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A Decade of Competition: The King of Indiana Sprint Series Races Into 2010

From MIke O’Leary

It’s the time of year when the pulse begins to beat again for racing fans. Gray skies, snow and ice will continue to dominate for a couple months, but racing is surely just around the corner. And as the new schedule for the 2010 King of Indiana Sprint Series shows, it is going to be a huge year for Hoosier racers and fans.

The KISS series represents everything that is good in grassroots sprint car racing. Founded by a handful of track promoters in 2000, the first KISS consisted of six races the next summer. Jon Stanbrough was victorious at both Terre Haute and Putnamville, Justin Marvel won at Haubstadt and Tony Elliott at Gas City, while Bloomington and Paragon fell victims to rain. Second-generation sprint car star Dickie Gaines out-pointed everyone and captured the King’s crown in the inaugural year.

Many of the same tracks return for the coming campaign, with Gas City/I-69 Speedway lifting the curtain on Friday, May 14. Bryan Clauson won last year’s opening round, taking the lead from Shane Cottle, the 2009 sprint car champion at Gas City, as 36 cars towed into the quarter-mile oval northeast of Indianapolis. While Cottle owns two KISS victories, neither has come at Gas City, and he would love to correct that deficiency.

In order to take advantage of the relatively short commute for both fans and racers, Kokomo Speedway moves their KISS program to the same weekend as Gas City, rolling on Sunday, May 16. Last year, it was Billy Puterbaugh claiming his second KISS win, as Cottle and Jon Stanbrough ran second and third.

A week later, Bloomington and Lawrenceburg Speedways host a big doubleheader, with Bloomington leading off on Friday (May 21), then Lawrenceburg on Saturday (May 22). With 49 cars in the pits at Bloomington last year, Chris Windom notched his first KISS victory while Cottle finished second again. Nic Faas earned his first KISS win at Lawrenceburg’s southeastern Indiana speed palace, outrunning Jonathan Hendrick,

The fifth KISS round will unload at Tri-State Speedway in Haubstadt, two weeks later, on Saturday, June 5. The Tri-State race was key last year, as Bedford, Indiana’s Brady Short collected the win and took command of the point lead heading into the last race.

The 2010 KISS will come to a conclusion and the new King crowned on Saturday, June 26, at Paragon Speedway. Last summer’s KISS finale was filled with drama as four-time King Jon Stanbrough captured the feature, but Short held onto the point championship. With 45 cars in the pits, Stanbrough raced from the eighth row to the front, beating Clauson to the checkers.

KISS isn’t a touring series, each track is responsible for conducting the event in accordance with their track rules and the agreed-to guidelines. Drivers draw for heat race starting positions, and features will be 30 laps. KISS events pay $2,500 to win and $250 to start the feature. The B-Main pays $100 to all starters who do not transfer to the feature. The $3,600 point fund awards the top five point finishers, with $1,000 going to the 2010 King of Indiana Sprints.

2010 King Of Indiana Sprint Series Schedule

Gas City I-69 Speedway Friday, May 14

Kokomo Speedway Sunday, May 16

Bloomington Speedway Friday, May 21

Lawrenceburg Speedway Saturday, May 22

Tri-State Speedway Saturday, June 5

Paragon Speedway Saturday, June 26