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Track to open its season

Quote: “Does anyone out there suffer from road rage? Of so, then Bomber racing at Champion may be your answer” – Champion Speedway General Manager Les Kynett

By Dave Price

Appeal Sports Writer

The curtain raises on Champion Speedway’s 2005 opener Saturday night with a full schedule of events to kick off a 22-week season.

All five divisions – Late Model Sportsman, Western Modifieds, Legends, Hornets and Bombers – will be in action in the season opener. The pit gate opens at 3 p.m., the front gate at 5 and racing starts at 7.

The season is actually getting off to a late start due to the heavy winter, according to track general manager Les Kynett.

“Historically, the season opens out here the last two Sundays of April, but when I was drawing up the schedule, I saw what the weather was like, I pushed the starting date to the end of April,” he said last Saturday during the track’s final test and tune session.

“Normally, we’re out here in March getting everything ready to go, but we were really only able to start work out here the last two weeks. It is what it is. There’s nothing you can do about the weather.”

Aside from the slow start, Kynett said he is looking forward to an exciting season at Champion.

“Of the 22 dates on our schedule, we have 14 special events,” Kynett said. “We want to treat the dedicated fans to the best racing possible. We also feel we have a varied schedule, from sprints and midgets to super late model stock cars and late model touring cars, as well as full-sized trucks. I think these are all going to be excellent shows. I know fans love the 100-lappers.”

Many familiar faces are slated to race this season.

Al Goss, last year’s Late Model division champion, and his brother Ed Goss will both be back as part of a four-car team that also includes Kris Keller and David Kornhummel. Chet Danburg is another familiar name, having won the Limited Sportsman class in 1994, followed by Late Model triumphs in 2000, ’01 and ’03.

One of the featured attractions in Champion’s lineup will be the return of the Bomber division – open to drivers over the age of 16 and under the age of 90, according to Kynett. The division is for full-sized, factory-stock cars, although bodies must have glass removed, including taillights and headlights.

“Does anyone out there suffer from road rage? Of so, then Bomber racing at Champion may be your answer,” Kynett said with a chuckle.

“It’s not a racing destruction derby, but there are no penalties for aggressive driving. You can push, bump and spin. If you’re behind somebody and they won’t let you pass, you can bump them. But, at the same time, we’re not out there to destroy someone’s car.”

The division won’t have any heat races or trophy dashes, just a 40-lap main event at the end of the evening’s program. Cash prizes of $300 to win, $200 for second-place and $100 for third will be awarded in any main event – provided the field numbers at least 16 cars – and the driver who wins the most money during the season will be declared division champion.

“Last year, a lot of fans were upset with me and with track officials because of all the black flags we had in the Hornet division,” Kynett said. “One thing led to another and we ended up with a sponsor, a former Bomber driver himself, who said he would put up cash prize money if we could get at least 16 cars to race.”

“The fans are going to love it and I think it will be popular with the drivers,” Kynett said. “There was a Bomber division out here before, and between 1976 and ’79, you’d see 80 Bomber cars in the pits and you’d see four main events.”

Greg Campagni, Keith Serpa and Don Hill are among the drivers who have indicated they will race in the division this season, along with the possibility of former track champion Dave Lester, according to Kynett.

Two other popular divisions are the Legends, which have 28 cars signed up for the season, and the Hornets, which have 29. Richard Malugani of Dayton won last year’s Legends division championship on the final night of the season over Wayne Estes from Patterson, Calif. Denny Hadler is another familiar Legends driver, although one name among the missing will be Nick Parmelee, who will be driving in a Late Model car in Las Vegas full-time this season, according to Kynett.

Yet another featured division will be the Super Late Models, which will make their debut on May 21 when the West Car Late Model Series comes to town to kick off the Desert Rose 100 Series. Among the featured drivers will be past track champions Phil Perry, Harold Long, Craig Paulsen and Rich Lawlor.

Another point of interest, Kynett pointed out that Champion’s 2005 season has been dedicated to the memory of former drivers Mike McCreary and Tim Maloney, both of whom passed away in 2004. McCreary broke into racing at the Carson City track in the mid-1960s. Worley, who was known as the “Bud Man,” had raced two seasons in the Hornet division.

n Contact Dave Price at dprice@nevadaappeal.com or call 881-1220.

BOMBER DIVISION RULE SPECIFICS:

1. The car must be full size American made…Minimum wheel base 108 inches…No midsize, convertibles, 4 wheel drive or Cameros….Must be factory stock….Ask yourself how did it appear on the dealers showroom when originally sold?

2. All motors, transmissions, rear-ends ect. Must be GM to GM, Ford to Ford, Mopar to Mopar.

3. Bodies must have glass removed, including taillights and headlights. Windshield may remain, suggest lexan or steel mesh screen. All chrome moldings and all exterior plastic must be removed. You may cut away a 3 inch opening around each wheel for clearance. No gutting of interior compartment sheet metal except driver and passenger door panels for crash bar installation. All interior combustibles such as seats, panels, headliner and dash materials must be removed.

4. Must have racing style drivers seat, window net and a racing fuel cell or steel marine type installed in the trunk compartment…No more that 15 gallons suggested. If you have a passenger this side must also have a seat, net and padding around all bars near driver or passenger….4 point approved cage with 2 kick-back bars, a minimum of 3 door bars in each door.