By Sam Stoecklin
August 10, 2011
The 2011 edition of the Missouri State Fair is now upon us now and although it is hard to think about the final day of the fair, racers and fans alike know what the last day of the fair brings with it … the sounds of engines roaring back to life for the annual Missouri State Fair Championships!
The hallowed grounds of the ‘Historic Half Mile’ at Missouri State Fair Speedway in Sedalia come to life for the only one time this year on Sunday, August 21, with the best of the best competing in the Modified division, the ASCS Warrior Region 360 Sprint Cars, and Lucas Oil MLRA Super Late Models. Three premier classes of racing on one premier night of action-packed racing!
As previously reported, the most wide-open championship crown up for grabs will likely come in the modified division. Anyone with a hint of racing knowledge realizes this area is a hotbed of modified drivers that have been referred to as the “toughest competition anywhere in the States.” If you’re not an avid race fan, all you need to know about modified racing around here is that you will see a deeply talented pool of racers who are there to put the throttle to the floor and bring home a victory to add their name to the storied list of past speedway winners.
Jim Moody, a past State Fair Champion hailing from Odessa, Missouri, plans on attending in his number 00 GRT chassis and make no mistake about it, he has a fast car and will be looking to return to victory lane on the big half mile track when the green flag is unleashed. Moody’s race program is possible this year with the support of Precision Pipe Fabrication and Supply, Barker Racing Enterprises, and Crosslink Powder Coating.
After wrapping up his second-consecutive track championship this week at LA Raceway, Terry Schultz will surely be one of the fan favorites in his familiar #90 Dale’s Towing modified. Schultz is also on the verge of claiming his first-ever track championship at Central Missouri Speedway (CMS), where he battles many of the top-performing drivers every week. In addition to Dale’s Towing, Haulette Construction, J ‘n H Embry Farms, and Schultz Wrecking Service help keep Schultz on the track and running at the front in his Mach 1.
Although veteran race John O’Neal will not be competing on the track, he will be there as a car owner for up-and-coming driver Nic Bidinger of Perry, Kansas, who will pilot the number 15 Price Chopper entry. Bidinger has half-mile track experience in his pocketbook from competing at Lakeside Speedway over the last few years where he has several wins to his credit. Johnsonville Sausage and Karl Chevrolet also adorn the sides of the #15 owned by O’Neal, who is currently sitting on the sidelines after an early season race injury. O’Neal is a master at big flat tracks and his experience on this type of surface will no doubt have Bidinger at the front of the field. O’Neal said, “I love the extremely fast flat surface, it makes for great competition. The cream always seems to rise to the top on this type of track.”
Another veteran car owner will provide one of the best in the business a chance to bring home the modified crown. Christina Smith, along with Bob Morton Enterprises, will provide a car for Archie, Missouri driver Matt Johnson. Matt also has plans to compete with the MLRA late models in his own race entry. Smith stated, “Yes, we are making the race and wouldn’t miss it. Our sponsors Advance Auto Parts, Burlington Auto, and Dr. Spotless all will be in attendance at the fair that Sunday and Sunday night.” Johnson posted a feature win at the speedway last year during one of the weekly races and the fan-favorite driver will be a busy man piloting two cars, but his cool and calm demeanor will help ensure he is running at or near the front.
Jason Bodenhamer makes no qualms about telling people Missouri State Fair Speedway is his favorite track and he also will have two chances during the fair race to return to victory lane. Like Matt Johnson, Bodenhamer will pilot both a modified and late model throughout the evening. ‘Bodee’ has visited victory lane this year in his modified at CMS and is involved in a point’s championship battle with Schultz at the track in the #34a Vic and Sheila Austin owned-modified sponsored by Burlington Performance, Austin Motorway, Bodee’s Race Bodies, Depot Saloon & BBQ, and Mangia Event Catering. Odell Race Engines provides the horsepower for the DirtWorks chassis car. Dustin Walker will provide the super late model for Bodenhamer, who calls Centerview, Missouri home. When asked recently if he would be racing, he stated, “I won’t miss racing at Sedalia for nothing, count me in – I gotta get some of Reid’s money!” Bodenhamer is referring to race promoter Reid Millard, who he partnered with last year as co-promoters of the speedway.
Jason Thompson has raced to victory lane twice this season in a self-built motor at LA Raceway, once at Grain Valley Speedway, and twice at CMS in his Hughes Chassis number 20. Thompson was one of the first drivers to state he was racing at the fair this year. He was last year’s champion at CMS and is a multiple-time champion at LA Raceway. The Concordia driver is sponsored this season by The Cornerstone Agency, Hair Fashions by Vicki, Meir’s Ready Mix, Hibner Logging and Sawmill, Robert Schlueter Motorsports, Heath Siding, Michael Ross Memorial Foundation, and Cornerstone Foundation Repair.
Additional drivers who’ve said they plan to attend include Raymore driver Nick Pence in the #32p DirtWorks Chevrolet; Mark Dotson from Cameron in the #85d GRT; Buddy Thompson in his number 5 GRT, who claimed “he never misses the chance to race state fair;” Dave McVey of Greenwood in the number 9i Hughes racing chassis modified; Austin Siebert of Lake Lotawana in the Kenny’s Tile-sponsored number 16 GRT, and veteran racer Scotty Roberts of Columbia, who said, “this race means a lot to me.” Note, mention of driver’s name does not guarantee appearance at the races. Plenty more modified drivers will be on hand for one wail of a show for the fans in the grandstands that will be on hand to see great high-speed racing action.
Look for a preview of the 360 Speedway Motors ASCS Warrior Region and Lucas Oil MLRA Late Model drivers expected to be on hand in a future lead-in press release for the big race night. For track information and modified car class rules, call race director Clint Brown at 660-221-0275 or visit the speedway’s official website at www.missouristatefairspeedway.com. For Lucas Oil MLRA information, call 816-650-5063 or 816-305-6572 or visit them on the web at www.mlraracing.com; for additional information about the 360 Sprint Car ASCS Speedway Motors Warrior Region, call 573-375-0085 or visit them online www.ascsracing.com.
On race night, pit gates will open at 3 p.m. with admission gates opening at 4:30; hot laps take place at 5:30 with racing getting underway at 6 p.m. General Admission is $18, Seniors & Military $15, Kids 6-12 just $8, children five and under are free; all pit passes are $25. We can’t wait to see you in less than two weeks for the Missouri State Fair Championships at the ‘Historic Half Mile in Sedalia!