Springfield Raceway season opener to honor fromer track official
by Ronnie Williams
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- The 2012 Transport Graphics season championship chase will begin Saturday night, April 21, at the Springfield Raceway as the “Quick Quarter” will be honoring one of its former track officials, Don Haase.
Born Oct.1, 1962, Haase was a life-long resident of Joplin and joined the staff as tech man when current owners Jerry Hoffman and Doug Bland bought the quarter-mile dirt oval. Haase severed as tech man and was getting ready to become the flagman when a sudden illness took his life at the beginning of the 2008 season.
A gentleman who loved life and enjoyed spending time with his children and grandchildren, Haase was an avid race fan spending most Saturday nights at the dirt track. The Springfield Raceway will be honoring him on opening night as his three children – Christian, Lindsay and Taylor – will be dropping the green flag on the first heat of the evening and the last checkered flag feature event.
Action will feature the Budweiser USRA Modifieds, Reliable Chevrolet USRA B-Mods, Casey's General Stores Midwest Modz, Wheeler Metals Legends Cars, Pepsi Pure Stocks, Williams Lawn Care & Preservation Street Stocks and the Young Guns Legend Cars for those 12-16 years of age.
Jackie Dalton of Carthage is the defending USRA Modified track champion and Bobby Maggard Jr. of Republic is the defending B-Mod track champion with the class now sanctioned by the USRA.
Many drivers have already thrown their helmet into the ring to try and attempt to challenge for their respective track titles. With the point funds up for grabs in the USRA Modifieds, Dalton will have his hands full as late last season Erik Maggard of Brighton was one of the hottest drivers at the speedway along with former track champion Mitch Keeter.
Adding in the mix of Branson's Jody Tillman and Jerry Lankton, Oronogo's Bobby Pearish, Pierce City drivers Brian Green and Kyle Slagle, Rookie of the Year Billy Dalton and many-time Flippin, Ark., track champion Rob Muilenburg and area top engine builder John Yeoman and many others along with the speedway flying the USRA Banner, it will be anyone's guess.
The speedway joined the USRA for the B-Mods also this season while still running under Springfield car spec rules and a nice points fund not only for the track, but also in the national money, Magrard will find the already tough competition even tougher. Last season, J.C. Morton and Maggard went down to the wire for the title. Adding in drivers such as an ever-improving Andy Beauchamp of Springfield, Don Luna, Willard's Gary Rodocker, Webb City veteran Scott Drake, former Pure Stock front-runner Jeremy Thulin, Jared Thulin and a host of others makes this feature worth the price of admission.
Pit gates open around 3:30 p.m. and grandstands open at 5 on Saturday, April 14, with drivers meeting set to start at 5:40.Hot laps will begin at 6 with racing to follow. Drivers will draw for heat race positions and the top 8 in passing points in each class will redraw at intermission over in the grandstands as this allows the fans a chance to see their favorites get ready to begin the 2012 season.
Pit passes are $25 and RACEceivers are required for all classes (it is the drivers responsibility to have one).
Adult ddmission is only $12 for adults while kids ages 6-12 are only $5 with children under 6 admitted free of charge.
For more information on the Springfield Raceway visit the website at www.springfieldraceway.com or call 417-673-7426.