With the 4th of July holiday just around the corner, race fans as well as drivers in the Southern California area will be without the one racing venue which has hosted the yearly celebration since it first opened back in 1999.
Irwindale Speedway which closed its racing operations at the beginning of the year, will be dark, and no racing or fireworks will take place even though it was reported back on May, 8th by StevenBlakesley.com, “That races will return to the half-mile speedway possibly as soon as the July 4th weekend, with weekly races to take place every other weekend from there on out.”
Since the tracks closure on February 13th, the 1/8 mile drag strip has reopened while resuming its weekly Thursday night street legal drag program, along with the L.A. Racing Experience which is an on-site racing school that features programs for beginners, as well as those individuals who are looking to advance their racing careers.
One of the highlights during the 4th of July season, was visit that NASCAR’s K&N West division series made to the track which first became a tradition in 2007. Irwindale Speedway would combine the thrills of one of NASCAR’s more prestigious and exciting developmental series, with a superb firework show at the conclusion of the nights racing activities.
So with no racing or firework show at the speedway this year, where would Southern California fans and drivers go to get their 4th of July racing fix?
The Las Vegas Motor Speedway’s Bullring is hosting a night of racing, along with a traditional firework show at the end of the night’s entertainment, and racing event on July 3rd. Billed as the “Night of Fire.”
The schedule for this spectacular night of racing along with the firework show will include, a 76-lap NASCAR Super Late Model feature, the only 2012 Las Vegas appearance by legendary monster truck BIGFOOT, a jet car burn, waterless boat races, a drifting exhibition, NASCAR Super Stocks, NASCAR Bombers, Hoosier Tire Late Models, USAC Midgets, USLCI Legends Cars and USLCI Bandoleros.
The Bullring which recently hosted the SRL Spears Southwest tour and NASCAR’s K&N West Series tour has seen some really strong car counts, which included 155 drivers for the SRL weekend alone.
Some of the local drivers who raced at Irwindale Speedway, and who have found refuge at this huge racing facility include Jason Patison, Luis Martinez Jr., Lacie Price, Jonathon and Donny StOurs, R.J. Johnson, Christian McGhee, Brent Scheidmantle, Cale Kanke, Toni McCray, Austin Reed, along with Tim Huddleston’s High Point Racing’s drivers Cole Custer and Trevor Huddleston have all been a part of the tracks participants.
Quick Pick Motorsports drivers Andrew Porter and Kenny Smith have also tested their racing skills on at the Bullring’s 3/8 mile asphalt oval. Legend car owner Tony Green of Tony Green Motorsports, is another local team owner who has been making the trek to keep his drivers on the track while competing in the INEX Legends car series.
For the time being short track racing may not be what it was once was in the past, and until Irwindale Speedway and the under construction Kern County Raceway are opened and running full racing schedules.
The Bullring in Las Vegas is one of the better options as far as distance and the quality of racing that can be enjoyed by both fan and driver on the West Coast, especially from those who are traveling from the Southern California area.
Public Relations Manager John Bisci along with Racing Operations Manager Tim Richter, and track announcer Chet Christner continue to put together a first class schedule of events that is aimed at fans both young and old, and for the enjoyment of the whole family.
Tuesday, July 3 – Night of Fire 1-9:00 p.m. – Credential sales, pit parking hours.
1:30 p.m. – Tech inspection begins.
2:30 p.m. – Hoosier Tire Late Model practice.
2:40 p.m. – USAC Midget practice.
2:50 p.m. – Legend Cars Semi-Pro/Young Lions practice.
3 p.m. – Legend Cars Pro/Masters practice.
3:10 p.m. – Bandolero practice.
3:20 p.m. – Bomber practice.
3:30 p.m. – Super Stock practice.
3:40 p.m. – Super Late Model practice.
4 p.m. – Drivers’ meeting.
4:20 p.m. USAC Midget group qualifying (3 laps).
Bandolero group qualifying (3 laps).
Legend Cars group qualifying (3 laps).
Hoosier Tire Late Models group qualifying (3 laps).
5 p.m. – Spectator gates open. NASCAR Super Late Model single-car qualifying (2 laps). USAC Midget heat races (8 laps). Legend Cars Semi-Pro/Young Lions feature (34 cars or more) or B-Feature (20 minutes).
6 p.m. Bandolero Outlaws feature (12 laps or 12 min.). Bandolero Bandits feature (12 laps or 12 min.).
6:30 p.m. – Tandem drifting exhibition; Bigfoot exhibition.
6:55 p.m. – National anthem, opening ceremonies.
7:05 p.m. Super Stock feature (25 laps or 20 min.). USAC Midget feature (30 laps or 25 min.). Legend Cars Pro/Masters feature (25 laps or 20 min.). Hoosier Tire Late Models feature (30 minutes). NASCAR Bomber feature (25 laps or 20 min.). NASCAR Super Late Model feature (76 laps or 50 min.). Bigfoot monster truck infield show (freestyle). Waterless boat race (15 min.). Jet Car burn.
10:20 p.m. – Fireworks. Spectator admission: Adults (in advance): $15. Adults (day-of-show): $20. Senior citizens and active military personnel with ID: $15. Kids (ages 6-14): $8. Children 5 and under: free. General-admission parking: free.
For more information or to purchase tickets in advance, please call LVMS at (702) 644-4444 or visit www.LVMS.com. Follow LVMS on Facebook and Twitter.
PHOTO CREDIT: Las Vegas Motor Speedway