It's a throwback to how it used to be when people came from miles around to eat corn dogs and elephant ears at the fair while they waited for their national heroes to race Stock Cars and Champ Cars.
It's how it used to be; and for the versatile ARCA Racing Series presented by RE/MAX and Menards teams, it's how it still is, and will be, when the renowned stock car tour, in its 58th consecutive season, comes to the sleepy little corner of southern Illinois to mix it up on the "Magic Mile".
And yes, the track's still dirt; the garage floor is still grass; the raceday ticket price is still reasonable, and the crowds are still among the healthiest anywhere in ARCA.
It's the 58th Southern Illinois 100 at the 88th annual DuQuoin State Fair in DuQuoin, Illinois, and it's next in the ARCA Series lineup Labor Day Monday, September 6th.
There is also a healthy field of top-notch ARCA Series warriors with story lines galore on the way for the historical stock car classic, a crowd pleaser since 1950, the year that Jay Frank won the inaugural Southern Illinois 100 in an Oldsmobile Rocket. Little could he know that some of the most recognizable names in racing would follow in his Victory Lane footsteps - names like Jerry Unser, Jimmy Bryan, Fred Lorenzen, Joe Leonard, Don White, AJ Foyt, Jack Bowsher, Rusty Wallace, Dean Roper, Bob Keselowski, Bob Strait, Frank Kimmel, Tony Stewart, Ken Schrader and Parker Kligerman.
But that's exactly what happened as the event, over time, turned itself into one of the most prestigious mile-dirt stock car races in America.
Schrader, a two-time Southern Illinois 100 winner, is again entered for this year's race.
"I can't miss DuQuoin," said Schrader. "That place is just too special for me. It's one of the first tracks my daddy took me to when I was a kid. I remember sleeping in the back of his station wagon excited as could be. Got to see all my heroes race there. The place was special then, and it still is today."
However, the event at DuQuoin will merely be the fourth in a row for Schrader this holiday weekend. Schrader will be racing in West Virginia Friday and Saturday nights before making his way to Lincoln, Nebraska where he will compete in a dirt late model Sunday. All this before he walks through the gate at DuQuoin bright and early Monday morning.
Of course, this is all nothing new for Schrader, who's been doing it this way for decades.
"I'll just grab a shower at the hotel and then meet the boys in the lobby because I think practice (at DuQuoin) is at 9 a.m," added the 55-year-old driver. "We've won DuQuoin twice, so we're looking forward to going back there."
When probed about the adjustment of going from a high-speed superspeedway to a mile dirt track, which he has done so many times in the past; or from a late model to an ARCA car, Schrader said, "There's no adjustment on this stuff. You've got this circle; you sit in a car; you've only got a couple of pedals that do anything, and you go around the circle as fast as you can."
Schrader has competed in every Southern Illinois 100 since 2001. In addition to his back-to-back wins in 2006 and 2007, the Fenton, Missouri driver finished second in 2003, third in 2002 and 2008, fourth in 2001, fifth in 2009 and eighth in 2004. He also earned two Menards Pole Awards presented by Ansell in '04 and '06.
ARCA Racing Series practice for the 58th Southern Illinois 100 is scheduled from 9:00-10:00 a.m. local Central time Monday, September 6, followed by Menards Pole Qualifying presented by Ansell at 11:00. The start of the Southern Illinois 100 presented by Federated Car Care is set for 1:00 p.m.
The event will also feature Live Timing and Scoring at ARCAracing.com of all the on-track activity throughout the day. There will also be Live Streaming Audio of practice, qualifying as well as flag-to-flag race coverage at ARCAracing.com via the ARCA Racing Network.