bill Frye (Driver), Dave Williams (Driver), Steve Schahuber and Rex McCroskey (Driver). What makes Steve Schahubers’ induction so special is the fact that he not only raced the cars but he built them as well as making repairs on his car where needed. He is also active in promoting the sport and developing the same passion he had within the younger generations. The Midwest Motorsports Museum and Hall of Fame induction ceremony was a spectacular affair, which also featured historical photographs, vendor booths, racing cars on display and collectables stands. It was a day of paying tribute, remembering the past and looking towards an exciting future.

Motorsports Expo 2010

March 3, 2010 by  
Filed under Features

The Motorsports Expo is one of the most anticipated events on the calendar for auto racing and car enthusiasts. This year, the Motorsports Expo will be held for its 24th year, and hosted at the Verizon Centre of Progress Building, located at the New York State Fairgrounds in Syracuse on the 13th and 14th of March 2010. Organizers have ensured that this year’s expo will be an event to remember, with magnificent exhibits and extra features for all to enjoy. And there is an additional treat for DIRTcar Racing fans, as a number of drivers have confirmed their presence at the 2010 Motorsport Expo for an exclusive autograph session.

Over and above endless exhibitors and stands, there will be a special signing of autographs on the 13th of March 2010 by the drivers of the Super DIRTcar Series. Some of the drivers to look forward to include Matt Sheppard, Dale Planck, Ryan Phelps, Gary Tomkins, Larry Wight, Lance Willix II and Jessica Zemken. Not only will these drivers be autographing photos, but motor sports fans will have the opportunity to ask their favorite drivers questions in regard to racing, plans for the future and their careers. Visitors to the Motorsports Expo 2010 will also be invited to attend discussions by Matt Sheppard, Dale Planck and Larry Wight, where they will be sharing their experiences and challenges.

A variety of racing vehicles will also be on display, and fans can look out for the original Chevrolet Impala Stock Car that was ridden by Mike Welch, the No. 5H Ernie Kreis & Son-Fastline Performance-P&M Fabrication/Bicknell, Big Red Towing no. 99 Dave Miller Auto Body/Bicknell car and the JB Motorsports no. 9S Xtreme Lubricants/Bicknell, that was piloted by Matt Sheppard. All these vehicles will be exhibited in the DIRTcar Land exhibition section of the expo.

Out of town visitors to the 2010 Motorsports Expo 2010 will find comfortable accommodation close by, with the Ramada Inn being the official hotel for the expo. The Motorsports Expo 2010 is an event that the entire family can enjoy, and combines the thrill of racing with the excitement of being able to bring the fans and their racing heroes together.

Pre-Event Activities Warm Up at the Raceway

August 14, 2009 by  
Filed under News

For the true motorsports enthusiast there is no event quite like the Rolex Monterey Historic Automobile Races, which start tomorrow (Friday, August 14) at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.  Not only are history’s most significant race cars accessible in paddock areas for spectators to admire at close range but also they perform, racing wheel-to-wheel to thrill the crowds, which are expected to exceed 30,000 over the next three days. 

The event is a cornerstone of Monterey Peninsula’s Classic Car Week, a veritable feast of things to see and do for car lovers, and utilizes the renowned Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca like no other on the facility’s calendar. With practice on Friday and warm-ups Saturday and Sunday mornings, racing begins after noon each weekend day for 15 race groups that span nearly every era of motorsports history. 

The 2.238-mile Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca is nestled among the hills between Monterey and Salinas and features among its 11 turns the signature Corkscrew, which drops five stories from its entrance to the challenging hairpin turn that follows it. For those of the 450 participants who are new to the track, a new- driver orientation was held today, previewing the sights, sounds and smells in which spectators will indulge tomorrow.

“This helps to get the weekend off to a good start,” said Mark Hamilton Peters (Lakeville, Conn.), a private driver coach who — working like an energetic traffic cop — orchestrated individual starts for the cars taking to the track. “It helps the drivers who are here for the first time become familiar with the track, so they don’t have to go out cold tomorrow.  It takes away the stress of doing the Monterey Historics, which is a big deal in any vintage racing driver’s book.”

Peters added: “There are drivers here like John Morton and Brian Redman who originally raced these cars that we are now seeing in historic events.  And then there are also participants here who, when they were younger, saw those gentlemen drive and admired them and now have reached a milestone in their lives that lets them live the fantasy of driving like their heroes.”

With Porsche as the Featured Marque this year, pre-event activities today also included “hot laps” for journalists in a fleet of newly unveiled 2010 Porsche Panamera Gran Turismos.  Behind the wheels of the exotic four-door, four-seat sports cars were celebrity drivers Hurley Haywood and David Donohue.  (Haywood, one of the most winning endurance racers ever, and Donohue, the 2009 Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona winner, will be racing at the Rolex Monterey Historics.)

Of the 450 vintage race cars competing here, one-third will be Porsches, representing 61 years of the company’s manufacturing legacy. Porsche activities for the public will include its heritage display featuring former and current race cars and a special showing of four cars from the new Porsche Museum in Germany: the 1960 Porsche Type 718 Formula 2; the 1962 Porsche Type 804 Formula 1; the 1962 Porsche Type 718 W-RS 8-cylinder Spyder; and  the Porsche GT1 98LM. The Porsche Club of America expects to have more than 200 Porsches in its Club Corral and will parade all its cars on Sunday.

Between races spectators can visit the award winning Rolex Moments in Time exhibit, which once again has knocked it out of the park with an amazing presentation, including the 1969 Gulf Ford GT 40 that won the 1969 24 Hours of Le Mans race by less than four seconds. And leaving no one wanting for more, Rolex has also included in the exhibit the 1969 908LH Porsche that took second place that year.

For more information on the Rolex Monterey Historic Automobile Races, visit www.montereyhistoric.com.

Chicagoland Speedway

February 9, 2009 by  
Filed under

Though there had been plans to build a superspeedway in Chicago for years, nothing much was actually done about it until 1995 when Tony George, the president of Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and Bill France met informally to discuss the project. The two men, along with John Menard, later formed the Motorsports Alliance in 1996 and immediately began looking for suitable sites for the project. The challenge was to find an affordable piece of land that would not be too far from Chicago and which would be big enough to enable them to build a facility which would be able to host NASCAR and Indy Racing League events. Just as it seemed that they’d found the right spot, Illinois annexation laws prohibited the project from going ahead. Not long afterwards Menard withdrew from the Alliance.

By then it seemed that a Chicago would never have its own NASCAR track, but enthusiasm for the sport was increasing in the area. Fortunately Dale Coyne, who had successfully managed to build the Route 66 Raceway for drag racing in 1997-98, called and suggested that he meet with the Motorsports Alliance. He suggested that they discuss the possibility of building a 1.5-mile speedway right next to the Route 66 Raceway. In 1999, Coyne relinquished his position at the Route 66 Raceway to become partners with George and France in the newly formed Raceway Associates. The aim of the new alliance was to build a state-of-the-art, multipurpose motor sports complex. Finally everything was ready and earthmoving equipment arrived on site in August 1999. One year later, the public learned that this massive new construction would be called the Chicagoland Speedway. By 2001, the complex enjoyed an immensely successful opening season.

The Chicagoland Speedway is situated in Joliet, Illinois, not far from the great city. It features a 1.5 mile (2.414 km) track that takes the form of a D-Shaped tri-oval. The track is capable of seating 75 000 people and it currently hosts major events such as the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup, the NASCAR Busch Series and the Indy Racing League, amongst others. The Chicagoland Speedway has proved to be such a great draw-card that major races are often sold-out months in advance. The track is currently owned by the Raceway Associates, LLC.

Pontiac Grand Am in New Jersey

August 29, 2008 by  
Filed under Features

Teams racing the Pontiac Grand-Am Daytona Prototype and GT will be making their way to New Jersey for their next race on August 31. The race is set to take place at the brand new New Jersey Motorsports Park, which is located in Millville. The teams will be heating up the Thunderbolt Circuit at the park for the very first time and it will be interesting to note which drivers get a feel for the track the quickest in order to come out on top.

The New Jersey Motorsports Park is home to two different race circuits. The Thunderbolt Circuit is 2.25 miles long and features fourteen turns. This will no doubt provide a fitting challenge for drivers as they race is the penultimate round of the Rolex Series. The much shorter 1.9 mile Lightning Circuit features ten turns and will not be used for the event. The Motorsports Park is also home to a 1.1 mile karting facility and a ¾ mile tri oval, so the park will no doubt be hosting some fantastic auto racing events in the near future.

Currently in the lead in the GT series points chase are Kelly Collins and Paul Edwards with their No. 07 Pontiac GXP.R. The pair has managed to work their way to the top with wins at Laguna Seca, Lime Rock Park and Homestead-Miami Speedway. While they are currently in the lead, they do not have enough points to ensure that things stay that way, so they will be working hard during this race to build up a points cushion that will no doubt serve them well in the final race later this season. According to Edwards, “the plan is to win.” The team is hoping that their knack for handling a circuit will count to their advantage on the new track. But they will not have it easy as they will be hotly pursued by the No. 70 car and the No. 57 GXP.R belonging to Stevenson Motorsport. Collins and Edwards may be in the lead for points but Stevenson Motorsports has the privilege of being the most consistent Pontiac GT runners of the entire season. The entire team will have to work very hard if they want to maintain their lead. Collins and Edwards are followed by Ham and Tremblay in second place and Davis and Liddell in Third place.

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