Series debut at Salt Lake City preview
USAC/SLVRA Rocky Mountain Series debuts May 10 The newest racing series under the United States Auto Club banner debuts on Saturday night, May 10, at Rocky Mountain Raceways in Salt Lake City. The USAC/SLVRA race is the first of 12 comprising the ...
USAC/SLVRA Rocky Mountain Series debuts May 10
The newest racing series under the United States Auto Club banner debuts on Saturday night, May 10, at Rocky Mountain Raceways in Salt Lake City. The USAC/SLVRA race is the first of 12 comprising the new "Port-O-Call Rocky Mountain Sprint Car Series, seven of which will be contested at the 3/8-mile paved oval.
Defending SLVRA Sprint Car Champion Jim Waters of Salt Lake City is among numerous area drivers expected to compete in the inaugural series race, along with defending USAC Regional Sprint Car Champion Tony Hunt of Fair Oaks, Calif. Hunt, who won USAC's Western Sprint Car title in 2001 and the Regional crown last year, is no stranger to Utah race fans, having won a USAC Western Sprint race at Salt Lake City in 1999.
Other Salt Lake City drivers expected to compete include Bryan Shafer, who won a USAC Supermodified race at what was then known as Bonneville Raceway Park in 1985, plus Jimmy Wysong and Ryan Burdett. Former USAC Western Sprint Car Chief Steward Chuck Maddox of Grass Valley, CA has also indicated his possible entry.
Notable will be the racing return of Salt Lake City's Dave Fitzgerald, recovered from injuries suffered in a 2001 accident. Fitzgerald is the winningest driver in USAC's Utah racing history, having won eight Supermodified races at Salt Lake City in 1985 and 1986. Bryan Shafer, who also won in the USAC Supermodifieds in 1985 at Salt Lake City, is also expected to compete.
"The United States Auto Club is privileged to join with the Salt Lake Valley Racing Association to bring the finest in open wheel racing to the Salt Lake area," said USAC President/CEO Rollie Helmling. "This new joint venture presented by Kent Knowley's Port-O-Call will provide area racing enthusiasts with the finest quality, most competitive Sprint car racing. We look forward to our initial racing season and can foresee great growth in future years." Knowley is a former president of the SLVRA.
USAC has conducted a total of 28 racing events in Utah since its inception in 1956. Mel Kenyon won the first two races, Midget features at Suntana Raceway near Provo in 1972 and 1973,. In 1985 and 1986 a seven-race Utah USAC Supermodified Series was conducted in addition to a pair of National Supermodified races each year. The past four years the USAC Western Sprint Car Series has visited the Rocky Mountain Raceways facility. Other USAC race winners in Utah have been Sleepy Tripp (2), Tommy Astone and Larry Patton in Midgets, Dick Adamson (4), Chuck Gurney, Everett Edlund, Billy Vukovich III and Ken Hamilton in supermodifieds and Bobby McMahan (2) and Jeff Gardner in Sprint cars.
"I'm excited about our involvement with USAC," said Rocky Mountain Raceways General Manager Doug Binstock. "This should bring an expanded level of professional racing to this region. Sprint car racing has long been a favorite of Utah and Idaho race fans and I truly expect our car counts to increase significantly."
The series events at Salt Lake City are slated May 10 and 26, June 7 and 21, July 12 and 24, August 3 and 23 and September 13. Additional series races are scheduled July 18 and 19 at Meridian Speedway near Boise, Idaho and July 22 at Magic Valley Speedway in Twin Falls, Idaho.
This week’s BC39 USAC national midget race at The Dirt Track at Indianapolis Motor Speedway has 90 entries and a handful of top NASCAR and IndyCar series contenders.