NASCAR announced today three new track sanctions for the 2010 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series season: Outlaw Motor Speedway in Muskogee, Okla., Kopellah Speedway in St. Croix Falls, Wisc., and a second night of racing at Caraway Speedway in Asheboro, N.C.
The NASCAR Whelen All-American Series has been the national championship short-track program for NASCAR since 1982 and encompasses tracks throughout the United States and Canada.
“Short track racing throughout North America is the heart and soul of NASCAR,” said George Silbermann, NASCAR managing director of racing operations. “The addition of these three racing programs – from making history by racing in Oklahoma, to more dirt track racing in Wisconsin, to another night of racing at one of North Carolina’s historic venues – will continue to bring the excitement and passion of NASCAR racing home to the fans that make up the foundation of this sport.”
Outlaw, a .375-mile clay oval, becomes the first track in The Sooner State to join the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series. The track’s season opens on March 13, and the Modified division will be the Feature Division. Outlaw Motor Speedway will also host its Grand National, 360 Modifieds, Factory Stocks and Pure Stocks each week. Champions of those divisions in 2009 respectively were Joe Duvall, Kevin Flock, Patrick Goodnight, Ronnie Palmer and Kyle Slader. The track will operate on Friday nights.
“We’ve been in discussions with NASCAR for some time,” said Lynn Skinner, who operates the five-year-old track with Danny Womack and facility manager Eric Shannon. “We’re proud to partner with NASCAR to be the first and only NASCAR-sanctioned track in the state.”
NASCAR’s dirt track presence in Wisconsin will expand with the addition of Kopellah. The .250-mile clay oval is located about a half-hour drive from NASCAR-sanctioned Cedar Lake Speedway in New Richmond, Wisc. Kopellah’s Feature Division is the Midwest Modifieds.
Kopellah Speedway has been operated by Marguerite Lindblom since 1999 and operates on Friday nights. Opening day is scheduled for April 23.
“Being part of NASCAR will benefit our racers, our track and our community,” Lindblom said. “We’ll be part of the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series at the home town level. I really believe in this program.”
Jason Vandekamp of Forest Lake, Minn., won the Midwest Modified track championship at Kopellah and Cedar Lake in 2009. Kopellah Speedway will also host its Hobby Stock, Pure Stock and Hornets divisions each Friday.
Caraway, a .455-mile paved oval in Asheboro, N.C., has added a weekly Friday night NASCAR-sanctioned racing program for the 2010 season. The addition enhances the track’s long-time weekly Saturday night racing program.
“We’ve been hosting races two nights a week since 1999 and we’ve been kicking around the idea of sanctioning our Friday night events for several years,” track operator Russell Hackett said. “It’s time for our Friday guys to get more recognition and be eligible for their own NASCAR point fund.”
The Sportsman Division will be Caraway’s Friday night featured division. Joining them will be the Late Model Super Trucks, Street Stocks and Mini Stocks. Saturday night’s fare includes Late Model Stock Cars, Limited Sportsman, Super Mini Trucks and Pure Stocks. Race time each night is 8 p.m.
Caraway Speedway opened as a dirt track in 1966 and was paved in 1972 when the Hackett family took over the operation. It was been part of the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series since 1994. Graduates of NASCAR weekly racing at Caraway include track champion drivers such as NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Bobby Labonte, 18-time NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race winner Dennis Setzer, and 1995 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion Mike Skinner. Three-time Late Model division track champion Travis Swaim also won the 2009 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series North Carolina state championship.
Competitors from the three programs are part of a network of NASCAR home tracks across the United States and Canada. At each track, the featured division participants will be eligible to compete for track and state championships, point funds and, ultimately, the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series national title.
State or province champions are determined by drivers’ highest 18 finishes at NASCAR-sanctioned tracks within a state.
Since its inception, NASCAR’s national short-track racing series has served as a springboard in the careers of many top drivers. NASCAR stars Greg Biffle, Clint Bowyer, Jeff Burton, Kurt and Kyle Busch, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Carl Edwards, Denny Hamlin, Kevin Harvick, Bobby Labonte, Jamie McMurray, Elliott Sadler and Brian Vickers all began their careers racing at their local short tracks.