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Saturday, Aug. 27, 2016

The local racing rumor mill gets fired up

Posted Wednesday, October 3, 2007, at 4:28 PM

Tony Stewart speaks with his driver during last season's National Sprint Tour show at Lincoln Park Speedway.
Well, the 2007 dirt racing season is quickly, and sadly coming coming to a close. Which of course means it's time to kickstart the ole rumor mill which has actually been running rampant for quite some time.

The biggest rumor seems to deal with Lincoln Park Speedway and, depending on the rumor flavor of the week, it's sale, demolition or even the impending paving of the Putnamville 3/8th mile oval.

It seems that ever since last year's National Sprint Car event towards the end of the schedule, that rumors have been flying about any one of a number of people having interest in purchasing the track.

The most popular seems to be that Tony Stewart and/or partners have already bought the track or at least have made inroads into doing so. However, perhaps the newest one is the most interesting in that Jerome Branscom and Morris Coffman would like to buy the track, pave it and make it a Tri-Oval. The pair are rumored to have NASCAR manufacturer backing and would like to use it for driver development. Hmmmm, well that seems quite interesting because of Putnamville's proximity to the Putnam Park Road Course in Mt. Meridian which regularly gets visits from the upper echelon's of open wheel racing for testing purposes.

But, without further adieu, sorry to burst any bubbles at least, after inquiring to Tony Stewart Racing about Putnamville, the comment I received was the following: "According to Tony's people there is no truth to any of this."

That note comes from Bob McCarty who is affiliated with Joe Gibbs racing. Alas, an actual interview wasn't available with Tony, who I imagine has bigger fish to fry with Talladega this weekend and trying to jump back in the Chase after a disappointing 39th place finish.

I also spoke with track owner Dave Allison, a shrewd businessman to be sure, who also denied that anyone has shown serious interest in purchasing the track. And joked that; "If I had all of these rumored checks from people buying the track, than I'd be a billionaire."

However, all of this could change so I'll keep everyone posted.

But this time of year is certainly when the rumors begin to fly about the status of local tracks. Of course, there's nothing wrong with it, because it sure makes the winter more tolerable while waiting for the Chili Bowl in January!

On that note, it seems that after watching Tony Stewart knock down his second Golden Drillers trophy in the annual midget even held in Tulsa, Okla., fans are ready for more.

Demand for tickets to the 2008 event again exceeded the supply for four-day passes. The four-day tickets were mailed on July 1 to the lucky ones but there are 1,600 tickets available to the Tuesday night Pre-Qualifying event and can be purchased for $21 by calling the Chili Bowl office at: 918-838-3777.

The 22nd Annual Chili Bowl Nationals will be held at the Tulsa Expo Raceway on January 8-12 with a field that could easily rival last year's 267 competitors.

For fans of the modifieds and late models, this is your big weekend as Eldora Speedway will host the UMP Nationals.

Many of the nation's top drivers will be hitting the 'Big E' this weekend with Saturday's A-Main's paying $3,000 for the modifieds and $10,000 for the late models.

On a side note, with even tracks in Illinois, Kentucky and Indiana offering bigger winner's checks for modified events, it would certainly be nice to see a bigger top prize for the Nationals at Eldora. It's pretty assured that the car count will be huge because of the acclaim of a win at Eldora, but why not run a Friday prelim feature that pays a $1,000 or more or maybe make Saturday's B-Main pay out bigger to help pad the towing money that it costs to make the long haul for some of the smaller budget guys?

While we're on the topic of modifieds and big paying shows, looks like all heck has broken loose after last weekend's Lawrenceburg's $5,000 to win event.

Chad Kinder took the checkers in what should have been a great night for him and his team. But wait!

The UMP was there and confiscated the MSD boxes from Kinder as well as second-place Greg Johnson and Shelby Miles, who placed third.

So 'official' results seem to still be pending while the UMP determines whether any of the top-three were using traction control devices.

Worse still, was that Kinder didn't even get a chance to have his picture taken, give an interview to his fans in the crowd or, perhaps worst, didn't get a picture with the 'big check!'

It's a shame that after all the hard work that went in to the weekend for not only Kinder, but his crew, that he didn't have a chance to celebrate or salute his fans. Afterall, the fans are what this sport is all about, if it wasn't for them, it would certainly be hard to make a big event like that happen.

For those of you interested, the results, unofficial of course were: MIDWEST MODIFIED NATIONALS: Chad Kinder, Greg Johnson, Shelby Miles, Daryl Herbert, Devin Gilpin, Brent Londeree, Chris Streeval, Randy Petro, Derek Groomer, Al Flick, Brady Short, Kevin Weaver, Clint Demoss, Matt Huddleston, Danny Schwartz, Don Adams, Denny Schwartz, Gabe Menser, Scott Weber, Tyler Weiss, John Davis.

For sprint car fans, the Midwest Sprint Car Series will be capping their season with what should be a big car count at Lawrenceburg Speedway on Saturday night with a $10,000 to win show for non-wing sprints. Superstocks are also racing that night for a big $1,000 to win payday. Tickets are $25 for adults and $7 for kids ages 7-12, under 6 is free admission.

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