2011 Midwest Hall of Fame Inductees

January 26, 2011 by  
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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.

Daytona International Speedway

May 6, 2009 by  
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Whether you are a NASCAR fan or not, you have likely hear of Daytona’s unbreakable bonds with auto racing, with cars first racing on a road course before moving to a regular track. The quality of car racing at Daytona over the past half century has been simply astounding, so we may say that NASCAR has paid back Florida for the gift of auto racing with full interest! Daytona has never shied away from new technology, but it also has an endearing quality of preserving a halo of tradition and history which no other place can match.

The two and a half miles of the Daytona International Speedway have no less than 31 degree inclines for drivers to negotiate, making it nearly impossible to even keep cars upright, to say nothing of the lightening speeds! The oval layout looks deceptively benign from a distance. Daytona is a sunny and friendly place, but the track is meant only for the brave and skilled! Nextel, Busch, and Craftsman are the top series which grace this track. Every driver dreams of racing here, and the track has seen the cream of auto racing participants crop. This track also hosts motor cycle events.

Daytona has always been an innovator in all aspects of car racing. It was here that drivers learnt to use the vacuum created by a car in front to gain speed. It was at Daytona that auto racing witnessed a speed of over 200 miles per hour. Daytona, thanks to innovative spectator arrangements, is the best track to watch pit crews up close, providing a window to an integral aspect of racing which is not always appreciated. The Daytona International Speedway is a kind of Mecca for auto racing, and you must plan a visit if you have never been here.

Kansas Speedway

February 9, 2009 by  
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Kansas Speedway is conveniently located just 15 miles from downtown of Kansas City in the USA. With a history extending back to 1996, Kansas Speedway is a relatively young NASCAR track. Providing great NASCAR racing and top facilities, a day spent at Kansas Speedway is well worth it. NASCAR track Kansas Speedway is host to numerous events including NASCAR, IRL and ARCA races as well as community programs and driving schools. This great racing track is always filled with fun and good times, so why not check it out.

In October of 1996 the International Speedway Corporation came up with the idea to construct a race track in the Midwest of the USA. They selected Kansas City in 1997 as the site of a new speedway. 1998 saw the approval of financing for the project and construction began. In July 1999 the Kansas Speedway launched ticket sales with a great initiative, the Found Fan PASS which would allow ticket holders access to the best seats and other benefits. The NASCAR and the IRL made an announcement in May 2000 that they will be including events at Kansas Speedway on their calendar in 2001. On 21 August 2000 tickets for Kansas city Speedway went on sale internationally, and within 5 days almost 80% of all the tickets for the inaugural season were sold.

Visitors were allowed into Kansas Speedway for the first time on 2 June 2001 to watch the NASCAR Winston West Series and ARCA RE/MAX Series. In May 2001 the Kansas Speedway was named a tourism leader by the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce and awarded accordingly. The first NASCAR Winston Cup Series to be held at Kansas Speedway took place on 29 September 2001 with Jeff Gordon gaining the victory. Since then the Kansas Speedway continues to attract massive crowds of eager racing fans to watch a number of thrilling events.

Kansas Speedway is a tri-oval track measuring 1.5 miles. The banking is 15 degrees in the turns and the track pavement width is at 55 feet. This fine speedway makes use of the SAFER Barrier (Steel and Foam Energy Reduction System). The grandstands are able to seat some 82 000 spectators and are set to be increased to a 150 000 capacity. Free parking is available for over 65 000 vehicles and visitors are certain to be able to make use of public transportation on race days. So, if NASCAR racing is your passion, head off to Kansas Speedway.

Las Vegas Motor Speedway

February 9, 2009 by  
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The 1 200 acre Las Vegas Motor Speedway complex is situated along Las Vegas Boulevard North, and is home to four racing tracks. Speedway Motorsports Inc. are the owners of the entire complex, and have their head offices in North Carolina.

Several racing teams are based here and since 2005 the track opens twice a week for local drag racing. It provides a safe environment for drag racers and assists the authorities by discouraging drag racing in the streets. The Las Vegas Motor Speedway also hosts the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department during their driving training courses. The Las Vegas Speedway has a 600 meter paved oval that is called The Bullring; a clay oval 800 meter Dirt Track; the 1/4 mile drag strip that is known as The Strip; and the D-shaped oval Superspeedway that is 2.41 kilometers in length.

Plans to reconfigure the Las Vegas Motor Speedway track was announced in 2006. This would include “progressive banking”. Banking means the angle that you are driving at on the track. To increase this means that drivers will be able to drive higher up on the track, and can drive side by side. Also included in the new construction was a new pit road and a fan zone. The new Las Vegas Motor Speedway track was opened on 8 August 2006, and stock cars were first on the track, together with Kurt Busch. Busch is a NEXTEL Cup Champion and is always seen behind the wheel of the #2 Miller Lite Penske Dodge Charger. He was the very first NASCAR Nextel Cup Driver to test a stock car on the new reconfigured and reopened Las Vegas Motor Speedway track.

Just like any other speedway, the Las Vegas Motor Speedway has also received some nicknames. Most of the Nextel Cup Series races that have been held at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway were won by drivers behind the wheel of a Ford. It was therefore often called “The Blue Oval”. The only drivers who have won here and not been driving a Ford, are Sterling Marlin, Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon. Roush has also seen many successes here at the Las Vegas Speedway track, with drivers such as Jeff Burton, Matt Kenseth and Mark Martin. Thus, the track was known to many as “The House of Roush”. For a few years, the Winston No Bull 5 Million Dollar Bonus was held at the Las Vegas Speedway. This race would award one million dollars to the race winner and was won twice by Jeff Burton, while Jeff Gordon walked away with the prize money in the 2001 race.

Atlanta Motor Speedway

February 9, 2009 by  
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Formerly known as the Atlanta International Raceway, the Atlanta Motor Speedway is located in Hampton, just to the south of the city of Atlanta. Atlanta Motor Speedway, is a 2.48 kilometer superspeedway, that has a quad-oval circuit and a spectator seating capacity of approximately 125 000. The track first opened in 1960, but condominiums were erected over the northeastern part of the Atlanta Speedway track in 1994. This construction led to the track being redesigned and practically rebuilt in 1997. The front and backstretches were swapped, and the oval form of the track gave way to quad-oval. Today, the Atlanta Motor Speedway is the fastest NASCAR track on the entire NASCAR circuit. The track also includes a 4 kilometer road course, approved by the FIA, and a Legends racing track, between the main track and the pit road.

This NASCAR circuit was seeing qualifying lap speeds of approximately 311 kilometers an hour, with the fastest recorded lap speed of 317 kilometers an hour, between the 1990s and the 2000s. The Texas Motor Speedway, that was designed very similar to the Atlanta Speedway, did have faster times during 2004 to 2005, but after its surface was worn, the higher speeds returned to Atlanta. Tracks such as Daytona International Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway did once have faster lap times, averaging about 322 kilometers an hour, but NASCAR mandated restrictor plates for these tracks, making the average speed approximately 306 kilometers an hour. The Atlanta Motor Speedway’s slogan is “Real Racing. Real Fast.” This is not an exaggeration, as NASCAR has not mandated restrictor plates at this track.

Hurricane Cindy hit the Atlanta Motor Speedway on 6 July 2005, with the damage being estimated at approximately 40-50 million US Dollars. Debris was littered across the track, facades were torn off, roofs were damaged, scoreboard towers were knocked down or left leaning and new grandstands had to be built to replace those that were built in 1960. But against all odds, Atlanta Motor Speedway was ready to race by the next big event and has gone on to welcome spectators to witness some of the fastest racing in the United States.

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