XENIA — It’s official. Stock car racing is returning to Kil-Kare Raceway in 2017.
Kil-Kare Raceway General Manager and Competition Director Will Tharpe told The Xenia Gazette of the racing facility’s plans for the upcoming racing season.
“Basically, there’s a lot of pieces that had to get in line before we could actually formally recognize that it was happening,” Tharpe said. “You need to figure out how everything is going to go together in terms of social media and website development — that’s still being developed and the site (daytonracing.com) should be up and running by the end of the week — but we didn’t want for any bad information to get out. The deal actually started back in October of 2016, so this thing has been going on for a long time.
“They put together a full-fledged racing series, and they’re now about 60 days out from where they’ll need to be going. So there’s a lot of pieces still falling into place. We wanted to keep it all hush-hush, because you really can’t put anything out until you hammer out rules, schedules, payouts, everything you can imagine. And it’s not something Kil-Kare Raceway is doing. This is another group that is coming in to use our venue.”
Operated by a collection of racers, team owners and businesses, the Gem City Auto Racing Group will host a series of Sunday afternoon stock car racing events at the famed 3/8-mile tri-oval. The track hasn’t exclusively hosted a sanctioned short track racing series at Kil-Kare Speedway since 2014.
While racing action at Kil-Kare Dragway has continued with much success, the Speedway shut down on Oct. 2, 2014. Kil-Kare has been intent on finding a series sponsor to run a full stock car racing season since parting ways with NASCAR sanctioning of its racing.
“This is promoters and racers who got together. We felt that it was best for those guys and gals that, if they want to do some speedway racing, we’ve got a track sitting here. Let’s work something out,” Tharpe said. “Whether it’s going to lead to us doing our own racing program down the road, who knows? We just want to get the first laps turned. That’s what everybody’s been eagerly anticipating.”
According to Tharpe, the first GCAR stock car racing series event is scheduled for Sunday, April 9, with racing tentatively scheduled from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. There are nine GCAR races and more than a dozen Thursday Night Test & Tune events on the Kil-Kare schedule. The GCAR series plans on racing Late Model, E-Modifieds, Street Stock and Compact categories.
With the dragway hosting Summit ET Series events on Saturdays, with several Friday night events scheduled, to go along with Thursday’s Test & Tune sessions, Tharpe said the track decided to hearken back to the olden days of Dayton Speedway racing on Sunday afternoons.
Several other racing series, including the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA), Corvette Club of Troy, Midwest Drift Union, and the Rusty Wallace Driving Experience will also be a part of the Speedway’s 43-event schedule.
The annual Robbie Dean Memorial race, the CRA Super Series 125, and the Jegs 100 will be held at the Speedway this year.
Tharpe said the 42-event drag racing schedule has been re-arranged a bit in order to accommodate racers who like to compete in the NHRA North Central division championships in Indianapolis. The strip will host its Opening Day Test & Tune session on Saturday, April 8, with its first scheduled Friday Night Super Pro Double Up event set for May 5, and the first Summit E.T. Series points races scheduled for Saturday, May 6.
Some of the event highlights this season will include the Ultimate 64 Shootout, presented by Empty Pocket Motorsports Productions. The Ultimate 64 is one of the largest big money events for sportsman drag racers in the country.
The annual Night of Fire event will take place Thursday, June 29. There is no Monster Truck Series event scheduled at the Raceway this year, but several Friday Night Drift and Drag events involving both the drag strip and the speedway are on the schedule.
For a complete look at Kil-Kare’s 2017 racing and drag racing event schedules, please visit www.kilkare.com.
You can reach John Bombatch at 937-372-4444, Ext. 2123.