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The State of Winged Sprint Car Racing in California. (Read 1095 times)
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The State of Winged Sprint Car Racing in California.
03/05/17 at 9:41am
The State of Winged Sprint Car Racing in California.

An opinion piece by Daren Ricks of DRC Media Relations.

2017 will be a different, somewhat transitional year in winged sprint car racing in California. The two series status quo is no longer, with a new 360 series debuting this season, which I’ll get into in just a little bit. There is also a track returning this year, which is going to have point paying divisions for both the winged and wingless 360’s. Antioch makes its return to the winged sprint tour scene with 4 appearances between the King of the West Series, and the new 360 series. The Dirt Track at KCRP also gets its first ever sprint tour race April 8th when the King of the West comes to town. It’ll be interesting to see how drivers attack the new track on the schedule. And don’t forget the large amount of high paying shows this year.

Special shows: I honestly can’t remember looking at a season schedule and seeing this many special, high paying shows in one year. Top to bottom, this year is full of shows that fans won’t want to miss. We kick off the year at Marysville Raceway, with the Sherm Toller Memorial, which pays $2,000 to the winner. Fast forward a little to March and Chico has 4 high paying nights of racing in two weeks, With the Mini Gold Cup paying $2,500 the first night and $5,000 for the second night. It should be noted that King of the West is sanctioning the event this year, not the World of Outlaws.  The following weekend is the Silver Cup for the Winged 360’s, paying $2,000 the first night, and the Civil War sanctioned second night paying $4,000 to the winner. As you go through the year, you’ve also got shows like the Peter Murphy Classic, The Brownell, Bradway, Tarter, and Wolf Memorials at Chico, The Mel Hall Memorial at Marysville,  The HK Classic and The Key at Watsonville, The Hinds and Forni Shows at Placerville, and more.  We finish off the 2017 season with a seven  week stretch that includes The inaugural Nor Cal Posse Shootout at Placerville, The Fall Nationals at Chico, The Adobe Cup at Petaluma, Trophy Cup at Tulare, and the big series finale for both the King of the West Series and the new 360 series.

Series shakeups?: As I mentioned earlier, there is a new 360 Sprint Tour in California. The California Sprint Car Challenge Tour by Elk Grove Ford and Abreu Vineyards makes its debut at Antioch Speedway on April 1st. The new series debuts with a strong 13 race season, visiting 7 different tracks in its inaugural season. The King of the West series returns with a nice 18 race schedule, while the Civil War Series only has 9 races on the schedule at this point. One would question how much the new Tour will have an effect on Civil War, and with the CWS only booking a 9 race schedule, some are almost seeing it as conceding. Of course there are a couple of overlap shows, which is when we’ll truly see which tour has the upper hand this season. I personally don’t think we’ll see much of a difference in car counts this season, but who knows. The interesting weekend to me when talking about these two Series’ comes on May 27th, When Civil War is in Marysville for the Mel Hall Memorial, and The Sprint Car Challenge Tour is in Stockton. The Hall Show in Marysville has a pretty good car count, but with Stockton hosting the other Tour, the question arises about how much the car counts will be affected. All in all, I think the new Tour is a definite plus for fans, and drivers already expressing excitement about it. I honestly believe that the whole “series power struggle” is blown way out of proportion. Competition is what’s best for business, and this should be quite the competitive season throughout the state.

New tracks, Returning tracks, and more: 2017 also brings another couple interesting developments in the Winged Sprint Car world. Chowchilla Speedway, which hasn’t been open for a couple of years, returns this year bringing a full schedule of winged sprint races with it. It’ll be interesting to see how well the class does car count wise, but running on Sundays should help. It could also be another situation like Antioch, where they have tried and tried the last few years, but cannot hold together a solid core of drivers in the division. Antioch is an interesting case in itself. While they had 40 or so different drivers race this past season, the most they had at one race was 15 or 16. It doesn’t help that they run on the same night as Petaluma, Placerville, and Marysville, which all have there own loyal core of drivers. Antioch also will host Sprint tour races this season since 2013, so it’ll be interesting to see guys try to get readjusted to the unique Antioch surface. The Dirt Track at KCRP will host its first ever tour race this year. We’ll have to see how drivers attack the different shaped track in their one appearance this season.

All in all, I have a feeling this could go down as one of the best years in winged sprint racing California has ever seen. There are opportunities aplenty for young drivers to break out and show their skills this season. Here’s to a historic 2017 in California Winged Sprint Car Racing.

                                                           Daren Ricks
                                                           DRC Media Relations

(One last thing, if you ever see my articles on another site please let me know, as I don’t like others taking credit for my work. Thanks!)
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Daren Ricks

-Track Writer for Roseville's All American Speedway
-Freelance Writer for Race Teams Across the Country
-Former PR Director for the West Coast Sport Mod Tour
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