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Published: Thursday, 4/21/2011

Season to begin at Toledo Speedway

Inaugural Late Model event to kick-start year

BY MATT MARKEY
BLADE SPORTS WRITER
Driver Chris Buescher wins first place during the ARCA Racing Series at Toledo Speedway last September. Driver Chris Buescher wins first place during the ARCA Racing Series at Toledo Speedway last September.
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If the calendar says it's April, racing proprietors in this stretch of the country preface just about everything they say with the phrase "weather-permitting." That indicates an acute awareness that even if all the cars and drivers are assembled and ready, they will still need a smile from Mother Nature and an assist from Blizzard Bill in order to pull off a full card of racing.

Toledo Speedway takes that familiar approach to Saturday night's season-opener.

Weather-permitting, God-willing and the creek don't rise, there will be racing at the half-mile track for the first time since last fall.

"It's been a struggle trying to get ready, because winter just won't let go," track general manager Scott Schultz said Wednesday as wind and cold battered the area after another round of heavy showers had finally moved on.

"It's just the way it is this time of year. We are in the transition period weather-wise, and we just wish the change would move a little faster. But we're always looking forward, and always being as optimistic as we can. It looks better for the weekend, weather-wise, and if we can get the whole show in on Saturday that would be awesome."

The schedule calls for Toledo Speedway to open its 2011 schedule with a visit from the JEG'S/CRA All Star Late Model tour staging its inaugural event with a 100-lap feature. Schultz said entries from Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Ontario as well as Ohio are all expected for the race.

There is an optional practice session from 3:30 to 7 p.m. Friday, with the grandstands open to fans. A welcoming party follows at the Speedway Bar and Grille next to the track.

Saturday's race day activities start with practice at 12:30 p.m., time trials at 4, an Easter Egg hunt for kids 12-and-under at 5:30, with the first green flag of the 2011 racing season dropping at 6. For Saturday's season-opener, union members who show their union card at the ticket window will receive a $5 discount on a full-price admission ticket.

Toledo Speedway's regular Friday night racing schedule begins on May 6 when the track on Benore Road will stage the 7-Up/PNC Bank opener. The racing card for that night features the ARCA/ACME Dismantling Sportsman class, Parts Galore Figure 8's, R & M Recycling Street Stocks and the Jeff's Collision 4-Cylinders.  

Throughout the season of Friday night racing at Toledo Speedway, the front gates open at 5 p.m. with time trials at 6:15, and the racing beginning at 7:30.

Again this season the Toledo area Valvoline Instant Oil Change outlets will sponsor the "Summer Racing Series" which partners Toledo Speedway with nine Valvoline locations in a ticketing promotion for 10 select Friday night events at the track.

FLAT ROCK: The 58th consecutive season of racing opens at Flat Rock Speedway on April 30. The quarter-mile paved oval and figure-8 track hosts racing on Saturday nights throughout the season, with the gates opening at 3 p.m., qualifying begins at 5, and the racing starting at 7.

Paul Pelletier in the Late Model division, Jeremy Vanderhoof in the Figure 8's, and Jimmy Rae in the Street Stock B Main are all expected to defend their 2010 Flat Rock championships this season. In August, the winged Super Modifieds will return to race at Flat Rock for the first time in three decades. When the Midwest Super Modifieds (MSA) stage that race at Flat Rock, fans could potentially see lap times in the nine-second range.

FREMONT SPEEDWAY: After a full course of nasty weather wiped out last weekend's scheduled season-opener, they will try it again Saturday at Fremont Speedway. This is the 60th anniversary season for Fremont, known as "The Track That Action Built." The schedule calls for the layout to host the first of its 10 scheduled races in the Kistler Racing Products Fremont/Attica Sprint Title (FAST) Championship series. Friday night Attica is slated to also host a FAST event for the 410 sprints with the series then moving to Fremont Friday night. Fremont will also race the 305 Sprints and the Dirt Trucks as part of its racing card that gets started at 7 p.m., with the gates opening at 4.

Contact Matt Markey at: mmarkey@theblade.com or 419-724-6510.



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