If dirt racing fans haven’t had their fill of racing events this year, then don’t fret. Some of this year’s biggest events are just around the corner. Every series from modifieds, to sprint cars, midgets to late models can be found running circles and tossing mud into stands nationwide from August through November. So if you’re dreaming of a last minute road trip to take in some of 2016 final race events then call up the in-laws and tell them their grandkids are coming for a visit! You and the misses have decided to hit the open road in search of your favorite track, a seat in the bleachers, a cold beer, and sweet new his and hers t-shirts featuring your favorite driver. Naturally, selected by her! Whether you’ve got a weekend available or are lucky enough to have a week’s vacation left, the remainder of this year’s events is sure to please even the most hardcore dirt racing fans. Trying to locate what’s left of this year’s great racing could make a person’s head spin. Here’s a shortlist for the race fans out there that want a seat at what remains of 2016 biggest dirt track racing events.
Knoxville Nationals: Knoxville, IA August 10-13, 2016
August 10-13 is the 56th annual 5-hour Energy Knoxville Nationals presented by Casey’s General Stores located in my very own backyard, Knoxville, IA. The Outlaws will be taking the track at Knoxville Raceway, the Sprint Car Capital of the World, putting their driving skills on display for what’s always a packed house. Back in the day, I watched Doug Wolfgang, and Sammy Swindell battle it out night after night, each working the cushion like a pro. This year, I’ll be watching drivers like Donny Schatz, who’s currently leading in the World of Outlaw Craftsman Sprint Car Points, as well as David Gravel, Daryn Pittman, and Brad Sweet, all of whom are 250 points back of first and having less than 20 points separating the three of them for second, third, and fourth places. Don’t count out one of my old favorites, Sammy Swindell, who’s running 15th in points and is a wily veteran who’s no stranger to hearing Knoxville’s announcer shout “Quick Time” over the PA system. Heck, if you’re thirsty after the race, come see my cousin and me across the street at his bar, Dingus Lounge. I’ll let you buy me a beer!
35th Annual Four Crown Nationals at Eldora Speedway
New Weston, a town in western Ohio hosts a race weekend that all dirt racing fans are sure to love. Near New Weston, is one of America’s most famous oval dirt tracks known as Eldora Speedway. On September 23rd and 24th, the half-mile, clay track houses the 35th Annual Four Crown Nationals held on the World’s Greatest Dirt Track. The Outlaws roll into town on the 23rd followed by the USAC Series on the 24th. This time of year in Ohio provides a great opportunity to catch a race at a track owned by renowned race car driver and former NASCAR Champion, Tony Stewart. Spend a weekend with family and friends watching the Outlaws and USAC Series battle for points or at the very least bragging rights. There won’t be a shortage of action, or big names running at Eldora Speedway September 23rd-24th. Check the Eldora Speedway website for a complete list of race events throughout the remainder of the year that is sure to have race fans running to the boss and asking for time off!
Oswego Speedway – Oswego, New York
October 2nd through October 9th in upstate New York, the NAPA Auto Parts Super DIRT Week XLV gets under way at Oswego Speedway. Modifieds come to town that week for a chance to claim one of the East Coast’s most sought after trophies at the venue dubbed “The Steel Palace.” Truck loads of dirt will be hauled to an Oswego track that’s been paved since the early 1950’s for a week long Super DIRT racing extravaganza that has racing fans chattering already. The Super DIRT points race has been a tightly contested battle so far this year with 200 points separating the top 5 drivers. New York’s, Matt Shepard, Billy Decker, and Jimmy Phelps occupy 1st, 3rd, and 5th in the standings respectively with Matt and his race team bringing home over $37,000 in winnings this year. This week in racing will be vitally important to drivers and teams fighting over the Super DIRT Championship title. The racing year comes to an end just a few short weeks later in Charlotte at another huge event called the Bad Boy World of Outlaws World Finals.
Bad Boy World of Outlaws World Finals
The 2016 year in dirt racing comes to a thunderous conclusion for the World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series, World of Outlaws Late Model Series, and the Big-Block Modified Super DIRT Series at one of America’s most recognizable racing venues known as Charlotte Motor Speedway. October 27th-29th, Charlotte, North Carolina will host the grand finale of three racing series and award one team from each a championship title at the Bad Boy World of Outlaws World Finals. This four-tenths mile, clay track is undoubtedly one of dirt racing’s most insanely fast surfaces. There isn’t a better racing venue to conclude the 2016 dirt racing championship for teams, drivers, friends, and family. After the weekend’s over, race fans will be pleading with Santa for a nice stocking stuffer to ring in 2017. Not so fast, though! The 2017 Chili Bowl will have to wait. North Carolina is a state rich in racing heritage that offers unlimited amounts of fun to the fans that continue to visit for dirt racing’s last action packed weekend unfolding in late October. Hopefully, Halloween ghosts don’t show up early that weekend and spook dirt racing’s most talented teams right off the track. Discussing what could have been over Grandma’s candied yams at Thanksgiving Dinner is sure to be on the menu for the teams and drivers who find themselves on the outside looking in. So don’t miss your chance to see how the 2016 championship run will turn out.
Soon after Rudolph guides Santa’s sleigh back to Mrs. Claus and the elves at the North Pole, the household will hopefully wake up to a snowy white Christmas. Packed under the tree will be the gifts that Santa, our family, and our friends will have so thoughtfully left for us to ring in the new year. Each race fan has that one gift they’ve been asking for but haven’t received yet for one reason or another. Maybe Christmas 2016 is the year to ask Santa for those Chili Bowl tickets. Or, it might be time to take matters into your hands and finally oust the jolly old fat man forever. After all, if you haven’t been to the “Mecca of Midgets” then you haven’t seen one of the biggest shows on dirt. In Tulsa, Oklahoma, beginning January 10th, the Midgets come to town at one of the most action-packed tracks in the United States. This date signifies the beginning of the Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals presented by General Tire and as of today, is a mere 165 days, 10 hours, 54 minutes, and 46 seconds away. Not that I’m counting. Driver, Rico Abreu has owned the indoor, quarter-mile track over the past two years, winning what’s called the “Super Bowl of Midget Racing” in 2015 and 2016. This tiny indoor track has seen some of racing’s biggest names walk in and out of its door. Kasey Kahne, Tony Stewart, and J. J. Yeley are just a few of the drivers fans could have watched race at the Chili Bowl over the years. One thing’s for certain; they won’t be the last drivers that race Midgets here and then find themselves moving up the ranks of NASCAR, IndyCar, and the World of Outlaws series.
2016 Dirt Racing Round-Up
Nearing the end of July, dirt race fans may be looking ahead to next year’s schedule in hopes of scoring those great seats at your favorite race track. That’s not fair to the rest of 2016! There’s still a lot of great dirt track races that remain on this year’s horizon for even the most devoted fan. So before you find yourself dreaming of next year and what tickets may be in your stocking stuffer come Christmas morning, consider living out the rest of this year’s race season at one of the amazing tracks mentioned above. The championship battle in each series is competitive and should remain that way throughout the rest of the season. The second half of 2016 provides plenty of opportunities for you and a car full of friends to head out to the track for some great dirt races.