Gresham Motorsports Park (GMP) formally announced today the dates and format for the 2009 World Crown 300 – the event that will re-open the former Peach State Speedway.
According to Tony Gresham, a partner in the new Gresham Motorsports Park project, the Friday-Sunday, November 13-15 event, will return to a special event format that proved to be highly successful in the past.
“It really came down a lot to what our fans wanted,” said Gresham. “A lot of our long-time fans wanted to see the World Crown restored to what it used to be – a 300-lap race with live pit stops instead of a 200-lap race with a half-way break. A lot of the drivers asked for it too. They wanted to drive the extra laps and make pit stops. That adds an element that most races don’t have during the regular season. Going back to the old format makes the World Crown even more special than it already is.”
Resurrecting the old format of the racing classic is one of the few bows to the past the new Gresham Motorsports Park will make. When the reconstruction process is completed this fall, GMP will be a totally new facility featuring a new racing surface, fencing and retaining walls for the half-mile oval. Additional scheduled improvements will also include a fresh aluminum grandstand – now to be located on what used to be the back straight of the Peach State track - and a lowered infield pit area for better sight lines and fan viewing. Other improvements scheduled are a quarter-mile Legends track on infield of the half-mile oval, renovated restrooms, new concession areas and trackside parking.
The Friday, November 13 World Crown schedule will include practice in multiple divisions with the day’s events being topped off with a 600 Racing sanctioned Legends Car racing program. The event will make the first time in the 40-year history of the track that the Legends Cars will compete at the facility.
“The guys at INEX and 600 Racing have sanctioned us to run a Legends Car program Friday night,” said Gresham of the scaled down retro-looking Coupe and Sedan division. “The Legends Cars will be the only races held Friday night of our 26th-Annual World Crown 300 weekend. We’re hoping to draw drivers and cars from all over the country and we think that the fans are going to find out that Legends Car racing is a lot of fun to watch. They are a division we hope to have to race at GMP for years to come, to be a regular stop for those kinds of cars.”
According the Gresham, the Saturday, November 14 program of events will be the biggest of the 2009 World Crown weekend schedule.
“Saturday is going to be pretty hectic,” said Gresham. “We’ll qualify all the local divisions that are going to race that day including the Super Late Models who will headline Saturday’s program with a 100-lap main event. We’ll also qualify the Pro Late Model cars for Sunday’s World Crown 300, so it will be a full day at the track for our competitors and fans.”
The 26th-Annual World Crown 300 on Sunday, November 15 is expected to draw a full field of top Pro Late Model drivers and a capacity crowd for the speedway’s official reopening.
“The World Crown has been run for nearly 30 years and it recalls the days of a lot of great drivers – many of them Winston Cup (now Sprint Cup) at the time or guys on their way to Cup,” said Gresham. “The World Crown is our track’s most historic event. It’s been a consistent season-ending event in the Southeast for a long, long time. It’s important for us to keep that event on our new schedule and we’re confident that it will bring back a lot of old fans and make us some new ones too. I think the fans are going to be intrigued that this is now going to be a 300-lap event. That just doesn’t happen too often anymore.
“We’re planning on re-opening Gresham Motorsports Park with a bang,” Gresham concluded. “We’re going to do everything we can to draw in the best looking, most competitive cars and drivers who want to come in and put on a great show. That’s not just for Sunday’s 300-lap race, but for our Friday 600 Racing Legends program and Saturday’s show of local divisions with a Super Late Model headline event. We want to send people home from this year’s World Crown weekend with something to talk about for years to come.”
Tickets and rules packages for the 2009 World Crown 300 weekend at Gresham Motorsports Park will be available later on this summer. Watch www.greshammotorsportspark.com throughout the summer to keep abreast of the construction progress at the track and further updates on the 2009 World Crown 300.