Springfield, IL August 17, 2016 (By Jay Hardin)-Since the Automobile Racing Club of America took over sanctioning of the SuperChevyStores.com-Allen Crowe 100 in 1985 the number of drivers on the entry list with dirt track experience has varied from several to just a few, however for the first time since the late 1980’s the entry list contains not only local entrants with dirt track experience but regulars in the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menard’s as well.
Current ARCA Racing series point leader Chase Briscoe of Mitchell, Indiana was the youngest sprint car winner in the history of Bloomington (Indiana) Speedway when he won a feature at age 13. The 22-year old has 4 wins and 13 top 10 finishes leading to a 450 point margin over Floridian Josh Williams at press time.
Tom Hessert of New Jersey is fourth in ARCA points and has extensive dirt track experience in USAC and ARCA with 8 starts and 5 top 10 finishes at Springfield, including leading 14 laps last year. ARCA regular Will Kimmel was fastest in practice for last year’s race and has 3 top 10 finishes on the Springfield dirt. 1998 race winner Ken Schrader returns to attempt his 14th stock car event on the Springfield mile, his first start coming in June of 1980. Rookie Matt Kurzejewski is 3rd in ARCA points and currently occupies the seat of Schrader’s ARCA machine, so Kenny will have the unique task of competing against his own team as Schrader has secured a ride with Cunningham Motorsports.
Defending race winner A.J. Fike entered the history books last year becoming just the 5th driver in the 106 year history of competitive auto racing at the Illinois State Fair to win a championship dirt car and stock car race on the Springfield mile. Fike led 60 laps last year and leads a strong contingent of area entrants and dirt track veterans into the 54th running of the fair’s stock car event. El Paso’s Ryan Unzicker is a former UMP National Driving Champion who finished 8th in his 6th Springfield start. Veteran Dale Shearer returns for his 7th attempt at Springfield.
Two entries are creating a buzz among dirt track fans, Minden, Nevada’s Tanner Thorson is 2nd in the Powri Lucas Oil National Midget point standings and is 4th in the USAC Honda National Midget chase and has a one race deal with Venturini Motorsports. Seventeen year old sensation Jake Griffin of Quincy, Illinois has driven dirt modifieds, midgets and asphalt stock cars but raised a lot of eyebrows with a 4th place finish in the NASCAR truck race at Eldora in July.
ARCA regulars Thomas Praytor, Dustin Knowles, Mike Basham and Brad Smith face an uphill battle for a top finish with the number of dirt track aces expected at Springfield on August 21.
Practice for the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menard’s stock cars is slated to begin at 9 a.m. on August 23, with pole qualifying at around 11:00. The 100-mile grind is slated to take the green flag at 1:35 p.m. and is scheduled to be televised by American Sports Network.
The big race weekend starts off with POWRi Midgets at Lincoln Speedway Friday night, then to the State Fair Saturday with USAC Silver Crown and Saturday night at Macon Speedway with POWRi Midgets. It all comes to an end with the ARCA finale on Sunday. Full info can be found at www.trackenterprises.com.