In a NASCAR town like Richmond, VA you expect the racing to be laced with NASCAR influences, none more so than this Saturday May 15th at Bill Sawyer’s Virginia Motor Speedway as the pristine dirt facility in Jamaica, VA hosts the return of “The Greatest Show on Dirt” the World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series for the NAPA of King William and Tappahannock Paul Sawyer Memorial.
At first glance one might wonder what a dirt race has to do with NASCAR. One only has to look to the name of the event and know that the influences of NASCAR start there. The event is named for the late Paul Sawyer whose dedication and hard work helped grow the sport of racing in the State of Virginia.
Sawyer with the help of his sons Wayne and Billy built what is considered by many to be the premier track on the NASCAR circuit, Richmond International Raceway. To this day RIR is mentioned by many a driver as being their favorite. After the sale of Richmond in 1999 Billy decided he want to continue his family’s heritage by owning and promoting Virginia Motor Speedway, the ½ mile speed plant that is hosting the $10,000 to win event. Eleven years later and Virginia Motor Speedway is considered one of the top short tracks in the country.
The Sawyer name is not the only tie to NASCAR this weekend as two of the sports superstars are deeply involved with the sport of dirt racing and each will have a presence at Virginia Motor Speedway for the Paul Sawyer Memorial when the green flag falls on Saturday.
Tony Stewart’s and Kasey Kahne’s roots run deep when it comes to dirt racing. Both made their way to successful NASCAR careers coming up through the dirt racing ranks. Both to this day continue their support and love for the sport by fielding teams on the World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series.
Stewart owns the rides of 20 time Champion and current point leader Steve Kinser and 4-time and defending series Champion Donnie Schatz. Probably one of the most recognizable names in racing, Kinser is in his first season as a driver for Tony Stewart Racing. Kinser will be piloting the #11 Bass Pro Shops Maxim. Schatz, who drives the #15 Armor All J&J, has been the most dominant drive on the series, taking home the championship each of those years. The addition of Kinser to the TSR stable makes for a super team of sorts.
Kahne owns the mounts of Joey Saldana and Paul McMahan, the two latest winners on the World of Outlaws tour. Saldana, driver of the #9 Budweiser Maxim was the leading race winner on the Outlaws tour in 2009 and is the defending race winner of the Paul Sawyer Memorial. Saldana also holds Virginia Motor Speedway’s overall track record with a lap of 14.537 seconds. McMahan drives the #91 Great Clips Maxim and head’s to VMS with a full head of steam after posting his first win on the tour this past weekend at Tony Stewart’s Eldora Speedway.
If you’re Stewart or Kahne fans you will have plenty to cheer for this Saturday as both teams continue in their quest to secure the prestigious World of Outlaws Championship. If you’re a fan of racing you’re excited to witness the speed and power of 410 sprint cars and the only Virginia appearance by the World of Outlaws Sprint Cars.
Competitor gates for Saturday, May 15th will open at 3pm with spectator gates opening at 4pm. On track activities will begin at 6:30pm with hot laps. There will be a BB&T Meet and Greet Autograph session to be held under the main grandstands at 5pm.
Divisions scheduled to race on Saturday May 15th: World of Outlaws Sprint Cars (30 Laps); and Victory Lap Late Models (35 Laps). World of Outlaws Sprint Car format will consist of time trials, heats, B Main(s) and a 30 lap “A” Main. Track division will run hot lap time trials and feature. Sunday May 16th has been set aside as a rain date for the Paul Sawyer Memorial.
Adult admission is just $30, Senior (60+) and Military $25, Students 7 –17 yrs old $12 and Children 6 and under free. Pit passes will be $35.
To enhance the fans racing experience the speedway has installed a short wave FM transmitter and all of the evening’s action can be heard at 95.5 FM. So bring your portable radio headset and enjoy hearing all the action.
Bill Sawyer’s Virginia Motor Speedway, an ASA Member Track, is a ½ mile dirt oval track is located on U.S. Route 17, eight miles north of Saluda, VA and 25 miles south of Tappahannock, VA in Jamaica, VA. The speedway is just a short drive from Richmond, Fredericksburg, Southern Maryland and the Hampton Roads area.
To learn more about Bill Sawyer’s Virginia Motor Speedway fans may call the Speedway office at (804) 758-1VMS or visit the track’s web site at www.vamotorspeedway.com.