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Racing notes: Local dirt tracks make big announcements

Jeff Birchfield • Jan 23, 2019 at 8:17 PM

Stan Lester, founder and CEO of both the Fastrak Racing Series and Ultimate Super Late Model Series, is partnering with Volunteer Speedway owners Joe and Phyllis Loven to operate the 4/10-mile clay oval in 2019.

Lester made the announcement at last Saturday's banquet for the Ultimate Super Late Model Series. He takes over for Mitch McCarter, who served as Volunteer Speedway promoter last season. McCarter will continue to promote 411 Speedway, the track he owns in Seymour.

According to the Volunteer Speedway website and officials, a schedule is being worked on and will be released soon, along with the classes that will be racing throughout the season. Volunteer Speedway ran Sportsman Late Model, Steel Head Late Model and Crate Late Models as featured divisions in 2018.

CLAY VALLEY RELEASES SCHEDULE

Clay Valley Speedway, the former Lonesome Pine Raceway, has transitioned from asphalt to dirt and opens with a pair of practice days, using drag racing terminology, Test-n-Tunes on March 9 and 16.

The grand opening is scheduled for Saturday, March 23 with pits to open at 9 a.m., a driver's meeting at noon and the race to start at 3 p.m.

A week later on March 30, the track will have its first track championship points race.

Special events include the Schaeffer's Spring National on Friday, April 20, multiple races for the All-American Crate Series and the Schaeffer's Fall National on Oct. 26. The final points race is scheduled a week later on Nov. 3.

NASCAR SHOWDOWN ON DIRT

Christopher Bell won the Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Midget Nationals for the third straight time on Saturday with a last-lap pass of Kyle Larson.

The two dirt racers turned NASCAR stars excited the Tulsa, Oklahoma, crowd with Bell taking advantage of Larson getting stuck behind traffic on the final lap.

Bell joined Kevin Swindell as the only drivers to win three straight Chili Bowl races. He and Larson dominated on the dirt tracks over the NASCAR offseason, winning a number of marquee events. Another NASCAR star, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., also advanced to the A-Main and finished 22nd.

Kasey Kahne, recently retired from NASCAR Cup Series competition, and Karsyn Elledge, the 18-year-old niece of Dale Earnhardt Jr., each won preliminary races early in the week, but failed to advance to the A-Main feature.

RIDING IN THE COLD

Local racing legend Mike Brown, the former AMA and Endurocross national champion, has started a new motocross series with the second race scheduled for Sunday at I-81 Motorsports Park.

The Below Zero MX Series is a winter series that tests both the riders' skills and resolve. Classes range from 50cc to Pro and also includes ATV classes. A practice day is scheduled for Saturday.

MCMURRAY PLANS ANNOUNCED

Jamie McMurray will compete in the Advance Auto Parts Clash and the Daytona 500 in the No. 40 Chevrolet, prepared by Spire Motorsports with support from Chip Ganassi Racing, which McMurray has driven for the past decade.

It is to be McMurray's final rides before stepping away from the NASCAR Cup Series. Some of his greatest success has come at Daytona. He is one of only four drivers to have ever won the Daytona 500 and the Rolex 24 At Daytona, joining a list of racing legends that includes Mario Andretti, AJ Foyt, and Jeff Gordon. He also has one win in the July race at Daytona.

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