One of the shortest of American short tracks has joined the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series starting this month.
Lake County Speedway, a .200-mile paved oval in Painesville, Ohio, will feature NASCAR-sanctioned stock-car racing on Saturday nights and begins its 52nd season April 24.
The track features concrete surfaces in the turns and includes a Figure 8 track. The Sportsman division will be the NASCAR featured division.
The Northeastern Ohio facility was purchased in February by Andy McCartney, who retained General Manager Randy Holbrooks Jr.
“We’re giving the track a fresh start,” McCartney said. “Joining NASCAR brings credibility to Lake County Speedway for our fans and teams and helps us build awareness. As soon as we closed on the purchase, we started overhauling the restrooms and concession stands. Our facility will have noticeable improvements, and we’ll repaint everything.”
“Ohio has long been a great state for NASCAR racing and we are thrilled to have Lake County Speedway part of our NASCAR family,” said George Silbermann, NASCAR managing director of racing operations. “Lake County features some of the great short-track racing and family entertainment that is the hallmark of the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series.”
McCartney was a longtime sponsor for cars Holbrooks drove at the track formerly known as Painesville Speedway. McCartney is also owner and president of Bowden Manufacturing, a machine shop that crafts parts used in medical, defense and industrial equipment. Holbrooks is a team leader, engineer and programmer there. The company is located nearby in Willoughby, Ohio.
“I’ve been going to the track since I was a kid,” Holbrooks said. “I’ve raced in just about every division there.
Holbrooks won track championships in several divisions and is enshrined in the speedway’s Hall of Fame. He no longer races.
The 2009 divisional champions at the track include Duane Bates, Painesville, Sportsman; Charles Hermann, Painesville, Figure 8; Tom Learn, Southington, Trophy Stock; Jamie Hays, Painesville, Street Stock Figure 8s; and Aaron Van Dalen, Mentor, Factory Four.
Lake County Speedway becomes the third track in the Buckeye State to partner with the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series. Columbus Motor Speedway and Kil-Kare Speedway in Xenia joined the series in 1989.
NASCAR-licensed drivers in Lake County Speedway’s NASCAR Sportsman division are eligible to compete for track and state championships and their points fund awards, as well as the 2010 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series national championship. State champions also receive customized championship drivers’ helmets and racing uniforms from series sponsor Whelen Manufacturing. All NASCAR-licensed drivers competing in NASCAR-sanctioned divisions at sanctioned tracks also receive coverage under the NASCAR-provided excess insurance policy. Featured division state or provincial champions are determined by drivers’ highest 18 finishes at NASCAR-sanctioned tracks within a state.
NASCAR-licensed drivers in Lake County’s Figure 8, Trophy Stock, Street Stock Figure 8s and Factory Four divisions will also accumulate NASCAR points in the “NASCAR Finalist” program. The top 100 drivers in each of eight groups will be designated as a NASCAR Finalist at the conclusion of the season. A driver’s best 14 finishes will be counted toward their final NASCAR points total. Points will be kept separately for dirt and asphalt tracks.
All track featured division champions, state champions and the national champion are invited to attend the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series national awards banquet in Concord, N.C. There are several days of activities in the Charlotte area leading up to the awards ceremonies in November.
Throughout the history of NASCAR, NASCAR Home Tracks have served as a springboard in the careers of many NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers. Greg Biffle, Clint Bowyer, Jeff Burton, Kurt and Kyle Busch, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Carl Edwards, Denny Hamlin, Joey Logano, Kevin Harvick, Bobby Labonte, Jamie McMurray, Elliott Sadler, Martin Truex Jr. and Brian Vickers all advanced their careers racing in the NASCAR regional touring or NASCAR Whelen All-American Series.
More information on the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series is available at www.nascarhometracks.com.