By Sam Stoecklin
CMS Public Relations Director
March 6, 2011
(Warrensburg, MO) – The Fastest High-Banked Clay Oval in the Midwest, otherwise known as CMS, is just over a month away from launching its most exciting season ever. Track owners Earl and Susan Walls begin their eighteenth year of track operations in 2011. In addition to the incredible action provided by drivers in the four weekly divisions, fans can anticipate appearances by the Midwest Lightning Sprints, 305 sprints, and the first-ever visit by the stars of the United States Modifieds Touring Series (USMTS). Additionally, the modifieds have four races paying at least $3,000 to win while the ULMA late models, street stocks, and b-modifieds also have special events that also dot the schedule. This year’s action at the track is presented by new title sponsor, Cliff Harris’ Warrensburg Ford and Warrensburg Chrysler.
Waterloo Storage Products joined CMS last year and returns again this season for all feature event victory lane celebrations. Drivers in all divisions will be eligible to take home one of Waterloo Storage Products’ highly sought after tool boxes. Feature winners will receive the toolboxes for their victory but after a driver wins one for the year a blind draw will take place to award the toolboxes to other drivers throughout the season. For more information visit Waterloo Storage Products online at www.waterlooindustries.com.
Drivers competing at CMS can expect fair competition, a knowledgeable and friendly staff, and most important to them, same night guaranteed cash payouts after a hard night of racing. Fans making their way through the admission gates will enjoy competition from the absolute best drivers in the ‘mighty’ modifieds, ULMA late models, street stocks, and b-modifieds. The track staff will strive to bring drivers and fans a no-nonsense approach to moving along the race program at a steady pace so patrons can get home at a decent hour. If you haven’t been to CMS in a while or have friends who you think might be interested in trying something different, bring them to CMS; they won’t be disappointed and better yet, you will be a hero for turning them on to a great night of action-packed family fun!
Once things get underway with the USMTS race on Saturday, April 16, fans and drivers will notice a new addition to the track’s infield in the way of a new scoring gazebo for official scorekeeper Karen Darling, who has over 35 years of scoring experience and prefers to score races from the infield area. Track announcer Sam Stoecklin will also be moving to the infield to add a whole new twist on dirt-track announcing throughout the year with plans to be up close and personal to the on-track action. Drivers will feel the difference on the track again this season as 22 additional loads of yellow clay have been added to the race surface, most notably in the turn four area, which has been re-cut from the bottom to the top of the speedway.
Before the first official green flag laps are scored, the CMS staff is scheduled to appear at several pre-season events, the first of which takes place this Saturday, March 12 in North Kansas City at the annual Snake Saturday Parade, featuring a race-car show. The parade kicks off at 11 a.m. with the car show lasting the majority of the day, rain or shine. Drivers wishing to display their race cars at the event may do so by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org. On Friday, March 18 (5 to 9 pm) and Saturday March 19 (9 am to 3 pm), CMS staff will take part in the 31st Annual KOKO Spring Expo. Be sure to stop by and meet 2010 modified champion Jason Thompson. Pre-season appearances continue the following weekend at the Saline County Fairgrounds in Marshall, Missouri on Friday, March 25 (4 to 9 pm) and Saturday, March 26 (9 am to 4 pm) as the CMS staff make their first-ever visit to the KMMO Marshall Home Show. Schedules, RaceCeiver Radios (mandatory in 2011), and track registration will be available at all CMS public appearances.
This year’s pre-season car show will take place on Saturday, April 9 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. We are pleased to announce our new car show partner, the Matthews-Crawford American Legion Post 131. A live radio broadcast is planned during the event in the parking lot of Post 131, located at 733 East Young Avenue in Warrensburg. If you wish to display your car and gain exposure for your race program and sponsors, email requests to TrackReport@centralmissourispeedway.net. Available slots for cars are limited this year and will be handled on a first response, first-reserved basis. Post 131 will hold a breakfast fundraiser in the morning hours followed by a cookout for lunch so be sure to bring your appetite to show our new car show partners your support. Drivers participating in the Snake Saturday and Post 131 Car Shows will receive a FREE driver pit pass to the lone CMS practice session this season, which takes place on the evening of Saturday, April 9. Grandstand admission for the practice session is absolutely free!
An exciting new form of advertisement is now available at the speedway for our business partners. Participating businesses will receive exposure through the weekly Track Report program via placing an ad in the program that will appear adjacent to the car class point standings. Business partners will receive weekly plugs over the public address system by announcers, six free tickets to a weekly (non special event) race of their choice, exposure on special event flyers, and additional exposure when the car class being supported is on the track competing. For complete details and pricing call Susan Walls at (816) 229-1338.
Handicapping this year’s field at CMS in the car classes is a tall order but with the onset of a new season comes some pre-season predictions. In the modified division, defending champion Jason Thompson is the favorite to take the crown once again but if he wants to repeat as champion he will need to muster all of his smooth driving skills and persistent finishes to hold back a stout field of competitors. Three-time champ, Aaron Marrant, is eager to return to the top of the standings while perennial favorite Terry Schultz would like to see his first-ever CMS championship come in 2011. These drivers will have to fend of young upstarts such as last year first-time winner Luke Feeback and promising Kansas driver Tyler Schmidt. There are plenty of other drivers who could rack up wins at the speedway this season should they choose to drop in, including Dustin Boney, Rick Beebe, Chad Lyle, Matt Johnson, and Tim Karrick.
Last season Jason Bodenhamer claimed his first-ever track championship with eight wins. Word on the street has Bodenhamer once again doing double-duty piloting not only a ULMA late model but also a modified. Bodenhamer’s main competition will likely come from his GRT stable mate and two-time past champion, Jon Binning of Warrensburg. Binning had a late-season surge last year and nearly spoiled the fun for Bodee; if he gets things going sooner this year he will pose a huge threat to win it all. Another serious contender will be veteran driver Bob Test of Jefferson City. Test was one of the few drivers to pass Bodenhamer during green-flag laps for a win last year. Odessa driver Steve Clancy, who won the final ULMA race of 2010, should also be considered a threat. Clancy is no stranger to victory lane and with a little better luck this season will be a strong contender. Another Clancy may also prove to be in the mix as past grand-national champion Chad Clancy will pilot a ULMA late model. James McMillin has moved over to a late model this year and will likely run at the front of the pack; also look for past champion Kevin Coyne, Brett Wood, and Bob King to up the wick on their race programs by the time the season comes to a close.
The street stock division showed signs of promise last year with resurgent car counts and some of the best door-panel action on the track. Chad Eickleberry is the odds-on favorite to take home the crown this season in his quest to finally become track champion in the class he so fondly supports. Eickleberry has racked up numerous wins but the title has eluded him over the years. The veteran’s biggest competition will likely come from upstart 16-year old Bryce McMillin, son of James McMillin. Last season the young driver showed vast improvement and maturity and posted several strong runs on his way to a top-three placement in the final standings. It would not be a stretch to see McMillin post several victories and give Eickleberry a run for his money in the hunt for the title. There are plenty of other drivers who would like to rain on these two drivers’ parades so don’t count out Michael Mullins and Brian Ziegler should they choose to make a run for the title. Consistent runners Herb and Don Dannar as well as Brian Cox should also keep things interesting at the front of the pack and you never know when 14-time track champion John Brooks will drop in to spoil their fun.
The hardest class to predict a champion for this season has to be the b-modifieds. Although Brad Smith, the B-Mod Dominator, has he was nicknamed by CMS last season, will no doubt be at the front of the pack whenever he takes to the track; there are plenty of drivers waiting in the wings to capture the glory. Past champion Ethan Isaacs and his brother Lucas have proven time and again they are the real deal when it comes to the future of modified racing. Second-generation driver Jacob Ebert ranks near the top of the picks and is definitely a serious contender for the crown. Nic Bennett, Dalton Kirk, Chris Brockway, and Troy Carlyle will also pose serious threats should they choose to give a run at the championship and you can never count out veterans such as Mark Evinger and Bronson Combs when all is said and done.
Weekly racing gets underway a week earlier than normal this season with the first championship point races taking place on April 23 in all divisions. For the April 16 USMTS event, street stocks will be the lone support class so drivers will want to ensure they are ready to go one week prior to regularly scheduled racing. Street stock drivers will be pleased to learn their start pay money has risen to $50 this season. Modified drivers looking for a Saturday night option will be pleased to know that aluminum heads are allowed this year at CMS with 50 lbs of wait securely fastened on the front of the car. Don’t miss all the CMS action in 2011 and be sure to bookmark centralmissourispeedway.net to stay current on the 2011 season. Season passes are still available. To be one of the many race fans and drivers who receive up-to-the-minute CMS info, send a request to join the track’s email group to TrackReport@centralmissourispeedway.net. See you at the high banks!