Open-Wheel Division Set For Tripleheader At Golden State’s Merced, Calistoga & Chowchilla Ovals
CONCORD, NC – March 31, 2011 – A big season for DIRTcar West UMP Modified racers on the Pacific Coast gets rolling in a major way this weekend with a tripleheader in California.
DIRTcar’s popular open-wheel division will plunge head-long into the 2011 campaign, contesting events on Friday night (April 1) at Merced Speedway, Saturday night (April 2) at Calistoga Speedway and Sunday afternoon (April 3) at Chowchilla Speedway.
The three-day weekend is highlighted by the Merced/Calistoga Modified Challenge, a $1,000 bonus that will be paid out if a driver is able to sweep the DIRTcar West UMP Modified features at the two Golden State tracks. Adding even more excitement to the events at Merced and Calistoga, the UMP Modifieds will be competing on the undercard of each facility’s World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series program.
Sunday’s show at Chowchilla, meanwhile, will headline the DIRTcar West UMP Modified class. The Kenny Shepherd-promoted track is scheduled to open its 2011 season after wet weather washed out the lidlifter the previous two weeks.
“A full weekend of racing is a great way to kick off the most attractive season ever for UMP Modified teams in the DIRTcar Western Region,” said DIRTcar Western Region director Chris Morgan. “Our association with tracks like Merced, Calistoga and Chowchilla is allowing us to expand our DIRTcar Western Region UMP Modified program in 2011, giving the race teams an unprecedented opportunity to compete for national and regional recognition through DIRTcar’s UMP points program.”
Last year DIRTcar’s UMP circuit distributed nearly $400,000 in points-fund cash to drivers in eight divisions. More UMP Modified events this season in the DIRTcar Western Region will provide the area’s drivers a better shot at collecting some of that money available in the national and state/region points races.
“We want to give a California race car driver a chance to win a national title and with the new DIRTcar UMP deal we feel this can happen,” Chowchilla’s Shepherd said in a track press release touting his facility’s participation in the growing DIRTcar Western Region and its working relationship with the nearby Merced Speedway that is also located in the Central Valley.
Among the standout Californian short-trackers expected to compete in this weekend’s UMP Modified events are Bobby Hogge IV of Salinas and Chris Shannon of Merced, two DIRTcar Western All-Stars Late Model Series stars who are including a healthy dose of UMP Modified racing on their 2011 schedules. They are slated to open the ’11 DIRTcar Western All-Stars Late Model Series on April 16 at Antioch (Calif.) Speedway.
The three tracks on this weekend’s agenda provide a varied challenge to drivers. Merced is a quarter-mile bullring, Chowchilla is a one-third-mile oval and Calistoga is a sprawling half-mile that is known as the fastest track in the West.
According to Hogge, any driver who can claim the Merced/Calistoga Modified Challenge will have earned their money.
“Calistoga is the fastest track a lot of us will ever race on and the biggest thing is the intimidation factor,” Hogge said in a press release issued by Calistoga Speedway, which is located in California’s Napa Valley. “Merced is a track where you have to be 110 percent on your game before the green drops – drawing a good starting position, doing well in your heat and passing without running over another car is important there. You can’t win if you don’t finish.”
Action for Late Model teams in the DIRTcar Western Region was also scheduled to begin this weekend on Saturday night (April 2) at Cottage Grove (Ore.) Speedway, but wet weather that has saturated the facility’s grounds forced track management to postpone its 2011 opener to April 9.
Additional info on all of the series, sanctioning and member tracks of DIRTcar Racing is available at www.DIRTcar.com.