Sunday, April 14, 2013

Chowchilla Speedway Update

I wanted to drop a few comments about Chowchilla Speedway.  I love hearing that work is taking place at Chowchilla Speedway.  In that track's section of the Late Model Racer forum comes a few details from an observer about work being done at the track.  It was previously reported that past IMCA Modified champion "The Flying Cowboy" Jack Stanford was part of the effort to reopen the track on a limited schedule this season.

I know nothing of what is happening now, but it sounds like they have plans.  Working on the track is the priority to make sure that they can put those plans into action.  Dale Ferreira of Hondo Boats was said to have driver information sheets at his place of business to gauge interest from the drivers.

When I hear about efforts like this, I want to see them be successful.  I think this could be the next best thing to Tom Sagmiller coming back and calling the shots, because Jack was a part of compering there when it opened.  Plus, last I heard, he lived there.  So, I know there are racers who will support it if they can.  Here are my thoughts, for anybody that cares.

If you are a Dirt Modified, Sport Mod, Four Banger, Hobby Stock, Street Stock and maybe even Sportsman driver, be ready for the announcement.  Get in contact with Jack or Dale for info.  If your class wasn't mentioned, it couldn't hurt to contact them.  When the dates are listed, support what you can.  I know it's late notice.  So was Merced Speedway in 2010, but look what happened.

I would hope that it's kept in mind that Merced took the Saturday night time slot due to it's availability and Hanford and Antioch are also Saturday.  This means if you want drivers who have committed elsewhere to support the cause, racing on Friday or Sunday would be the best bet.  People will bitch about either night.

Now, Watsonville makes Friday a tricky proposition, but if you are careful in booking the dates, Friday can work.  Modifieds and Sport Mods aren't booked there every week, so that eight race schedule could happen.

Some have said let Chowchilla Speedway die.  Not me.  I say they never should have let Tom Sagmiller go, because without him, you wouldn't have had that track in the first place.  That's just a fact.  Sure, you had investors and George Steitz, but Tom was the right man to guide the good ship Chowchilla Speedway.

Some of the things he did were unorthodox.  Some were successful and some failed.  But, the racers supported him.  The fans loved going there.  It's not hard to see why either.  So, what you had was Tom running the track for eight of it's 13 seasons, and think of all the things that were accomplished there through the years.

Thirteen seasons were track champions were crowned.

Seven Chowchilla Dirt Track Shoot Out races.

The Open Wheel Round Up.

The Freedom Series.

The Hobby Stock $500.

Special appearances Of Late Models and Sprint Cars.

Wonderful memories being made.

I certainly don't mean to dismiss Kenny Shepherd in this either, because he gave the fans three seasons of championship racing at Chowchilla.  He made a real effort.  One thing you can say about him is his booking of Sport Mods had a big impact on the growth of that division in the area.

I'm just saying racing needs to continue at Chowchilla Speedway.  It's a shame it's not Tom putting it back together again, but if we have somebody else trying, I hope it happens.  It won't take away from the accomplishments of the past.  If it's done the right way, there will be many great nights of racing ahead.

Anyway, I hope this happens, so I'm adding to the rumors until the official facts are released.  Let's get the buzz going.  If something is going to happen at Chowchilla Speedway for the 14th straight year, an announcement will need to be made in the near future.  Let's all hope for the best.